I bought my return flight to Melbourne on Monday. It’s actually for the first week of September, however there was a massive flight sale on so it made sense to get it all done and dusted.
It kind of puts this Wellington period into perspective too. I have already been here 6 weeks (wow) and only have about 4.5 months left. It’s going so fast and yet it doesn’t really feel like home here, or somewhere I have made my own yet. More like this is a place I am living. When do you make the transition to a local?
Is it when you have identified your favorite bookshop, cafe, dairy, place for lunch? Or when you feel like you have interacted with your community? Provided directions, assistance, home cooking? When the server greets you by name and already knows your coffee order?
I think it is too easy to assume that when you move somewhere new you will be busy all the time, wanted and connected and it will all be fantastic. However real life isn’t like that, or at least mine isn’t.
I think I have reached that point – 6 weeks in – where the novelty factor wears off and the pedalling begins. I have started to take note of the quiet times; the way the sun moves across the hills and valleys, that point in the afternoon when the sun drops behind the neighbouring building, the bellbirds and tuis singing in the morning, the way washing gets dried super fast on the line with the wind, the wonderfully convenient free wifi in the city, that board in the bathroom floor that makes a noise when you stand on it, the lights of Wellington at night studded into the hill,s climbing above the harbour reflections to the sky.
I think these times are when you learn the most if you are quiet and listen. Its when there is enough space in your head to have new ideas, or to create something in the gap.
Maybe work will be different to how you imagined, and instead of giving you something to throw yourself into, its something you need to figure out further and understand what you can change, and what you just have to work with. Being here such a short time as well its a balancing act – where can I make the most difference, what do I just get on and do, what do I try to influence?
Maybe you will meet some fantastic people and really look forward to that breakfast catch up each week to affirm that you actually do make sense and you haven’t spent your days speaking in rhyme. Maybe too, you will find that seeing things from a different perspective is a good thing, and you are learning more about yourself and hopefully figuring out ways and ways that will keep you in a good stead for when you do this again in Mexico, however next time in Spanish.
It’s been a bit of an interesting time. Not bad, certainly with its frustrating moments, but also with a lot of wonderful experiences and people. I think I did know this too when I left Melbourne. I mean that was the point, to throw myself out on the tides again. To create new patterns. To try new situations and see how I measured up. So it’s not unexpected, this feeling. And it’s not depression, I am actually quite happy. It’s a kind of watchfulness, of myself and my environment. What do I want to do? To see? To get involved with? What memories will I create here? What will I take with me when I leave?
I want to be able to look back on this time and know that I really lived here, that I gave it my all and saw and did and experienced whilst I was here. 4.5 months more isn’t a long time. It will be interesting to see what comes from this larger time out from Australia. I wonder where I will be in 12 months? In 24?