09 December 2013

Letters to my teenage self {Part 3}

Dear Meghan

Last time we wrote you were in the thick of university study, doing your best to navigate a potentially destructive but compelling relationship.

During your second year of study the opportunity arises to go to Japan for the summer to work in the ski-fields - despite your many years studying the Japanese language this year brings your first real chance to immerse yourself in the language and culture for real, both with a month long stay at a university in Kyoto earlier in the year and now this opportunity.

This equals time apart - he will also be working in Japan but at the other end of the country and this gives you some breathing space from the intensity of the relationship - sure there's letters and phone calls but mostly you can just enjoy the experience of being immersed in all things Japanese and getting to know the 5 other Kiwis who are with you on the ski-field.

Towards the end of your stay, he decides that he will stay on for longer at the tulip nursery in southern Japan as the chance to earn good money is more appealing than a return to university and he tries to entice you to come and join him. You are on track to finish your university degree this year and don't really want to put off graduation, but reluctantly you agree to the idea, such is his hold on you. But it doesn't feel right, and despite not feeling that close to God at this time nor that you even have the right to ask for help, you pray that if this is not part of God's plan for you that he will find a way to shut this door.

A few days before you are due to leave the ski-field and travel to meet him, you get a call from a university friend of yours who is also working with him that he hasn't been entirely faithful to your relationship during this time apart and she warns you against coming to work there. It is the 'out clause' you have been desperately searching for, and so you take it. You refuse to take his calls and make plans to instead return home to NZ as your heart tells you is the right thing to do. You write him a letter telling him of your disappointment and your plans to return home but you decide not to speak to him in case he tries to talk you out of it.

You leave Japan, but unbeknownst to you he is on his way home to NZ now too, desperate to reconcile and to work through these issues. He meets you at the airport along with your parents and although you don't want to be walked all over, you decide you want the chance to sort things out.

In this last year at university you enjoy student life living in a flat with some other friends whilst he drops out of university and lives in Auckland pursuing full-time work. He convinces you to give the relationship another chance and so this year you make the trip from Hamilton to Auckland most weekends to see him. Distance makes the relationship less tempestuous but before long you are finished university and he gets an opportunity to work down in Wellington, basically demanding that you join him there or the relationship is over. You are at a loss and needing to find a job now that you have graduated so Wellington sounds as good a place as any to go to.

It's lonely down here though, you have no friends bar him, and living with him isn't easy. You also have to make it on your own finding work. The part-time job you held at Burger King while studying holds in you in good stead to get a job at the newly opened Burger King on Lambton Quay but this only lasts a few weeks before you move on to a breakfast waitressing job at the Novotel on the Terrace and then in another few weeks you manage to secure what feels like a 'real job' as a receptionist at the Museum Hotel.

The year is 1998...it's February and Te Papa has just had its grand opening the week you start work across the road at the hotel. Little do you know but it's going to be a very eventful year....

to be continued....

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