I am just a teeny wee bit excited about tomorrow… a half a sleep away and we are taking off from Auckland Airport and we will set foot on Samoan Soil. I thought I would take a moment to reflect on this journey so far and then think through what I really hope to get out of this trip to Chase Dad.
When I started this project, it was with the trademark enthusiasm that I tend to chase after new ideas and concepts with… It has kinda waned a little, but that has been more due to a bout of Glandular Fever and a general lack of motivation that the Glange brings with it… Sucky Much!
One of the first ideas to find Dad was to chase the little boy from the Photo… Did I find Dad there? Well the short answer is NO… but I did find a whole bunch of people that were captivated by the idea of chasing down an unknown boy. The support in that venture was truly humbling and still sends chills up my spine! So Dad wasn’t to be found in a forgotten photograph.
Interspersed with posts about this trip were excerpts from my trip to Fiji last year. I have had some great feedback on those posts and a lot of people have a heart for Fiji and the issues that effect that part of the world. Did I find Dad in Fiji? Well… NO again I am sorry. What I DID find were people that have a real passion for those countries on the back of our little kiwi doorstep. And when I was there, I found some truly amazing people that were so supportive of what I was hoping to do in the Fiji phase of Chasing Dad! I found a country that has a real soul and a real appreciation of LIFE. I didn’t find it in the resorts and party islands… I found it on the back roads and buses with local people.
I went to Palmerston North recently. Whilst that may conjure up many different ideas in your head, for me it is the place where I lived with my Dad. The place where my parents hoped would “Man me up” after living with just my Mum and Sister for 4 years… It was the place where my Dad and I lived together, for a few years just the two of us… We lived in a flat that is now a car-yard and we lived for some time in a rumpus room at my Aunty’s neighbour’s property… we slowly forged a special friendship and relationship. Palmy is also the place where I watched my Dad slowly turn into a different person. It is where I watched Dad stop at green traffic lights and stall the car in 4th gear at intersections. He wasn’t a bad driver, he was just losing connections in his brain. Being back in Palmerston North this time was actually quite special. Dad and I went to the same High School. When I was losing my Dad in a cloud of Alzheimer’s induced fading memories, there were so many people there that enabled me to cope. I wouldn’t say I thrived in Palmy… Coped would be about the extent of it. But without the support of some very special people, it would have been way worse. Did I find Dad in Palmy? Nope. I DID however, find comfort in the many people that got me through one of the toughest times in my life.
Do I expect to find Dad in Samoa? Well… that is the big question. I know that nothing will bring my Dad back, and nothing will change what has already happened… but I DO intend to see and hear sights and sounds that my Dad fell in love with. To meet a people with a warmth that forever captured his heart and my imagination.
Whilst I am away I won’t be writing or live-tweeting the events that unfold. I am going to take a holiday to celebrate and remember with my family. Losing Dad wasn’t easy but finding Him is totally about looking in all the right places.