This time last week we were all in New Zealand bumbling along towards bed after a rather torrid day which included going to bed at 1am and rising again at 6:30am for a 8:0am flight, and flying across the Cook Strait in a tiny 15 seater JetStream in atrocious conditions (and thinking I was going to die). Being so grateful for the inhospitable looking coast which was materialising out of the boiling black sea and low hanging clouds.
Even in the dismal weather I fell in love with Westport and felt a real grounding in New Zealand. I sat at the table in the motel watching the mountains appear and disappear, playing hide and seek in the clouds and the intermittent showers. We were shown around town, shown through one of the schools and had a beautiful dinner that night at The Yellow House even though we were all dead on our feet. A playful ginger kitten lolled by the fire as we ate our meals and James Taylor’s Fire and Rain played on the stereo. It felt like I had arrived.
The bright though crisp day which followed did nothing for dulling my enthusiasm for the place. We visited the seal colony at Tauranga Bay and I could see across the wide expanse of sand up to the snow capped mountains. Out of the wind the sun was warming and the place just continued to grow on me.
I could see myself tapping away at my lap top in Dirty Mary’s with a pot of tea close at hand and the fire roaring behind my back. I could see Dylan in the wonderful South School. Dinner that night at The Beach House was perfect, amazing local cuisine, fantastic conversation – a real connection. Then on the trip home the most surreal falling star fell in almost a direct line with us, flaring brilliantly to earth. And I made a wish!
I felt sad getting back on the plane Thursday morning to come home. At the airport we knew three people – the head master of one of the schools, one of the kindy teachers and Emily the owner of The Beach House. I couldn’t imagine going anywhere, being onn 18 seater plane and knowing three of the other occupants after only two days in town.
Coming back to Brisbane we realised we were probably going to be making the hardest decision of our lives to date. There was so much offered in Westport in terms of life style and community. Something neither Dave nor I expected. And Dylan had loved it there – excited he would be able to go to school on his 5th birthday rather than waiting until the beginning of the 2010 school year. But then there was Brisbane – our home here, our friends, the hassle of selling and moving. And a solid job offer with a company in South Brisbane which ticked all the boxes.
When I woke up this morning I thought tonight we would be deliberating our next course of action – but sadly I didn’t think it would be this course of action.
We got a phone call from NZ about 5pm to say Dave didn’t get the job. He hadn’t *wowed* them (which is pretty hard to do if you’re sleep deprived and having everything thrown at you at once) – but so be it. Part of me feels ripped up because I so easily saw us all living there – but grateful in lots of ways the decision has been taken out of our hands. Neither Dave nor I are great at making decisions and it is easier to make the best of the way things turned out in this instance than living with the consequences of a bad decision.
The next step for me is to take all the things that I felt about NZ and make them real here. Firstly to get Dylan into a small community minded school where he will be safe and allowed to flourish at his own pace. Secondly to reinvigorate our social life. And thirdly to make the most of every day we have.
I thought earlier on tonight, as I was cleaning up some things in the bathroom … I didn’t expect life to change like it has today … but how is it that at the end of every day we don’t expect things to have changed – shifted? Isn’t that what living is really all about? Growing, moving forwards … even if it is just inching forward. I should be able to look back at the end of the day, every night, and say things have changed. Sometimes they will be for the better, and sometimes like tonight they will feel for the worse.
I will remember next time to be more specific with my wishes! Now onto the next stage …