By the time you read this it will be February 7th and I won’t be in New Zealand anymore. Maybe I’ll be sleeping, or reading the new paperback I bought or doing everything in my power to drown out the cries of a small child 3 rows in front.
I’ll be on a plane home, to England, to attend the funeral of my Grandfather on my Mum’s side of the family who passed away last week.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might remember that this time last year, February 2012, I was doing the exact same thing. My Grandmother on my Dad’s side had passed away and I temporarily left my job, apartment and boyfriend in Sydney to spend 10 days with my family.
This time I’m in Auckland, minus the boyfriend, and I’m taking 10 days off work to fly home for what I know is going to be one of the most difficult days of my life.
My Gramps and I, we share the same birthday, except obviously last year he turned 91 and I turned 27. In every memory I have of my childhood he’s there; him and my Nana, who is still alive. He was, is, one of the most important people in my life.
My Mum tells me that he was so proud that I was seeing the world, that I am seeing the world, and that makes me happy. I love knowing that just like my parents, he didn’t think me settling down was the most important thing right now.
It doesn’t seem real yet. I know that is still to come. I’ve been here before. One of my parents will pick me up from London Heathrow and we’ll drive north-east for a couple of hours until I’m home. My sister will come by the house to see me. I will visit my Nana and my Grampy’s chair will be so, so empty.
If the last 6 months have taught me anything it’s that I’m so much stronger than I thought I was but nothing can prepare you for receiving bad news when you’re a 30 hour journey away from home.
I panicked, I cried, I stared into space until my flatmate came home and then I dropped everything to make sure I could say goodbye properly, one last time.
And so here I am, on a plane bound for England, hoping you’ll excuse the slight interlude in the usual travel/expat related stuff. Normal viewing will resume shortly……