A week and a half to go!!

I would be lying if I didn’t admit to feeling a little nervous right now. I am all too aware that in about 10 days time I will lose my beautiful big bedroom, my car, my TV, my laptop and most importantly my friends and family! I have to keep reminding myself that leaving everything behind to travel the world by myself has been what I have wanted to do for the past… oh I don’t know… 5 years? I am trying not to get too stressed though, particularly because I was sick with a virus for a few days last week and I unfortunately lost 3 quite important days at work to get tasks finished. Getting overly anxious would not be helpful right now.

It has been an emotional time at work; last week I carried out my final home visit to a family I have worked with since I started in March last year. I have been their ‘Key Contact’ – the main person they deal with on the therapy team and the person who coordinates their service. When I met the family they were in a period of transition, with Mum going back to full time work and Dad taking on the main caregiver role for 3 young children for the first time ever. To have worked with this family and collaborated as part of their team to get the best outcome for their daughter has been so fulfilling. My client is now a communicative, confident little girl who can be understood by familiar people and Dad has found a balance between the kids and his part time work. When I left they gave me an SLR photograph that Dad had taken of me working with his daughter at my second last visit. It means a lot.

I also said my goodbyes to an indigenous family with whom I have been working for around 6 months. When I met them they had just gotten a house after going through a period of homelessness. There are 4 children under 6 years old in the family and one of the boys (my client) has severe Autism. It has taken persistence to build a trusting, functional working relationship with them and I am so proud to say that I left them today knowing that I really made a difference both by my definition and by theirs. Working with them has made me realise that I love what I do and I love the way I’ve been able to do it in this job. It also makes me a bit reluctant to leave! Again – I keep telling myself it will be worth it (I bloody hope it is).

In general my interest in indigenous cultures has been stoked – I am very excited to learn more about Maori culture when I get to New Zealand, and I hope that I can do that in a way that goes beyond watching ceremonies as part of a large tourist group. I think that in Rotorua (supposed to be the main cultural hub for Maori people), I may be able to explore a bit more on my own. Apparently there has been a resurgence of the Maori language and a concurrent rise in the amount of tourists wanting to learn more about the first New Zealanders.

My theory is that people are beginning to realise how amazing it is to actually be ‘from’ somewhere – to be able to say that your people  have a connection with the land that goes back at least a thousand, or even ten thousand years! Not many people I know are living in the places that their ancestors grew up in. It’s so important for identity to know where you come from and to have pride in your stories. More about that later I guess, I’m getting tired!

P.s. I am going to buy some hiking boots tomorrow – Merrell ones.



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