It's a strange thing how sometimes very large emotions come packaged in very regular, simple days. That in a day where nothing out of the ordinary happens - just the usual, little, regular outings - something profound pops up.
And today I felt something profound like that.
I felt like a New Zealander.
I was walking through a neighborhood surrounding The Kid's preschool, killing a little bit of time before going in to fetch my kids, and I watched the new primary school building under construction. Painters' trucks and scaffolders everywhere.
It occurred to me that New Zealand primary school buildings are routinely set up the same way this local primary school is. In Estonian they'd be called "ridaelamu" type, and I am struggling to find the right words here, but it's a kind of a set-up where every classroom opens directly to outside, rather than having a central (interior) hall. In Wanaka, for example, it looked kind of like this:
So rather than having one large, multi-storey building where classrooms go off central hallways, school buildings are mostly one-storey, and often small enough that only 3-4 classrooms are in the same building, with each classroom having its own direct outside access. And so there could easily be 5-6 buildings across the school campus, with a few classrooms in each of them.
(Did I make myself clear enough? No? Sorry. I am really struggling for words here.)
And so as I walked past this primary school and watched tradesmen do their construction work, I thought to myself how I'm glad my kids will be going to school in New Zealand. Each school is different, of course, and they won't be going to this particular school as we'll be moving to Invercargill next year, but... still. The principles are the same.
And in that moment it suddenly occurred to me that I am so glad I am in New Zealand.
I don't even know why exactly, and why today, and why so strong, but I suddenly felt that I... fit in here. As in, I feel I belong here.
It was probably because yesterday when me and the kids were at a Tumbletimes session, The Kid's physiotherapist joined us there. I loved that rather than taking my son to some physiotherapy clinic, his physiotherapist came to see us in an environment where she was going to see The Kid at his best, doing all the things he does at Tumbletimes: jumping off things, rolling on things, climbing on things...
I loved that when she wasn't happy with how The Kid's ankle brace fit him, she called up the office and made an appointment to go see an orthotist tomorrow. As in, as soon as there was a problem, we were going to see be seen.
Maybe it was because whilst I had been walking, The Kid had a teacher aide playing alongside him at a preschool. She visits him there twice a week, every week, 2 hours each time, and makes sure they do a whole variety of activities that help The Kid develop his social skills and his coordination and... all sorts of stuff, in a one-on-one time. With attention. (They do end up with other kids joining in because the games are such fun :), but even that's a benefit.)
Or maybe it was because the primary school I was walking alongside has an alley of oak trees lining its fenceline, and it was a beautiful afternoon, sunny and a little windy, 20 degrees Celsius, with slightly yellowing early autumn colours.
Either way, in that short, 5-minute walk alongside a local primary school, on a Wednesday afternoon, I suddenly had a strong, clear feeling that I was glad my kids were going to grow up in New Zealand, and that I had also... become one. A New Zealander.
And it's the first time I had thought of myself like that.
It was a big deal.