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  • Writer's pictureTai John

Texas Tea

Updated: 20 hours ago

The title says it all, safe to say, I made it home to Texas. Amidst all the drama with my VISA, housing, & work, I made it! What a fly by 2 and a half weeks it was. I had such a bittersweet time being back home with my family & friends & am truly grateful nonetheless that I was able to make the trip possible.

**Disclaimer: My videos would not post thus why my content may seem a bit scarce**

Before we get tipsy on this Texas tea, let’s rewind to my arrival in Texas. On April 2nd I flew from Queenstown (where I currently reside) to Christchurch & had a 6-hour layover that I spent with my Thai family. Then it was off to the airport again for my next flight to Auckland where I had a 4-plus hour layover as my flight got delayed multiple times. Finally, off to Houston for 13 hours & change. I was blessed to fly comfortably in first class, courtesy of my parents and their welcome home/“we want to ensure you're comfortable for such a long flight” gift. I spent like 24 hours traveling if you think about it. The weirdest part of all, I left New Zealand on April 2nd & arrived in Texas on April 2nd…Yeah, I time travel lol!

Lucky me, got picked up from the airport with the best welcome crew, my brother drove, whom I hadn’t seen in years since he moved to Arizona in 20-something before I left the country. He surprised me with two of my good friends in the back seat, Jordan & Ciara! When I tell you I screamed! So good to see my family & friends fresh off the plane. Next was making it to the house to see my parents & Romeo & Juliet (my brother's dogs, aka my niece and nephew). Oh man let me tell you something about hugs, hugs are where you release all the love, so many tight hugs & lots of love. I missed my parents, it was so great to see & embrace them again.

The next day guess what finally came through? My background check from the FBI & my New Zealand Accredited Employer VISA got approved in minutes! Yet I was in New Zealand, struggling, frustrated, ready to give up & go home for good & BOOM! Wild. The literal day after I arrive in Texas. Regardless of the time frame, good news is good news.

On the flip side, not-so-good news, I was so stressed & pressed for security & peace of mind in New Zealand that before I left while I was homeless holidaying for 3 weeks between VISAs, I was searching for housing & thought I landed on a gold mine only to get scammed out of the NZD 1,525 (USD 897) & not have a place to live when I return. The signs that I was getting scammed were there but I think I was so desperate & not in my right mind that it flew over my head until the last minute. Hard & pricey lesson learned though. Don’t sign contracts & put down money without seeing a place in person. Pictures & giving a “Godly individual” the benefit of the doubt can’t be enough to go off of. Period.

Back to the tasty tea, pretty much every day was spent with my family & friends in some way, shape, or form. I’m surprised I moved around as much as I did & drove as well considering I was a bit concerned about how re-adjusting to driving on the right side of the road would be. But it felt natural again in no time. I was booked & busy from backyard chillin' board games, movie nights, & go-cart rides with the fam to group get-togethers, brunches, lunches, dinners, so many food outings (so good, so well seasoned but I had my fill for sure), one fun & photo-filled museum outing, girls' night out, & about two pool days/evenings. All in all, when I tell you the vibes, energy, & love, all felt in perfect sync. I truly was surrounded by nothing but love, good vibes, & good energy, because there were energies & people I was blocked from during my time there & for good reason. Outside of all my socializing, I did a major closet cleanse. I went through all of my clothes, shoes, & accessories, & donated 9 boxes. I am proud of myself, if you know the fashionista I am, I had quite the boutique-worth of clothes going for myself. Living in New Zealand, moving around as much as I have, and adapting to different climates, I learned that less is more. This led me to thoroughly enjoy removing many items that were doing nothing more than taking up space. The things I donated were either new, never worn, too small, worn out, or out of style for me. Blessed be the individuals that get ahold of my giveaway goodies!

As short as my two & a half weeks were, I did my best to ensure I made time to see & spend time with as many of my people as possible. Some I didn’t get to see this time around, but hey, we’re all adults with our own lives & things going on, those that made the time for me, I did for them alike if I was able to. It’s all love. Pretty much got to see everyone in the picture below from my going away party in August 2022. It was a lovely full-circle moment for me to come back & see them again.

Got to see a few others not pictured as well, tried to get as many pics in as possible but sometimes you just have to be in the moment, the phone, & the pictures don’t matter as much as just being present. I truly enjoyed my time back home through & through & didn’t realize just how much I missed it all until I got to experience a completely different lifestyle, culture, people, & so much more on the other side of the world for a little over a year. I can say I’m grateful to have gotten to experience the best of both worlds, living in the U.S. & living overseas. I hope to continue to find my space amongst both.

Back to my reality, which is Queenstown, New Zealand. I can’t say at the moment how I feel about going back because I’m still missing home so much already. I’m writing this as I’m sitting in my seat, ready for take-off from my flight in Houston at 9:55 PM, April 19th to Auckland New Zealand. Trust me, I’m feeling many things right now but I’m sure once I’m able to get everything sorted that I need to when I return I’ll feel more at ease.

My focus when I return is to spend some dedicated time getting me to where I want to be spiritually, emotionally, physically, & mentally. I want to continue strengthening my relationship with God. I’d like to continue getting more in tune with my emotions, allowing them to come as they may, identify what I’m feeling, why I’m feeling it, & sit in it, but not sink. Physically, I honestly want to fall in love with all parts of my body again, just haven’t been feeling it lately. With everything happening in my life lately, my physical health was the least of my worries. Once I get my life sorted, I’ll be hitting the gym again. Mental health I think is the umbrella for everything, everything as far as spiritual, emotional, & physical health all equals ultimate mental health for me.

I landed in Auckland on April 21st at 5 something in the AM & my flight to Queenstown wasn’t until 7:55 AM. I arrived in Queenstown at 9:55 AM & was picked up by my lovely friend Ava (Avacado). We hit the ground running, & stopped by my job to get a room sorted for a few nights, as I am still in between housing. While waiting for my room to get sorted, we headed out for a yummy brekkie then took a short drive to Arrowtown & strolled through the farmers market they were having. We then went to view a long-term accommodation I had pre-arranged to view when I arrived in Queenstown, which was very hopeful! Still in our groove, we headed to town to see about filing a police report for the housing I was scammed out of, I was given all the information I needed to file the report online. We returned to the hotel, got my room, & parted ways for the evening as we both had things we needed to do for ourselves. It was time for me to shower after time traveling for days, file my police report, finish this blog post, get some dinner, & kick back & relax. That I did. That’s the Texas Tea. Here’s to New Zealand part 2. Keep your cups ready!

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