First things first. Here I am safely back in Christchurch. While I still have some scars on my lungs (so they tell me), they are healing by themselves and I don’t notice them at all.
With the benefit of hindsight (and more information on how pneumonia works), the key reason I am in New Zealand for the summer seems to me to be that I couldn’t find anywhere else to go. My plans involved the Middle East. Enough said really.
Perhaps if I had known how things would work out with the pneumonia, I might not have come home. Or at least not as quickly. I could have wandered through Ukraine for a couple of weeks, and then taken a boat to Turkey and flown back from Istanbul. Certainly I could not have stayed in Western Europe. Too cold and too expensive.
In a strange kind of way I have picked up threads from various periods of my life again. I am back at home with mother and father (and sister – although she seems to have caught the same travel bug that I have and is away overseas for three months). I am sleeping in my childhood (and adolescent and young adult) bed (but with a lower bed-end so that my feet have room to move), in my old room, which is just as much of a bomb site as it ever was when I was younger.
I have renovated my bicycle (the legally required lights and helmet cost six times more than the parts I needed to make my bike go), got back into Christchurch Ultimate with lots of my old friends, and am about to take repossession of my computer and some other things that I lent out when I left.
I even have a list of things to do. I can report that, after an initial burst of energy, I have settled down to working through this list at about the same rate that anyone works through any list of things to do. That is, slowly.
You will be pleased to know that it is sunny and warm here. I am just waiting for it to be about 10 degrees warmer. Then it will be really summer. Oh, and I have black hair. It was part of a hallowe’n party costume. But it seems like it is going to stick around for a while yet.
The current plan is to head back to Europe next April. In between times I think I will wander about New Zealand in December and January, and travel to the UK via Canada (for snowboarding in February) and Italy (for Ultimate in March). To complete the circle, I hope to arrive in the UK on April 11 2002, the 365th day since I originally left. I haven’t yet unpacked, but doubtless that will happen at some point.