This year I start the beginning to the ending of my twenties. Three years ago I wrote a piece on my thoughts entering the ending of my mid-twenties. No this won’t be a drawn-out piece on how a millennial feels old, or document my angst towards my wasted youth. No. In fact, it may be one of the shortest pieces I write on the subject matter. (Which if you’re a regular to the site, might be a relief, ha) Continue reading “The Beginning of the Ending”
I came to change New Zealand. After 3 years, New Zealand changed me. Cliche I know, but this ended up being the truth.
This post has been written over the past 18 months. My thoughts, my observations, and my feelings have obviously morphed along the way, but let’s just start at the beginning.
With 50lbs of luggage, a working knowledge of left hand driving, and one solid contact, I packed up what I owned and moved my life to New Zealand. I kissed my parents, hugged my niece, wished my siblings well, and flew. In my luggage was an optimistic, slightly naive, monstrously unrealistic idea that I was going to get a job, in my field, in the first few months. With…one…solid…contact. Yeah. Right. Continue reading “How Moving my Life to New Zealand for 3 years Changed Me”
Imagine, if you can, living in one place for the next 24 years. Seems a little bit stretched out and distant, right? Now, I have not been able to remember living…well, anywhere until I was around five or seven. Still, I have lived in this state my entire life. I know its streets, its hotspots, the shortcuts, the favorite eats. I know Illinois. Illinois is comfortable. Illinois is well known, to me. Very soon, I will be leaving this land that I have called home, that I have enjoyed being apart of, and moving to a new world. It might as well be a new world.
I have had time to do a fair bit of thinking while I find an occupation and secure passage to New Zealand. I have thought a great deal about all of my friends who daily build me up and support me in my selfish desire to become happy. They happily oblige and humor me. I don’t know if I will ever be without friends in this life. I have met so many beautiful people in my travels and experiences. Many of these people I have known since I was little, Luke Blauw, Eric Brown, Tara Biscan, Mike Elliott, Nate Leslie, Debbie Leslie, Rose Scheid, the list goes on. Many friendships I have developed while away, David Goodwin, Jenn Bosma, Jeremiah Mannschreck, Nate DeJong, Dan Prins, Jeff Stern, Jeremiah Mallin, Matt Faber, Cody Cooper, Tyler Plockmeyer, etc. Many I have only recently become friends with, Matthew Bailey, Justin Van Wyk, Kyle Lefere, Alex Hayes, Eric Du, Alex Bourge, Katie Yockey, Lisa Marshall, etc. Also those I have met in the field of Social Work.I have obviously left out most of my friends, please don’t be offended. It was not intentional.
It is safe to say that with the list of friends that I am already making in NZ: Jeremy Vargo, Zach Jacobsen, Samantha Merkle, Lawrence Tuck, Leand Macadaan, Hugh Drinkwater, Elena Cleary, and of course, Corbin Elliott, in whom I’ve known since I was 15, that I wont have any trouble making a family overseas. Still, it’s not that easy…it never really is.
If moving away from everything you know is as easy as saying, “Home is where the Heart is,” making a new family, and calling home every once and a while, then anyone would be able to do it. There is additional culture shock that, even in a westernized country, will have people inside of a month buying a plane ticket home. The distance away from home can be daunting to overseas movers also. Everything about the country you live in will be a constant reminder that you are NOT home. You will begin to hate everything and just want to cuddle up on your favorite couch, or go eat at your favorite little hotspot.
Don’t. Don’t buy that plane ticket. Tough out those first months. You will kick yourself hard when you are sitting back home and letting the reality sink in that you let a perfectly good adventure slip right through your finger tips. This is self therapy moment people. I am not only speaking to you, but myself. I am the man who has lived in One Place his whole entire life. Now is my time. This is my journey set before me. I step with anticipation.
Well, it’s coming. It’s coming faster than I had anticipated. For some of you, you know what I speak of. For others, I’ll clue you in: Death. Death of a higher being. Death of a friend, confidant, a brother. The Red Baron is my beard. “Your Beard?! wow.” Shut up loud mouthed reader. You don’t know what you’re speaking of.
For some, they have friends that are with them through thick and thin. Well, one of those people is literally with me wherever I go. It can’t really go anywhere else. No, I don’t actually think my beard is my friend. Get a grip on reality out-of-touch reader…But. For those of you who have bearded as I have bearded, who have grown like I have grown, felt what I have felt, and experienced what I have experienced (and it is an experience), then you don’t know at all.
You see, the beard has been growing on my face for close to a year now, and it has been with me for a years worth of experiences. You see…shaving off my beard is like shaving off a large part of who I was, and am. It’s symbolic, if you want to go deep about it. I even named my beard for good measure after the first time I shaved it off. “So why the big fuss Eric? Why not just leave it alone?” Well…that’s a good question.
The reason is, well…complicated. I love having a beard, but I am addicted to change. I need it in my life, something my Mom could do very well without. But change is not the reason I am shaving my beard off. Actually, to be perfectly honest, I wont be shaving my beard at all. Some lucky friend of mine though, will.
You see, I am having a BIG party May 12th to celebrate 6 years of higher learning and the culmination with my Masters Degree. Yes, but this is no ordinary Graduation party. I am also raising money for my move to New Zealand where I will be taking my degree and working alongside adolescents battling depression and suicidal thoughts. It’s a major problem over there. So, to raise the money, I am asking anyone coming to the party to give what they can. $1, $5, or their prayers and support. If I reach my goal ($3600) by the end of the night, the person who gave the most towards my cause will……get to shave off my beloved beard.
It’s a sacrifice, but getting to NZ and working in International Social Work is my passion. If I could make this passion a reality, I would be a blessed man. So it will be a bittersweet day. Bittersweet is the only word in the dictionary like it…a harmonious moment of both good and bad. I will have ecstatic elation from graduating, finishing academia, and seeing all my friends again before I move overseas….but, I will also be saying goodbye to many people I may not see again for many, many years. Also, I will be quite literally loosing my chin. I’ve already done this once, and trust me, that is the sensation “shaving the beard” leaves with you. I didn’t even recognize myself in the mirror. Let me tell you something. I may be nearly 25, but when those shears do their job, I will look like a man-child. 15 years old at best.
So come out May 12th to my place if you got an invitation, and if you never got one, there’s always facebook.
MY ADDITIONAL BEARD POSTS:
Video of my Beard Shaving 11.25.2010
A Personality Executed 11.18.2010
Beards and 30 things 11.24.2010
Hello avid readers. In response to, not such a great day, I managed to end the day on a seriously awesome high note. My long and faithfully good friend Corbin Elliott, from the land down under….hahaha, just kidding, He lives in New Zealand, not Australia. They’re different countries people. You’d be surprised to find out how many people mix those up. “So Eric, when are you moving to Australia?” “How long till you go to Australia.” “Australia must be beautiful this time of year!” Okay, how do you confuse the last letter in the alphabet with the first letter in the alphabet?! And I have NEVER said that I was moving to Australia. Ever. Ever Ever. Now I’m just going to find myself laughing every time someone mentions Australia.