Friday, 5 July 2013

im going to wichita

- You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place - Miriam Adeney 

Kansas field at sunset

When I was 16 I left the bubble of my life in small town New Zealand and took a leap of faith into the utter unknown. Looking back at this time I dont know how I even managed to get to that point. It seems like a completely different person when I think about it, and I guess it was. I don't remember the specifics, but I had heard about the AFS exchange and decided it was for me. I'm not sure I actually intended to follow through but I tested the idea on my parents and when they didn't shoot it down it seemed logical to keep testing the boundary, until before I knew it I was on a plane flying away from all that was comfortable into what could have become anything. 

I think I knew my life would be forever changed, but I dont think I really understood how. All I know was that I was crying uncontrollably on the plane to Auckland and that I threw up. Of course I put this down to turbulence but I've been in worse since and that has never happened. I cried every night for the first few weeks that I lived in Wichita. Not always because I was homesick, sometimes I think it was just the sheer exhaustion of being thrown into a completely different world. This was before facebook, skype and smartphones made it so easy to be in contact with people the world over. I had limited contact with home. None at all with some people and the rest limited to some emails and the occasional phone call. 

But I never considered going home. 

Wichita became my life. And I loved it. However, I was on borrowed time. After 11 months away I flew home again, a different person than the one who left. And despite not remembering the details of how this all came about, I am grateful to myself for somehow having the guts to do it, because it was the first best thing I ever did. 

9 years and several more leaps of faith later, I was on my way back. This wasn't the first time, it would actually be my third time going back to one of my homes, but this time it was extra important, because it was for my sister's wedding.  

I woke up on the morning of the 5th of July and caught my early flight to London, only to find out it really doesn’t take that long to get between Heathrow terminals and my flight to Minneapolis had been delayed by one hour, so I had a 4 hour stopover and the chances of making the ongoing flight to Wichita weren’t looking too good.

After we finally boarded the flight it turned out my entertainment system wanted to throw a tanty so I couldn’t watch movies really, although I did manage to watch Hitchcock over the space of 4 hours. I guess you could say I was entertained if frustration counts! Luckily a family next to me were having problems too and the air hostess decided to give us all $150US in vouchers for the inconvenience. Bring on a free trip to Amsterdam at some point!

The family next to me were also trying to make the Wichita flight so we all had a mad run through the Minneapolis airport together and managed to make it. 

Arriving in Wichita was like arriving home. I'm so familiar with it that it just feels like I'm slotting back in to somewhere I could be all the time. 

SUN! Sitting on the driveway at home

Familiar scenes

It was so exciting to see Mom, Dad and Sarah and Corey waiting for me. Like too much time had passed at the same time as none at all. We went from the airport to Red Robin, one of my favourites, and had a delicious meal. I love eating out in the States!

Giant drink from Sonic

That night Sarah and Corey took me out to a bar where people legitimately wear cowboy hats and boots and there is a floor in the middle for line dancing. the jetlag got to me before too long so we didn't have a late one.

Breakfast on the deck

On Saturday Sarah and I went to the mall and I got some necessary shopping done. I had been hanging out for it for awhile!!

My old highschool

The football field at Wichita Heights High School

Monday and Tuesday saw everyone at work so I just hung out at home and exercised and attempted to lie outside in the sun, but 40+ degrees was a bit much even for me!! 

Dying just a little

Humidity hair malfunction....

The rest of the week we just ran some errands to get things ready for the wedding. It was so nice just being able to hang out again and be like part of the family.  

Out for giant pizza in the Old Town

On Thursday night we had a nails night where Mom and Sarah usually go and had food and drink and everyone who wanted to got their nails done could do so. Sarah and I also went and got spray tans. Eeeek! Thankfully they turned out really good! I was pretty worried when I woke up on Friday morning and I looked a bit like Ross from friends...the pictures don’t do it justice!

First french tips!!

Looking a bit tanned...
Super tan before a shower!

Friday we had a rehearsal for the ceremony which was fun and made it seem even more real! On Friday night was the rehearsal dinner. It was at the Museum of National Treasures downtown, where I have been on a previous visit. We had delicious food and dessert and Sarah and Corey gave us all gifts. The bridesmaids got bags with our names on them and filled with supplies for the next day. 
On the way to the rehearsal dinner

Bride and bridesmaid!
My present
Alex and I at the rehearsal dinner

The next day was the wedding...which deserves a whole post of its own so see the next one ha.

The day after the wedding (does this day have a name?) we went to Corey’s neighbours so Sarah and Corey could open their mountain of presents (not was over a metre tall and a a few metres wide..) I think they ended up with about 8 coffee machines and 4 crock pots!
Taking a walk on my last night

The 4 way stop close to home
Mom, Dad and I

I forget how much I love it there when I’m away and that being there does feel comfortable and like another home. Just one of a few now. Sometimes I get sad when I think of all the homes I have all over the world that I may never live in again, Feilding, Palmerston North, Wellington, Wichita, Victoria, Gold Coast and now Edinburgh, which at some point will be in the past too. 

But the quote at the beginning of this post is true. While everyone I care about and the places I love can never all exist together there is a richness to this. I think sometimes people get so stuck on where they are that they don't realise there is so much out there and there is the possibility for so many different lives. I think I could choose so many different paths, and no one is the right one. I don't have enough time for all the different lives I could imagine living. So I wouldn't trade anything for the chance at several, and the richness in having people I love all over the globe. 


1 comment:

  1. Loved reading this, it's beautiful. Your life, family and friends so far :)