Tuesday, 17 December 2013


It's been two months since I last wrote. A lot can happen in short spaces of time, and this short space of time is no exception.

A month ago, we said goodbye to Martin's parents at Christchurch airport after an amazing three weeks of travelling, introducing them to our friends and eating LOTS of good food. A year on from the same experience with my brother, I am left on the wrong side of the departure gate feeling a very familiar set of unwelcome emotions. 

Should I be going home too? Did we make the most of the short time we had together? Did they enjoy themselves? WILL THEY COME BACK???

The hardest part about having visitors after nearly two years of getting used to being by ourselves is coming back to an empty house. The quiet was unbearable. I suddenly realised how our parents and family members must have felt upon returning home after saying goodbye to us at Manchester airport all that time ago. On the other side of the departure gate towards New Zealand, I too was inconsolable, but it is definitely harder being the one left behind.

So you try and fill that hole with being busy, not stopping to reflect or dwell and generally carrying on with your life as if nothing has changed. After two weeks of this, however, it becomes impossible to ignore how you are feeling and you decide to face your doubts.

This Saturday, Martin and I made ourselves slow down. We took a walk through our old neighbourhood - which has become a haven for (legal) street art - had brunch somewhere we've never been before and made peace with ourselves. 

We are presently standing at a fork in the road. In January, we will have lived in New Zealand for two years and will therefore be eligible for residency. However, we don't know how much longer we want to be here. Do we: a) not apply and wait until our work visas expire in June and be faced with the prospect of returning to a country in a not too dissimilar economic state than it was when we left, or b) apply for residency on the basis we know we want to be here until at least this time next year and just see what happens? 

When we made the decision to move to the other side of the world, we did so on the proviso that we didn't want to regret the things we didn't do in life. We gave it a go and, thankfully, it worked. In my head, I know NZ is the right choice: a more healthy pace of life, better job prospects, more comfortable living arrangements...the list goes on. But (and this is a big 'but'), my heart essentially is wherever my Ma & Pa are. Corny, but that's what it boils down to!

Currently, we are very excitedly planning a trip home in April/May next year, hopefully via Canada, Italy, Germany and Thailand. We hope this will satisfy our wandering hearts a little and be a great opportunity to make the most of spending time with much missed friends and family. When it gets tough here, I cherish the thought of how happy I will be to see my cat again (and try not to think about the angry face of the kiwi customs officer when they discover him in my hand luggage). 

Meanwhile, when we want to feel close to home, there is a park down the road called Mona Vale in which you can find a very English looking lily-pond, fountain and an accompanying sense of tranquillity. At least until the birds start mistaking your ukulele playing for a call to arms, anyway.

To see all our photos from Sharon and Tony's trip, click here.

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