Reflections on our decision to move to NZ.
I think this move was really good for us, it’s been less then a year since we moved and already we notice so many changes, in ourselves, in the way we think and approach things, what we want from our lives.
There is a great deal of difference between Oz and NZ, more then I thought there would be. Some of them are small, subtle things that just make day to day life a little confusing for a while, like they don’t have anything like a newsagent, they have milkbars that they call dairies or superettes. No charcoal chicken, and every fish & chip shop is an asian/european takeaway. An esky is a chillibin, thongs are jandles and there is nothing like the Melbourne culture. Nothing resembling Lygon St, or the cafe culture we’re used to. You can’t find a decent dessert place (like Brunetties or Glutany) and I have found 2 gelati bars in the whole North Island, and one of them was closed by 8.30pm (see what I mean about no dessert). So far we have discovered nothing like the strip of Asian restaurants of Victoria St, Richmond, or the Vietnamese of Fitzroy or the Italian of Lygon St, nothing to resemble Brunswick, and I mention these things also because there is nothing so far to “replace” them, something unique. As I said, the differences are subtle ones for the most part, you don’t pick up on them on holidays here but thorough investigation when you live here reveals all.
But with the bad comes the good. They have an amazing respect and integration of the Moari community, beliefs and so forth. Words from the Maori language are used as common place by everyone (I never thought moving here would mean learning a new language), it’s really rather fascinating. The names of places, towns, suburbs are mostly Maroi words and even those that aren’t are pronounced as if they are. Craig is constantly groaning because invariably every day we end up doing the “potato, potato, tomato, tomato” game (even more so because our neighbors on one side are American.
New Zealand has the most amazing landscapes. Flat plans and rolling hills, mountains, oceans, mud pools and area where steam just pours out of the earth and snow covered mountains only a few hours drive away. Everything is so compact. You can drive for an hour or two and see a completely new vista.
Either I hadn’t realised just how big and diverse Melbourne was, or I hadn’t considered how small Auckland would be. There is very little in the way of alternative culture here and as a result we have found it hard to find like minded friends. We have been here now for almost 9 months and still have a very small social group. We also haven’t gone out of our way to join lots of groups to meet new people, it’s such hard work, but I didn’t realise it would take quite so long to find our social groups. I’m not really interested in going along to role-playing conventions any more, or meeting up with pagan or wiccan groups. I did that already, found the people I wanted to keep from those groups and then left them all back in Oz.
We do not have a shortage of social contact here in Earthsong though and we do seem to at least get along with everyone, most of them are just much (much) older then us and it can be a little over whelming to see the same people day in and day out, answering the same questions and having the same conversations over and over again.
I’m not sure that I’m cut out for living in such close quarters with so many people on a day to day basis. I really feel overcrowded and not having any private outdoor areas is a little stressful and I end up closeted inside all day just to avoid contact with others. I like our community, I like to see the busy activity as people come together to work or watch the children run around playing.
I felt a little isolated for a long while, having to borrow/share cars with other people, having to curb our spontaneous expeditions because a car wasn’t available. We now have our own vehicle, a 1991 Nissan Terano. It’s big. It will be a great work horse and family car and as we are starting to think now along the lines of having kids and purchasing a more rural property, this car is just right for us.
As we’ve been thinking about the rural life we have also been thinking about if we wanted to stay in NZ or not, would we consider moving back to Oz? The answer is no, maybe if the drought broke and suddenly it became much much greener, but we like the landscape here a lot. We like the rolling hills and the green grass, the ability to drive for short periods to see something very different, beaches and inlets everywhere.