Busytown by Jolisa Gracewood

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Busytown: Sons for the Return Home

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  • Sue,

    pay someone, like a wedding planner but a moving planner?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 493 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    We went through the same exercise when we moved from the UK. My advice, for what it's worth, is to only get rid of stuff you aren't thinking of replacing - pack and ship as much as you possibly can.

    Firstly, the costs of replacing it all really adds up, even if the individual items are small and inexpensive.

    Secondly, you probably won't be able to replace, for example, those lamps locally. There's a limited size market here, and it's miles from anywhere else.

    Thirdly, there's always something more important to spend your money on when you're actually here, like bills and rent. So it'll take you years to re-accumulate all that groovy stuff.

    So bite the bullet and ship it all.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Rosie,

    Arh. That was lovely. It will be interesting to see if you experience much culture shock when you come back. I did but mainly around work.
    My advice is ship the garden tools. You will miss them if you don't.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 20 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Before I read the rest of your post

    the boys’ height markings on the bathroom doorframe

    BRING IT WITH YOU!

    Really! It's actually not that hard to replace a doorframe, but the memories that go with those height markings ... plus you get to explain to everyone you show around your new home that "that doorframe" came all the way from the US just so you could keep the memories.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3426 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    But alas, we must leave it here, in the hands of its next owner – who will, as is proper and right, paint over our grubby fingerprints, the boys’ height markings on the bathroom doorframe, and the paint job my dad did on his last visit here.

    That is beauty and truth in an image, Jolisa.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Of course you can read the iPAD in the loo!

    When we moved back we discovered there was a special mail rate for boxes that only contain paper eg books magazines photocopies of papers etc, providing there was only paper in the box it got a special, dirt cheap mail rate ... 15 boxes later...

    The weekend we arrived back in NZ we got in a car with a couple of friends and drove to Napier to a wedding. All of our circle of friends were there ... I think it helped.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3426 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Bart got there before me. It's a good idea, it's only going to be painted over by the next owner, but to you it has sentimental value...take it.

    Other advice. Don't bother to bring a vehicle back, or you will sorely regret the trouble, and how much money you wasted.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8598 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Given the title of your post, is there some reluctance amongst your boys?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8598 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Oh, Jolisa. You make me cry, you do. I cry for you because I know now who it is you left when you went first to the great beyond, and he isn’t here, or there, even. He’s with you wherever you go. Always. Always. Always.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

  • Brenda Leeuwenberg,

    For me coming back to NZ, the weirdest and unexpectedest thing was to feel homesick, when I'd supposedly come home. That left me in a transient grey space for at least 2 years.
    Contrary to the advice above, I'd say shed as much as you can, come back light hearted, light boxed and full of possibilities. Those papers and books will just weigh you down forever. That said, if you're a hoarder then sure, bring it all :)
    Good luck, and I do look forward to knowing you a bit when you're here.

    Wellington • Since Oct 2008 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    Given the title of your post, is there some reluctance amongst your boys?

    Those Albert Wendt books are digging their heels in

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16794 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    For a long time I’ve been vaguely homesick, like a low-grade fever. Now I think I’m feeling a little time sick.

    The New Zealand you left is not the New Zealand you're returning to. But that's not a bad thing.

    I noticed that some expats who I follow on Twitter cling on to a kind of New Zealandness, but it's not the New Zealand I know as someone who lives here. It's the New Zealand based around symbols like hokey pokey ice cream, jandals, mince and cheese pies and caravan holidays at the beach. It's not about grilled halloumi brunches or Hop cards or spirulina smoothies.

    I guess the advice I'd give is to think of it not as "returning home", but rather moving to a totally new country that you've never lived before. Eventually, though, you'll wake up one day and it will feel like home again.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1865 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to BenWilson,

    Other advice. Don’t bother to bring a vehicle back, or you will sorely regret the trouble, and how much money you wasted.

    Ben, no one brings a vehicle back. Except, I'm assuming, you ... ;-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    Loverly writing
    And I think Robyn has nailed it

    "I guess the advice I'd give is to think of it not as "returning home", but rather moving to a totally new country that you've never lived before. Eventually, though, you'll wake up one day and it will feel like home again".

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 543 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Yes, I brought my motorbike back from Oz - it fitted in the container along with all my other stuff. But it was still not worth doing, once all the taxes and mucking around were done with.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8598 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    "Groovy lamps..."
    are easily rewired. I trust my hugely experienced, electrician, ex-bro-in-law (who is still part of the whanau) who whistles cheerfully as he rewires things from Europe
    & the UK & Australia & the USA...

    You can never come home to your memories of former homes...my CHCH died many years ago - pre-shaky times.

    But - Nau mai! Tauti mai! Kake mai ki a ka motu of Aotearoa!
    Be very welcome- home-

    PS: if you & yours want to encounter a kind of a past ANZ - visit the Coast & Big O...I was driving back from Hoki this afternoon, and there's a wee barefoot kid in Ross (it had been raining) chucking his footieball into the air, booting it as it came down - and running after it-

    (Disclaimer: I hate football, league or rugby or soccer - but this little guy was having fun. All by himself.)

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Thomas Johnson,

    Well, when we moved back from the USA we did bring a large yank tank back with us, but that was a company transfer so didn't cost. Brought another large LHD convertible in for ourselves a few years later. Not that hard, or terribly expensive, but not worth the bother if you are not into the 'car scene'.

    Good luck with your relocation - hope nothing important goes AWOL - and settling back into new New Zealand

    Wellington • Since Oct 2007 • 98 posts Report Reply

  • Whoops,

    Beautiful post as always.

    One piece of advice - allow yourselves a year (at least) to get used to being back in NZ. Stranger in a strange land and all that.

    here • Since Apr 2007 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    It's almost 10 years since we started that process .... seems a lot less .... but then we chose a year where the kids would be starting intermediate and high school in NZ on purpose, and now my youngest is tidying up her last year before going off to Uni .... as I said time flies ....

    NZ wasn't what we left after 20 years, it did take us a long time to adjust, the kids made friends much faster than we did, and all our old friends had grown up - respectable even .... it's going to seem like a small town for a while until you adjust, work on that accent, keep your mouth shut when you feel that urge to snigger or make that snarky comment, always have a story ready explaining why you're so glad you came home (you need a way to subtly make the "I'm not an American, despite the accent, I was born here" point - take your NZ passport when you got to the doctor/hospital/etc for the first year or so, this avoids stupid amounts of paperwork)

    We started by getting rid of half our crap (a quarter of what was left got tossed when we got to NZ - so get evil about the throwing/giving stuff away, it's just stuff) - we do wish we'd brought that extra couch

    - leave the TV (unless it's a digital one and you plan on buying a Sky box in NZ)
    - do bring anything that is dual voltage (ie 240v, except for washers/driers/ranges etc) you can just put a new plug on it
    - Dick Smith sell giant transformers, that may be a cheaper option than replacing that expensive stereo
    - don't bring your wireless household phones, they will work but will be illegal, other phones are OK, again Dick Smith sells adapters
    - do bring your wifi
    - bring garden tools - but clean off all that dirt, same with the tent/boots/etc
    - go through the xmas decorations, toss anything the kids brought home from school involving plant matter or wreaths (customs makes a beeline for any box marked xmas decorations)
    - simple lamps with switches rewire easily (maybe just a new plug and a new bulb), stuff with dimmers, maybe not
    - the magical on-line delivery system largely still works, but it's slower and more expensive - learn to balance the shipping cost to keeping the value under $300 to help speed through customs
    - keep a US credit card and bank account (you will be filing US taxes if you have anything else in the US and will need to write checks to the IRS - remember there's a tax treaty between the two countries)

    We brought the kids measuring sticks with us - in our US circle of friends it was customary to paint a length of wood at the baby-shower to measure the kid with - so we didn't take any door frames with us

    We rented a storage locker for staging, moved stuff into it over a period of 3 months as we pared down just leaving enough stuff in the house to stage it as it was sold, then moved into a rental for a few weeks (then off to Burning Man, driving across the US, dropping stuff as we went, left the truck in Atlanta with friends, down to a suitcase each, and around the world with the kids wheee!)

    We paid someone to pack out the storage locker into a container and ship it - that part was good, the rest was a disaster, we got stuck in some limbo where the shipping agent and the shipping company were in some legal death feud and were holding our stuff hostage - don't trust that list of shippers the NZ Consulate gives away - I'm sure there's someone here who has moved recently, has had an OK experience and can recommend someone.

    We left our cat too, we would have brought her with us if we hadn't gone traveling, she was old, she didn't adjust, we still miss her and wish we'd brought her with us.

    Oh god! the exchange rate - I earn US$, you have my sympathy - I also moved to the US the week that Muldoon called that '84 election, I lost half my savings .... just remember we all always lose on the exchange rate, it's only people in John Key's former profession who make money there

    We moved our US phone number to a Vonage account, it still rings here in NZ, as if we never left (sadly that includes calls from the Oakland Police Activities League and the Democratic Party) - now days I'd buy an Ooma box instead, it's cheaper in the long run (disclaimer, I contract for them, I'm biased).

    Your drivers license is still on file somewhere (even my 1970s one in the little green booklet with the stickers in it) - head down to AA and reapply, you don't have to sit the test again, if you are a US AA member bring your card you get a discount

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2179 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Thomas Johnson,

    Well, when we moved back from the USA we did bring a large yank tank back with us, but that was a company transfer so didn’t cost. Brought another large LHD convertible in for ourselves a few years later. Not that hard, or terribly expensive, but not worth the bother if you are not into the ‘car scene’.

    I've heard that American cars in Aussie have to be RHD-converted by law, so that seems to cut down on any LHD paperwork.

    Interestingly, I once met a Brit who planned to parallel export a Lancer Evo back home, because of the huge difference in price between buying one in NZ and buying one in the UK.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4365 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    some more thoughts:

    before you start wander around the house, take lots and lots of pictures of every little corner, every special place

    There is a tardis thing that goes on with houses, old houses are always much larger on the inside than the new one you move to - it's why you end up with 8 boxes of stuff you can't figure out where to put (we had shelves built, lots and lots of shelves, an honest to god dining room converted into a library, and still had 8 boxes left)

    You have to get really evil with those 8 boxes, they will stay there stacked in the hallway mocking you, resolve to get rid of one box every weekend until they are gone ....

    Eventually your new house will do the tardis thing, as you find all the nooks and crannies it too will expand to fit

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2179 posts Report Reply

  • Jane Pearson,

    In late 2008, I had only just begun to follow PA and one Saturday, in early December I think, I avidly followed the posts as people commented on a bill being debated under urgency in Parliament. This was the bill, introduced by the new National government, which brought in national standards. And Jolisa, I remember being amazed that someone was commenting from the US as this bill was passed and I learned a whole lot about the failure of similar programmes around the world and as a teacher I was afraid. And later I came to realise your place and significance in the PA community and have always enjoyed reading your contributions.

    There are some NZ schools who have bravely stood up against the implementation of national standards but they are being backed into a corner. I admire their stand as they recognise and explain the inherent flaws in such a system as national standards, especially as we approach the stage when schools are required to report on the progress their students are making in relation to the standards and provide the figures to back up this progress.

    Since Feb 2010 • 22 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    (you need a way to subtly make the "I'm not an American, despite the accent, I was born here" point

    When I met Jolisa she sounded excellently New Zildy to me. (But people occasionally mistake me for an American. So perhaps I have a tin ear.)

    I'm sure with a lot of lamps you can just change the plug (or get one of those plug converters) and you're away laughing. (Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for any house fires.)

    It *is* the timesickness that does you in. I wasn't away from NZ long enough to have this problem, but I know my husband does in reverse, having been gone nearly a decade. He will visit his hometown in the USA and every year or two it's mutated irrevocably. People don't live where they used to, or they died, or that thing everyone did - no one does that thing any more. So moving back to it *would* be like going to another country (albeit a vaguely familiar one).

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3661 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    We have moved far too many times, including four (4!!!!) international moves, and we have learned one thing from it. Moving is hell. Even moving home to New Zealand is hell.

    Also, seconding (thirding / fourthing) what other people have said about bringing cars. Don't.

    My very best wishes for the big move home.

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1323 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Tardis. Original.

    I still have a box sitting in the basement packed 30+ years ago with all sorts of things we brought back from Canada. Why........is...it...still....there.....We still can't bring ourselves to dump it...sigh...

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1500 posts Report Reply

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