One day I’ll look back on this and smile because I will know that things are better now and I had no idea what was coming. I thought this to myself as I quickly made my way into a library bathroom stall, praying the place would stay empty for a while.
Then, I sat down on the (surely disgusting) bathroom floor.
My already stuffed nose and sore throat were simply exacerbated by this rather inconvenient endeavor. I could feel the salt collecting around the corners of my eyes, stiffening eyelashes as I struggled to explain to my mom why I felt so sad.
It wasn’t because I was missing home. I searched through my mess of feelings trying to find the beginning of the knot. Is it wishing to be in California? Definitely not. Is it feeling completely alone? Not even that. Is it I’m afraid? Nope.
I felt as though I was trying to untangle a kindergartner’s yarn project; I was dealing with something that had no intention of ever being undone in that way.
Finally I found it.
I just want to belong. I know I am home in beautiful Aotearoa, just as I am home in California, but I want to belong. I want my community of people who shift through conversations with me and are seeking to live. I want to feel as though I have a purpose for being here. To have something I can pursue in the form of a job or a class or a workshop or skill. I’ve spent a good chunk of the past two weeks setting goals and intentions for myself. I’m creating the lifestyle that I want. I know I am.
But as I stumbled into the women’s toilet, I felt the weight of small difficulties, large transitions, and no consistent friends outside of my wonderful hosts, (who really are probably the best possible people I could be with right now). I simply cried, knowing full well that it would be better soon, and also ready to bite the head off of anyone who tried to tell me so.
And in my very hard moments through the day, I had people I loved there to talk me through it. This is one grand adventure.
But f*ck today was hard.
I went to the National Library though and the Central Library. I stood on a fuzzy map of New Zealand. I read poetry and bought myself hot chocolate. I looked at bus passes and considered where I might go next.
I let myself be.
After all, it’s a very big change and we wouldn’t want to rush that.
Well we would, but it’s probably just a better idea that we find a quiet place to cry and people who say “I love you.”