Today I want to go home. I miss the cold and the rain. I miss belonging, having a joint history with people and a shared sense of humour. I miss those gloomy wintery days, the queues in Asda, pay and display car parks, half term holidays that are too short and the deafening noise of soft play areas during birthday parties. I miss the excitement of waking up to see a rare sunny day, Saturday night television and BBC news.
Most of all I miss my family and friends. I miss cups of tea with my nanny and grandad, talking through my day with my sister and teasing my brother about his Lego collection. I miss being able to call my mum and dad at any time of day or night, family pub lunches and cuddles. I miss catch ups at the pub with friends and running into people that I haven’t seen for ages in random places. I even miss the people I didn’t know personally by name but who made up the fabric of my life- the barista at Costa that knew our order by heart, the cashiers in the supermarket, the people I drove past on the way to work every day and the people I prayed alongside every week at church.
This week has been a challenging one, one that has reminded me of the brevity of life and the importance of making the most of every day. I love New Zealand, the beauty and the space. I love the sunshine, the healthier lifestyle and the opportunities that this place has given us as a family. I love it, but reflecting on how short and unpredictable life is makes me yearn for what is familiar, the comfort and stability of what I know and have always known. If I could transport myself right now to Blackpool and take a deep breath of it’s signature scent of doughnut, beer, stale smoke and sea salt – I would.
Sometimes it’s hard to believe we are actually here, living on the other side of the world. At times it feels overwhelming when I zoom out and look at the whole picture, so I prefer to focus instead on the smaller details and I busy myself organising things, working probably too hard, packing our days full of things that need to be done. I guess that is why when I stop to reflect on my life, sometimes it’s a gut wrenching shock to realise where we are. Is this where we should be? Is this where I want to be? These are hard questions to answer. I don’t know.
As beautiful as this country is, as wonderful as the opportunities are for us here, it isn’t yet our home and so when I am reminded how short life is, a little voice in my head asks me ‘why are you living so far away from the people you love so much?’ Although I know what the answer is in factual terms – I know our back story inside out, I don’t know yet how to answer that question more deeply and more fully so I’m working on it.
In the meantime, I am looking forward to soggy Cleveleys chips on a blustery gloomy day this July, imagining that during our visit back, I may feel homesick for Auckland because maybe my homesickness is a deeper yearning in disguise. A need to connect more deeply with those around me, a need to feel part of something greater than myself, a need to belong that transcends place and time.