I’ve been thinking alot lately about the fact that we’re applying for green-cards so in theory we are making the US our permanent home.
But what does “home” mean? Is it a location? An emotion? A mindset?
Is it an identity derived from all of the above?
Of course nowhere is really home if we remain in the America’s Cup but that aside, for the foreseeable future & should we continue pursuing our current goals, we will base ourselves here.
In all honesty, at this stage, I’m thrilled about it – I love it here, I really do.
We have a great lifestyle: we have made incredible friends – friends I couldn’t be without now (although I wish I could transport a few here with me sadly); we are part of the community.
And this is an amazing place to grow up with all it has to offer – the outdoors on one side & a dynamic city on the other.
As far as the kids are concerned, this is all they know. They don’t remember New Zealand in anything more than a holiday context. They even have pseudo-American accents.
All this aside, though, transitioning into a state of permanence here is quite a complex matter it turns out.
And I don’t mean legally, but emotionally:
I am not only happy we’re staying but I’m also relieved. Part of me was dreading the next move – not only the logistics, but the ripping of kids from one life to another.
And now the next move is off the cards we’ve recently decided, should things align, we’d like to buy our first house here too – love to really commit.
Yet even as I write this, I have this internally rotating Rubik Cube of fear (it’s never easy to solve the puzzle of why & what to do with it). It twists over every-time I mention the word “buy”…. it’s just so permanent.
It’s so grown up. It’s what “other people” do.
Do I want to commit? (… By the way I had less trouble committing to having children than to buying a house – you can take them with you – but alas, not being snails, a house remains where you purchase it).
Not only does the debt scare the bejesus out of me, but so does the concept of vanilla suburban life.
And I am the epitome of vanilla suburban life by the way – I do not mean this as an insult.
This is more the acknowledgment that deep down, a part of me loves (despite my bitter cynicism & embracing of the Bay Area as mentioned above) our nomadic life, the chance of a new place to discover, to come together as a family unit for the next adventure. To start again.
The perfectionist in me always wants to start again – hoping this time I’ll get everything just right.
And add to this another dynamic: Why is it that internally I feel neither a New Zealander nor am I anywhere near an American?
Obviously, I am more Kiwi than American, yet I don’t identify with it as much as I used to.
And I can’t figure out if that is because there have been a range of places we’ve lived that have diluted that nationalistic side that might have remained had I less foreign influences disturbing it….
Or is there a part of me that does not wish to embrace my “kiwi-ness” anymore?
Do I resent that we cannot live there as we do here? That I could never make a “success” (by whose definition?) of my life as an adult there like everyone else seems to have?
I’m confused by a myriad of emotions surrounding this new permanence we are establishing here & as I mull it over, I know it deserves more attention.
I cannot simply continue with one slightly bitter foot there & one here.
What is with that?
I am hoping that being honest with my confusion over where I belong & how I feel about this conflict in itself, might allow me to better shape my understanding of my identity.
New Zealand is amazing, I miss my friends & family there so much it hurts some days. But the fact is, I don’t wish to return at this stage.
Is that disloyal? Does everyone that leaves New Zealand have the ultimate goal that “home” is where they wish to work their way back to?
I know I had this perspective back in 2004 – almost 10 years ago now, when I moved overseas the first time.
But I’m not sure that’s the case for me any longer…. which is ok actually.
But why do I still feel fearful about putting down roots here nor clear about why New Zealand no longer represents this almost omnipotent image of “home”.
Something to ponder.