This past week has been strange and surreal. Mixing our first trip to the South Island and our first views of the Southern Alps with the dramatic scenery of Milford Sound and the fjords, the rain and cold “summer” temperatures, and the very European feel of Queenstown, along with the presence of my parents visiting from the States… It was all pretty unbelievable. I’ll likely go on and on about the trip in coming posts. However, what I’m feeling now is a comfort at being back in little ol’ Gizzy. The sun has been shining bright and hard since we’ve been back. The sky was bluer than blue today. My dad and I went on a run through the residential streets and up over some hills. It was great to have him at my side (actually he’s a much faster runner and so I think I was always behind his shoulder) taking in the view of the whole of Poverty Bay as we crested Old Hospital Hill: the blues of the sky and the water, the bleached cliffs of Young Nick’s Head, the dark greens of Kaiti Hill. I sit here in our quiet house, the kids FINALLY asleep, and I feel pleased that we showed them a good time. And I think that he and my step-mom appreciated the beauty of our humble town and could see the many reasons why we live here. Do all ex-pats feel this need to have their choice to live far away affirmed by the people they love? Will this need ever be eclipsed by my own satisfaction? Will I ever be confident in the knowledge that the satisfaction I feel is completely genuine rather than mostly genuine? Do even the most confident risk-takers wonder if they’re doing the right thing?
The kids and my dad rode bikes to the Botanical Gardens this afternoon. Sean grilled up some mustard chicken. We ate an early dinner under the blaring sun of a 5 o’clock Gizzy sky (we need a big umbrella!) and ate chocolate birthday cake and celebrated my dad’s birthday a few days early. We had a meloncholy drive home after seeing my dad onto his plane at the airport. It’s just the four of us again. In this house. In this town. In this country, about which there is still so much to learn. What next? I don’t know. There’s a huge inflatable slide that’s been set up near the Peel St. bridge, not far from our house. Maybe we’ll go check that out. Just the sort of thing that one might do on a scorching summer’s day on the East Coast. It’s good to be home.