Wednesday, February 09, 2011

For your eyes only, only for you....

One of the reasons that I update this blog so infrequently is because my life is consumed by my job most days and I can't talk about my job. I actually cannot. I have clearance.

No, really. If I were going to tell you about my day, it would go something like this:

First thing this morning I got a briefing back from the Minister on [censored]. So I phoned the private secretary for the Minister for Courts to [censored]. This meant I had to run around to the Minister of Police and Corrections, and then to the Attorney-General to [censored]. But finally, it was done so I went to the Minister of Finance to [censored].

That being accomplished, I turned to the briefing on [censored]. Then I got a call from the Ministry about [censored] which meant I had to immediately go talk to [censored], [censored] and [censored].

In the end, the Minister was so pleased, he invited us to have an after work wine. Good day.

You see? Not very interesting.

Still, if I'm being honest, that is one of the kicks I get out of doing this job. I love having clearance. My only regret is that, due to my nationality, there are still some documents that come in 'NZ Eyes Only' which I'm not allowed to see. I want to see!

Funny and related story - I recently ran into this guy who has a wicked high clearance (far higher than mine), who happens to work for a NZ agency that shall not be named. So, we're having an after work chat in the Beehive bar and I mention that my father worked for the Air Force in South Dakota during the Vietnam War.

He then began to recount for me every project my Dad likely worked on. Information that, incidentally, I'm not even allowed to know and which was hidden from my brother and me our whole lives. When I mentioned this, he was all, "oops. Then, forget I said that."

Saturday, February 05, 2011

There's a woman, with hands trembling, haere mae

Today, I completed the first step in my application to become a New Zealand resident. Here in New Zealand, residence is a multi-step process that broadly resembles an interaction between two schoolyard children with a crush on each other.

First, you have to make an 'expression of interest' where you basically stare at the ground and toe the dirt and say, "uh yeah, so, I mean, I kind of want to live here? I mean if that's okay and all."

And then, New Zealand averts your eye and says, "oh yeah? Well, uh, that could be cool. Uh, you know. Why don't you show us your documents and stuff."

And then you're all, "Yeah? Well, sure. Here they are for you to look at. I mean, if you want to."

And then, all going well, New Zealand comes back with, "Um, sure. That looks alright, I guess. You can stay. You know, if that's what you want."

It's actually a lot like New Zealand dating, now that I think about it. Anyway, so now the process is in train, and that feels pretty good.

Funny word, though, 'resident'. Evokes all kinds of emotions and got me thinking about what it is to be 'home'. There are some that say, "home is where the heart is". And others that say, "home is where you hang your hat". And that's fine for most people, because those two places match, but what about those of us with a wandering soul?

Which is not to say that my heart's not in New Zealand, because it is. I wouldn't be spending the money and jumping through the hoops for the right to live here if it wasn't.

But the thing about being an expat, multiple times over now, is that you leave a little bit of your heart everywhere you go.

So, my heart is in New Zealand, zooming through the Wairarapa with the top down, hoping the spf 30 holds up against the sun. But my heart is also still sitting in my mom's house in Texas playing Skip-Bo. Or gathered with my girls having Dim Sum in Baltimore. Or bellied up to the Drop Off bar in Palau talking about the day's dive. Hell, there's even a little portion of it standing on a football field in Atlanta holding a six foot steel pole.

My hat, though, is definitely in New Zealand, so it's time to get one of those shiny permits that means I can stay.