I feel, in general, pretty weird.
Six months is a decent amount of time to get used to living differently; to get used to making temporary homes with a variety of people in a variety of places and potato chip brands that you’ve never heard of before but obviously buy anyway. It’s long enough that you feel differently about yourself and your life and what you want to do with it – but not so long that it’s this epic return where you’re reunited with all of this stuff you forgot about. It wasn’t long enough to forget how insanely comfortable your duvet is and how much you love Sunday brunch and how nice it is to shower without wearing flip flops.
It wasn’t long enough to forget who was at home – and I still think about that final night where everyone came together for goodbye drinks because in that moment I felt so overwhelmed by how many people mattered that much to me; how many human beings from different parts of my life were that genuinely important. And I so vividly remember feeling happy about having it and sad about leaving it and scared that it would all change.
I feel scared; scared that things have changed. That everyone has moved on with life and work and the best patio spot in the city. That six months is a long enough time for people to forget and for people to change; that it will take some getting used to in order to navigate your way back through your old life.
I feel scared that nothing’s changed – that everything went on as usual, I simply wasn’t a part of it. The girls kept going to Saturday morning class and the vball team kept playing and concert tix kept getting bought. All of these things kept happening, I just kind of missed it, and how easy it is to insert yourself back into it? What if I’m the factor that makes things all different and weird?
I’m scared that people will think I’m annoying, because all I’ve known for the past 6 months is this little life away, but won’t that get old so fast? How many times can you say “that reminds me of this time in New Zealand…” before people start wanting to ship you back over there?
I’m scared that I’ll forget about everything I just did and how it all made me feel. That it will slowly become this nice little memory I think about sometimes while I’m sitting on the subway, but real life will sweep me up and I’ll start curling my hair again and putting blush in my purse because I’m so paranoid about having a tired looking face and in my head blush will always fix that. And I mean, that’s what should happen. Of course life goes on and of course I’ll move on, but I guess it makes me a little sad to think about that. To think that this will stop being the biggest part of what I am right now. That all of these lives and hearts that intertwined and changed in our happy little NZ home will all move on in different places with different people, and what we had will slowly become nothing more than something we did when we were young and free and wanting an adventure.
All of that said – mainly? I feel fucking stoked. There are few things I love more than a Canadian summer, and I’m SO excited by the idea of early morning cottage coffees and Lakeshore bike rides and patio hopping across the city with all of these people that I cannot wait to see.
I loved talking about where I was from. I felt proud talking about where I was from (even though the conversation was always the same and always reminded me how ignorant I was about my own country)
“You’re Canadian?” they’d say. “You seem to have an incredible Prime Minister.”
“Uh, I know,” I’d reply, holding my heart. “He’s so hot I love him I honestly love him.”
I feel insanely proud. Of taking a big giant leap out into the world and having it turn out so much differently than I pictured, but so SO good. All of the people and conversations and all of the writing in random cafes and picnic tables and on that log by the ocean before the girls had woken up. Of learning what I loved and what I hated about myself, and how it didn’t really matter. It wasn’t about finding and/or fixing myself. It was just about embracing whoever the fuck I was.
I’m so proud.
Of doing the perfect parallel park in that Australian beach town and learning to prefer red wine over white. I mean, this alone means I’m a real grown up now right? Of seeing my writing change! I’m rewriting the entire first half of this damn book because it sounds so lame and weird in comparison to what I’m writing now, and I love what I’m writing now, and I’m so stoked to see such a notable difference.
Of learning what to do. Like, I packed for this trip the day before I flew away and on this day I went to Home Hardware and bought giant Ziploc bags to separate all the different items in my backpack. On the front of this box of bags was a picture of a person holding one up with 8 fully inflated soccer balls inside of it. WHY did I ever think I needed a bag this big to hold 7 tank tops and a few pairs of socks? Why did that image not clue me in that I could probably significantly downsize? They were so big and so unnecessary and I brought 6 of these stupid bags all the way to Vancouver and threw them in my cousin’s garbage because they took up so much space in my bag instead of helping me compact it.
That’s how I started. And look at me now! Hostels and road trips and crashing on couches and life in 3 separate campervans. And I mastered it, baby. I mean, you really don’t need much. Baby wipes, an aux cord and 10(ish) bags of chips. You have that and you’re flying – everything else is bonus, and never before have I understood that these 3 things are my only real necessities and my little world is clogged with so many scarves and pairs of black boots and bottles of lotion that I don’t really need.
I feel lucky. What a fucking privilege to be able to pack up and hit the road. And I feel the need to constantly point this out because I hate the idea of coming off as this privileged bitch, acting all weird and anxious and POOR ME after “living the dream” for the past six months. Like, I get it. I am so genuinely lucky and life is sweeeet. BUT EVEN SO. It’s a scary thing to come down from. It’s scary to know it’s over, and to know you have to do something else now. It’s scary to feel all of these badass, life changing things because they are so special and so cool and you don’t want to lose them, but also don’t want to hang on too hard because life goes on, and all of this just makes you feel a little bit unsure of what to do with yourself.
And so, I’m coming home. I’m unsure of what to do with myself. But as a wise, wise someone wrote as a send-off in my N2 journal, wherever you are is exactly where you’re supposed to be. So, I’m coming home, and I think, I think, it’s exactly where I’m supposed to be 🙂
See you soon, Drake.