Can you have 2 places where you feel you belong? I guess so.
I got tapped for the March theme and I chose – there was a bit of pushback – “Heimat – a sense of belonging”
I grew up in New Zealand, left when I was 21, spent a couple of years in the UK and the last 40 odd years in Germany.
So it would be incongruous were I not to feel some sort of attachment to Rheinhessen, the rustic bit of Germany I’ve grown fond of.
That’s over here on Mainz Daily Photo.
But the feeling you get when you fly over the rugged landscape that you grew up with on approach to Auckland, when the immigration officer says “Welcome home” as they stamp your passport (well, they used to – they’re a bit sullen these days…), when you walk across to the domestic terminal, wrapped in the humidity and the scent of sub-tropical plants and freshly mown grass tells me that THIS is where I belong, too.
And especially down here in Nelson, where I spend 5/12 of the year
And I worked out that these days it’s the people that matter.
Jo at Nature Smoke on Mapua wharf who serves up fish and chips with affection (and often an extra piece of fish, Ali Slotemaker, owner of Alberta’s – also on the wharf – who gives you a big wave from across the room even before you’re in the door of her cafe, Claris at her exquisite 7010 cafe in Nelson who knew us the second time we went in, camera-shy Taia, sometime bar manager (Bachelor of Arts in political science, Maori and eduction and trying desparately to find a job that lets him stay in Nelson) at the Golden Bear who asks “How are YOU?” and means it, Helen (and John) Dunlop who sell their Kakariki Olive oil on the Saturday market in Nelson and have become friends (as well as being instrumental in my having an academic paper published as a geriatric) and Stephen Lee, Ali’s partner and barista extraordinaire at the Rabbit Island Coffee Company, who gives the same wave as Ali, but with an Australian accent.
There are more, of course, but I wouldn’t want to do without these 6.