It’s funny how when you start thinking about leaving a place, that suddenly you are acutely aware of all the things you will miss about it. I have to say that the upcoming move to Australia isn’t really about the grass being greener on the other side. In the literal sense, the grass is definitely greener on this side. Adelaide having a much lower rainfall, my memories of the grass there in the heat of summer is patchy brown dusty tufts, the earth being so hard and dry that sometimes the water would run right over it. And in the metaphorical sense too in many ways, there are things here that I love and will miss dearly, and I will think of as the greener pastures.
As I drove to work last night, I couldn’t help but smile (and laugh actually) at the cars jammed full of proud Tongans and Samoans, furiously waving their nations flags and tooting their horns in their excitement about the Rugby World Cup. Living and working in South Auckland has exposed me to the Pacific Islander population and I know I will miss them. I love to see their strong sense of family as they gather around their sick relative in the hospital, many families holding vigil by the bedside for the duration of their stay. They attend to all the personal needs of the patient themselves, bring in their favourite foods and eat together in large groups. I always enjoy when they sing, play ukulele and pray together. A beautiful splash larger than life colour. I have learned things from them. Somehow the thought of being surrounded by mostly Caucasian people seems rather insipid. (No offense intended to all us whites…but we really do lack colour in more ways than one). I think on arrival in Adelaide I will have to seek out some diverse populations and plonk myself down in the middle of them.
When I first moved to New Zealand I was such a proud Australian that I felt a little sad that any children we had wouldn’t be Australian by birth. I got over myself though and now of course have four Kiwi kids. I could not be prouder that they are New Zealanders. One of the things that is hard about moving is that they are leaving the land of their birth. I am certain that there is always a connection between a person and the land they were born in, and there’s a sense of being uprooted when you leave. I know that they will want to come back one day. I hope they keep close ties with New Zealand as they grow up. New Zealanders are some of the friendliest and most generous people I’ve met.
These are the thoughts on my mind as we go through our garage today and sort out our things into those we will keep and those we won’t. It feels good. It feels hard.