Leaving New Zealand

Nina and I left New Zealand 32 hours ago. We are still in transit, currently in Amsterdam, waiting on our flight to Denmark. I cried half the time of our first 11-hour flight from Chch to Singapore. We were 2 of a total of 16 passengers on this first leg of our very long journey. I had all the space and privacy to cry/sob deep felt tears for leaving Christchurch and New Zealand. Dear Nina, in his robotic voice, tried to comfort me a couple of times by repeating, “Cheer up, mama.” We will be in Denmark first to see mom and deda Heinz for a week and then will head south to Serbia/Bosnia to see more family until mid-August. Since the other 2 kids are not yet vaccinated, Pedja will take them straight back to the US at the end of this week, when they are done with Term 2 of school. Petra is planning to get vaccinated immediately upon arrival, and hopefully, Maki will be eligible to do the same soon. After 15 months spent in, currently, the best place on earth, I was not eager to leave NZ. A piece of my soul is now left there forever. A couple of days earlier, we had a farewell gathering with many of our friends we met over the past year. Meeting friends was not easy at first. It took a while to make lasting and meaningful connections. However, hours of crying after leaving NZ are a bit of a testament to how much I’ll miss all of them.

Each person made a deep impression on our Kiwi experience: our dear neighbors, our landlords, the most inclusive Ultimate community, random friendships made at playgrounds/restaurants/skateparks/car rental company, our local Serbian community, kids’ school friends, and parents, skateboarding buddies, Chch School of Music and Youth Orchestra friends, North Beach Surf Lifesaving Club, Living Springs Camp, my Spanish class,…I am already missing them all!

And I’m also missing Maki, Pepa, and Pedja. After 2.5 years of almost constant presence 24/7, we’ll now be apart for 5.5 weeks. It feels a bit like ripping a giant bandage off of a raw wound. My heart feels raw now, but I know this deep sadness will pass. It is time for a new chapter of our journey, and I will, at some point hopefully soon, start looking forward to it.

Not there yet, though, not yet!

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