Angela Cuming -aka everyone’s favourite new Spinoff writer -writes about temporarily losing her mind, raising a team of Mooloos and saying goodbye to someone she’s never met before*. Follow her @angelacuming on Twitter and see why she’s the best thing to come back from Northern Ireland.
A little while back I temporarily lost my mind and decided to leave the Tron for Northern Ireland.
My husband and I, plus our little Mooloo baby Charlie and SPCA Waikato rescue kitties Daisy and Puku packed up our Hamilton East whare and headed to the other side of the world to see what it was like to live where Mr Angela had grown up, and where his family still lived.
It was a steep learning curve. Belfast is a long way from then Tron and very soon after our arrival I felt the first twinge of homesickness. Even the Daily Mail’s free calendar feature 12 baby photos of Prince George couldn’t cheer me up.
At first I tried to forget it, to put Hamilton out of my mind and immerse myself in my new, Northern Irish home. But, like that packet of Griffin’s Hundreds and Thousands biscuits you’ve got tucked away in the cupboard and hidden from the kids, my adopted home city in the mighty Waikato would stray back into my thoughts.
I began to allow the Tron back into my life. My prized Mooloo cowbell went on display in our living room, I wore my Chiefs hoody down to the village pub, a framed photo of Sonny Bill Williams went on Charlie’s bedroom wall.
But my real source of comfort during that lonely time was a twitter account run by someone (or several someones) I have never met, never will meet, and whose identity will forever remain a mystery to me.
Love the Tron, the social media juggernaut that celebrates all that is good and great in Hamilton, because my closest companion for those 18 months we were away. Here I could see photos of my beloved home, keep up to day with what new businesses were opening (Duck Island Icecream! Grey St Kitchen! Hayes Common!), which were closing, which street had the best Christmas lights that year, what was the stand out event at the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival.
It’s beautiful hashtag, the #HamiltonMafia, kept me in contact with a circle of some of the best and brightest living and working in the Tron, from the gifted artist and writer Josh Drummond to the kind and civic-minded Nick Johnston to the lover of food and tea and tutus, Chamfy.
They felt like my friends, they were my friends. Villages take on many different forms these days, and thanks to the interwebs we can build relationships and friendships with people through all different means of communication, even if it means we never meet the people we have connected with.
After a while I didn’t feel so homesick anymore and the yucky feeling in my tummy every time I thought about home wasn’t there much at all.
I began to relax a bit into life in Northern Ireland because, in my mind, it was like we were still living in Hamilton anyway, just a really long drive away from Victoria St and with much worse weather.
When our little Mooloo indentical twin boys were born in October 2015 we gave one of them the middle name Hamilton, the other William after my pinup SBW, as a way to honour their Waikato turangawaewae.
Then as fate would have it our circumstances changed and it was time to happily return back to the Tron. One of the first people I told was Love the Tron. In true style they offered to throw me a welcome back party – an offer I was sorry to have to decline due to baby duties.
And now it is my turn to attend a farewell party for one of the star members of the Hamilton Mafia, our pint-sized powerhouse Chamfy, who is leaving on a jetplane for a fancy new job in Wellywood.
I’ve never met Chamfy in person, it should be an odd feeling to be meeting her and saying goodbye to her at the same time, but it’s not. I’ve known her since Love the Tron brought her, and so many others like her, into my orbit.
Chamfy loves the Tron – and its food – and I think she’s probably going to miss this place as much as I did.
But I also think, like me, she will learn that life in Hamilton is allegorical. That once you step into the Tron you never really leave, it goes with you and stays in your heart forever.
So go well, Chamfy. Thanks for all the memories. We will miss your #ChamfyFoodPorn, your love of good books, her excellent use of hashtags, her sincere and enthusiastic championing of Hamilton (and in particular the amazing women who live and work her) and her super cute BF, Mr Horny Kitten Hotness (actual name, I think).
And as you descend into full hipster Wellington mode with its ramen noodles pop-ups and specialist peanut butter shops (seriously), remember that you will always have a spot saved at the table back home for you in the Tron.
*full disclosure**: we are publishing this piece 6 weeks after it was written for secret lovethetron reasons that cannot be disclosed
**ok, so partial disclosure