Colleen Paisley is a grandmother of four reflecting on her life so that these children may have a way of exploring their own genealogy, if they so desire. She is also a published poet and a psychotherapist.
I stepped off the MV Ruahine in Southampton, after four fun-filled weeks, and boarded the train for London. The most amazing sense of de ja vu came over me. Everywhere I looked was familiar. I had seen it all before. I had come home. This is where I belonged and where I felt alive. A comfortable sense of groundedness.
From around twelve years old I had a strong sense of wanting and intending to travel to the United Kingdom. This was not driven by family connections. My Irish born paternal grandfather did not speak of his life prior to his arrival in the colonies at 21 years of age. His passion was history but not his own recent past. He did not return to the UK. My other grandparents were born here.
As I moved through my early and mid-teens I was attracted to British born boys, sailors visiting. I worked very hard to save money for my planned trip. My parents reluctantly agreed that I could go when I had saved ‘x’ amount of money, secure in the knowledge that there was no way I could achieve this.
When I did, at the age of eighteen, they agreed reluctantly that I could go but must book my return fare. This was the 1950s and my friends all had the traditional path in mind – boyfriend, marriage, house, babies. I did not deviate from my goal, however, and did not question my gut feeling or my heart.
I met my future husband on the ship but it was two years before I could resign myself to returning to New Zealand to be married, to please my parents.
I had no knowledge of past lives at this time, but when I reached England I knew without a doubt that I had been here before and that sense of belonging at a deep soul level has remained.
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