Leaving Melbourne, in the end, was remarkably easy. You just get on the plane and don’t think about the fact you don’t know when you will return to live there.
You turn your headphones up so you only exist in your own headspace, and lean your head on the window molding as it’s the first time in 2 weeks that you can sit down for 3 straight hours without needing to organise anything.
You fly over dusty red soils and scrabbly stick trees, the varying blues of the Tasman and then over the yellow tinged green hills of the Auckland coast and you know that you are home.
The weeks leading up to this point however were not so calm and straight-forward. I was just existing on auto-pilot, my days narrowed down to a set of check box items I could schedule, action and tick off. People were asking whether I was nervous or excited about going, but I was just swinging from ne task to another like a series of monkey bars, hoping I didn’t over-balance, or fall down the gap. There was no space in my head for anything that wasnt essential, so no, I wasn’t nervous, I wasn’t thinking about that, I was focussed.
I ended up hiring a removalist which consisted of 2 Japanese guys and a truck to help me move my house into a storage unit the size of half a one car garage. Imagine trying to pack everything into boxes, and then onto a truck and then into a storage unit with helpers that whilst were lovely, did not speak a lot of English, and did not listen to you when you said the heavy stuff needed to go in first.
I did think in the beginning that I was onto a winner as surely Japanese people would have experience fitting entire houses into small spaces, but no, their Tetris skills failed me, especially considering they had no concept of “right side up” arrows, or boxes marked FRAGILE. I was starting to chant “you get what you pay for” to the tune of “you get what you need” as a mantra in my head as I watched them attempt to stack a box of books onto another box marked My Precious.
It was 38C and I had spent my day packing stuff into boxes, then a truck and then a storage unit; driving home for agent inspections, final house cleaning, another storage run and then finally heading to my aunt’s place across the other side of the city jockeying with peaktime traffic.
I have now been in NZ a week, in Wellington 3 days. Just in the time I have been here, I have been suprised how easy it has been, and how much I can slot back in. I understand the way people think, I know the way the hills are folded, the colour of the grass, the trees finally make sense. I have been walking around Wellingotn almost teary at times as I see something else that resonates on a level I can’t articulate. It’s been 17 years since I lived in New Zealand, but I am finding that New Zealand has been something that always resided in my blood.