Today is a University holiday here in Hamilton. With the day off and nothing to do, I popped into a local pub to draft a few postcards to family and friends back home.
The Abbey is a most agreeable establishment. Sponsored in part by Stella Artois, the Belgian brewing company renown for its premium lager, the pub has all the features one might expect of a quaint pub including wood floors and dark paneled walls.
As I sat at my table and began to write, I could not think of a better way to while away a lazy fall afternoon. There’s something eminently appropriate about a pint and a pen.
And whilst I wrote to my family, I couldn’t help but think of life in America, of life back home. The nostalgic trip down memory lane reminded me of how much has changed in recent months.
Roughly six month ago, my son was born in Tucson, Arizona (10/15/12). At the time, I could not have forecasted that six months later I would be writing postcards in a pub in New Zealand having missed his first Easter.
“Oh the places you’ll go,” as Dr. Seuss said.
Like most extended separations, the time here is bitter sweet. It has been a tremendous opportunity to be here and serve at the pleasure of the Centre and my colleagues. Yet, it is difficult not to miss home and family and friends. Particularly when things settle down on days like today.
It’s interesting that my Māori friends so often inquire as to my family’s welfare. Their culture is one that values family, or whanau, above all else. To see a new father, so far from his family is a difficult thing for them to process. I suppose things in America and New Zealand are not that different after all.
And so I’ll draft and mail my postcards with fond thoughts of home. I will down a fine pint imbibed in a foreign land to steel my resolve. And I will say a brief, post-Easter prayer with love for their well-being – because when one is so far away, there’s not much more one can do.
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