Just Arrived in NZ > Kia Ora

Early days, but we think this is home.

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One year down the line....!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

“I love this place. I love this city.” This is the silent mantra that played in my head this year each time we visited a new part of the city or country. Or each time we drove home from school pick-ups and saw the serene turquoise of the harbour mouth, the bush-covered ranges, the startling red of the Pohutakawa flowers against the deep blue sky.

For the nature lover, NZ is pure paradise. For the biker, the camper, the hitch-hiker, the adventurer, the loner, the tramper, the mountain climber, the river rafter, the ocean kayaker, opportunities abound in a mostly unspoilt, always un-crowded setting.

I’ve said it the whole year, if you are a happy unit (either as a single person, couple or family) and you prize nature above all else, I do think you will love it here. The more socially orientated and fixed on SA culture you are, the harder (but not impossible) you will find it to adapt and like it here.

We never did the boerewors, beer and braaivleis thing back in SA, so we don’t miss any part of SA culture. We fit better here with the European immigrants than we did back in SA. On every level, in every way, coming here has given us the life we always wanted: open, carefree, lots of interesting people in an interesting community, loads of friends for my kids who like nature, clambering up trees and scouring beaches for treasures. My little girl skypes her best friends back home and they stare blankly at her precious kauri gum collection, her worm farm, her crystal and shell collection from the last year. They don’t get it because their lives are restricted to back gardens and shopping malls. That crazy, dirty, outdoorsy kind of childhood is dying out in the SA city suburbs.

The more nurturing and suitable choices you make from the start (e.g. rentals, jobs, schools, areas), the more you increase your chances of being happy here from the start. We all say it, do your homework. Consider all the options. Think out of the box. Go for your dream life (coz you CAN have it!). We could have settled for one of the few mouldy rentals we found, but we took the massive risk of buying a house instead – after only three weeks in a country we had never seen before. We could have chosen a built-up suburb with massively expensive shacks, but we opted for a small lifestyle block in a community that suits us (Noordhoek is the closest equivalent that comes to mind).  We wrote down what we wanted a year before we arrived, and we fought for it.

There are loads of things I don’t like about NZ (although can’t think of one right now). If I wanted to, I could dwell on them and even get a bit down about them. But somehow they don’t count that much. I like the things I don’t like here, too.  They make NZ what it is.

Out of all the imperfect countries in the whole, imperfect world, NZ is the most perfect choice we could have made. One year in and loving it more than ever!

Firstly as always I enjoy your posts,secondly I am genuinely pleased you happy but surely you cannot be immune to SA/Cape Town's beaty? I do not eat meat - have never watched a rugby match - and I am a male- but missed South africa big time. I found NZ soo expensive - not to buy blinge - but have a decent living and not erode capital- it made us miserabl but Alas at times we do get homesick and I miss NZ!!!

Nice posts NicholaM2  :clap:  :clap:

Like Schalk, I love my rugby and meat just as much as the next SA'n, or just as much as the next kiwi  :2funny:  :2funny: . I miss a couple of people(family and friends) and then just to see some places again...  ::) . I miss my old job en my plotjie. But thats gone for ever and will never ever be able to get them back....  But that's it. Nothing else from DDA (Deapest Darkest Africa). APUM2cW. Cheers, SAKB.

Wow NicholaM2  :clap: :clap: what a fantastic post!!

O how I wish we we there!!  :envy:

Enjoy every moment of your new life 'cause it sounds awesome!  :clap: :clap: :clap:

Absolutely love your post Nicola.  We are (were ) also from Cape Town, Hout Bay.   We were in NZ for 3 months in 2003 and loved it.  We arrive back in April and are testing ourselves with a winter in Nelson. 

I remember telling my mom that it was cheaper for us to eat mussels than bread !!  Looks like it is still the same.  If you are interested, I will send you a pm for baking your own bread which only takes 5 minutes a day.  It is a really good yeast loaf that takes not kneading or proving.  The beauty of it is that the dough (1kg makes 4 round loaves or 3 loaves and a batch of pizza or naan ) lasts for 14 days in the fridge.  As I am gluten intolerant, I don't eat it, but it drives me nuts with the smell.  My family won't eat any other bread now.  You can substitute with all different types of grains.  Should also be much cheaper. Even made butter with my girls the other day !! 

Keep up the posts, I think it really inspires people that are in SA and wanting to leave or already in NZ, and are a bit despondent.  There is another life apart from owning things that actually own you.  And NZ is the perfect place for that kind of living.   


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