And so it begins. With the last class of Uni behind me, and only a couple of exams and once last final assignment to go, the countdown to my departure date begins. Unlike a Christmas countdown down, this isn’t one filled with excitement and anticipation, but rather with dread and heartbreak.
It’s plain and simple, I don’t want to leave. That statement doesn’t refer so much to New Zealand as a whole, as I have my many qualms with this country, but more so a statement about this life. I don’t want to leave this life. I’m happy here and while I’ve been happy else where it’s never been for this length of time. Sure there are bad days, I’m terribly sick right now, but at the root of it all I’m happy because when I look out the window there’s Auckland.
Each day I feel differently, some days I miss my squad back home more than others. Just recently I broke down crying over the thought of not being in Canada for Remembrance Day and other days I dread knowing I have to return somewhere that doesn’t have aoili and I’m not quite sure that’s a world I’m willing to face.
Jokes aside, the two hardest parts of exchange have definitely been getting here and leaving here. I’m sure everyone can agree. Moving your life across borders, oceans, mountains… It’s tough, even if it’s going back to where you came from. Maybe so more tough to leave because it just reminds you why you left in the first place.
And when I tell people I don’t want to leave, a lot of the time they ask “Well do you not like Canada?” No, I love Canada. I love Canada more than anything else in this world, I’m proud to be a Canadian and what that means. I love to tell people I’m Canadian. I want to share Canada with the world and I’ve never been shy to say that. I’ve never been shy to stick up for my country and what it stands for… and even though I miss it so greatly, I don’t want to leave this life.
So I ask you when I return home, be gentle. Let me adjust. Give me time to mourn and find my place. Do not push me too fast or too hard into a life I had a year ago because a lot changes in 12 months.