Eventually I started another new school, Kerikeri High School (in New Zealand high school is often referred to as college). Thankfully it was at the beginning of the year this time and therefore not quite so difficult. I met several people I got along with, but nothing too special.
About six months after starting my new college I found out that a friend of Susie's wrote to someone in my school (Jan) and so I found out her name and tried to find her. Eventually I did and introduced myself to her.
Over the course of the next few months we kept bumping into each other and started chatting on a more regular basis. Jan wasn't the typical person I got along with as I was a rather loud, obnoxious teenager at that stage. I had also launched into the 'lie' phase of my life. For some reason when my father died I plunged headlong into making myself seem so much more exciting and since I had a boring life, lies were the only way, or so I thought!
Jan and I became friends over a period of time. We went on school trips together, we occassionally did things over the weekend and our friendship just grew from that!
When we both left school Jan went into the accounting side of things and I took my first job of many in a local bank. I took off to Australia and on my return I moved to Pahiatua and worked in Dannevirke (about a 30 minute drive). I clearly remember the day that Jan phoned me at work and told me that she had booked a Contiki Tour around Europe and was I going to come with her or not. Knowing that I'd always wanted to travel to Europe I told her to book me a ticket as well and I'd be there with her.
We had a fantastic two month tour of Europe together. I stayed with her relatives when we arrived in England as we didn't know anyone there. To prove to you what a trooper she is, at that point I was a smoker and she sat with me every day with me puffing at her side - never once did she complain or tell me to give up smoking. She also watched me do some very silly things and yet didn't pass judgement.
When we returned to England after our European tour, Jan did another Contiki tour around the UK and I found myself a pub job. When she returned she decided to go back to NZ straight away while I remained in England. I went onto another pub job and moved to a place called Maidenhead and along the way made friends with Andy and Catherine Gill who somehow ended up having me live in their home. I returned to NZ around Christmas of 1985 and in 1986 Andy did a tour or NZ and asked if I could pick him up at Auckland airport. Jan and I were flatting together in Auckland and I didn't have a car of my own so I asked her to take me to the airport to pick up Andy, she didn't hesitate. Andy and Jan locked eyes at the airport and they fell madly in love with each other. They haven't been separated since and are very happily married and have two wonderful children together.
Jan has stuck by me through
the ups and downs of my life. She is a constant for me and in my life
today there are only two people I completely and utterly trust and she
is one of them. When I was going through family troubles, she was there
- no questions asked - with love, support and words of wisdom. She knows
my good side and my bad and yet she loves me for who I am - that's a definite
bonus. Jan is one of those people that doesn't say much and comes across
as shy, but she has a heart of gold and she stands by you through thick
and thin. A blessing in my daily life is knowing that Jan is my friend
and there for me if I ever need her - and vice-versa.