At the corner of the street is a little coffee shop. The name faintly in white on the window with the gifts inside visible from across the street. As you walk through the door, the smell of coffee swirls around as the lady greets you in her British accent. We get to talking about life happenings, visa struggles, and the road ahead. She empathetically reaches to me, asking how I am feeling about leaving. How I am feeling about leaving my love behind.
My heart strings reach out of their darkness to respond. Her empathy surprises me. It touches me. She and her husband went through a similar visa process to immigrate here. Here to this sweet small town tucked against the hills of New Zealand. A small community that has mothers running errands in the morning and children jumping around in the afternoon at the park. For a brief moment in time our stories connect. They weave in empathy and understanding, and I think to myself…this is what we miss. This is what we miss when we are too wrapped up in our own lives to see another person’s heartache.
In a week, I jump on a musky plane full of business and intrepid travelers back to the States. Fern is soon to head for the south island in the day to follow. Our lives are shifting, changing, moving. It seems our lives are uprooted just about every three months. Some by choice, some by necessity. Having to legally leave the country gives me all the more the feeling of being an immigrant. As the news blares about closing borders, I realize I am one of them. I am someone reaching across legal lines just to be where my love is. Just to be where my heart feels soft, slow, and in sync with what is around me.
At times here, I have felt disconnected. Feeling as if I am in two worlds at once. As calls come in from home, my mind switches to back home, back to using different terminology for the same meaning. My mind works in two worlds simultaneously. My brain works to see mirrored images across the road, knowing that the two worlds work next to one another, but rarely interact.
As I part ways from the sweet lady working the corner coffee shop that sits all by itself in a neighborhood, I look over at Fern. He smiles back at me with assurance. We weave through the streets and along pathways that are hidden in between homes. The wild bush towers above the valley, and exposes the logged areas of pine.
We pass by the same neighborhood cats that come to greet as we walk, the older couple working on their yard, and the hill that continues to exasperate my breath. I sip my soy mocha as we walk, as I talk with Fern at the state of our world, the state of our minds, and the impending days to come.
There is a sadness that I cannot shake in these last few days. Even as we celebrated Fern’s birthday this week, I could feel the pull of the end. But I know it is a beginning. I have been surrounded in love the whole time here, rather protected by family. Fully accepted, encouraged, and inspired. Kiwi life is slower, calmer, and much more understanding it seems. I can have a bad health day and not feel like I still have to run at the pace of everyone else.
Heading back to my hometown brings on a mix of emotions and pressures. Life moves fast, and part of me fears the pace of it and the lack of really good coffee. Yet, I know that I have a family that has loving open arms to take me back in. Friends who have patiently been waiting for me to come back to have heart-wrenching and laughter-filled conversations about the next steps in life we are taking.
I know at the corner of every street there is new possibility, new understandings, and a new beginning. I continue to move my life in seasons, even if my seasonal understanding is a tad fogged now. I will switch from a second winter, straight into summer. I will lose a whole day while in flight, but it gives more time. More time for family, for summer road trips with friends, and time to simply be home.
At the corner of the street, I will turn back to look. To look back at the collection of love and memories that surround my heart that give me the courage to turn around and look forward. For at every corner, there is a new beginning.
Love and Light,