I’ve been brewing and percolating this blog for a few weeks. I’ve been trying to think of most important things, things I’ve learned, things that I can take with me from this Island. So I think I’ll write a letter, a letter to a teacher, a letter to an acquaintance, a letter…to New Zealand.
So it has been six years. Yes, can you believe it? Six.
When I came to you, I was 18 and bubbly faced. I was nervous of your smallness, your newness. I wondered what it would be like. I didn’t have much of an idea, of who you were. But I needed a break, I needed to expand my One Billion People box.
So I touched down, with some bags, and a dad. I put foot on your soil. I was tired, and quiet. My new house was full of family that I didn’t really know, but they opened their home to me. My view was spectacular…a parking space. But oh, the trees! It was amusing to others how pretty I found it. I was so simple. And naive. And Innocent. And quite nice, I must admit. I knew it all back then, as every 18-year-old does. I thought I had everyone fooled for a little while, but not you.
I came here with tight little fists. I held on to all I was, with everything in me. I held on to my thoughts, my opinions, my self-righteousness, my upbringing, the ideas in my head that were formed by what I thought was vast experience. Vast experience of a very small world.
You are patient, I’ll give you that.
You. Even as I think of your name, I can barely say it in my head without the tears. My heart begins to race. You. At first I liked you, maybe even loved, but I have never really called you a friend have I.? No. And I never will. You and I are not friends. We know not to flatter. You are an oilstone, you are iron. I am iron. I don’t know who has sharpened who. But I do honour you, I honour you as a teacher. When I first came to you, with eyes full of everything hopeful, I didn’t know:
How to use an Eftpos machine
How to catch a bus
That when given an empty cup at Denny’s you must fill it with your own Coke
How to trust my intuition
How to write a pop song
Who to let in, and who not to
How to drive
That everyone finds the world as confusing as I do
That you don’t have to get it right all the time
That I am capable of anything, even the worst of things
And that makes anyone
friend or unknown person
capable of the worst too
and so I will love them
like I have learned to love myself
You and God taught me those things and many more. Credit where credit is due.
You have provided me with excruciating pain and with many many mistakes. You have provided me with memories, some to take with me and some that I want to forget, forever. Sometimes I hate you, for exposing me to the worst of myself, there are some things I can never forgive myself for. You have provided me with large amounts of trust in God. You have provided me with people, the most beautiful people, in the loneliest of times. You have provided me with madness, and with the sanity that came just in time to counter it. You have provided me with a backbone. You have provided me a safe place, a padded room, to bash about in, to thrash my words at, to kick and scream and swear at. Your walls hurt, but not as much as other walls could have. Thank you for that.
You provided me with a husband. That has been your greatest gift.
We have sort of settled into each other, and friends and family and I have settled into long distance. We are pro’s now. Regrettably. We have cried, we have flown across the world to see each other, we have Skyped more times than we ever wanted to have to. And now we can be together, and that is my happiest thought.
Sometimes, our relationship is misunderstood, but I don’t really care, why should I? We are what we are.
So now I’m leaving you, and I’m taking what you have given me. I hope it is for a long time, and I know you understand. There was that one time, when I was 18, that I held your hand tightly, and I let you teach me, and I hope you can cherish that memory. I know it’s easy to get sentimental in final hours, but we won’t will we? We will call it what it is, thank each other, and move on.
I shake the dust and I shake your hand, and it’s final.
(Find me now on http://www.stillpilgrim.com)