With less than a week left in New Zealand and only a month until I return to England, I thought I would take a moment to reflect on the year that’s passed.
It’s difficult to overstate just how petrified I was in the weeks before leaving the UK. Similarly, it’s difficult to put into words how sad and grateful and excited I am to come home.
Even though I have such little time left doesn’t mean that my life has become the sort of pleasant and hectic leaving montage you see in films. I still have two essays due in, (one 5pm the day before I leave, although I’m hoping to get it done sooner than that), I still have to buy milk and do washing and vacuum clean. I’m long past the point where doing laundry or food shopping seems exciting, but in the last month or so they’ve definitely taken on a bittersweet edge.
This last Trimester definitely felt like it went much faster than my first in New Zealand, but I was again lucky enough to make some good friends to establish our own weekly rituals and inside jokes. Whilst last Trimester I spent a good chunk of time exploring and experiencing life as a tourist, the last few months I’ve felt truly settled. It doesn’t seem weird that I live in Wellington anymore, which is going to make leaving even weirder. It’s difficult to not want another few months in this extraordinary city, even if I am more than ready to dive into the summer holidays.
Although there’s still been some sunny days here!
So, following are a few tips to make coming back a bit more bearable:
- Arrange leaving events and spend time with your friends in Wellington
Instead of wallowing, I’ve tried to spend as much time doing things with people whilst I still have the chance, even if that just means watching Love Island or the new season of Black Mirror whilst making bread. It’s nice that there’s still enough time to have adventures and discover new places within Wellington.
- Take the long way home
More than a year ago now, my two best friends from Southampton and I agreed to meet in Thailand to celebrate my return and their graduation. The idea of two weeks of sun and cocktails is definitely easing the sting of my lengthy packing, and it’ll be nice to get over the time difference in chunks as well. I’m also slipping in a couple of days in Singapore which I’m really looking forward to! I’m so excited to see my friends again and it definitely doesn’t feel real after having it so long in the works.
Hopefully our practice beach day in Bournemouth will pay off
- Organise seeing your study abroad friends again
This is a little up in the air right now, but it’s definitely fun to try and convince my friends here to come and see me in London. And it definitely makes me a little less sad to try and convince myself that £400 isn’t that much for a flight to San Francisco. It’s a little more likely I’ll be able to see my friends from last Trimester soon, as most of them were from Europe, but I’ve now got a lot of sofa’s I can crash on all around the world.
Who wouldn’t miss these faces!
- Plan fun things for your first week back
It’s a lot easier to come home when you feel like you have people waiting for you. I’ve given myself two days to get over jet lag and greet my family before trying to organise meet ups with school friends and uni friends. I’m hoping to meet up outside of my hometown and Southampton in order to further remind myself that even short travelling (like to Cambridge) can be a small adventure.
- Dream of my first home-cooked meal
New Zealand cuisine is pretty similar to what I’m used to, and there’s a decent market for British specific snacks, even if they are really expensive. I was therefore unable to join my other foreign friends about reminiscing over food that they missed. However, like when I’m at uni in Southampton, I have vivid daydreams about my mother’s cooking. I hope she’s up for the five course meal I have planned in my head!
Even with all that, it’s difficult to not feel torn over leaving the country I’ve called home the last year and all the routines I’ve carefully cultivated. It’s weird to think that the knowledge I have is soon to become virtually useless, unless my family want to hear about my thoughts on the merits of various supermarkets or why I would go to the Coromandel Peninsula over Ninety-Mile Beach. It’s also hard to face the reality of how far away I’ve actually been, as it’s not exactly going to be easy to come back for a quick visit. Having said that, I’m certain I will return one day, to be greeted by the glorious views of my favourite city in the world.