Listening to: Rubber Soul
I am sat on the floor of my friend’s flat with a view of Wellington city behind me and a stubborn sun trying to come out through a grey sky. In front of me are dozens of cards from friends back in the UK and friends I’ve made out here. There are the photos I used to hang up in my room. My Kiwi Experience travel mug. On top of my Lonely Planet New Zealand book is a bracelet my mum got me, for a special daughter. Looking at it all together like this, my heart tugs in two directions. The pull of home, seeing loved ones I haven’t seen in two years. The familiarity of family and friendship.
But at the same time, I’m afraid of going back home. I’m afraid of everything being the same. All these adventures I’ve had will just become memories to put away in a box and soon none of it will seem real.
When I first arrived in the country I didn’t know anyone here. In fact, I barely knew anything about New Zealand, other than the fact the working holiday visa was cheap. I can remember walking along Wellington waterfront for the first time, seeing the blue of the ocean, and the best way I can describe the feeling is a tug in my stomach. It was a pull I couldn’t ignore and I learnt my first thing about New Zealand – how much I wanted to live there.
Having worked so hard to build a life for myself out here, it feels strange to unravel it all – moving out of my house, quitting my job and getting ready to leave. I didn’t realise it would hurt this much. I fell so in love so quickly with this country and made such strong friendships. For the first time in my life, I can fully understand the phrase heart break. It’s almost as if I can feel it cracking and pulling itself apart. There is a part of me that will always be here.
It was that line of thinking that I got a tattoo inspired by the Wellington waterfront. If a part of me is always going to be here, then I wanted to try bring a little part of New Zealand back with me.
Why Wellington? It’s a question thrown my way by customers as they pick up on the British accent as I tell them about the market fish of the day. They want to know why I chose New Zealand and in particular this city. Usually I just smile and say something along the lines of it being such a cool little capital. Here I just wanted to pick a few things I love about here.
Living by the ocean and noticing how much green it has in it
Sunsets – they can make the entire sky orange, or pink, or purple.
There is always music on Cuba Street
It is not unusual to see someone walk along playing a musical instrument
You can get brunch nearly anytime of day
The city feels cosy, tucked in by the green hills surrounding it
Rooftop bars: The Arborist, Dirty Little Secret and Basque
Riding a bus for 20 minutes or so and being surrounded by stunning countryside
Cute wooden houses and mailboxes in Mount Cook
Fairy lights in the lounge and kitchen in my little blue house
The blue and green of Cape Palliser as The Beatles played
How much colour there is in the city, from graffiti to painted fuse boxes
A piece of my heart is just not held by the city, but also by the truly wonderful people I’ve met out here. The ones who made me feel at home on the other side of the world. They saw me through my drunken messes, Tinder dates, hangovers, brunches, shifts at work, good days, bad days and even an earthquake. There is no way I would have stayed in Wellington as long as I did were it not for them. I can’t begin to describe how much I love them, how much I’ll miss seeing them everyday and not having them be part of my routine.
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Like A Dream
Francis and the Lights
This is by far the most hungover I’ve been on a plane, but watching the entire sky glow yellow and orange from the sunset makes it slightly more tolerable. Last night was my leaving drinks. It was BYO dinner, followed by karaoke (unexpected Basshunter was a highlight) and more drinking. There was nothing good about the byes. I couldn’t stop crying. Partly down to wine and partly down to being very emotional the past couple of weeks.
All of that emotion drains out of me on the plane. I feel utterly numb, I can’t believe I’m leaving. This part of my life is over and it is a strange mixture of aching sadness and excitement as to see what’s next.
It’s ok that it hurts. It goes to show how much I cared about being here, and everyone around me. I may not know what’s going to happen next but I know that I’ll always have a home out here. The sky fades to black. The horizon of tomorrow and new adventures await.
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To everyone I met in Wellington who might be reading this – I just wanted to say thank you. You made my life out here and made this experience so much more than I could have ever imagined. I miss you already. Don’t let anyone dull your shine xxx