Next week will mark two years in New Zealand. Two years. In some ways, that seems like such a long period of time, and it others, so little. To mark the one year anniversary last year, I took stock of what I’d learned over the year, what I’d done, how I’d changed. I tried to make sense of whether living on the opposite side of the planet made things different. Made me different. Two years in, it’s time to take stock again. So. Here’s what I’ve learned and what I’ve done in the last year.
I’ve made new friends.
I’ve lost others.
I’ve discovered a love for vegetarian sushi. And yum cha brunch on Sundays at Great Eastern.
–And insanely-expensive-but-oh-so-gorgeous-delicious-and-exotic cocktails at the Hippopotamus restaurant bar with girlfriends.
–And lemon chicken at Cha before going to the movies at the Embassy.
–And raspberry pastries from the Simply Paris stall at the Sunday market. Or maybe a Roti wrap from the Indo-Asia food truck at the same Sunday market. Or the Cambodian noodles.
–And garlic Naan bread and dahl from Masala, with its dark red walls and Miles Davis CDs playing in the background.
I’ve discovered I have favourite places in Wellington, many of which are not on the tourist map. Several of which are. Many of which are places to eat, drink, and read a few good books.
I now subscribe to two magazines that ascribe to a life lived consciously, sustainably, and with as few chemicals and processes as possible. I have decided to make my own kitchen counter cleaner after successfully making my own shower cleanser. (Vodka! It’s all about cheap vodka!)
I have grown to like eating lamb—especially with chickpeas and homemade yogurt sauce with chili and mint.
I’ve been reminded that it really is true: Where you go, there you are. I am the same Jenn with same Jenn issues and the same Jenn successes no matter where I live or what I do.
I’ve been impulsive and have been glad for it in the end. (In fact, I leave today for a trip to India for a friend’s wedding.)
I vacillate between hyper-planning (my usual mode) and no planning (Jenn 2.0). The fact that I even contemplate “no planning” is amazing.
Aside from a plane ticket and few required bits of planning, I have not planned my trip to India. I am reliant on the maxim that everything will work out in the end.
I continue to jaywalk brazenly. I also continue to follow the rules related to standing in queues and obeying Official Signs.
I have started referring to “lines” “queues” and I use the word “heaps”. But I still refuse to call an elevator a “lift”.
I don’t think I can handle hot climates anymore. But I’m still not a fan of biting cold. Wellington winters make me long for Savannah summers.
I have succeeded in the art of layering. Mostly.
I have cut my hair short after years of growing it out and keeping it long. I’m still not sure who the woman is staring at me in the mirror. I suppose that’s a metaphor for life. Though living amongst the Wellington uber-hipster-intelligencia has taught me that this is a tired, tedious, and obvious metaphor.
I miss home every day. But I’ve come to realise that at home, I’d miss Wellington every day. Because Wellington is my home too.
I have always been a quirky set of contradictions. I remain so. Only with funny spelling added to the mix.
I’ll end this blog with three things that have come to amuse me about living in New Zealand:
- My fondness for gossip magazines, which heavily feature the Royals.
- Assigned seating in movie theatres (which people follow. There have been “incidents” when people were sitting in the wrong seats).
- Drying my clothes on a line instead of in a dryer. It really is—in many respects—a nicer way to dry your clothes.
Now. What will the next year bring?