New Zealand

Last year I accidentally moved to New Zealand. This can be blamed on love | Rebecca Shaw

I I like to think of myself as an easy going girl. One of those people who impulsively follows every whiff of a funny idea, like a cartoon dog floating along smelling a pie until it cools on a windowsill.

But if I’m being honest with myself (and with you), I have to admit that I’m not really that person. I am a planner. I confirm numbers, find and book restaurants, get tickets in advance, and arrive too early everywhere I go.

That’s why I was so surprised when last year, without thinking about it at all, I accidentally moved to New Zealand.

This, like most stories of slightly unhinged behavior, can be put down to love.

During the first lockdown in 2020, when all our lives had changed, I started chatting with a mutual friend on Twitter in Aotearoa. Even though we were going through a pandemic and weren’t sure if and when we would be able to see each other in person, we accidentally fell extremely in love.

We went through a stressful and difficult times throughout this year, but after nine months of waiting, she visited me twice for a total of about three weeks. Shortly after his second visit, things started to change again. The border between our countries was still open, but the number of cases in Sydney was starting to rise and things looked set to get risky.

In a flash to my little gay brain, I decided I should surprise her with a visit ASAP. I wanted to share it with her because it would be fun, but also partly to spare her the stress and worry of waiting and hoping. She would skip all the hard stuff we just went through, and just open the door one day, and I’ll be there. And that’s what happened.

It soon became clear that I had managed to get away with it by the skin of my teeth (a disgusting idiom). It seems almost quaint now, but the plane that arrived directly after mine became big news, carrying a Covid positive case which then circled Wellington.

Cases in Sydney exploded, the border between countries was closed and I was trapped in New Zealand. I had wanted to surprise my girlfriend with a week-long visit, but I accidentally surprised her by moving into her place.

There’s a popular joke stereotype about “U-Hauling” lesbians, which means moving in together soon after you start dating, but I think the surprise of moving in from overseas after spending three weeks together in real life takes the cake.

Luckily, my tendency to over-prepare came in handy in this case, because even though I was only coming for a week, I had packed enough underwear to dress a family of five for months.

And even though I hadn’t planned it – I hadn’t said goodbye to anyone, I had told my roommates I’d be back in a week, and I hadn’t brought anything important with me – everything went well, and I was able to settle in as if it had been my plan all along.

Guardians weekend

It’s been almost a year now, and it’s been a strange, but blessed experience. Everyone has been so welcoming (we won’t mention my girlfriend’s older relative who is ok with her dating, but not impressed that I’m Australian) and happy to show me around .

Wellington is beautiful and I loved unexpectedly noticing the little differences you notice when you spend enough time in one place.

For example, everyone here is obsessed with their native birds and talking about birds. If you are in a group of three or more, at some point someone in that group will start talking about kākāpō breeding season or gather in a garden to see an unusually colored pīwakawaka.

After gently teasing them about it for months, I recently found myself thinking about how the takahē and kākāpō are actually much more interesting flightless birds than the kiwi, so they should be just as famous in Australia…and I knew they had reached me.

I delighted them in return, making sure to share with everyone two important elements of Australian culture that they don’t know – steven bradbury and Bob Katter.

My favorite difference is how te reo Māori is used here. It’s not just included on signage and official forms, or mentioned once a year on a designated day – it’s everywhere you go. Almost every pākehā (New Zealand European) I’ve met casually uses Maori reo in conversation.

It’s a small sample, but they were all able to teach me the history of colonization in this country, the important events, the racist framework on which the country is based. But just as important, they know the Maori stories of the land we find ourselves on.

I say this not to praise white people for doing the absolute bare minimum, or to declare that everything is perfect in Aotearoa when it clearly isn’t; I say this to emphasize how completely and utterly barren white Australia is in comparison. Living a little somewhere and seeing how the bare minimum is achievable makes me ashamed on a daily basis of our backwardness.

There are also other important points of difference. For example, McDonald’s sweet and sour sauce tastes weird.

Regardless of the differences, and even though the McNuggets taste worse, I now consider this place my second home.

My spontaneity in coming to visit when I did was not only rewarded, but actually saved us. If I hadn’t made the decision to fly so fast, the border would have closed with me on one side and my girlfriend on the other. We would have been apart for another year.

I haven’t watched Sliding Doors in a long time, but I think this timeline would be where Gwyneth dies. This experience, and the pandemic in general, definitely made me more spontaneous, and a bit more daring.

Should a friend stay in her new high-paying job, or should she fly to Spain to find an ex and try love? The “before” me would have told him to keep this job stable. Now? I’ll take him to that damn airport myself. But we will still be very early.



Last year I accidentally moved to New Zealand. This can be blamed on love | Rebecca Shaw

Source link Last year I accidentally moved to New Zealand. This can be blamed on love | Rebecca Shaw

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