Anglo Adventure

Travel with a sense of humor


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Sexy Dream Destinations: New Zealand

Every Wednesday, in honor of hump day, I will post a sexy dream destination. Drool over it. Or quit your job, turn off International House Hunters, put the lawn furniture, the couch, maybe your car in storage and just GO. This week’s destination is New Zealand. 

New Zealand In Photos:

newzealandphotos, live abroad in new zealand, mt cook

Look – no Walmart.

beach newzealand live in newzealand emigrate new zealand

Might even be a nude beach

New Zealand: Land of the Long White Cloud. How poetic is that?

Emigrating to New Zealand

The Pros:

It has a mild maritime climate. Kiwis speak English. The economy is pretty stable. If we rounded up all the other countries and put them in a beauty contest, New Zealand would likely come in first. The island country is home to a lot of unusual wildlife and some rad tattoos.

It’s so far from your home country and so different, you’ll earn major nomad street cred. It’s also relatively safe, that is, unless you plan to get lost while hiking.

The Cons:

At the time I am writing this blog post, it’s 10:51 am PST Wednesday here and 5:48 am on Thursday there. Communicating with your family while abroad can be difficult because of long distance charges and time zones. I envision a lot of accidental wake up calls. Get SKYPE and force your whole family to get it too. Getting a phone in Canada was difficult because I had no Canadian credit and I didn’t understand contract terms in French. These challenges tend to magnify by time zone.

Plus, even though it’s super cool, your chance of drawing visitors decreases by how long it takes to get from here to there. New Zealanders drive on the left side of the road, so you’ll have to learn that (please don’t start practicing in the US).

And then there’s your mom’s reaction:

Mom: “New Zealand? Why on Earth? Aren’t there big snakes there? In the outback? What if you get attacked by a kangeroo?”

You: No, that’s Australia. I mean yes, they have snakes but not kangaroos, I mean maybe they have kangaroos too, but they’re more known for their birds and there’s no outback.”

Who should do it: Getting your pet there safely would involve a difficult 6-month quarantine, not to mention the epic flight. And the kids would have to endure that flight too, so maybe it’s best for the child-, pet-, mortgage-free. Or those with older kids. The rare kind of kids who can sit still on a twenty-plus hour plane ride. For me, New Zealand would have to be a sojourn destination (2-4 months) rather than a longterm locale because I could never part with The Dog.

Visa: The US makes the Visa-Free Countries’ list  meaning you can enter New Zealand without a visitor visa and stay for three months. Stay longer and they send you to Australia (I kid, I kid).

Expat who’s already there: Read Expatexposed , a brutally honest expat group who uncovers the downside of emigrating to New Zealand. Check out some of the titles in the forums (racist kiwis? renting in Christchurch? conversation starters for kiwis?).

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I survived the year and…

Well, if that’s not the teasiest title I could muster. So I have been living in my Quebec City wine cellar-like apartment for a year now. And I have been freelancing this whole time, which is …grand but lonely. Even though my work has brought me to a whole new level of writing (travel writing! journalism!!) , I miss having coworkers. Elwood snores and steals half of my wobbly writing chair. Super annoying. I should relegate him to his crate, but I don’t have the heart.

Yeah… I stand next to graffiti to look like a bad ass. So what?

What I learned at the one year mark:

  1. Expating ain’t easy.  I was taught to jump into the deep end and swim upwards. I do this with recipes, I did it with French, I did it with the Big Move. My husband once asked me, as I was deep in the middle of making an all-day chili: “why don’t you start with something simple, something with less than 20 ingredients?” I answered, “Because this is how you learn.” Things like navigating government offices in French can be horrifically scary but strangely rewarding. When I got my license, I danced in the parking lot. I almost cried last time I took a taxi because I was having a conversation, in French with the driver, who moved to Quebec from somewhere in Africa. We shared a moment!

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10 Tips for Living Abroad

 

The fountain outside parliment.

Here are 10 tips for easy livin’ abroad:

1. Know that the magic is going to where off one day. You’re romance with Rome will turn into “I hate this dirty fucking crowded hot place.” You aren’t studying abroad, you’re living there. You have to work, you have to eat, you have to live. Your king-size washer and dryer will shrink to a shaky clothesline and drying rack.  Your dishwasher and car will be traded in for …life experience.

2. Don’t get defensive. Cruel remarks about your country will be tossed at you like a hot potato. We’re not loved all over the world. We’re the despised, head-cheerleader who’s in everyone’s business. And yes, it happens even in Canada. I’m far from a flag-waving freedom fighter and it still annoys me whenever the locals say things like, “Americans don’t read. American girls are fat.” Easy, there. That’s my country you’re bashing. Don’t turn into Mr. Hyper Defensive and you’ll be fine.

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Expating ain’t easy

 

Isolation. Not just for the young anymore.

 

Canadians and Americans share a lot of things – a continent, a border, a similar culture. So my assimilation into Quebec is about as easy as it can be. For others who come from completely different countries and continents, who don’t speak one of the two languages in Canada, it’s … indescribably painful. To pick up and move and resettle with no friends or family nearby. To adapt to an entirely new, fast-paced, and incredibly superficial world.

It’s more isolating that you can imagine: Setting up Skype dates just to talk to your family. Not being able to talk to your neighbors because you don’t speak the language. Missing movies, theatre events, and all those other things you enjoy regularly. Continue reading


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What to do When the Honeymoon is Over

I found out recently that like grief, there are expatriate stages. They are: honeymoon, culture shock, adjustment, and enthusiasm.

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Waking up to realize: oh wait, I live here. (Winter Carnival, Quebec)

 

“Within a month or so of arrival, the honeymoon phase ends and expatriates quickly begin to comprehend the magnitude of the barriers they face to doing their jobs. They discover that methods used successfully over their entire careers are either worthless or even destructive in another cultural environment. The result is expatriates who are severely emotionally distressed and ineffective at their jobs.”

I don’t know what happened yesterday but I think my honeymoon with Quebec ended quite swiftly and even shockingly. Sure, it’s not a developing nation and it’s not even THAT far from my hometown of Chicago. But it’s a completely different country with a different language and a winter that lasts forever. Continue reading


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Five Things to Consider Before You Expat

quebec city travel expat tips

So is it all worth it? Absolutely.

Julia Roberts made it look so easy in Eat, Pray, Love. One day, she puts all of her belongings into storage. And the next, she’s zipping through Rome on the back of a Vespa.

Pffftt.

My expat status is only two weeks old. And I can already tell you it doesn’t work that way. Continue reading