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  • Writer's pictureTai John

Summing Up September

Do you remember, my very first post about my journey in September?! (Read and hum to the tune of September by Earth, Wind, & Fire...I know it semi-rhymes). Well if you don't remember, take a read of Kia Ora from New Zealand first & read through a few more of my life update posts until you get to this one. I want you to see & understand my evolution over the course of a month from my point of view.

September took my mental, emotional, & physical states on the roller coaster ride of my life! That's not to say that things were always smooth sailing or stormy seas, no it has been a mixture of both & everything in between. I've had my lows as well as my highs, which I expected. As I stated in my blog post, Bon Voyage Texas, "Disclaimer; by no means, do I have the idea or expectation that the grass will be greener on the other side of the world, but I do know that my time in New Zealand will allow me to meet more people, have more experiences, indulge myself in new cultures, learn more lessons, gain more blessings, & grow in new ways." which it has done just that & then some. That's the thing about not having specific expectations for an experience, you are able to be fully submerged into the experience & go with the flow. Me, being someone who always has to have an itinerary or plan, I didn't go into this journey with one & I feel that has been the best decision I could have made for myself.


Mentally

I feel that being the person that generally attracts people who need someone to listen, confide in, or seek wisdom from, as well as being a mental health counselor for a period of time, has definitely prepared me mentally for this journey. The mind is a powerful thing, it is the controller of everything, so always be mindful of your thoughts daily, they can either uplift you or send you into a deep depression. Moving across the world to a country where I have no family, or friends, & am a day ahead, has shown me just how strong I can be alone. I feel like being able to be alone, at peace, & able to thrive in your solitude is a superpower that is not bestowed upon many. It has been bestowed upon me & I now see why. Since I was a child I have always been a lone wolf & for good reason, because God knew that throughout my life there would be many times where it would just be me.


Since I was a child, I never made friends easily, & even with the friends I did make, I always enjoyed playing alone the most, even started talking to myself at a very young age (call me crazy, but if you know, you know). As I grew older it wasn't always as comfortable but I grew through the discomfort & became more comfortable being my own company in & out of the house. Eventually, that evolved into being able to not just be with me in & out of the house but travel-wise as well. I've traveled many places with family, friends, & alone, but never across the world for the purpose of immigrating.


But I've been here since September 3rd continuing on with my lone wolf tendencies from solo drinks, lunches, dinners, outings, & explorations. Being my own company & sometimes sinking in solitude, while also thriving. There have been many times when my self-defeating thoughts brought me into a deep depression, questioning why I'm here, my purpose if I'm cut out for this, & even questioning what my life would be like if I returned to the states. For every self-defeating, self-sabotaging thought, I had a strong woman who immigrated from Trinidad & Tobago to the United States at the age of 18, constantly encouraging & empowering me to remain prayed up, keep my faith, & not give up. That woman is my mom.

Emotionally

Despite the tough, resting bitch face, tough skin, & emotionally unavailable exterior I display at times, I am a crybaby! I cry for any & everything. Growing up, my mom always made me feel as if crying was a weakness & absolutely could not stand when I would cry (I did it often) & that's something that I have had to unlearn throughout life. I now attribute any display of emotion as strength. It's okay to feel things & express them through emotion. It's healthy. It's necessary & needed. My well of tears spilled at my going away party when my friends & family were sharing their sentiments & well wishes. I cried when I was hugging my parents at the airport & leaving behind the comforts of what I knew as home. I cried on my first day in Auckland, New Zealand & for good reason, it was a tough & not-so-welcoming entry into the country (catch up in my Kia Ora from New Zealand post if you're lost.) I balled my eyes out on a phone call with my dad when I told him I was feeling depressed & felt like a walking attraction in the worst way (not too much diversity here & some racist people, but this is not my first rodeo with that). I'm even crying now as I write this because I'm reliving everything & I feel it just as strongly as I did when I was in that moment. I'm not ashamed of my tears or tear tantrums as I like to call them because I would be a bigger mess if I kept all my emotions in. It's not all tears either, I've been angry, frustrated, irritated, lonely, happy, grateful, appreciative, & so much more. I'm glad I am so emotionally well-rounded, able to have my moments, good or bad, & move on.


Physically

I would like to think I've always been decently physically fit. I would work out three times a week back home religiously. But traveling to the other side of the world alone with two heavy-ass bags & having to skip, hip, hop, & move along, generally on foot, as I don't have the luxury of having my own vehicle anymore has shown me a different kind of strength I wasn't aware I possessed. New Zealand is a country that prides itself on physical fitness (although by looking at many of the people here, it's questionable), which means if you don't have your own vehicle or use public transport, you are your own form of transportation, you're feet that is. Most places do not have elevators or lifts as they call them here. I told you'll about my experience dragging my two heavy ass suitcases up two flights of stairs at the hostel I was staying for a week. And even if you do take public transport, which are buses, taxis, or Ubers here, you still have to walk depending on where your destination is. Safe to say ya girl lost some weight, that with a combination of being so picky with the bland options New Zealand has to offer food-wise to the point that I only ate a meal a day. I was happy about the tummy loss, but not my little booties matter growth I made (I'll get it back soon enough).


I haven't just been tested physically with my personal baggage but with others as well at work! When I tell you'll I work at a 4.5-star hotel & the receptionist does everything, I mean EVERYTHING! I valet cars, unload, lift, carry, & transport various sized & weighted bags, I do room service, check people in, & out, & answer a million questions almost every day with the exception of my two off days. My right foot is still sprained to this day & has been sprained since I got to New Zealand, but I still trudge on. I don't always have help so I have to again, do many things by myself. Like moving a queen-sized bed out of my room, down a flight of stairs, & helping someone load it in their trailer then moving an even heavier queen-sized bed up the flight of stairs again & into my room. Physically I expect to look like She-Hulk by the end of 2022 because baby, my body has been put to the test!


Understanding

I share these things to help myself understand & see the growth & change in me. Because Twenty-three year old me could never have navigated through some of the things I have here in a month. Twenty-three-year-old me, back in Australia in 2016, interning for a magazine company, trying to do the exact same thing I am now, was mentally, emotionally, & physically weak. As much as I wanted to stay in Melbourne, I gave into my self-sabotaging thoughts, & home-sick feelings, & returned home, only to be more miserable in the states. Now I understand why God made it possible for me to go back home, it wasn't easy or comfortable by any means but I needed those five years to grow & evolve into one of the best versions of myself. I needed to become mentally, emotionally, & physically strong to take this solo journey across the world & show myself just what He knew I was made of. Twenty-three-year-old me would have caught a flight back to the states in the middle of September. Twenty-nine-year-old me cried, screamed, talked, & prayed it out & am still here to share my journey.

I'm so damn proud of myself. I moved across the world, far from everything & everyone I know. Far from my comforts & luxuries. I started working. I found permanent accommodation (meet my townhome pictured to the right, I call it Spongebob for obvious reasons). I met lots of people, even made some that I would call friends. I embraced good & bad experiences. I tried, failed, & succeeded at many things. I got lost & found in many ways. I got closer to God, my family, & my faith. And I did it all in ONE MONTH. If that doesn't speak volumes about how much time, faith, perseverance, & constant work can change someone & their life, I don't know what will. I'm so damn proud of myself & regardless of what happens next, I will continue to be proud of myself & remind myself of how far I have come & how much farther I can go.


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