A Part of Me

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It has been almost two months since I moved from the Midlands to London. I’m used to moving and, having moved from New Zealand to England before, this one was only a baby move in comparison.

I’m very glad I moved. I’ve been very lucky to have lots of work and I’ve enjoyed getting to know new colleagues in two large newsrooms. I love being closer to the friends I missed so much while I lived further north. I love the buzz of London, the galleries, the museums, the concert halls. I love the colours, the food and the music. But sometimes it’s easy to feel lost. 

In a massive city of so many people with their own lives and purpose, I sometimes feel very small, insignificant and I’m reminded that the pond I’m swimming in here is much larger than any other pond I’ve ever been swimming in. But I keep swimming, and find things to delight in, get involved in and connect with along the way.

And I build resilience. I feel like I have used up a lot of resilience in the past year, but my mother told me before I moved that she was proud of how resilient I am. I don’t always feel resilient. But I’ve a lot to live up to.

I am the grand daughter of two Britons who also travelled across the world – to make a new life in New Zealand. From what I know, they had a few struggles too and it wasn’t always easy. But they did it, I assume, through determination, hard work and – yes – resilience.

I am the grand daughter of a Kiwi farmer who also travelled half a world away (in the other direction) to serve in one of the riskiest services in the war. I read once that at one point in the 1940s the average life expectancy for a crew in Bomber Command was two weeks. Two weeks. What courage it must have taken to step into that plane each night! But he survived. Skill, sure, but just as likely a great deal of luck and – yes – resilience. When one of the Lancaster’s engines cut out over Vlissingen, he didn’t say: “Right, that’s it boys. Time to give up”. He flew the plane home. He flew it home.

And I’m the grand daughter of his wife. A woman who stayed strong and true back in New Zealand; who was his rock and his inspiration. A woman who waited for his return and, in a way everyone who has loved a soldier will understand, made her own sacrifices to “keep the home fires burning”. Love, strength and – yes – resilience.

I am the daughter of a couple who have, through love and hard work, crafted a marriage that has lasted 38 years. That’s certainly nothing to be sneezed at today. Two people who have worked for what they have but also given so generously; who lead from the front. Two people who are, in their own quiet ways, tough and determined and – yes – resilient.

And I am a Kiwi. From a country where people know what it’s like to travel far and to explore the world. From a country made of brave natives and courageous migrants. A land where we’re used to being small, a land where so many other nations tower over us in size and strength. But a land where we make up for it with determination, resourcefulness and – yes – resilience.

All of that runs through my veins. That’s why I don’t give up.

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