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New Zealand is still wonderful... but sometimes I yearn for more
I’m yearning for something wild and rough around the edges.
Before I came to New Zealand in 2006, I put the country on a pedestal.
And like anything I put unrealistically high expectations on, there’s a strong chance at some point it won’t deliver.
I’ve been up there on a pedestal and I’ve fallen from it with ungainly force. It can be devastating.
But panic not.
New Zealand is still the wonderful country it promises to be, but I’ve been here almost six years now so I’m entitled to a more balanced opinion than I had in the early days.
Like a true citizen, I’ve started to complain. And these grumblings of insufficiency are a sign I’ve settled in.
It’s too isolated, it’s too small, the chocolate isn’t right, and don’t get me started on the marmite.
They know how to do coffee, but the tea leaves a bit to be desired. The wine is divine, but quality TV is lacking and I rely on imported English drama, and Coronation Street, to keep me entertained.
Anyway it’s comforting to realise I’m not surrounded by perfection; it was starting to get a bit intimidating, so I welcome a serving of reality.
I’m beginning to understand why young Kiwis take flight overseas and head for London as soon as they grow wings.
New Zealand is a beautiful, breathtaking, spacious and laid back country. It’s all the things I was looking for.
But equally, it’s not wild and crazy, chaotic and bustling. It’s not edgy, difficult, or demanding, and it’s not hugely diverse.
It is everything I yearned for, and all I’m saying is, sometimes I yearn for more.
But is the grass any more nourishing on one side than it is on the other?
I remember the first time I went home to England after moving to NZ. I was shell shocked. Warrington was busy and noisy, and filled with so many people I felt like I was drowning. I got into trouble every time I turned around in the supermarket and bumped into someone with my trolley. Driving was a nightmare. I was terrified by the number of cars I had to share the road with. The amount of personal space I had become accustomed to in New Zealand was dramatically reduced in England.
New Zealand’s population is about 4.3 million; London alone has a population of more than 7 million. So it’s easy to see how daunting the change in pace and people can be.
But nowadays, I relish the thought of going home to the chaos. I long for the resounding buzz of the Thelwall viaduct, or for the chance to elbow my way to the front of a bar, six deep in thirsty punters. I dream about old buildings, churches, and historical landmarks, the same ones I complained about having to visit with my parents as a teenager.
Like going to bed drunk and dehydrated; I dream about cold fizzy drinks all night long.
Such is my thirst for something different.
My man would say this yearning is a result of leaving too much time between visits home to England. It didn’t take him long to realise that you can take the girl out of England, but if you take England out of the girl, she starts to feel incomplete.
But it’s not just England I long for; I can’t stop thinking about New York either. I’ve never been, but I’m drawn there like a moth to the bright lights.
And this sideline obsession with the Big Apple comes as a relief, because it means I’m not just homesick for England. Homesickness, by the way, is an underestimated disease of inexplicably painful proportions when it takes hold.
So it’s with relief that I’m not just hankering for home, I’m craving chaos in any form.
No doubt two days in New York or London would freak me out and have me running for the green green grass of New Zealand.
With that in mind, instead of packing a bag and booking a flight to NYC, I popped out and bought a packet of over priced Jaffa Cakes, imported from England.
It’s not what dreams are made of but it does fill a void.
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