3 and a half years ago we left NZ to go on our honeymoon. Since that day we have been to 10 different countries (including two SARs and one SEZ to be exact), and lived and worked in both Korea and Hong Kong. We have seen countless famous sights, including the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall, we’ve eaten everything from pets to monsters….hell, we’ve even managed to have a baby. We are nothing if not efficient and determined travellers.
Like the rest of our lives, this transition is not being seen as a ‘back-to-real-life’ as a lot of expats seem to view their homecomings (on which note, what bit of paying taxes/bills/getting hired/fired/finding apartments/grocery shopping etc in a new country ISN’T real life?!) but rather as another extended working holiday, one that just happens to be taking place on our turangawaewae. No doubt we will suffer from culture shock again. Asia has a wonderful atmosphere, an abundance of super convenience, a propensity to offer you whatever you like, whenever you’d like it. Public transport is superb, cost of living extremely low. Life is always exciting, if you want it to be.
However, there is a reason that most expat Kiwis eventually return home or at least visit often. The things we’ve missed and the things that will remind us of why we’ve returned when days seem low in stimulation and crazy languages are:
- proper fish and chips, eaten on a beach
- Watties Tomato Sauce
- cafe culture as a norm, not as a special destination
- beaches you can swim in without power plants, plastic, beach police, and/or whale restaurants lining the fringes
- fresh air
- pie warmers, with pies
- houses with space
- houses with outdoor space and GRASS
- being able to afford a view of something other than the inside of someone else’s high rise apartment
- GRASS that does not have a sign beside it saying “don’t touch the grass”
- reduced smartphone wankerage
- walking at a normal pace down the street
- live music
- being able to hop in a car and drive to wherever
- using a car as a receptacle for crap
- texting (we don’t have enough cheap internet for everyone to be using fancy chat shit all the time) friends at the drop of a hat and everyone ending up somewhere within half an hour
- supermarkets with all stock at all times
- twilight – especially the twilight of the south
- having a tan
- family and friends
Make no mistake though, Hong Kong is a magical place – we leave behind many people we love dearly as well as many things we didn’t quite manage to get done (as well as many restaurants we didn’t quite manage to eat at!) – so rest assured HK, we’re not quite done with you yet.
In the meantime though the time indeed has come for this particular epic, the Asian adventure, to come to a close, or at least a substantial morph as we step foot onto NZ soil. Don’t think we’ll be stopping our search for waterfalls and caribous though. New Zealand is home to many waterfalls and hey, if we haven’t found a caribou we’re not allowed to stop adventuring, right?
Oh and one final note…you may have noticed that quite some time has passed since our last blog. Not everything about NZ is rainbows, grass and lollipops. Let’s just say we’re missing the value and speed of our Asian technology. Sigh. Back on board now though so be prepared to be slammed with the last of the travels, followed by our showing off our new digs.