Country Roads, Lead Me Home

I have dreams, sometimes, that I'm back in New Zealand.
I'm talking to my friends in the program, and we are standing in the kitchen, like we also tended to do whether it was really early in the morning or really late at night. As I wake up I vaguely hope that I will open my eyes and realize that I'm in my little twin bed with the white and blue striped sheets, and see the sun pouring through the edges of the bird-patterned curtains. But I wake up in Massachusetts with heaps of snow towering over my head, and sometimes with a little heavy feeling over my heart, that I have come to call homesickness.

I hardly ever (I won't say never) felt homesick in New Zealand. There were a couple times in the beginning when it would have felt easier to wake up and find myself safe at home with my family nearby. And as we began to invest in one another as a tight-knit community I began to miss the connection I had had just months before in a big barn of a house called Dexter. But overall I was overwhelmingly grateful for each new day. Who knew what the day would bring-- hiking, or biking, laundry washing chats, dance parties with the dishes, soccer games in the backyard, and always some delicious food and good company full of a satisfying mix of deep and fun conversations. I could have, and would have, stayed in Kaikoura, New Zealand longer, a year even. I have that conversation sometimes with one of my good friends from NZ. We just decided we are going to board a flight and head back tomorrow (shouldn't be too difficult to plan something like that last minute, eh?) I won't say that this was everyone's experience; some people had a really rough time with being away from family and friends for multiple valid reasons. That just wasn't my experience.

Mt Fyffe sing-alongs
But now as I replay different memories from this past semester in my mind, I feel homesick for New Zealand. It's not even the big memories either; it is the small moments, like packing lunches on the West Coast trip, or wandering onto the back deck catching some sunshine during our fifteen minute breaks from morning class. It's the feeling of holding warm tea in a beloved mug and sipping it slowly. It's that first evening when I told people I had just met that I compulsively play with my hair, and no one believed me (yet). Or that last evening standing in the kitchen with friends, emotionally and physically exhausted but not wanting to go to bed and end that last full day in the Old convent we had come to love, to call home.

They say people eventually find their way back home, that it pulls at them, tugging invisible strings connected to their very core. I have a feeling I'm going to eventually find my way back to New Zealand


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