It was fun.
Then as the company I worked for offered to keep me on, I stayed because it was fun, and exciting, and... why not stay? It allowed me access to this wonderfully adventurous countryside that is Wanaka-Queenstown, and it astounded me that I got paid for living there and doing all this. Coming from Estonia where I was spending my days working at the office and studying towards a Master's degree on the weekends, it was, like, really? You want me to stay?
Then a pregnancy, and a baby. I was preparing myself for it to be a-few-years deal where once The Kid was older and we had residency, I was going to kind of resume from where I had left off.
Fun was still to be had, but in different circumstances.
But now life has changed - especially when I compare it to that first bit where I had been backpacking around - A LOT. I lead a very city-centered life where rather than hiking tracks near town and how to get an infant to sleep in a tent in October, I am familiar with where libraries are and how to find the children's ward at the hospital. I work hard to save money so we can buy a house, read through various schools' ERO reports and google things such as neuroplasticity, rather than "midwinter access to Dusky track" and "do I have to remove my eyebrow piercing for childbirth".
And I do sometimes wonder, why are we here?
Yes, I do feel like I fit in. I still tell myself that once the kids are a little older, I am going to start having some epic fun again.
But on mornings like today when sad news about another friend in Europe have come in, with no way to hug other than say so on Skype, I do need to remind myself of that.
I think it's easier for me than it is for The Man. I can be fiercely independent. I thrive on challenges and ambition, even if amidst all that I do need very good friends to surround myself with. But for The Man who is a much more social creature than I am, and who is spending such long days at work so we can afford to live where we are living - without the rewarding landscapes and challenges we were facing in Wanaka - it is sometimes difficult to keep looking forward to something that is in the future, always in the future.
But then I think, why go back, either?
I don't know what I'd do either in Britain or Estonia. Here I have an outlet looming over me - we move to Invercargill, I will study quantity surveying, we'll have a house with a mortgage payment affordable enough that we'll start having outside life again, and time. And probably both money and time to go to Europe every now and again, without losing the outlet that is Otago, and Southland - the New Zealand's southern coast - which I intend on exploring once I have my life set up in a way where there is opportunity to do all that again.
And so today, I would like to raise a toast to:
... multi-day, soul-challening hikes again!
... screaming of fun!
And to keeping on feeling like I'm in the right place.