Liking it down south

"So, what did you think of Wellington?" The Man asked me.
"I really liked it!" I replied.
He laughed and said with that loooooooooooong o in the beginning, "Oooooooooooh no..."

I looked at him. "Wellington looks the way I imagine Brisbane is," with its weathered bungalows clinging to the hillsides, washing lines strewn on porches, verandahs and balconies, Thai food joints next to Indian takeaways on street corners.

But! Just like back in 2009, Wellington - and going north in general - did not feel like home to me. As much as I enjoyed strolling down Lambton Quay with its bustle of energy (so different to Christchurch!)...


...and imagining myself roller skating down the waterfront (I've considered doing it in Christchurch, but with the road works and the general traffic culture... uhm, maybe not), getting on a plane and flying back towards the South Island felt like going home to me.

Somewhere among these hills there is my home. I haven't found it yet, but I can feel it there: I recognise the anticipation of this landscape and a quiet calling it's got on me, beckoning me home.


I sat on the plane and looked downwards. I recognised a beach I used to live at in Conway Flat...

2009

...and a mountain pass I traversed in Kaikoura Ranges.

Kowhai-Hapuku crossing, 2009

I saw a road I knew is getting frequented by seals looking for shelter from the storm.

Kaikoura coastline, 2009

Bottom line is, South Island pulls on my heart the way I've never known North Island to do, and it reminded me of Wednesday morning when I was driving down Dyers Pass Road on my way to town.

Every few weeks or so I still see a counsellor who is helping me talk through the struggles I've faced since "transitioning" - for lack of a better word - from freedom of unencumbered youth to repetitive responsibilities of parenthood, and on that Wednesday morning I was driving over Dyers Pass to see the counsellor. The Girlie was in the back, strapped into her safety seat, Christchurch City was laid out in front of me, with its miles of suburban housing, and as I listened to Radio New Zealand National interviewing one of the managers of DOC (New Zealand's conservationists) who was talking about New Zealand's landscapes, flora, fauna and the difficulties his organisation is facing, I suddenly - and unexpectedly - teared up.

"What am I doing here?" my heart asked me, and I searched for an answer. 

Christchurch is a place I do not see myself staying at. Somewhere in the hills of the South Island there is a home I haven't found yet. 

So, no, as much as I liked Wellington and enjoyed my visit there, I do not "like it" like it in the way of wanting to be there.

I like it here, down south.



3 comments:

  1. I grew up in the Wellington district, it was never really home though. I found home in Christchurch and have never regretted Dad getting moved down here; absolutely no desire to move up north again.

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  2. Te Anau is pretty awesome... ;)

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    Replies
    1. Uhm... sure, but it's also impressively wet and full of sandflies :P

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