So yesterday Jason and I went round to a friends place and watched the All Blacks vs Wales Rugby game. As the All Blacks ran out through the tunnel I had this overwhelming sense of homesickness. This led me to think about the things that I really miss about New Zealand, and in particular Wellington.
Firstly, I find Wellington to be a stunningly beautiful place. Check this out:It has huge contrasts. Its not a place everyone wants to live due to the weather, but that was what I loved about it. Wellington taught me to be thankful for the good things- a core saying of Wellingtonians is "you can't beat Wellington on a good day" and its true, on a good day Wellington is superb. In Wellington you had to make the most of the good days as sometimes they were few and far between. In saying that it was the character of Wellington that I loved, the forcefulness of the weather, and the uncertainty over what each day might bring. Check out the waves at Lyall Bay during a Southerly storm. Another advantage of Wellington's weather is that the wind, the hills and the cold made me a very strong athlete. I was happy in the knowledge that during a race I would not be faced with anything worse than what Wellington dished out on a regular basis. This held me in good stead for a number of races, in particular the 2008 World Champs in Vancouver where we experienced 11 degree water temperature with lots of chop... just like Wellington Harbour really.
One of the biggest things that I miss from Wellington is our house, the glorious deck on a summers day, the wood burner in the winter. I miss the view from our house over some of my favourite running areas: Otari Wilton Bush, Karori Cemetery, Johnstons Peak, Makara Peak, Wrights Hill, the Wind Turbine and the Radar Ball. I miss waking up to the alternating sounds of the tuis and sounds of Sunday morning rubgy wafting up from Ian Galloway Park. I miss pottering in the garden at the end of a hard training day. I miss the privacy that we had from being set in the bush. I just miss having a place that's ours. I think that a first home will always be special and 100 Pembroke Rd was special.
WA has some beautiful white sand beaches but I miss the sheer ruggedness of Makara Beach and the South Coast. I loved running anywhere around this area and some of my fondest running memories are of night time runs up the tip track and back via Red Rocks. Mind you the night running means that you miss out on the stunning views. Jason and I often went walking out at Makara when we were short of something to do and Makara was the scene of my first ever foray into photography.
I said earlier that you can't beat Wellington on a good day and photo below is one of them. Check out Wellington's harbour. This photo was taken from Jason's office on a cell phone, so doesn't really do the harbour justice at all... but how beautiful is this.
I have spent many hours on and in this harbour, from canoe polo training, to swimming to a few sailing trips. I also lived on Oriental Parade pretty much just behind the fountain in this photo. I have so many great memories of Wellington Harbour and I miss the camaraderie of meeting my training buddies at Freyberg pool.
I consider Wellington to be my home town although I only lived there following University. I have fantastic memories of all of Wellington- From my first apartment on Vivien St with 5 girls and 1 boy to living on Oriental Parade in a massive 5 bedroom house to a cute 3 bedroom house in Normanby St, Newtown. Following this I lived with Jason's parents and then Jason and I moved to Tawa. Finally, after a 2 year stint in Tawa we bought our own house in Northland.
To me Wellington means a place of beauty, a place of character and passion, a place that helped shaped me into the person that I am today. Wellington is rugged and not everyone understands it. I have cycled and run over much of Wellington and know it inside out. So as I sit here with tears running down my face I think I'll leave my post at this, because I just miss it all so much. Thanks for letting me ramble and post my musings about a place very dear to my heart.
My next post will focus on the things I love about Perth and will contrast Wellington and Perth.