It's only just hit me that what we are doing can't be described as moving. Moving is what is happening to my bed, and my books, and my collection of suitcases. They will be packed up, put into a truck, and then I will put them in my new house; probably somewhere similar to where they live now, in my apartment.
I was in the shower (Jack Donaghy would call this the Shower Principle) when I realised what I am doing can be described as. Transplanting. Unlike my books, I have roots here that go very, very deep. I am completely aware of and sensitive to what is around me; the light, the climate, the people, the landscape.
When we drive around Auckland, I always point out landmarks to Vincent. There is the Logan Campbell fountain, where my mother used to take me when I was small, and would hold my hand while I walked around it, balancing on its rim, pulling along my little plastic yellow tug-boat. There is Eve's Pantry, from whence Uncle John would buy gingerbread men for me and my sisters when he would come to stay. There is the bar that used to be a dairy, where we used to play Street Fighter, badly. (I was always Dhalsim.) There is Gee-May's house. There is the cafe where my sister worked, and where I would change out of my school uniform and into clothes I'd stashed in my bag when I was wagging school to hang out with my boyfriend, but tell her school had finished early. There is the cafe where I worked, underpaid, hungover, constantly complaining but actually loving it, with Roach one of my best friends, and Ben who would drive us because only Roach had her licence but her headlights didn't work, and Mateina who looked tough and scary but was the sweetest, and Tina who had the worst bleach job ever, and Hilary whom we all hated a bit because she was so pretty, and Allee who was torn because Hilary was her friend but was leaving her behind a little bit and it was probably kind of a relief to complain about her a little. There is the bridge where I used to meet Mary between lectures to go and share three pakora for $1.50, or a piece of pizza if we had $5. The bar where I have gone for years and years but always think of as the place where I told Vincent how I felt about him. The old Sailor's Home, where I fell in love with him. The street where we lived in Kingsland which we call The Old Neighbourhood, and used to talk about returning to but kind of knowing that way leads on to way.
The landmarks I don't need to point out are the ones I will miss the most. My parents' house, which is currently inhabited by my father, my mother, my sister, my brother, my niece, Oscar, and Lucy; next door to Claudio and his family, and down the road from Yoke, and the flats where Hammad used to live, and across the road from the flats with the mean new people who just moved in. The shop where I work, which I have looked at so long I think it is a part of me. My new neighbourhood; the shops, and bars, and pubs, and cafes, and restaurants, and convenience stores that I walk by every day on my way to work, or anywhere. And my apartment, which at times I felt I was only tolerating, but always really knew I loved and was just like what I hoped I would one day live in when I was a kid. Just for a while.
Every day on my way to and from work, I must pass a hundred people. I look at their faces, and sometimes at their hair, or their shoes, or their dresses, or what they're carrying, or what/who is in the pushchair. Lots of them weren't born in this country, and it makes me happy that we can all be here, and live around each other, and occasionally whinge about the smells each other's cooking makes.
I know I'm not a refugee, being forced from my home, with few or none of my belongings. Like Tootie says she will (but then doesn't have to), I am taking everything. But for a person, there are always things you can't take with you. That's why it's transplanting.
I am going to put down new roots, and learn to be nurtured by new things. I am going to force myself into the community; drink at the pub all the time, buy the same thing from the dairy to make it easy to remember me, go to all of the town happenings, and walk the streets. I will compare things with Auckland sometimes because that is what people do, but I'll remember that we chose the place because we love it. And there will be hard times, and lonely times, and sometimes there won't be enough people to share the happy times. But it will all be okay, because of one person. And we will be back.