I can’t believe it has been one year since I have arrived in Wellington, New Zealand. This goes to show how fast one year goes by. I left July 14, 2009 saying that Garnett and I would return in a year and, obviously, this is not the case. It took a full 6 months to get over the culture shock and to fully settle into being here, leaving us only being fully present to living the kiwi lifestyle in the last few months.
Over the last year I have no doubt learned a lot about a different culture, government, public transportation, etc. But most importantly I learned more about myself. I did not realize a year ago that I was taking my Type A personality and placing myself in the most laid back culture in the Western World. After almost having a heart attack over not getting answers to questions in a decent time to learning that kiwis only text message and never pick up their phone to nothing ever starting on time, I have learned to soften my attitude a little bit. It has actually done wonders for my stress level. I have also been able to change my definition of “urgent” and what really needs to be done in a day.
I have adjusted to living a much simpler life. I can count on both hands the items of clothing/shoes I have bought in the last year which for me is considered a “wardrobe slump”. The funny thing is, I am okay with it. Wellington is a “come as you are society” and that is exactly what I do each day. I just come as I am!
Fitness has been a way of life for me for many years. This makes me fit in quite nicely in such an active city where you can walk anywhere and where I can ride my bike to work. Everywhere you look there are trails to be hiked, roads to be ran, events to be participated in… I am even so lucky as to have the pleasure of having one of the most scenic trails outside my doorstep, Tinakori Hill. I don’t know if I would have said this a year ago but it has been liberating not having a car.
A co-worker asked me yesterday, “have you accomplished all that you wanted in this last year?” Great question! On the surface, the answer is YES. Garnett and I wanted to work and live in a different country and that is just what we have done. But under the surface, and unconsciously, I think we both where searching for something, an experience that would challenge us to grow as individuals and bring us together within our marriage. I can only speak for myself but I have definitely noticed little changes within myself that have helped me see that I am overcoming certain fears and judgements that I have had. To live in a “come as you are” society has enabled me to liberate myself and break free from such things. And even though I have not achieved any earth shattering revelations while on this journey, again something my Type A personality was unconsciously hoping for, I have received something far greater. I have been able to gain such a different perspective on life and those I come in contact with. And with each new experience I face, I learn that much more about what myself and others are capable of.
It has been a good year, full of many ups and downs. I like to say that I have cried my tears and I have laughed my laughs. Undoubtedly, I miss my family and friends tremendously and from time to time I do miss the conveniences that America offers. I am still not sure what this means about a return date. I will keep you posted. But until then, thank you for all of your love and support as I am on this journey. I couldn’t have done it without you!
Many Hugs and Much Love, Kathy