I have said a couple of times before that in my mind, my life exists in two parts: before New Zealand and after New Zealand. Before I went to live in Auckland for a year when I was fifteen I felt out of place constantly, I felt uneasy about everything I liked, and said, and did, like it wasn’t cool enough or good enough; enough for whom, I don’t know. Maybe for myself, maybe for everyone around me. I was insecure down to the core.
New Zealand was a bit of a magical place for me. I met all those wonderful, strange people who took me in and made me understand that I had a place in this world, and that I had the right to fight for it. I came home transformed, and not only for the better. But I had got to a place where I felt safe. Happy even. And with that in you, you can master most anything.
With the arrival of autumn, I have caught myself going longingly through the memories, catching my breath at the sight of a particular leaf in the wind or listening to the same old song again. I miss New Zealand. I miss it now more than I did in those past couple of years. I miss the sound of the kettle in the kitchen, a sound so uniquely ist own. I miss the glow on the pavement after the rain. I miss that one coffee shop that sold giant hot chocolates and banana muffins that tasted like drops of heaven. Sometimes I find that I miss the scenery, the sea and the beaches and the forests and the mountains.
Most, I think, I miss myself. I miss this version of me that embraced change, whose heart bumped fast at the prospect of anything new. The me that trusted her fate blindly.
Everything has changed now, too. I’m in a new appartment. I have two flatmates. I don’t live with my mum any more. A year from now I’ll have my bachelor’s degree. I can feel the change creeping up on me. And I so desperately cling to the memory of a time when this would not have scared me.
I sometimes wish my kettle sounded just like the one Bill and Barbara had, and I sometimes wish the rain tasted like it did in Auckland on a gloomy monday morning, and I sometimes wish the coffee shops I visit sold the same cheap hot chocolate I was once so used to.
I’m in a good place. I have two wonderful and strange boys who keep me company, who compliment my baking, and who sometimes make me hot chocolate. And when I cycle to uni in the morning, the sun sometimes throws her golden light upon the roofs of the houses. And when I go shopping on a thursday night, there are musicians and jugglers and chestnut vendors lining the streets. And I am filled with a sense of home and belonging.
I just sometimes wish I had that former self of mine to accompany me.
Maybe it’s a question of bravery. Maybe it’s not really about who I am or where my life is headed, maybe these things are secondary. Maybe all I need is to be brave enough to believe that something strange and wonderful is about to happen.