It’s windy and rainy in Wellington and I have a hell of a chest cold and today on the way home from town my bus broke down and I still kind of wish I was wearing flipflops on holiday in Cairns, but I am back home, babies, and I have to say it’s pretty good.
The last couple of days I was in Australia were filled with rainforests, mangroves, crocodiles, beaches, bikinis, dancing on tables, live music, a very angry tour guide, fantastic women (confidential to Fe, Monica, Grace,, Pauline, Yolanda, Danni, Melanie, Cheryl, Bea, Laurel, and Kaz: Hey girl!) and very cute boys in tight shirts who didn’t speak much English–which, I have have had reason to find out, is exactly what you want. I want to write more about everything but I am feeling pretty incoherent at the moment because I can’t breathe through my nose and also I am not completely unpacked and also our dryer, taking its cue from all our other appliances, is broken and it’s late and for the past week I’ve been going to bed at five in the morning and then waking up, inexplicably, at my usual hour of 7:30 and trust your friend Chiara when she tells you that is no way to live, even if you are on holiday.
I got home at one in the morning yesterday after being forced, through the unhappy coincidence of running out of Australian two-dollar coins and underwear, to travel across the ditch completely commando. Getting through customs was a little rough as well and I don’t think I have ever been so happy to see anything in the world as I was to see my little pink bed last night. I’ve spent today sleeping in and drinking Bell tea and making plans to do stuff with Wellington friends and thinking about the next thing I have to do, which is to get on the task of getting a job and visa. It was so weird walking along Cuba Street today on the way to top up my phone credit, thinking about this time last year when I was just slowly getting used to being here, when everything seemed strange and unintuitive. Today I found myself noticing little changes in the city (They’re re-doing the big New World in town! There’s a new graffitti wall at the skate park! There’s a new Lebanese restaurant with bellydancers on Courtenay Place!) and smiling when I heard the Kiwi accent, when I used a dollar coin that was, sensibly, smaller than the two-dollar coin (Australia, I am frowning in your direction because that makes no sense), when I saw someone wearing a Tangata Whenua shirt. A. and I have had a very happy reunion (“Oh, KIA ORA, girl!”)
It’s hard to believe I’ve been gone for six weeks. I hardly remember Melbourne…I’ve started trying to organize my pictures from the trip (not easy when you manage to break not one but two cameras, somehow) and it’s doing my head in to see the kangaroo pictures (including one of me staring dolefully into the arm’s-length camera, clutching the baby joey with tears in my eyes) and even the ones from the boat…the same boat upon which I was last week and feel so far away. I have no conception of time lately, I guess. It’s all different and the same and part of me feels I’ve always lived here and can’t believe I used to live in Seattle because Seattle is on the other side of the world from where I live and I have a hard time thinking about what will happen if I have to leave here and have to go back there…because while I’ve been on holiday for a while, I live here, you know? I mean, I get bank statements here! When I go on holiday, I come back here, American accent be damned!
Oh, okay. Someone’s cold medicine is starting to kick in. I think I better listen to that ridiculous (ridiculously AWESOME) Kanye West/ Daft Punk song one more time and call it a night, okay? Lots and lots of pictures to come, y’all, so fortunately you’ll be spared–for now–my thoughts on Being An Expat, Kind Of, and National Identity and What This Year Has Meant To Me, as well as Crushes Are Awesome and I Sure Like To Dance On Tables. In the meantime, please know that I had a fantastic time in Australia and that it is equally fantastic to be home in New Zealand, and that I’m pretty curious to see what else is going to come my way in the next couple of weeks.