Since coming to New Zealand seven weeks ago Dan and I have engaged in many introductory conversations. People ask us where we're from, which is more difficult to answer than you'd think. Yesterday Dan told someone that although he was born in Auckland, he was raised in Hong Kong and England. The guy said, 'Ah, yeah, thought you sounded like a pom.' I cracked up, I mean, who calls someone a POM?!
Dan later translated that a pom is an Antipodean term for Brits. I don't think British people LOVE being called poms, but Dan assured me it's not too controversial, like calling an American a Yank or something. Some say that 'pom' originated from the British convicts first shipped to Australia back in the day who were called Prisoners of Mother England. What I find hilarious is that Aussies and Kiwis are still calling Brits Prisoners of Mother England today.
After four years, there is a special place in my heart for Mother England. I have many great friends and fond memories on that island nation. It was my home, I am very thankful for it and it was definitely where I needed to be. But after leaving England for good, I can finally say... THAT WAS HARD.
I'm not disrespecting England here – it really has little to do with England - but I will admit that my time there felt like a four-year season of being stretched. Of being slightly, but constantly uncomfortable. For some reason, and not for lack of effort, it was a place where I personally found it difficult to thrive. And since I'm into thriving, that was hard. Sometimes, in the midst, I felt like the season of stretching would never end.
But it has. And it's only dawning on me slowly.
So while I don't take the shipping of prisoners across the world to populate a colony lightly, I have to admit the term pom makes me smile. Because only now am I starting to feel free from Mother England myself and all the difficult, but important, lessons she had for me. I smile because I can feel that England is losing it's grip on me. A few weeks ago it was still in me, but now I feel it fading.
It's taken me a while to realise that England is no longer my framework. After four years of pressing on and trying to stay positive, it's difficult to believe I've crossed the finish line. That hopefully I have learned something. That I am in a new season.
I'm not sharing all this to gloat, but because I know quite a few people who've been in similar seasons of stretching where it's felt like it would never end. And I wanted to state a truth: seasons end. They are for a purpose, and they end.
If you're in a stretching season, keep it up and remember that it's not forever. If you're not in a stretching season, enjoy it. If, like me, you've just finished, then well done. Here's to the next season.