“Then the time came when the risk it took to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ~Anais Nin
The reality finally sunk in today. We were leaving. Not leaving just this city I had lived in for two years and where I met my husband, and where he had lived his entire life, and not leaving just the state of Texas. Nope. We were leaving the country! And not just for a short two week vacay, but we were MOVING to New Zealand. I told Josh the night before as we lay in our empty house without our beloved pets, “Are we sure about this?” and then, “This is nuts! This is crazy!” Both of our stomachs felt quite queasy, I thought I was going to hurl, but I kept trying to not to think about it. I’m a worry wart if there ever was one, oh my!
Our lives were packed into two suitcases. Well, and a duffle bag, two backpacks, my purse, and after jumping up and down on my suitcase, Josh finally managed to close it. That was a chore…picking my clothes out to take. And shoes?! Haha…pretty difficult for a girl like me. I gave away pretty much every outfit I had.
We met both of our parents at Cracker Barrel as well as Josh’s grandparents for our last meal together. Then we hit the road for Dallas. Josh rode with his parents, and I drove with mine. My mom was quite emotional, I was too, but nervous about the plane rides and about what we were doing. We finally arrived at DFW airport and walked in with our parents.
Now that was hard. One of the hardest things I’ve ever done I think. It was sad seeing Josh’s mom crying as she hugged him goodbye and seeing the sad look on his face. So very difficult hugging my mommy and daddy goodbye. The longest I’ve been apart from them at a time is probably like 3 months…maybe more. But just the idea that we were moving across the globe…as far away from Tyler, Texas as you could possibly get, yeah that’ll make the tears run down your cheek. Our parents have been so supportive and encouraging of Josh and I doing this, and that has been such a blessing. We are so thankful to them for that…they want us to pursue our dreams, even knowing how difficult it is to let us go.
We said our last goodbyes, then got in line to check our bags and get our tickets to go to New Zealand. Whew! After waving one more time to our parents, we left their sight and were now on our own, about to enter a brave new world.
“THIS is crazy!” I said to Josh as we waited for our plane to fly to San Francisco. I hate the waiting part…ahhh! Josh and I both felt pretty anxious as flying is not our favorite thing to do.
Our plane arrived and we flew the three hours to California. I’ve never been there before. I said again on the plane as I looked at my husband, feeling excited and still nervous, and hundreds of other emotions, “This is CRAZY!” But I felt more excited at that moment, especially after the goodbye part was over. We arrived in Cali, which was fun as we flew in over the bay. I like busy airports and seeing the people run around like mad men. People of every nationality going to and coming from all corners of the world. What is their story? I always wonder to myself. Airports are places where people’s hearts are broken and where people fall in love all over again.
We had a long layover in San Fran. Which I don’t think was really a good thing, haha. Now we had time to think . . . and time to back out. I’d been having a few little panic attacks over the past couple days, and this one was a doozy. We were about to get on the plane for thirteen hours and forever far away from those we love and all that we know. It had come down to, “No…Josh, this IS crazy” with fear and panic in my voice. Josh comforted me with his optimistic attitude…something I loved from the very beginning about him; how positive he is. He believes in me and sees the good in this world and in people. I know he was feeling the same way and feeling sad about leaving home, but his words brought comfort and we prayed about it. God had led us this far…He would continue to be with us.
I finally felt better and then we saw what made my heart feel so happy and made the moment real…looking out the window and seeing the huge, Air New Zealand plane. That was awesome. I had seen that in ads on the internet for years, and just dreamed of getting to go there one day. Well what do ya know? It was happening!
Our plane left San Francisco and began its journey across the Pacific Ocean at 7 p.m., Tuesday. What do you do for thirteen hours in a plane? Fidget. One time I had restless legs and arms so bad I thought I would just have to risk being arrested and run up and down the aisles screaming at the top of my lungs. I slept a little…very little. The old little Chinese lady behind me kept putting her toes (yes, she had no shoes on) on MY armrests and my elbows kept touching this stranger’s toes. That’s always my luck. The New Zealand guy across the aisle found our situation quite amusing and said to just knock her feet off. So I did, with my elbows, and then got cussed out in a different language. Oh well, those were my armrests. haha
Finally…thirteen hours later, we arrived in Auckland. It was early in the morning and a cold and cloudy day. We had to walk outside to the other terminal, a fifteen minute walk and the wind was blowing fierce. We had all our bags too, that was weird to have to recheck them. We went through customs, which they asked a lot of questions and I was scared, but we passed. I didn’t think we were going to get in, haha. We barely made our next flight…the short one hour flight to Wellington. We were tired, but super excited; the adrenaline was still kickin’. That was one of the best flights ever…and flying into Wellington was like a dream. It was cloudy and as we got out of the clouds I finally saw the land of New Zealand for the first time…well the view like I had imagined it would look like. The mountains and hills were greener than the greenest lawn in Texas I’d ever seen. It looked just like the Shire in the Lord of the Rings. We had been hearing the NZ accent on the plane rides, which was awesome; I definitely want to talk like that.
We made it! We had arrived!!! We were in NEW ZEALAND! That was soooo exciting…we held hands walking through the airport and felt so happy. We found a taxi and the driver was so nice and proud telling about his country. He gave a lot of advice. It was cloudy and rainy, but still beautiful. We drove along the coast to our hotel, soaking it all in. I couldn’t stop smiling.
We drove up to the Copthorne Hotel Oriental Bay, and couldn’t have been more happy. We had requested a room with a view, which thankfully we did. It was perfect…a balcony overlooking the bay with the boats anchored in the harbor. What a view. It was Thursday, 8:00 a.m. (Wellington time) when we arrived. We were pooped! We ate lunch at the hotel then went back to our room. You are supposed to stay up late to avoid jet lag so bad, but we couldn’t help it and went to bed at 4:00 in the afternoon. I thought I had slept for just a couple hours but awoke to the dark and Josh standing on the balcony taking pictures of the harbor. It was 2 in the morning! Couldn’t go back to sleep after that, which worked out, because we got to watch the sun rise and start a new day in a new country.