After spending a few days in Christchurch, I took a bus down south (and I mean way down south) to Balclutha to meet up with Marilyn and Shawn. I met Marilyn while working at Nuvolari in Rotorua three years ago, and we’ve kept in touch despite the span of time and distance.
When I told her I was coming to New Zealand for a visit, she invited me to stay at their place in Balclutha, so I booked an Intercity bus from Christchurch and made the seven-hour journey. The ride didn’t feel as long as it sounds. I was happy to be traveling through large, green pastures filled with lazily grazing sheep. Yes, I know that’s a clichéd image of New Zealand, but that’s really what it was like. Of course, sometimes along the way there were cows instead of sheep, but you get the main idea of the idyllic visions that passed by my window.
When I was living in New Zealand a few years back, I didn’t feel any particular pull to the country. It was a special place, but it wasn’t somewhere I could foresee myself living for the rest of my life. However, on this visit, something was different. Maybe it was a bit of nostalgia? Maybe it was simply returning to a familiar place? But, whatever it was, I really felt a sense of calm and balance as soon as I landed. I even let out a sigh of relief when I first touched down at the airport. The closer I got to Balclutha and my friends, the more I felt like I was returning home.