It’s been hard to keep quiet but now I’m ready to open my mouth and yell it out: I’m back! In the tiny winter wonderland named Belgium. Where my roots have grown in shallow soil, where my heart dances with friends and family gathered around. I’ve been looking forward to this. For the first time in my life I felt something best described as homesickness. About three months ago, when Belgian summer gave birth to freedom and travel and long tables filled with flowers and lanterns and friends. Photos of all of this goodness reaching me during NZ lockdown, making me wonder: where am I on these pics? Why am I not frolicking around Bruxelles ma belle, dancing with my sweet friends I hadn’t seen in two years? Why am I not sipping on cold wine with my parents in the backyard, celebrating the golden hour?
As soon as I welcomed change in my New Zealand life, a door to the other side of the world seemed to open just a little bit. A crack of light came in and tickled my mind: what are you waiting for? It felt so impossible, to leave New Zealand, the bubble you can’t seem to enter or exit.
The meditation retreat didn’t offer a clear answer, but raised more questions. What will summer look like, now Hanno and I have decided to part ways? All the plans we made, evaporating under the heat of day. Festivals dropping like flies, events getting cancelled. What was I still doing there? Summer was slowly starting, a friend had her ticket booked back home to France. I found a flight to Brussels that had us travel together for 30 hours, leaving only one hour to journey by ourselves to France and Belgium from Frankfurt. My heart didn’t stop dancing, I was fuelled by excitement. I booked the flight.
I had one month left of my time in New Zealand, to enjoy the last rays of sunshine before heading to the depths of Belgian winter. One month filled with fun. Everything I’ve been wanting to do but had been procrastinating. Poetry nights, fancy dress up dinners, hot pools, glow worms, road trips, quality time with friends, date nights, forest adventures, one more month of deeply loving my man before we kissed goodbye. It turned out to be my favourite part of my time in NZ.
I was ready to hug New Zealand goodbye and welcome this new chapter in life. Belgium, greeting me with rain as usual while landing, before I flew into the arms of sweet friends and fam at the airport. I’ve been in my homeland for four days now, hiding in my jetlag before hopping on a train to Brussels to surprise friends. Oh, the excitement! Of being back in familiar places seeing familiar faces. It warms my soul and drowns my heart in delight as my face hurts from smiling nonstop. Feels good to be home.