So far New Zealand is everything we hoped for and more. Also, just embarking from our known to so many unknowns.
We are in a totally new place around strangers. Inside, though, we are still who we’ve always been. I will stop speaking in the plural now because I can’t combine my experience of this aspect with anyone else’s. I wonder what parts of me I will shed and emerge new, and what parts I will retain? What could I spur to newness along with all of this disruption? What is worth maintaining? Who will I be, now? Who will I be when we return?
I want to be good, to do good. To love, lift, help others. Plant and nurture things, sing, sweat, build. And yet. So many un-things push between these desires and static, stuck, sluggish drifting.
What do I do with those things?
Will time and miles apart fix what I cannot?
Is leaving well enough alone the ultimate remedy? I think I’m prepared for that more than the alternative: something that requires messy digging in and ripping up, dust-filled skies and smoky burning in order to clear and clean. That I’m not ready for. I’ll put it off like I did packing for this trip.
If it hadn’t been for a thicket of loved-ones pitching in and tying up loose ends, we wouldn’t be here. Sorry to all of you. I could have, should have, done better.
To recap, we were packing, cleaning, organizing all night before our morning flight. Did not lay down my head, which I wouldn’t have been able to do well anyway because our bed was sold and gone. Felt some relief when traffic cooperated and the two-hour drive to the airport went smoothly, then my insides went all tight when the airline clerk informed us we couldn’t check-in for our flight because we only had a one-way ticket. She insisted we couldn’t proceed without purchasing return airfare. We stood in line for a. long. time. Meanwhile, she brought in her supervisor. We waited. Tried to read her face and overhear her phone conversation to know the outcome. She asked for documents. I fumbled finding them. More waiting. Dot miraculously sat on the ground and let Pebbles soothe her. A man next to us grew belligerent when the airline told him his bag was too heavy to carry-on. And then… she asked for luggage. More waiting, but then I was holding 6 boarding passes. It was happening. The supervisor told us Paili could take her kayak paddle as a checked item, but security said otherwise. We returned to the check-in desk only to find a many-person deep line. Without flinching, Pablo bypassed the line and went straight for the same supervisor who helped us, who accepted the paddle without sending us back to the line.
Bin after bin marched through the security scanners and then we did, too. More waiting on the other side. Only two of our bags were *not* searched by hand. Turns out the TSA won’t let you bring a good size Gerber knife in a checked bag. Tip: check every pocket if you fly with the same pack you recently went to the backcountry with. Also, full bottles of water and juice boxes won’t likely make it through (obvi).
We arrived at the gate with less than 10 minutes to board. Six hours to Honolulu, then two hours in the airport before the 15 hour leg. All went smoothly. It wasn’t great. I could have skipped the 15 hours of sitting. It wasn’t the nightmare I imagined it could be
I worried arrival would hold its own set of obstacles, but beyond finding our way around the airport and waiting for customs and immigration – no hitches. Our shuttle was waiting outside. We arrived at our AirBnB a bit before 11 pm. We put on jammies, tucked into bed, and slept. Even after all that. When we awoke, the sun was coming up, and we were on the other side of the world.