Nothing ages you quite like going back to a place you haven't seen in fifteen years. I feel like I have lived through multiple lives, the former one being so full of events and memories that have been fuzzed out by the many that happened in the latter. Everywhere I go, I wonder if my little blonde-headed four to eight year old self stepped foot here too.
And, yet, I know that in most cases the answer is 'no'. We lived in Glendowie and so stayed mostly on the other side of the bridge from where I'm residing, on the North Shore. Thus, most of this experience is genuinely new and lovely in all its opportunities for discovery and growth.
Yesterday, I went to a new place (I think) with some new friends. Muriwai Beach was reminiscent of Hawaii with its black sand, rocky cliffs, and turquoise waves. And, yet, walking along the shore in my sweater, only letting my toes occasionally touch the chilly water, I could have easily been back on the West Coast of the U.S.
I don't mean to break this beautiful scene apart into disparate parts of the world, and dilute its Kiwi-ness. It was genuinely its own, with gannets and surfers in ice-cold water and a mix of palm trees, evergreens, and sheep-speckled hills meeting the shoreline.
Tonight I'm straddling that fifteen year bridge again. I sit at a kitchen table in a home that is entirely new to me, but has been warmly opened to the role that I'm currently living as a grown woman, a college graduate who has moved away from mum and dad to establish myself (whatever that means, right?). And, yet, I sip a drink that surely passed my lips as a child, a drink that awakens flickers of memories. Milo's milky, chocolaty warmth passes through this ceramic mug onto my cold hands that have aged from chubby and naive to slender and scarred in the course of years.