Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Greatest Love of All

The girl you knew two years ago, in most ways, is not the same girl you'd meet today. In some ways, I am the girl you've always known, and in others, I am hardly recognizable.

If you know me, or have been reading along since the beginning, you would know that I was once a pretty shattered and broken spirit. I once let falling in love determine my fate, alter my dreams, and my motivation for something bigger slowly fell to second best.  

To put it simply? I was depressed. and settling. 

But with time, I found a courage I didn't know I had, and left. Little money, little warning. I just left. 

And when I finally crossed the Australian border as a first time expat, I knew instantly that my life, my future, and my own little world was forever changed. I had for the first time in my 25 years, felt relief, happiness, and freedom simultaneously. I learned to appreciate time, solitude, reflection, writing, thinking, and meaningful conversations. I was headed in the direction I was always meant to be headed in. And I was finally moving forward. 

And while that year was the single best of my entire life (so far), it too eventually ended. And I was sad. Really, really f'ing sad. I loved Australia, and because my standards of living abroad were set so high the first time, I was prepared to feel pretty underwhelmed by Auckland, New Zealand. I just wasn't sure anything could compare to the love I felt for the land down under. 

But I was wrong. And what happened was something completely unexpected.

I moved just 6 weeks ago, and it has surprisingly felt like home since the very beginning. The family is so unbelievably welcoming, and the kids are simply precious. The laid back atmosphere, and getting dessert hand delivered to my door a few times a week, are by far my favorite things. That and the fact that Jason and Amanda actually argue over who is going to cook, means that I (very happily :)) never have to. I simply eat and drink like a Queen, and smile. Duck, tiramisu, and pinot noir, I'm talking about you.

I've also landed another nanny job to fill my time on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I had a lot of good offers, but ended up falling in love with the little boy who has been through more in 12 weeks of life, than I have in 26 years. The extra money, and the experience, will be life-changing. And I couldn't be more excited!

And last, but certainly not least, I've been spending most of my free time meeting new friends, exploring the markets, hiking, and of course enjoying the occasional beer. And my days of reading and running by the beach just down the street aren't too shabby either. I've been planning many adventures, starting with a yet-to-be-determined holiday in October, and a trip down south after scoring a can't-be-passed-up $35 plane ticket to Wellington.

I like this neighborhood.

Auckland has been that perfect little something that I didn't even know I needed. A pleasant surprise opened months before Christmas. What I got was smiles that make my cheeks hurt, looking forward to waking up in the morning, and a happiness so happy I could cry. 

And I recognize this feeling. 

It's the feeling of falling in love. 

It's been a long time since I've been in love with anything and an entire lifetime of never actually experiencing it to this degree. And for the first time in a long time, it doesn't involve another person. It only involves me and this beautiful place I get to call home.

From a once lost little soul, to a person who is so blown away by the beauty of the world that she can hardly keep from crying. during the day. in public. The change has been life-altering, in the most surprising sort of way.

And perhaps, that is why it feels like the greatest love of all.