Home is Where … Well, Where is Home Exactly?

I’m making my New Zealand residency application tomorrow.

I specifically chose Tuesday, 24 May 2011, to make the application. It’s not a particularly significant day, except that it’s approximately 3 weeks until my work visa runs out, and more than 11 months since T and I have been living together (a critical aspect of the residence application). I found it to be the King Solomon choice of days (though no theoretical babies were theoretically harmed in the choosing of this date).

It’s important that you know that it’s not a date than anyone has mandated but me. So, the obsessiveness with which I have required friends, family, and power companies to comply with my deadline is, perhaps, a bit over-wrought.

But then, I wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t slightly obsessive and over-wrought. For instance, I’ve penned the date in Outlook and invited T to attend with me through his Outlook. (We’ve even booked lunch afterward. Also through Outlook.) I’ve made sticky notes and posted them in various places, like on my jewellery box, my desk at work, and on Georgina, my Apostrophe Police giraffe. I’ve made check lists and tick boxes. I’m on version four of my Summary of Information. My black binder of supplemental material (complete with tabbed sections and a half-page bullet point outline, followed by a 4 page comprehensive outline, detailing why I meet all of the qualifications for residency) is two inches thick.

I could probably have gone into Immigration New Zealand with a shoe box of papers in complete disarray, but no. That’s not my style. Over-preparation and a critical eye for apostrophe use (or misuse) is my style. It simply wouldn’t do to mark this kind of Major Life Event with anything but my own special punctuation.

And yes, I would classify applying for residency in a foreign country as a Major Life Event.

Maybe that’s why I’ve been so neurotic. I’m, of course, not giving anything up by applying for residency here, but it has a sense of permanency to it. A sense of, “Savannah is no longer my home.” But Wellington doesn’t quite feel like home yet, either.
At times, I feel like I’m living in between two worlds. Or maybe a better description is that I feel like I’m sailing in a beautiful sailboat, but I have nowhere to land. I have no anchor. Admittedly, that last bit gets into some very deep water, suitable only for 2 am conversations when soused on good wine or bourbon. But I think you can understand where I’m coming from. No one wants to feel, oh I don’t know, unnecessary, I guess. Or like you don’t belong. (Any more.)

It is an irrational fear, I know, but one that bubbles up at times when I long for the ease and comfort of front porches, cheap wine, and the kinds of conversations you can only have with your closest girlfriends—the ones who really know you and to whom you never have to explain or justify why you are the way you are.

But then, I’m reminded of a new friend. A work colleague who has lived a life as heart-breaking as it has been amazing. She’d commented several times on my silver charm bracelet from my Savannah friends, loving the sentiment behind it.

At Christmas, she gave me a greenstone necklace, a pounamu, if you’re in the know. These are very special gifts, ones that you cannot buy for yourself (bad luck).

When she gave it to me, she said, “This is so you always know that you’re a daughter of New Zealand. That Aotearoa has claimed you. It’s so you know that you whether you’re pointed North (Savannah) or South (New Zealand), you’re always looking at home.”



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lux Fine Photography
    Jun 28, 2011 @ 17:31:53

    The pounamu comment made me tear up – I’m wearing mine in the middle of England, a long way from home. I wear it always, and it always makes me think of home.

    Love your blog 🙂


    • kiwijenn
      Jun 28, 2011 @ 19:34:39

      Kia ora!

      Thank you very much. I suspect you’re feeling many of the same things I am. I suppose it doesn’t matter where you go in the world–you know when you’re not home.

      Safe returns to New Zealand, but I hope you’re enjoying England all the same.


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