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.


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