It’s not quite 3am Sunday morning here in Hamilton. I’m sitting in the darkness typing this on my phone while my friend Lana is beside me, doing a better job of trying to ignore the stream of drunk people that keep finding their way to our door. Don't worry Mum, we’re safe, that door is pretty legit. Plus he eventually found the right door and finally left ours alone - but now I can't sleep.
We’re sharing a queen size bed because I forgot to request two singles before the day we came. The room was part of the prize I won for the Whakatane Poetry Slam heats. Even though the woman at the reception desk was friendly, I think she was trying to figure out if we were a couple or not. Personally I don’t find it an issue to share a bed.
Saturday night was the finals of the NZ Poetry Slam, that’s why I’m here. I didn't make the second round (there were three altogether), which on one part was disappointing, but I have to remember that like any art form, it is subjective. My poem just didn't connect with the judges on the night and that's OK. I’m going back to the drawing board, learn my lessons and come back a better writer and performer.
Afterwards we walked to the CBD in search of fried chicken (those who know me most understand this obsession). Instead I found kumara chips. The guy from Beef Eaters looked at me strange when I asked him if the kumara chips were crispy or soggy. He hesitantly replied that it was soggy. After a decent attempt at the mound of chips, I decided I was coordinated enough to walk and eat at the same time. From the looks of the people walking towards us, I say I looked like I was enjoying it a little too much. The walking advertisement for late night cravings.
Last night was also the Tonga vs Samoa game of the Rugby World Cup. I had to laugh because it was like a sea of red and blue - mostly red because Tonga won I guess. Last time it was a sea of red and blue in Whakatane we made national news for the wrong reasons.
As we walked back to the car, we had to turn down various offers of a ‘good time’ from boys hanging out of car windows. My squats at the gym must be really paying off. Maybe it was my new gold pants that brought all the boys to the yard. Either that or they could smell the kumara chips. Probably the kumara chips aye.
It’s coming up to the last two months of the year, and tonight it finally dawned on me just how much of my life is about to change. Next month I’m going to say goodbye to what has been five years of my life - the dance studio. Though I know I have the choice to re-open it again, it won't be the same.
Those years I spent sharing, motivating, building trust, mentoring and pushing kids out of their comfort zones - now it’s time for me to do the same. To seek my teachers, to try new things, to have meltdowns and frustrating moments because it will prepare me for the next chapter in my life. To be free.
When one door closes, another opens. And if that door doesn’t exist, I trust myself to have the skills to build another.