A photo of New Zealand

It's a photo which, to this day, I don't know who has taken and when - apart from the fact that it must be over a year old because I've had it on my computer for a while.


But still I keep opening it up and looking at it, mesmerised.

Counting and naming the rivers glistening in the sun: Waimakariri, Rakaia, Rangitata, Waitaki. Naming the lakes: Te Anau, Wakatipu, Wanaka and Hawea, Ohau, Pukaki, Tekapo.

I look at the places where I've lived: Wanaka, Christchurch and now, Invercargill down at the bottom. I trace my memories for the highways that wind through the mountains, giving each stretch an approximate length of travel: 45 minutes to go from Queenstown to Wanaka over the pass, but an hour and a half to go through the gorge. Two hours to push from Wanaka to Twizel, then another four to Christchurch.

I imagine the planes currently in the air and the routes they are taking. How many cargo ships are anchored off Lyttelton harbour's entrance, and how many more are moored at the port. I imagine St Arnaud somewhere in the depths of that dark patch, and how Nelson sits in its sheltered harbour.

It's 2 centimeters on my computer screen, but in real life it takes me 6 hours to travel the distance.

And after 8 years of living in New Zealand after what I thought was a year-long adventurous sabbatical, I am looking at this photo and thinking, home.

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