Private Roberts


Seven Days. One hundred and sixty eight hours. One thousand and eighty minutes. Six hundred and four thousand, eight hundred seconds. The count down to the day James graduates the New Zealand Army as a soldier is officially ON and I could not be happier.

James left for his basic training on the 8th of July and has called Waiouru home for the past four months. Four months doesn’t seem like a long time but when you’re apart from the one person in the world you can not live without with little to no contact, it feels like an eternity. It has truly been the hardest four months I have ever had to endure.


I have been quite lucky as I am naturally a busy person. Together with running my photography business, working full time & spending time with my amazing, supportive friends and family I have managed to keep myself occupied. I reckon i’ve done pretty well throughout the whole process. There have been a few moments where I have broken down which was expected, these breakdowns usually occurred when I hadn’t received a phone call or a letter for a couple of weeks. The hardest thing for me wasn’t not being able to see him, it was not being able to talk to him to see what he was doing and how he was on a daily basis. We have been together now (on and off, I will fill you in on that exhilarating story another day haha) for around six years and during those times there wasn’t a single day where we didn’t talk to each other. When he graduates he is immediately shipped to his posting in Christchurch and we will still be apart until we sort out what is happening with the big move but we will have communication and to me that is all that really matters.

 As hard as it was to say goodbye in July, it wasn’t forever. Here we are three months later, almost at the end and I am so ready to see where this takes us. I am both terrified and excited to move to a new city and leave everything i’ve ever known behind. To have to leave my friends and family, my job, the city that i’ve grown up in and move to a city that I visited once for a weekend (before the earthquakes), meet new people, rebuild Stellar Photography + Design from scratch, get a new job and eventually call this place home is scary change yet a change I know is going to be full of opportunities. There is something special about being given a chance at a fresh start.


When I lay eyes on him marching out in his dress uniform next Wednesday I am going to be flooded with emotions. Pride mainly, James has taken such a big step from a secure, 9-5 job as an electrician that he didn’t enjoy and has put himself in a situation completely out of his comfort zone to follow his dreams. I am incredibly proud of what he has achieved and will more than likely be a blubbering mess as soon as I spot him in the sea of soldiers on the Waiouru Parade Ground. That moment will be what makes the months of time apart, the one phone call or letter a week (if I was lucky), the supervised visits, the tears shed and the lonely Saturday nights worth every second.

To be continued..

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