Oberlin Blogs

A Farewell to Home

January 11, 2016

Teague Harvey ’19

So my parents are moving to Guam.

It's a long and complicated story, but the important takeaway is that they will no longer be living in New Zealand (well... duh).

I will no longer have any family in New Zealand to go back to.

Considering how expensive flights are, this means that my trip to New Zealand these past two weeks over winter break might be my last for at least the rest of my University experience, if not longer. I'll have to say goodbye to not just my hometown, but my home country for the time being.

Woooah. Slow down there, rapid change in my life.

You know, although I'm only writing about this now, it's been on the cards for a while, and even before I planned my winter term. In fact, when we were booking flights home for Christmas, I purposefully planned on only staying the two weeks for winter (blissful summer in NZ) break, because I wanted to move onto bigger and more exciting things for my winter term project - to wit, I'm currently at freaking Circus School. Mission accomplished.

And yet, at that time part of me was worried that two weeks wasn't going to be enough time to say goodbye. In my heart, New Plymouth was still my home.

Well, then time marched on - I went to my first semester at Oberlin College, and had a blast. I experienced so many new things, and met so many new people. I didn't even feel that homesick, I was just too busy trying new things.

And all of a sudden, it was time to go back home. The last time for a while.

At first, everything seemed smaller. Sounds weird and cliche, but I can't think of a better way to put it.

Everything soon felt normal again though - in not much time at all, I was hanging out with my mates playing Cards Against Humanity and Mario Kart, going to the beach every day and the park every night. I could see the mountain, the ocean, and the southern sky again. I was living with my parents, brother, and cats again.

I was home.

It's really hard to describe in words, so here's some pictures:
A home with a picket fence
This is the house that I grew up in.

Green trees from above
This is actually my backyard.

A mountainous farmland
Just your typical New Zealand drive.

Strawberries in a box
As long as I can remember, my family has gone berry picking every Christmas Eve. We New Zealanders know how to do Christmas.

A grassy waterfront
Paritutu Rock on the right, which I must have climbed about a bajilion times by now.

A red and green tree
The Pohutukawa, the 'New Zealand Christmas tree'. These are everywhere in December, in full bloom.

 populated beach
This is my favourite beach to swim at, and this is about as crowded as it ever gets.

The local park - my other backyard - puts on the 'Festival of the Lights' every summer:
A dark water with lights and a purple sky

An illuminated red bridge in the dark
Taken from a rowboat (which you can rent out for dirt cheap).

Light sculptures in the dark
We're only scratching the surface of weird and cool light fixtures in the park...

And finally, here's the most tangible way to show the passage of time, and how long I've lived in this little house in little New Plymouth.
Here's me and my cat 10 years ago:
A little boy hold a cat

And a few weeks ago when I was just back home:
A grown boy holds a cat

It was great to be back.

And yet... it didn't quite feel the same. Or rather, home was exactly the same. I was the one who was different.

I was ready to move on.

Since I went straight from home to circus school (freaking circus school!) I haven't really had any time to reflect what moving away from home has meant for me, and I think that's exactly what I want. I want to be immersed in my new experiences, and not stay in the past.

I want to be going to circus school!

So, I guess I'm ready to say goodbye to home.
For now.

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