In Small town New Zealand, you probably…
Still have a fireplace to heat your home. Call into the pub on a Friday arvo for a few pints after a weeks worth of honest hard work. Know your postie’s name. Know your neighbours.
In Small Town New Zealand, you’re likely to…
See the truckies and the farmers up at the break of dawn with their stubbie shorts and high-vis vests (even in the dead of winter). See the stars at night, with no light and sound pollution to tarnish the serenity that comes with the brilliance of the constellations. Leave your doors unlocked, to your house and your car.
In Small town NZ, you can generally count on…..
A local volunteer chapter of the NZ fire service and St. Johns Ambulance. A local RSA. A safe and trusted midwife, plunket and crèche who will be a part of the community that raises your children. A bowls club, with immaculate greens and elderly folk in their white duds and sunhats. A fish and chips shop. A four square. The bogans cruising the strip on a Friday night in their Holdens.
In Small Town NZ, you will never see…
“Midnight madness” sales at the town shops. A plethora of neon signs and a bombardment of advertising. A traffic jam at rush hour.. unless a farmer is moving his stock.
Small town NZ may sometimes make your feet itch, but it always calls you back – always feels like home – even if you’re not a kiwi, as I have discovered. The significance of these findings and observations is that the majority of NZ is made up of these “small towns”. Just so many down-to-earth, honest, hard working people who generally work to live instead of living to work. There isn’t a necessity to live excessively, and value is placed in things that money CAN’T buy. Twizel. Roxburgh. Westport. Alexandra. Te Anau. Foxton. Taihape. The country is riddled with charming little places filled with people who give New Zealand its wonderful reputation. This is why I keep coming back…. And why I consider it home - it holds a very big place in my heart.
Thank you New Zealand, for making me fall in love with you. There is a certain contentment that resides within me, knowing you are the place we call home and the place my child will be lucky enough to grow up in.
In a few months we will have my Canadian family here for 3 weeks to attend our wedding and do a bit of touring around the country. After years of living away, indifference can often be given a chance to flourish. Common ground runs out, and familiarity can run dry between us and the ones we "once knew". Leaving home can be hard when you feel like you are leaving people behind, and so a big part of me is thankful for this once-in-a-lifetime "reunion" we will have here in February, as it's going to allow for a sense of understanding as to why it is I keep coming back and want NZ to be my true home. Its not just the beautiful scenery and picturesque countryside, but also the lifestyle, the lovely people and the not-so-fast-paced society.
Selfishly, I want to be released of the guilt I carry for being able to find happiness on the opposite side of the world from my loved ones. There's honesty if you ever did hear it. So my excitement for my wedding is matched by my excitement for the opportunity for that release, and that it will happen in the name of Jack - his happiness and his future - and all that is promised to him here in this wonderful land of Aotearoa.