There’s usually a point around the 9-month mark (since seeing family) where I start to go a little crazy. Well, this is how it was for 2 years, and then we started using Skype more, and I was able to last much longer without feeling it.
I was last home in January 2011, for my brother’s wedding, and I won’t be back until October. Before that trip, I’d been 9 months without seeing anyone, and before that, it was a year. This time, the gap will be 20 months. And oh gosh, that’s just far too long.
I’ll go for several days without having any issues, and then I’ll see something ridiculous like a NZ ad or hear a random Kiwi voice, or walk into a store that’s playing Crowded House and I’ll get just a little bit twitchy and mopey. But I’ve been okay.
On Saturday, we decided to go shopping in town, and stopped for lunch first at GBK (Gourmet Burger Kitchen). Now I know these are all over the UK, but there’s only 1 in Edinburgh and we’d never been before. As soon as I walked in and saw the iconic Kiwi tomato-shaped ketchup bottles, I was already a bit sentimental.
Neither of us could really stomach the idea of a Kiwiburger (not a fan of beetroot or pineapple in a burger) and sadly the Wellington had enough mushrooms to kill me (among other things), so I ended up with a chicken and avocado burger. Mmmm. But of course before our food arrived, we ordered our drinks.
I almost fell off my chair with glee when I saw they had L&P. It had been such a long time, and it tastes as good as always. Sweetened even more by sentimentality, obviously. Dave had to go for a beer with lunch when he saw they had Steinlager Pure on the menu.
I went up to order everything and asked if they got a lot of Kiwis through the door. “Do they come in all excited?” …. “Yup. And they buy L&P by the case.”
I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed by the small personal Kiwi touches, and it floored me a little. It has been a long time since I have thought honestly about how much I miss home and the people I love, and once it has been allowed to creep in, it lingers until I see them again.
It is very different from the outside in. I know I could live in New Zealand a long time longing to be elsewhere (and did). But home for me is where the people I love are, and the people I love are in little old New Zealand. It’s not perfect, but it’s beautiful and has such a unique perspective on the world, and I can’t wait to go back and see everyone. And as I’ve gotten older, my priorities have shifted. I know I will travel the world and do amazing things, but I definitely want and need to settle. To plant roots.
I suppose it’s only natural. I love it here. But it doesn’t have the same emotional hold on me.
Edinburgh is my home for now, but New Zealand? is my home-for-always.
(73 days to go)…xxx