Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Past-Due Update

This may be (is definitely) late notice for most of you (unless you are on the email list,) but I have some news.

I have left Nelson, and in a few short weeks I will be leaving New Zealand. 

Here is a picture a rebellious pigeon to ease your shock:

Okay, yes, I am leaving. Where am I going? What am I doing? Why have I made this insane decision to leave an unbelievably beautiful country full of people I love? Well, just sit back and have a cuppa (cup of some warm beverage) and I will inform you.

For many a moon I have been assessing my life almost constantly. Before I left Indiana I spent 3 years constantly taking stock of what I was learning, where I was going, what I wanted, and who I was becoming. When I left it never stopped, I have been observant of the changes I've made consciously and unconsciously, as well as the influences I've allowed to affect me. I never promised to go anywhere forever nor that I would return. I never claimed to know what was going to happen next, and I maintain this position. Therefore, my answers to the above questions will be of the same nature.

I am going so many places, I stopped in Wellington for a week to visit family. Now I am in Tauranga staying with the first people in New Zealand to bestow kindness on me. Next I will travel to Auckland to meet some fantastic friends for a whirlwind week of North Island Travels. After all of this I will head off to Hawaii for a week and eventually find myself in Indianapolis on September 8th. 

WOAH LAUREN IS GOING HOME

Stop. Please stop right there. Yes, I am technically going to one of the places in the world which I call home. Now take note of my next words, as they are important.

Nothing is ending, nothing is over. I'm not "Settling down," "Growing up," "Getting my life together." This was not a "Once in a lifetime experience" or "Trip of a lifetime." Friends, I am 23. There is more to come.

Which takes us to my next announcement, I am heading west. No not California, that fault line freaks me out, (yes I acknowledge the hypocrisy, considering where I am currently living). I am heading to Washington, more specifically Seattle area. I have wonderful family who live out there, graciously are willing to admit to our relation, and want to help me try out life on their side of North America.

So why, WHY am I leaving New Zealand? Simply because it is time. I assessed my life and I decided that I was comfortable. I succeeded in moving to a place where I knew no one and making it home. I got a job I loved, and worked with extremely special people.
 I played on a soccer team with a hilarious group of women and a very patient coach. I got involved with a church full of genuine souls seeking truth and freely bestowing generosity. I went from living in a hostel with international strangers to almost living like a local.
I got comfortable, and that is when I knew -despite how much I loved where I was- it is time to move. Not because I'm angsty or hard to please, but rather because I don't think it is time for me to get comfortable. I have so much more to learn, see, do, experience, and if I stay, I'm not taking the opportunities freely available to me.

So there you have it. I am leaving New Zealand, for now.
I am leaving another home to go to more unknown.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

That time I played Football


This post is a letter to the amazing team I have had the privilege of playing football with for the past few months. On a couple of different occasions I have attempted to say these words, but I find the words of my heart are far more effectively expressed in writing. So here goes.*


Thank you, a thousand times, thank you. I have been honoured by your acceptance, and even though you may not ever fully understand the weight you all lifted from my soul by making me a part of your team I assure you I will never forget it.

What I really wanted to say before our game was how proud I am to have had the opportunity to play on this team. In my 23 short years I have been on many teams. I have been in every role, I've gone from captain to benchwarmer, I've been a coach and a spectator and everything in between, but this time was different.

This team, FC Nelson, stands for something. Mullet calls is Pride, and none of you should ever doubt that you have something to be proud of. I wish I could tell you how many times I stopped this season and took note of the vast improvements each of you has made. If you look back from the beginning and see how you've changed you should feel nothing but immense pride.

Pride is knowing you did everything in your power to improve upon a situation before you walked away from it. Pride is strength of character through adversity. Pride is family. As I said, I've been on many teams, but this is the team that feels like home.

I've never thought I could laugh so genuinely with people who were complete strangers a few short months ago. I never imagined joining a football team would shape so much of my travelling experience. I am so sad to leave you all, and so appreciative of the generosity, acceptance, and friendship you freely bestowed on me. I wish you all the absolute best, and I hope if life takes you overseas you will find a group of unsuspecting locals who will end up saying nice things about you and buying you indian food. If you're ever in the states** you will always find a home with me.



*I really must thank Uli, a manager at Tasman Bay, for assuming that because I'm an American female with a history of playing soccer I must be good. I appreciate his optimism, though I fear it may have been poorly placed.
** If I'm not in the states you also have a home wherever in the world I am, even if I'm sleeping in my car and am homeless like Phoebe thinks I am.