November 22 2014, the day I left everything behind to start a “New And Exciting Adventure”: moving to the other side of the world.
A quiet, nervous 16 year old, not quite yet ready to leave her parents, stepped out of the plane and onto the tarmac, feeling unexpectedly excited and prepared to take on this new chapter of her life.
Well I can tell you that feeling soon left me as over the next few days it dawned on me that although my brother had accompanied me to New Zealand, he would not be taking me home with him. As I settled into my Aunty’s house, it hit me that I had essentially moved across the world to live with strangers. I had not seen this part of my family for twelve years except two brief visits a few years earlier. I had to get to know them all again, and I’m so glad I did. My Aunty, my mothers sister, became like a second mother to me, very similar to my own Mum that I missed so much during the first few months. My cousins, soon turned into an extra three sisters that I cherish as much as my own ones in England.
The little town I had moved to was a beautiful place, as sunny as ever in those summer months during which I tried a lot of new things. I tried new foods including paua fritters, L&P, fairy bread, and of course Ambrosia, which I soon developed an intense dislike for! I went on a summer camp with my cousins, I tried wakeboarding, I got the best tan, and I learned that Kiwi people are not like any other people in the world. I felt so grown up and independent, so sure I would succeed here with this new begining.
The first few weeks of being in New Zealand went very fast and it was soon time to begin school. I will spare you the details basically I found that I didn’t seem to fit in anywhere at this new college. I didn’t make proper friends until a long way into the school year but by then I’d had a few calls back home desperately trying to hold in the tears as my Mum told me about the normal day to day life that I so missed during the hard times. And also several calls blatantly saying I want to come home… But I didn’t. I didn’t go home feeling sorry for myself and I didn’t go home feeling angry at myself for failing. Throughout that first year I missed so many things about Europe. The food, the people, my house, the weather, the shops
When I came home for Christmas, my little village here felt like it had shrunk and I felt so big in my room. Nothing was like it had been when I left, I felt like not only had I changed, but also the home I left behind. Not in a bad way, it was just different.
However, coming back last Christmas was even more strange. After months and months of missing home, I come back to find I miss my home in New Zealand now!
But was it really home that I was missing? Or was it the people that made home feel like home? As much as I have loved the places I’ve lived, I know now that it’s the people that make those places so important to me. And I wish I could have them all closer.