On being an ex-pat in New Zealand

I must say I find it fitting that my final post before the big UK invasion is more or less about travel.

I may have done something a little silly but sometimes I just can’t help myself.  The local NZ news site (stuff.co.nz) ran an assignment wanting perspectives from ex-pats (either kiwis living abroad or foreigners living in NZ) and I had to contribute.  I mean, I’ve been here 7 years!  You can read all the contributions here.  I had been reading each of them as they popped up – 1 or 2 each day, and there were several written by kiwis who moved to the US and how fantastic the US is and how they made tons of money, and everything is so cheap there, etc. etc. etc.

Now, I love the US (I really do!) but I don’t believe it’s the land of golden opportunity that it once was.  And certainly not for my generation.  Maybe I have a pessimistic outlook, maybe I’m not in the correct field (you know, those ones where you make 6 figures…  which apparently everyone in America does…  oh wait, I can think of maybe a small handful of people that I suspect do.  Feel free to weigh in here), but I’m convinced that my generation will not be as well off as my parent’s generation (does this sound familiar as I’m sure I’ve blogged about this previously).

So while many people cite the virtues of how there is so much money to be made in America, and it is so much cheaper to live there, I wanted to provide a rational counterpoint: that commodities, food and petrol in America are all becoming more expensive (especially since I left in 2007), and that wages are just not that good, and the cost of living, particularly in a large urban area, is going to be high due to high rents and nearly unaffordable houses – as in the case of nearly all large urban areas all over the world, with increased size generally correlating with increased prices.

If you’d like to read my complete commentary (and I hope you will!) it’s here.

What can I say – being an ex-pat really does change you and your world perspective (how does the USA not have 4 weeks annual leave, paid maternity leave and a single payer healthcare system yet?!  These are the big issues I keep getting stuck on.  The majority of all bankruptcies in the USA are caused by medical bills.  Does this strike anyone else as wrong?  But alas, I digress.).  But mostly – it’s not that the grass is always greener on the other side of the pacific, it’s that you should make the most of anyplace that you live.  There will always be good things and bad things, so try to enjoy the good things, and try not to let the bad things get you down. [Ok, honestly can I really complain at all – most people believe NZ to be some sort of modern paradise!  Which, ok, no it’s not exactly but it’s certainly not a bad place to be, especially long term].  Yes, we’re practically dying from lack of arts, culture and history here in NZ.  Hence D and I going to London for 3 weeks to attempt to OD on history, art, culture, food and general London-ness.  E.g.  we enjoy, appreciate and try to truly embrace those places which are so very different from where we live now.  But I suspect that coming home to my home-away-from-home here in Dunedin is going to be an almost equally nice feeling as that of going away.

With that, I’m off to this little town called London.  I dunno, maybe you’ve heard of it?  I suspect that posts for the month of April will be virtually nil, and for that I do apologize.  But I’ll definitely be back with a bang at the end of the month, or early May.


2 thoughts on “On being an ex-pat in New Zealand

  1. I 100% agree with you and if that means I “hate America” and I’ve “sided with the terrorists” haha, then so be it. The opportunities for upward mobility just aren’t what they used to be. I’m excited about the prospect of leaving this country behind and seeking new adventures elsewhere. I hope to be gone by next year. I haven’t decided whether I’ll renounce my citizenship, yet. It just depends on how bad the double taxation happens to be.

    Anyway, I’m so glad that New Zealand has treated you well and has provided you with such wonderful opportunities! Have a good trip to London! ❤

    – Anna


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