When you come back home

by Alan on April 21, 2007

OK Road, 8 March 2007 7:18:29amSometimes there comes a time when you must leave this town, your town for a break – it could be a holiday; it could be your OE; it could be that career move; it could be to do a geographical and just get away.

What’s that? Your favourite barista moved to Westport, and you had to follow? (Yeah, OK. There’s always an excuse.) But sooner or later, you must come back. And when you do there is always a moment when you know you are home.

Here’s one such:

Coming down the Ngauranga Gorge there’s that long sweeping curve where the Hutt and Porirua motorways meet. Look up from the road and you’ll see Wellington arrayed in full panoply before you. There are our small cluster of tall buildings standing proud, feet in the sea and backs to the hills. There are the hills themselves, steeply carpeted with houses in defiance of tectonics and plain good sense, looking on to and out to the sea. There is the bowl of the harbour, rimmed with bush and filled with reflected sky. There is the sky, mostly blue, sometimes grey, often set with clouds scudding.

There it is. Our town. Where you live. Where I live.

Where is this moment for you?

Is it, as the Front Lawn once had it, flying overhead?

over Wellington Harbour
Oriental Bay is standing there in the sunlight

Is it that first sip of Mojo or Fuel?

Is it Courtenay Place at the weekend?

Where? What? With whom? Comment, zoomin, or blog away!

Sarah Lee April 26, 2007 at 9:03 pm

This stirred so many memories for me. I visited here, from the UK, back in 1996 and when my visa expired I had a real sense that, ‘I would be back.’ Sure enough, as fate had it, I returned in 1999 and flying into Wellington, circling the Sounds and seeing Mount Victoria I knew my heart was home.

Kimberley April 25, 2007 at 12:29 pm

Oh yes, I know that sweeping curve of the motorway. It has that quaint little transit sign that says Wellington and then ta-dah – there is the city, that neatly put together city that looks as if it has slid off the hills and onto the flat land. It’s a sight that sometimes, when I have been to Auckland and endured being there although the place gives me a giant headache, brings me to tears. For more how much I love my city, read this.

Joanna April 28, 2007 at 3:13 am

Wait a second Grant, are you sure your name’s not really Kerry? Or maybe Rex?

Yet Another Michael April 25, 2007 at 10:59 am

For international returns I’m totally influenced by October 2006, back from a month in Europe, standing in Aro St being scalded by the bright bright sunlight. You could see the paint flakes dropping off the houses a km away! So, as soon as the clouds part for a second and there’s some sunlight – that’s when I now think that I’m home in NZ. A Pavlovian response I guess (but without the tinned peaches).

When back in Wellington from elsewhere in the country it’s more the physical signs of the culture than the environmental. Waft of Fuel Coffee in the terminal, drivers that know they are subordinate to pedestrians, beeping in the Hataitai tunnel, driving across Cuba St and getting a snapshot of a power suit and heels elbow-to-elbow with a stripy-sock.

Alan April 25, 2007 at 1:37 pm

Whoah! Beautiful piece, Kimberley.

On our old site, we once got people to write about their love of the city: read Let me count the ways for more.

Grant April 27, 2007 at 9:41 pm

Sad little town at the end of the world in which some people think they may have something to say … lovely place to live no doubt, but really just a novelty when it comes to moving and shaking.

Alan April 27, 2007 at 10:23 pm

Actually, we are pretty good at shaking.

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