We’ve been together 7 years, almost exactly. It’s been quite a ride. You’ve been one of my more tumultuous relationships. You were the city where my marriage fell apart, and the city where I became a mother. You were the city where I fell the most spectacularly to pieces, but you were also the city where I really figured out who I am and what I want, finally, after many years of trying to play by other people’s rules.

You’ve taught me that I can bear anything, and weather anything. You’ve taught me that I can stand back up. You taught me I was stronger, much stronger, than I’d ever dreamed I was. You broke everything I thought I had, took all my security blankets away and then watched as I took the pieces, claimed the parts I really wanted to claim, and stood back up, in tiny painful increments, until I was really, honestly, maybe for the first time in my life, standing on my own two actual feet. You watched me rebuild myself out of the fragments, this time into something much, much closer to who I’ve always wanted to be.

You’ve been the site of some of my deepest heartbreak, and of some of my greatest joy. You’ve seen the beginning and ends of some pretty intense love affairs, and you were the place I made some of my deepest friendships. I found love and pain and tribe and chosen family in you. But most importantly, I found myself. Which I’d mislaid.

I’m not done. The journey, the rebuild, it’s not finished. But I’m afraid, my dear Dunedin, that we have gone as far as we can together. It’s time for us to break up. I will always love you. But you’ve always been a little colder than I liked, and I think we both knew that sooner or later this day would come. I am not a woman who stays still, and you are not a traveller, and so, inevitably, our time together was limited.

The truth is, I’ve had my eye on someone else for a while. Someone a little more vibrant, hopefully a little warmer. Someone with a bit more to offer a lass of my interests and proclivities. Someone new, and full of possibilities. My dear Dunedin. You will always have a special part of my heart. But you’re not enough for me any more. My inevitable traveller’s feet are itching, and my need for new horizons is pounding in my blood.

I wish you well, and I will visit when I can. You are probably not one of my great loves (like New York, or Grahamstown), but you will always be special to me, because in the seven years we had together you changed me from a hidden, closeted, muted version of myself, into this fire-driven, phoenix-reborn woman that is now strong enough, wild enough, brave enough to do anything. I found love in your walls. I found me in your streets. I found tribe in your sunlight.

I love you. Goodbye.