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Thursday, June 21, 2007

High Commander's Log: Status Report*

I've been here for a year now in New Zealand, and I find it hard to believe. I say that because it has absolutely flown by, but when I reflect upon it that is only because it's been such a good year for me. Not only have the times been very good, but I've kept so busy with things that it's made the past twelve months zip past and feel like no more than two or three months.

I was originally going to try and be cute and frame this post in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way by posting not on the one 'Earth year' anniversary of my arrival here in New Zealand. No, I thought I'd be clever and post on the date of my first 'Venusian year' here, since that is actually something like 283 days long. But since there are probably not too many astrophysicists in the audience (and even if there were, there are even fewer among them who might find that funny), I (wisely) decided not to do that.

So I'm not going to go on and on here, but since it's a pretty big milestone for me I'll just recap the past year and also take this moment to anticipate the upcoming year.

I have achieved my biggest goal, that being to obtain New Zealand Resident status. I just have one final technicality to take care of (pay the migrant levy) and it'll be official. That is a stepping stone to Citizenship, and I'm not sure I'll make it that far but I certainly didn't come over here for just a year or two! The more I stay here the more I grow attached to New Zealand, especially Wellington, so to have accomplished this has really put my mind at rest. As it stood on the day I flew in to Auckland exactly a year ago, I had just ten months to go from a one-year temporary work visa to getting that extended and starting the residency process. I've got a two-year visa now through 2009 and the aforementioned residency. I'm stoked!

I've made some great friends, from the ones that were easiest to meet through work like Andrew and Sarah, to completely unexpected and serendipitous ones like Lyndsay, who's yeoman-like faithfulness to reading my blog really helped get me going and keep me going in the early stages!

I've been all over both the North and South islands of New Zealand, having done things like climb two mountains, cruise a fiord, drive countless scenic routes, go deep sea fishing and explore the streets and coffee houses of Wellington and Christchurch.

There were the acting classes I've always meant to get back into, as well as the upcoming short story writing course I'm dying to take.

My cats got here with amazing ease, not to mention expen$e, and they've been great to have around to say the least!

I've found a good job and a good boss with a good team around me, so about that I feel very fortunate indeed. Hard to know just what you're getting into from all the way on the other side of the world, I can tell you that much! So I'm glad things have worked out on this front for me.

One of the most important things of all, and one of the most personally rewarding things about this experience, has been my ability to stick with this blog. If I didn't write all this stuff down and take all those pictures, this whole journey wouldn't mean half as much as it does, for you just have to savor things like this and for me that involves writing about it.

Actually I have a shocking memory and I would have forgotten many of these things if I didn't bother to record them for posterity!

All that being said about the past year, there are some other things which temper it all a bit. I do miss my family and friends from home, although I am headed back there for a visit for Thanksgiving this year. That's helped keep the homesickness away for now, and I am psyched that I'll get to see everybody again real soon.

I have to move, a near-certain fact with each passing day. It's not my choice, of course, for I love Totara Park. But a common scenario here in New Zealand is that 'flats' or apartments are often and seemingly mostly privately-owned. This means it's not like the situation back home where you have large apartment complexes that you could stay in indefinitely, should you so choose. Lots of these flats are individually owned so if the owner has to sell your flat, you may have to move. They're not selling to kick you out, but they have good reasons most of the time I am sure. But what that does to you as a 'flatter' is: 1. You now have to hope whoever buys it doesn't want to move in themselves; 2. If they don't want to move in, they have to want to keep you on as a flatter; 3. If they want to keep you on, they can't raise the rent too much; 4. You can buy the place yourself, if you are willing and able; 5. The new owner may want you to stay and not raise the rent too much, so you win after all. Odds are that won't happen, but there's still a chance. And I will get 42 days to find a place on my own, once I've been properly notified that I have to vacate. So I'll find something else, but I will miss Totara Park!

Finally, as much as I've done this past year and as big a success as I feel that it's been for me on so many levels, there's even more I want to see and do in the next year. Hell, the next several years - all of them hopefully spent here in New Zealand!

What's the one thing I haven't mentioned that I expect to happen in the next couple of years?

*Reference to my favorite TV show, 3rd Rock From The Sun.


Blogger Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Congratulations! May your 2nd year be as good.

7:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BROOKSIE!!! I am SOOOOO sorry I Haven't been around, I don't even know where to start. Umm.. how bout I'll msg you on facebook in a bit and try to explain things a bit better... I hope you're doing well and feelin' happy, I miss reading about all you adventures! Talk to you soon! Take Care! LyndsayB (Beechball)!!!

7:51 AM  

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