Everything has an ending. (Except for sausages which have two.)
New Zealand. This time, that’s the end.
I’ve been thinking and thinking again about my last weeks in New Zealand. I’ve even done a list of what I wanted to achieve: hiking the Tongariro Crossing, seeing Mount Taranaki, watching the sunrise in Gisborne, going back to Napier, helping again in Hahei Beach, doing a HelpX in a Maori family, going to a yoga retreat, tramping for a few days,… My list was as long as a novel. Almost a year passed away and yet there was still many experiences I wanted to have before leaving. It drove me mad to try to make my last moments in New Zealand meaningful and unforgettable.
It only took one English guy to finally let this go.
NORTHLAND, SEEMS LIKE I REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY LIKE YOU
The reason I’m going back to Northland for the fourth time, it’s because of Tom. He made me promise to come back for his birthday, on June 5th. He even promised me the moon and the stars for my last week in New Zealand. On a more down-to-earth level, let’s just say that’s way nicer to spend my last week hanging out with a good friend rather than being alone. I let go of my 42 plans, New Zealand is already unforgettable on so many aspects anyway.
This is how I ended up moving into his trailer at the Orongo Bay Holiday Park in Russel, and, like him, I’m working 3h a day for the witch who’s managing the place. Ok, she’s not that bad, but let’s say she’s a kind of a bitch and sometimes speaks to me like I’m her slave. She made me do some gardening in the mud and weeding under the rain, which actually drove me completely crazy at the end of the week.
But life in the caravan with Tom was simple, yet sweet. I’m enjoying his English playlist, his white Mercedes and his skills for cooking sandwiches. We’re watching Family Guy and Rick and Morty huddled on the couch, our water fights turned into margarine fights and we’re cooking noodles in the middle of the night like teenagers. We’re drinking our teas into tomato sauce glass jars because we don’t have that much crockery. We’re trying to debate about the importance for Great Britain of staying or leaving EU, but I don’t know much about that subject and I’m surely not much of a help to make up his mind.
One night, his mate Daniel invites us to spend the night at his workplace, the Omata Estate winery. This winery is quite a famous one and the view over there is just stunning. His boss went away for a few days so Daniel is in charge of this (magical) place and the sweetest dog ever called Molly. There’s this huge stone pizza oven imported from Italy in the courtyard and we cooked awesome homemade pizzas this night. We listen to some blues music, getting warm close to the oven, tasting wine while laughing, and I can surely say that at this precise moment life couldn’t get any better. A simple life, yet sweet.
A few days later, Tom is bringing me to this “French night” at the Marlborough Duke’s, New Zealand first licenced pub. As Tom is also working as a gardener every afternoon so he’s able to pay for gas (and pay me back incidentally), he met Margot, this lovely German lady who’s coming to this pub every Thursday evening with her friends to drink wine and speak French. Picture this: this old school pub with comfy couches and a bunch of lovely old people meeting up every week to speak French, either because that’s their mother tongue either because they want to improve. I feel like a fish in water here, talking with everyone. They have completely fascinating lives, most of them were sailing from Europe to New Zealand 30 or 40 years ago. They used to live in Australia or the Pacific Islands. Margo is a doctor and travelled a lot here and there, especially on a boat with her former boyfriend, a French guy. She’s not a doctor anymore, but she’s still publishing research articles and translating some in French, English or German. She’s such an amazing woman. I’m seeing Tom of the corner of my eye smiling of hearing me speaking French, “way more natural” as he says. He’s struggling with French though, and that’s funny to watch him trying.
There are two Chinese couples at the campsite working with us. We spend some quality time with them. Mel, James, Parker and Min are making me laugh so much when we’re playing drinking Uno. In fact, they even cook for us some Chinese specialities on our last night at the campsite. They apologise a lot about how awful cooks they are, but I’m devouring everything and hung up to every word they say about China.
Sometimes Tom’s taking my hand, telling me I’m pretty and that he’s happy that I came to ‘rescue’ him from his caravan lifestyle in the middle of nowhere. We’re teasing each other about good old French/English stereotypes and he said out of nowhere ‘My attraction to you is only the reflection of your personality.’ We’re a little bit drunk, I write those words with a purple pen on the wall above the bed. Tom is crazy. He’s an off the charts, out-of-the-box kind of guy. It’s like he has freedom running out of him, he’s always speaking his mind, he doesn’t really care about anything or anyone which is sometimes kind of unfortunate. He’s way smarter than he thinks he is, but he’s probably too lazy to use it well anyway. He’s such a character. Some may hate him, but I’m attracted to his madness like a moth.
On June 12th, Tom’s driving me to Auckland with his white Mercedes. He’s not stopping though, for he has to be in Napier to play in a Maori movie (that’s not a joke, I swear). We were singing at the top of our lungs, wait… No, we were screaming at the top our lungs this ‘Really really really really like you’ song by Carly Rae Jepsen. This song which we used to sing and made us laugh and dance like crazies back in Napier 8 months ago. He’s dropping me off in Auckland, tells me ‘I’ll be missing you loads’ but I’m only half believing him, he’s not going to look back, I know him too well.
LAST NIGHT (GLOUPS)
I settle myself at the K Road City Travellers Backpackers again and wander into the city centre one last time. But it’s exhausting me. I’m still dreaming of the South Island’s mountains, you know, this is what I got under my skin, those tramping trails in the early morning when the lower clouds are getting engulfed into the mountains.
That last evening, I meet up with Isabell and Christian, and we spend some quality time at the Grand Central Pub on Ponsonby Street. There’s live music, we talk and laugh a lot about Edwina’s anger crisis. I’m happy to spend my last night with this lovely German couple. They’re leaving New Zealand soon enough as well and our drinks taste bitter, they taste like departure.
When I leave them, I start wandering again in the city. I’ve always liked night walks. I walk on the very same bridge I used to walk on every day when I first arrived here, the one with the stunning view of the Sky City Tower. I’m walking and walking until I’m physically exhausted, for I don’t want to leave this ground. This time, I don’t want to fly away. This ground has become mine over time, I learnt to accept it with all of its imperfections like I would do with a serious lover.
I’m walking and I’m scared. I never liked breakups, you know.
But Singapore is softly opening its arms to me.
LET’S GO THERE! :
ORONGO BAY HOLIDAY PARK, 5960 Russell Rd, Russell
OMATA ESTATE, Aucks Rd, Russel
MARLBOROUGH DUKE’S, 35 The Strand, Russell
K ROAD CITY TRAVELLERS BACKPACKER, 146 Karangahape Rd, Auckland
GRAND CENTRAL PUB, 126 Ponsonby Rd, Grey Lynn, Auckland