So long, NZ.

As I'm sure I've mentioned - maybe? - my little sister has been studying abroad at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand for the past 4+ months.  She leaves tomorrow (today, technically) for Fiji for a few days en route back to the land of the free and the brave.  Life is tough, no?

She's kept a


, and recently - as in within the last few hours - posted an entry about her feelings as she closes-in on her departure.  I never studied abroad, but traveled as much as I could in college, spent nearly a month in Finland getting to know some really amazing foreigners, and now live in a place different from where I grew-up or where I went to school.  As I was reading her post, especially as she talks about what she'll miss and what she'll remember most, I had a momentary emotional takeover and slipped down memory lane.  

I'm not the same person I was in Ohio, and each new city seems to help me find myself a little bit better, but every time I move I seem to leave a piece of my heart behind.  Erin's going through this now - realizing that while she may never live in New Zealand again, she'll feel homesick for it every time she's reminded of it.  That's kind of how I feel about North Carolina / the South, how I will eventually feel about Chicago, and how, on some unimaginable level, I feel about (certain parts of) Ohio.  While you find people you love in each city, you find parts of yourself, as well.  

My point is this : unless you stay in the same city for the rest of your life (and that's really not living..), you will always miss someone and some place.  I'll never stop trying, but chances are I won't convince all of the people I love to live in one giant development with me - my own (non-dramatic / creepy) Wisteria Lane.  That means they'll always be spread out, I'll always be in the middle of planning a trip to visit someone, and I'll always miss living near / with them.  C'est la vie.

Erin - my responses to some of the things on your list(s):

- hipster coffee shops will make you a flat white.  they'll think you're edgy for knowing what it is.

- accents are always going to be awesome.  always.

- try bringing "good on ya, mate" to the states - just like "y'all" it just makes sense.  so fetch.

- you can walk everywhere if you live in another city... believe me.  it is still awesome.

- you're right - we don't have the pride they do - i think we lost that somewhere along the trail of tears...

- we have lots of water you can live on... for the right price.

- keep collecting maps - someday you can hand them down.

- americans have potlucks, too...

And with that, a few days early, maybe - welcome home!