At 5 AM today, one year ago, I arrived in my 747 jet airplane over the long white cloud of New Zealand. I was greeted by my very patient friend, Corbin Elliott, and taken to a parking meter. I remember smelling the air. The air had a thin cripsness, filled with, for lack of a better word, purity I had not inhaled before. Was this a magical land, or was I just creating things in my mind? The sun was coming up and I didn’t even care that I had just spent almost 20 hours walking, waiting, sitting, flying, walking, waiting, and sitting again…I was here…I was home.
At least this would become my home over the next days, weeks, months, and hopefully years that I would be staying here. I wouldn’t know it after I stepped off the plane, but I was about to embark on the most trying, testing, shaping, and beautiful journeys I have ever faced in my entire adult life.
This year has been one monument to faith after the next. Faith in what is possible, what is obtainable, and what is good. I have seen oceans, beaches, cities and forests. Mountains, towns, rivers, and villages. I’ve seen suns set and suns rise. (Metaphorically as well). I’ve seen an entire country of beautiful people. People who invite you into their home, greet you as their own. People who have a deep pride in their country, yet don’t take themselves too seriously. People that you want to spend the rest of your life knowing and understanding because the you know the payoff is going to be something huge. I’ve seen pure joy as well as absolute disparity. I’ve seen the dichotomy within New Zealand; the need and yet the hesitance…the bliss and yet the complete sadness…the masks we wear. I’ve seen doubt within myself manifest into thankfulness, confusion transforming into laughter, sadness blossoming into true euphoria. New friends came, old friends kept, family loved, family missed. How do you properly sum up what happened in a year? You’ll have to take my word. It was life changing.
To all my friends that I have failed to keep steady communication with over the 12 months I’ve been in NZ, I am sorry. I was much better doing this in person, as I tend to be traditional in this regard. I urge you to start a line of communication with me if you feel like it, I don’t mind at all, and it makes me glad to see how your lives are going. To those who have been writing to me whether on facebook, WhatsApp, Gmail, FaceTime calls, texts, and yes, letters, I thank you. You have made life 8,000 miles away much less distant.
If you want to see my year summed up in social media, I have linked my Instagram page, which I created after I moved to NZ, so everything I’ve taken on my Instagram up until this point has been a slice of my life here. Also, I’ve linked my year on Facebook, which is a little summary of the 20 biggest moments that happened to me over the year.
I guess the last thing that I want this blog to be about is thanking you, the person reading this. I started this blog with NO intention to have such a wide audience. I made the blog website in my room, during college, while I was procrastinating a test I was supposed to be studying for. I wrote for no one but myself. It was cathartic and therapeutic. Years later I would get “Freshly Pressed,” by WordPress and I suddenly found myself writing for people in India, Columbia, France, Russia, and you. I write because I love to, but also because it is a door. My website is a door that my mom, sisters, dad, brother in laws, and friends can enter and feel connected to me. With the few things I can give to them, and you, due to distance, I can give you this. So Thank You. It’s been one heck of a year. Time to look forward.