Port Town Living

I sat on a rock to catch my breath for a moment as Fern wandered around looking at plants cluttering the forest floor. “Where does that bush track go?” I asked pointing the opposite direction of where we intended to go.

“I don’t know, it’s a mystery path. Shall we follow it?” Fern asked.

“Might as well right?” I replied. We wandered up the bush track to see the port in its entirety. The large cranes shifting crates from the dock to the cargo ship, while people bustled around from one place to another on the winding roads below. The generator in the port echoed across the hill, almost dominating the sound of the birds that chirped back and forth at one another.

We followed the track until it led back to the road, and headed into the main part of the small town. Living in a port town holds the charm of the past and present all at once. The early 1900s look of the buildings keeps the old-world alive, even if the world has modernized around it.

The coffee shop on the corner has windows that let in the salty sea air, the fish and chip shop has more fried things than you can imagine, and the pub around the corner has a small terrier pup named Sally that greets you every time you walk by. The main street is pretty quiet during the week, but keeps a gentle rhythm on the weekends, which will only increase when the cruise ships start rolling into port.

Fern and I continued to walk along the road that weaves along the bay with fish and chips in hand. I often walk the road on my own while Fern is at work, but on the weekends, company is a luxury. We sat on the steps that lead into the water, watching the sea birds puff up to prove they are worthy of some crumbs. All the while, speaking on a middle ground of the intertwining of cultures. Just us and our voices streaming out thoughts that are often tucked away from a long days work.

The transition here has been full of beautiful surprises, but it also has been met with many hardships. With stress at the foot of the door, and insecurities of being in a new place, it can create obstacles for life to be lived at its best capacity. Fern works long days at times, and it comes down to me trying to navigate a city he knows, but is completely new to me. New Zealand may still be a westernized culture, but it is still far different than the large city I grew up around.

At times, the challenge of a new beginning can be good, but starting over does not come with all things joyous. Starting overcomes with its own stream of frustrations and misunderstandings. It comes with the attempt to blend the world you knew with the one you’re trying to be a part of. It shifts the mindset of what is repurposed to be a luxury, and what things are simply a necessity.

Some days, the warmth of the sun meets my skin and it opens a world of possibility. Other days, the wind howls and the rain slides in sheets against the window panes. The coastal cold can be biting, seeping into the depths of bones that can only be juxtaposed by the hope of warmth. Yet, I know new beginnings are a mix of warmth and biting cold. There is no easy way to transition to a new place, and each place will require different things of me.

With some days met with exploration, while others are reserved for writing, each day holds something new for me to learn, to understand, and to see. Stress tries to creep in through the floorboards, but we have to actively choose for it not to dictate our every move.

For now, we’ll be poor and in love, because that is all we really are certain of at the moment.

Love and light,

Bethany Jane




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