My dear New Zealand,
Let me preface this letter by saying that it’s impossible for me to ever have the words to write this properly. I will never be articulate enough, smart enough, have a vocabulary big enough, to express how you’ve changed me.
I had a dream a few weeks ago where I returned home, left you forever, and lost a limb. Clearly, the thought of not being here with you makes me feel like I’ve lost a body part. Literally. How’s that for dramatic?
I can’t deny we’ve had our ups and downs though. (Okay, fine, I’ve sort of hated you. But isn’t that always the case? When we’re children we let our crushes know we like them by throwing a punch and running away? Which is I guess what I’ve been doing these past two years.)
But somewhere down the line I fell in love with you. I fell in love with the view of Rangitoto from my front porch. The fact that I only need to drive 30 minutes to be in the middle of sweeping forests. I fell in love with your laid back weekends, your friendly bus drivers, your safety, your trees so green they’re almost neon, and the fact that money here can be thrown in the wash.
During the last 730 days, I’ve spent all but 40 of them right here. (And, don’t worry, you never would have lost me to the Aussies.)
I worry that by returning ‘home’ it might feel like you never happened. I worry that the circumstances of my life might mean I never return. That I will probably quickly lose the habit of using single quotation marks, spelling words like ‘organised’ with an ‘s’ and adopting terms like ‘heaps’, ‘sweet as’ and ‘flash’. That within days I’ll have lost my kiwi-ness and start wearing shoes to the grocery store again.
But you’ve changed me. And I hope to God that never leaves me.
With you, I’ve become exactly the person I want to be. I am more patient, more laid back, more adventurous, more active and more me.
During the last 730 days I’ve made friends, lost friends, made money, had no money. I’ve been a friend, a girlfriend, a partner, an employee, a cupcake-maker, a marketer, a CouchSurfer, a hermit, a traveler, a hiker, a loner, a student and a teacher.
So on the day I finally leave you, please know I wouldn’t have wanted to spend the last 730 days anywhere else. I may be from America, but I grew up here with you. And for that, I will be forever grateful.
Here’s to hoping we cross paths again,