I’m leaving Hawke’s Bay tomorrow. I realize that this place is where I’ve spent the bulk of my time, which I have mixed feelings about. I guess it’s hard, even when you’re traveling, not to put down roots in a place. Maybe it’s just part of our human need—to think of a specific place as a base, no matter how insignificant it is in actuality. We need one spot that means something more than other places; it’s a way to anchor ourselves to a huge world. Napier was my base. It wasn’t my favorite place, but it was a place I knew, and it was a base to the only people here who really mattered to me. I guess that’s more or less how you’d define home.
Jan left last Monday to go travel with his girlfriend for a couple weeks. After he left, I had no excuses to be living in Napier and driving to Hastings every day, so I moved into a backpacker’s closer to work. I have never felt better spending 100 dollars then when I got a room for a week. So much better than my car. But, I’m also really glad I lived in my car for as long as I did. I think every once in a while I’ll deprive myself of really basic enjoyments(I hesitate to call them necessities, because really, they’re not) to realize how much pleasure I actually get from a bed, or a hot shower, or a kitchen, or electricity, or being around other people.
The corn factory work is dwindling, and I needed a change, so I set up a kiwi picking job a couple hours away. That fell through, but I am going to woof on a farm near Coromandel (which many argue is the most beautiful area in NZ). Part of my job includes tending to the goats, pigs, and chickens! I’m not going to get paid, but I will get room and board, and this is one of those things I’ve always wanted to do and my birthday is next week, so I’ve decided not to worry about money and cross something else off of my life list.
I went to Napier on Friday to return my movies and library books, get an indicator light (which fell off on the way to Wellington when Jan and I went to the south) and say goodbye to the South Americans, and to Roy. Roy and I went to dinner and watched a movie, and it was like reminiscing with a really old friend who I wasn’t going to see for a while. “I remember when we met five months ago…” That’s nothing. Five months. Actually, I wasn’t even friends with Katie for a year before we both left Pittsburgh, and she’s one of my best friends. I guess five months isn’t nothing. Travel time is faster anyway. Then I went to my friend Javier’s house to a party to return some things and pick up some things from Cecilia. I feel bad, but there are still people’s names I don’t know. Because you always kiss hello, and say your name as you kiss, I don’t see their mouths when they introduce themselves and I’m focusing more on the kiss than what they’re saying, and as months drag on, you can’t ask them to repeat it, especially when every single person acts like you’re a great friend when you enter a room and yells “Hey! Rach!” and smothers you in hugs. I hate responding “Hey…!!” (Double exclamation point to make up for the lack of name).
I was sad driving back to Hastings afterwards. I didn’t really talk to anyone in the hostel for a few days, I think because I’m a bit sick of meeting people and befriending them, and then saying goodbye. Jan and Roy were the hardest to leave. But today I started actually talking to people and liking them, and then regretting the fact that I was leaving tomorrow. I could probably find more work apple picking if I tried, but deep down, I think it’s time to move on.
Tonight I went to Sanctuary Sounds (where Danielle and Holly live) for dinner and to say goodbye. Thelma and Mikey had the furnace going, the cats were napping, dinner was cooking….it was the warmest and coziest I’ve felt since I’ve been here. We watched stupid TV and ate delicious food. Lamb, potatoes, squash, zucchini, corn, and for the first time ever, I liked peas. Then vanilla ice cream with plums, topped off with a double whammy of Van Damm in Doube Impact. It was a nice evening. At least Danielle and Holly live in the U.S. so I’m pretty sure I’ll see them again at some point. But it also felt different saying goodbye to them. They have each other. Saying goodbye to Roy, or to Jan, (even though he was traveling with his girlfriend) was different because we are all alone. We came here alone, we will leave here alone. I don’t have anyone else who will remember Roy, or remember Jan. When I said goodbye to them, I was saying goodbye completely because I can’t reminisce about them with myself.
I’m excited for this road trip north and to have a new experience. I think this will give me more of a homey feeling, living on a farm with a kiwi couple, or family (I don’t know too much about them yet). Then, I will either go woof at Danielle and Holly’s friends place, or find a job fruitpicking for a couple weeks, or go back to Amanda and Glen’s, sell my car in Auckland and...fly home.