It’s pretty hard to believe that it has been over a month since I returned to Canada after visiting New Zealand for my sister’s wedding. I know I have been pretty slack at providing life updates so am going to try and nut this out.
On February 10th, one day shy of being at my new job a month I boarded a flight from Vancouver direct to Auckland. It’s obviously the fastest possible route to take and incredibly I had touched back down on the soil of Aotearoa in under 15 hours (thank god for business class).
Now if you are a born and bred Kiwi, you will know exactly I mean when I say that New Zealand is a very small place. This was backed up by the fact that whilst sitting in the lounge waiting to board my 7:45am flight to Christchurch I noticed my cousin was sitting across the room. I thought I was hallucinating from lack of sleep and had to double take. Also on that same flight was a friend from high schools older sister and New Zealand’s deputy Prime Minister.
Two hours later I was reunited with the rest of my family at Christchurch international airport. Stepping out into the rays of summer for the first time in almost a year was a massive shock to my senses. I ditched the beanie, heavy leather jacket and woolly jumper, rolled up my sleeves and embraced the unusual feeling of warmth outdoors.
Despite the fact I was delirious with exhaustion I was determined not to let the jet lag catch up with me. I had only ten days before my return flight to Vancouver and I was not going to waste one trying to adjust my body clock. We went straight for coffee (the first decent coffee I had tasted in eight months), followed by lunch (shit the food in NZ is GOOD), followed by another coffee, followed by a walk around the Christchurch CBD which was even more unrecognisable than it was a year before.
After the initial catch ups and a 10pm bedtime on the first night I awoke to the sound of screaming cicadas, nature’s soundtrack to a long hot summer. It was another blistering hot day filled with cold beer and ocean swims. This was pretty much the routine of the next week, swims in Cass Bay, Sumner and various pools, followed by beers in bars or on my sisters porch.
The reason behind my trip back home to New Zealand wasn’t entirely to add some colour to my translucent skin. I was home to take part in my sister’s wedding as her ‘Man of honor.’ The wedding took place at Mt Vernon Lodge in Akaroa. The venue was up in the hills overlooking the turquoise ocean and uniquely New Zealand nature. In the lead up to the wedding I was given the responsibility of managing my sister phone and to respond to any messages or calls she might receive. At times I had four phones on me trying to coordinate everything that a bride shouldn’t be bothered with on her wedding day.
The wedding went off without a hitch, although wearing a suit in 30+ degrees did result in me being covered in sweat… nice. There was I do’s, speeches, drinks, dancing, more drinks and a hazy walk up the hill to bed.
When my time in New Zealand was almost up I was hit with a shocking epiphany. I have now been away from home for almost five years. For those first four I turned my back on the country I was raised in, New Zealand was boring, behind the times and lacked opportunity. To me New Zealand meant failure, why stay in the place that raised you when the world is filled with endless opportunities. Perhaps I’m just getting old or had over dosed on Vitamin D but something in me clicked. After this trip, New Zealand was no longer boring and lame. New Zealand is the world’s most beautiful country and I am filled with envy for all those friends I saw back home living the literal kiwi dream.
Now I am not going to stand up put my hand on my heart and sing the national anthem anytime soon. But let’s just say moving back home (eventually) may not be the worst thing in the world…