My most recent guest was a charming woman a few years older than me, also on her own and choosing the next "stage" of her life. She has loved Italy for longer than I have, but she chooses to stay in NZ. Her next move takes her back to her friends and a social life that she had put on hold for a while. It's the kind of life I thought I might be living, back when I left my marriage. A two bedroomed apartment in central Auckland, concerts, galleries, you know the sort of thing. Running or walking the Around the Bays, listening to music, walking, beach strolls... a far cry from the life I lead on my scruffy mountainside. Everything familiar, beautiful, and on a practical level, very easy.
When I put her on a train this morning I asked myself yet again, why do I reject the "perfect life" in beautiful New Zealand? What is this strange urge to bury myself in a country where life is not easy and I am still, more than five years on, struggling to find the right words every day?
An answer hit me a minute ago.
I think that I am half hermit. Here I can hide away, ignore the world, and indulge in my art and writing. Perhaps I really don't want to be in the middle of my own culture, where I must participate and be sociable. Perhaps I am more anti-social than social. I like to think of myself as a big picture person, and maybe back there I couldn't see the wood for the trees.
Back in NZ I was planting myself in, planting trees to hide my home from the world. My dream was not your normal Kiwi dream. I wonder, am I recreating that dream in a completely different way, unconsciously?
There is a sense of relief that after five and a half years of living here I have finally identified something that links my present life to the dream that I nurtured so long ago.
Today I am grateful for flashes of inspiration.