Trying my best to answer questions
photo by Aaron Carlino

The reporter waved as we pulled into the car park at Mt Victoria, my husband in the passenger seat. They hooked up a microphone to get some clips for the online story. That was pretty cool and all but honestly, my thoughts were swirling. I couldn’t even form a sentence.

Before arriving, Joe sent an email telling me what he’d be wearing so I knew what to look for. Imagine that! Joe ‘Wellington’ helping me with the search!

He also noted that if there were cruise ships in the harbour, the lookout would be a bit busy. He wasn’t wrong. Two tour busses pulled in just behind me. This made me very nervous that he’d be a no-show.

Seeing Joe for the first time in 18 years atop Mt Vic
photo by Aaron Carlino
photo by Aaron Carlino

But he showed.

As soon as he hit the platform atop the stairs, I knew it was him.

I waved, in case he didn’t recognize me from the photos in the paper.

I’ve found Joe Wareham
photo by Aaron Carlino

Both of us grinning, we hugged.

After checking in on how the other was coping with this, we didn’t miss a beat catching up. As comfortable and genuine (although definitely awkward with the media there) as it was when we met all those years ago.

Beautiful Wellington in the background
photo by Aaron Carlino

“Have you been quite homesick?” He asked.

Such a simple question, but one only someone who could relate would ask.

I nodded, grateful for the sincerity, familiar sorrow from when I was 19 returning briefly.

“Oh, I probably could’ve helped with that a bit when you arrived,” he said.

We laughed.

That’s just like the Joe I remember. Kind, thoughtful words even 18 years later.

I apologised for making such a big stink of it. He said he should’ve reached out when he heard of the blog, but was too shy. I don’t blame him. Looking at it from his perspective, it’s pretty weird that someone would blog about searching for you. But that’s how my creative mind works. And anyone who’s read the blog knows it’s how I’ve coped with moving here; a creative outlet that’s given me a way to keep my loved ones overseas in the loop.

“But it worked! I found you!”
photo by Aaron Carlino
Jessy interviewing Joe. I think he reveals here he didn’t see
the psychic in San Francisco, only waited while I did!
photo by Aaron Carlino
Joe, you’ve got a lovely home
photo by Aaron Carlino

When the reporter and photographer left, the three of us continued to chat as another tour bus rolled in. I took this opportunity to do a celebratory jig around the lookout in honour of finally finding Joe.

We exchanged mobiles and took selfies. He’s said he’d like to catch up some more soon (we’ve got 18 years worth!), which I’m eager for. He’s even said he may write up a post from his perspective for the blog. I’d love it.

It’s been an amazing week. So much anxiety, uncertainty, excitement, moments of shame, insecurity, but ultimately, the good will find you. There’s no expectations on my end. It’s been thrilling, I’m very grateful for his openness. It’s a fun story to think we met so long ago in the USA and now here we are in New Zealand.

I couldn’t have done it with you, Wellingtonians. Thank you.

This time I’ve got several pictures, a number, an address, and I’ll be sure not to lose touch with Joe Wareham from Wellington.

Joe and Lissa February 2016 Mt Victoria
photo by Aaron Carlino

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