Sunday, September 7, 2008
Emigrating to New Zealand: 12 years later
It struck me a couple of days ago that we have been living in New Zealand for 12 years now. These years have not been easy in many respects, and on some levels the move here was a poor decision.
Finding an identity
One of the things I have struggled with is finding an identity. Even though I have lived here for so long and have a Kiwi passport I still strongly identify as being English. And some times, when I am watching an English TV program or eat English food, I yearn to be back. I desperately miss the history and as I get older (and probably more and more senile!) I feel the call of generations and generations of family. I am an integral part of the country's fabric, and England is a part of mine.
Home at last
But yesterday, I fly the length of the country from Rotorua, back to Dunedin after being away for a couple of days at a conference. For most of the journey the sky was clear so I had a fabulous view of the land. And as my flight progressed and I got nearer to Dunedin, I was engulfed with a feeling coming home. I felt a really strong connection with the land I was flying over. It is my land. It will never be my land in the same way that England is, but it is now home. And I think at last I feel at peace about that.
Do you ever feel at odds about your cultural and spiritual identity? Do you live in one place but have a strong connection with another? How do you cope with that dissonance? What advice would you give people who are trying to settle in another place or land?
Postscript: If you want to know more about emigrating to New Zealand, here is some advice for people thinking about moving here, both in general terms and more specifically for midwives wanting to work here.