Looking back, the days before my departure from Hobart are a bit of a blur consisting of the following:
1. Packing for New Zealand.
This required a balance between as little as possible and enough of the necessary. During our last Skype call Mama & Papa had sounded concerned about fitting everything into a camper for 24 days.
Summer, lot’s of swimming and bushwalking, windows down, playing festival music through the great sound system of the camper …
My idea was that after my family had travelled comfortably in their so called “ship” with only the four of them, of course a smaller camper for five of us would be a downgrade but c’mon, it’s still a 6 person camper for only 5 people!! That sound’s spacious compared to the road trips I’ve been on over the last few years! I also thought that after a month of hawaiian weather, “very cold” for my family would probably still be “shorts & T-shirt weather” for a hardy hobartian student like me, having just survived a winter in a draughty rental house. All in all my parents concerns seemed justifiable but unlikely to me.
2. Moving house and cleaning my previous rental place.
While I only planned on spending one day packing my little world into boxes, I realised soon enough that I’d need at least 2 days to accomplish this task. It’s incredible how much stuff I acquired since I moved to Hobart (for the 2nd time) 2 years ago (equipped with only one 32kg suitcase and 15kg of hand-luggage, the absolute maximum possible on my flights).
3. Frantically trying to sell my furniture.
The original plan had fallen through literally half an hour after I had moved all my boxes and everything to the new place. Leaving 2 days until my departure to sell and organise the removal of 2 couches, a dining table + 6 chairs, a microwave and 2 cupboards from the house.
4. Finalising a visa application that Paul and I have been working on for 2 years.
Finally it was the evening of my departure and I was over the moon with excitement to finally see my family again. At the same time I was absolutely exhausted to the last of my energy reserves from the weeks leading up to this day. It was a good feeling though. Soooo glad that the last few months were done and dusted and sooooooo looking forward to family-summer-holiday-time. Bliss.
Nothing and no one could stop me now. Or so I thought.
At the check-in counter I was asked for my return ticket to Australia. Which of course, I didn’t have on me. Papa had booked my flight and since we were all catching the same flight to Sydney again we simply hadn’t bothered to forward the ticket to my email address.
Now in order to be handed my boarding pass I needed a return ticket as proof that I was going to eventually leave New Zealand again. A foolproof way to guarantee that people most certainly leave the country again! Very clever NZ, very clever! Damn it, my secret intention, to simply ditch my medical degree and 5 year visa in Australia to come and illegally live in NZ all by myself, was revealed! Now I was gonna have to go through all the impossible trouble of “missing” my AU$300 return flight to follow that obvious dream of mine! You sneaky New Zealand, you!
You sneaky New Zealand, you!
Fortunately the Jetstar lady at the counter was extremely friendly and understanding (she also thought it was a bit childish of NZ to be so sneaky and not even make people aware of this policy beforehand!). My only hope of getting on this plane was if somehow I could get ahold of Papa in Christchurch within the next 30 minutes and get him to email me the ticket. The only problem was that it was already 10:20pm in Melbourne which meant 0:20am in Christchurch. Rather hopeful I dialled Papa’s austrian mobile number. After 4 futile attempts, I started to get a bit nervous. My phone credit was shamelessly shrinking with every attempted call and I was running out of time. In a moment of desperation I remembered that Papa had sent me an email with the name and phone number of their hotel in Christchurch! I was lucky and the night clerk picked up the phone on the very last ring. He was able to put me through to Papa!
Poor Papa though! I felt so bad for having to wake him up in the middle of the night, knowing him he would probably spend the rest of the night worrying about all of this! But with only 30 minutes left until boarding and still all the security checks and passport controls ahead of me I had no time to lose. In the end I made it onto the plane as the very last passenger, the final announcement of my name still ringing in my ears.
Watch out New Zealand, here I come!
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(Text: Emilia Wieser)