I cried when I left New Zealand. Outside the gate I hugged my Dad + sister goodbye, brave face brave face smile. I'm fine I'm fine. I love you, I'll miss you. It'll be grand, I'll text you when we get to Bangkok. We waved as we walked through the gate, and as I turned my head away I already had tears spilling out, and as I stepped out of view I choked back the ugly cry. The home sickness, and the all encompassing wave of missing my family even though I'd just seen them. Even though they were just metres behind me. There's something hard about walking away, moving yourself to the other side of the world, where you know it will be years before you get to see your family again. This time was much harder than the last. I felt that last time I had no idea about how it was going to go, I knew that leaving people behind would be a thing, but I didn't realise how much of a thing. It was new! There will be adventures! I was leaving with my eye on the prize, with barely a glance back. This time I knew. This time I knew what absence meant. How the world I was leaving would move on without me, how relationships would drift and people will age and change. How home would look and feel different when I came back next.
It was Zee that pulled me back together. The look of concern on his face was enough for me to compose myself. It will be okay, I'll miss them, he doesn't want to deal with this. I think if it had been just me, I would have cried myself out. Strangers don't mind despair. They politely turn a blind eye and let you get all your feelings out. But someone who knows you and loves you? I didn't want to burden him with this - for him this was an adventure, not a goodbye. So I bit my tongue, dried my eyes and we walked through customs, taking off our belts and our shoes, and went onwards to Thailand.