Busytown by Jolisa Gracewood

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Busytown: Sons for the Return Home

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  • recordari, in reply to BenWilson,

    I hope not, but I haven't met her, and one thing I've learned from PAS is not to form judgments on people from their writings.

    I have been debating how to continue this without it becoming uncomfortable for our host. I have met Jolisa. I stand by my comment. That is all.

    Jack

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    Re: the growth chart on the door frame
    Others have suggested using something more portable from the outset; but since you are where you are now, why not simply transfer the markings & labels to a measuring stick that you can bring back with you (and then continue to update it)?

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 889 posts Report Reply

  • recordari, in reply to Sacha,

    How do you reckon NZ's evolving cultural competence affects that?

    In 140 characters or less? Jeepers, apart from that being more than 8 years ago, I think I'd have to write a book, which I'm pretty sure is beyond me. How does the New Zealand Government's evolving competence in supporting our Education system (my area was private education for foreign language learners) affect it would be another question.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to recordari,

    I have met Jolisa. I stand by my comment.

    That's all you had to say dude, and there's no need to tap your nose about it. I didn't know, now I do. What's the big secret?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8482 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    See, I don't think that is completely true.

    There are plenty of homebodies, of course. Travel is incredibly expensive for NZers. Which is what makes it such an amazing stat that over 1 million of us are abroad. As I recall that puts us at the top for proportion of nationals overseas. How do you account for that? Ah, that's right, you said Australia is not abroad. I beg to differ. It is like NZ, but it is also quite different. The entire population of NZ could fit into either Sydney or Melbourne. That makes it qualitatively different, IMHO.

    As for the difficulty ex-ex-pats have fitting back in, I often wonder if this isn't mixing up cause and effect. Perhaps people became ex-pats because they found something in their own country difficult to relate to, and this isn't likely to go away by going abroad.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8482 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to BenWilson,

    As I recall that puts us at the top for proportion of nationals overseas.

    Talking out of a hole in my hat here, but I would be surprised if any number of small Pacific nations with significant expat populations in, er, New Zealand weren't ahead of us.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 801 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    adult North Islanders who have never gone south of Cook Strait

    You don't believe those ridiculous stories that there's another island down there, do you? Those mountains you see in the mist from Island Bay are just clouds. There's nothing there. Dragons and sea monsters, maybe. And then The Edge...

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4444 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1494 posts Report Reply

  • recordari, in reply to BenWilson,

    <redacted>

    Grrr.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to James Butler,

    ahead of us

    to say nothing of Ireland..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16614 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to BenWilson,

    The entire population of NZ could fit into either Sydney or Melbourne. That makes it qualitatively different, IMHO.

    The entire population of the South Island could fit into Auckland - it's still the same country. I'm not sure how that makes it an argument??

    Australia shares an almost identical language - including colloquialisms and slang, it's increasingly hard to tell young Australians and New Zealanders apart beyond Australasia even when they open their mouths, we share a media, common values, an economic zone (NZers are the only people who can register a company in Australia offshore as domestic), a military history, matching legal systems and more. There is no other place in the world we can say that about.

    It takes most New Zealanders about 20 mins to adjust to an arrival in Oz - to be able to function on a fairly normal level - which is about the same as arriving in Dunedin for me. It's a variation on the world we know.

    Travel a few kilometres beyond - in any northern or eastern direction and you'll find other worlds which are not.

    Lots of New Zealanders of certain demographics have travelled. There are very many who have not.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3206 posts Report Reply

  • dyan campbell,

    Welcome back in advance Jolisa & family! I met you briefly with your happy, charming, abnormally polite, furiously swimming sons at Jackie's last summer. You have exceptionally lovely kids.

    I welcome your collective wisdom and experience. Logistical, spiritual, frivolous, serious. What would you add to the to-do list of a homeward-bound family that’s counting down the weeks? How have you packed up, moved on, settled back in? Any tricks for the phase transition, especially for children? And, if not a cure for timesickness itself, perhaps a happy spell or two to calm the mind?

    It's nearly 23 years since I moved here from Vancouver, but I do remember how hard it is to leave everything and everyone, and it's especially hard give a cat away. If Huckle's new family sent you guys a picture, just once a year, that goes a long way to assuring everyone you made the best choice for him.

    If you have a few rituals - that satisfy the logistical, the spiritual and the frivolous all at once - it can really help. You might have each member of the family to make a 2 lists - 1) everything they will miss in the US and 2) everything they are looking forward to in NZ. It can be good to see that written down, it gives the kids some sense of control over their own destiny.

    In the boys' world there are probably a lot people who will miss them - some who don't even loom large in their lives (shopkeepers, bus drivers etc) and if you encourage them to write a good-by note (just one line would be enough) to everyone they can think of who might be sad to see them go, it can help them deal with their own sense of loss or missing people, as well as make them feel more like they are participating in the move, rather than just having it foisted on them. It's also good for them to have a sense that not only will they miss people, but people will miss them back.

    When our neighbours moved (just to the other side of town) I babysat the 3 kids (4, 7 & 9 years old) for the last afternoon. I had a package of sidewalk chalk for them and I got them to write a "goodbye & welcome to the new family" note to their house and - which kept them occupied all afternoon & delighted the new couple (about to have their first child - they now have 2) who moved in. The 3 girls had drawn a huge picture of their house, themselves, and a list of the best things in their backyard under the title "Enjoy" (swan plants that attract butterflies, a strawberry patch that had gone mad, a resident hedge-hog to look out for).

    When you get to your new house there is a Chinese custom that involves shining a light into every corner of every room of the new house - I think this is so that happiness shines in your lives. This would be a good task to set small boys, and a good excuse to give them new flashlights, which most kids love. And a nice custom for the whole family (courtesy of my Latvian friends Aja & Astrid) is for everyone to sit and consume a few grains of salt, wine (well, grape juice) & bread. The salt represents prosperity, the wine, new friends and the bread, health. You need tomatoes and cheese in there for the salt to be really be very useful...

    I wouldn't bother with the door frame - it sounds like a bit of a project to match timber in an old house, & I don't think it would be a good example for your kids to see you find it so hard to leave something behind. Get the boys to copy it for you - on to a long strip of fabric, or even paper.

    Bring the lamps, absolutely. Ship things via a container ship, but as everyone has said, get the latest advice from MAF about your gardening tools, seashells, wicker, bamboo etc. They even wanted us to have any seashells treated (boiled, them painted with varnish) before we brought them in.

    You probably know this - the last things to be packed & the first to be unpacked should be the stereo & the coffee maker.

    Let us know when the big arrival will be, and I'm pretty sure the PASers here can be very helpful re: welcoming committee to keep you all in casseroles, cakes and scones for at least the first week.

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 595 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to recordari,

    Fair enough. I recall discussion around the time Winston First and Brash were beating the racist drum about how the experience of NZ-based language students from China helped severely reduce subsequent intakes and cost the industry (and especially Auckland) a fortune. Sure there were other factors, but our ability to provide a supportive, welcoming multi-cultural environment seems to have been evolving. It is a strength that's valuable in many ways.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16614 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to linger,

    why not simply transfer the markings & labels to a measuring stick that you can bring back with you (and then continue to update it)?

    Because that would be much easier than removing the door frame. My solution was much more complicated and expensive <smacks forehead>.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3342 posts Report Reply

  • recordari, in reply to Sacha,

    Sure there were other factors, but our ability to provide a supportive, welcoming multi-cultural environment seems to have been evolving. It is a strength that's valuable in many ways.

    I'd love to have this discussion in more detail one day with you Sacha. I don't seem to be choosing my words well today, so will keep it short. The biggest problem we faced was actually during Helen Clark's government. The influx of Chinese students was met with a number of poorly run, often foreign owned (being careful here in particular), schools who paid little regard for the legislation around protecting both students and student fees. Many excellent, long standing schools suffered as a result of bad press around some very unfortunate incidence with both Chinese and Japanese students. However, all this coincided with the New Zealand dollar beginning it's meteoric rise. In my view this was by far the most significant driver. My impression is that there was also a shift in Chinese Government Policy away from sending students abroad for English or international education to one of providing better quality services in China. This is more speculative though, as based on anecdotal evidence of teachers choosing China over Sth Korea and Japan.

    Anyway, that's enough to start. Hopefully we'll catch up some time to continue the discussion.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    My solution was much more complicated and expensive

    Yeah but is a copy the same as the actual piece of wood, emotionally?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16614 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to recordari,

    continue the discussion

    Certainly. It's an industry I don't know much about; always happy to learn more.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16614 posts Report Reply

  • recordari, in reply to Sacha,

    emotionally

    Funny though, we have ours on a plastic wall hanger with photos of the children at the different ages. Never thought about it's utility in being portable. I imagine the process of transcribing the years from one piece of wood to another would generate it's own emotional cachet, particularly as you relive each milestone while doing it.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Jennifer Duval-Smith,

    Yup, the past is another country, especially if your past was IN another country, (or in the more obvious passages of Eng Lit 101). It's always been oddly comforting to me to think that we leave a small piece of ourselves in every place we live. But don't we also take a little something extra back with us when we go?

    As a returned New Zealander I am especially delighted that we are receiving home some of our smartest, funniest and most analytical 'diasporees' (that's you Jolisa) because you don't have to be blind to the faults of your homeland to love it.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2011 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    The entire population of the South Island could fit into Auckland - it's still the same country. I'm not sure how that makes it an argument??

    Yup, and they're very different to Aucklanders in a lot of ways. There can be culture shock in attempting to fit in here, if you come from somewhere rural, very much like foreign culture shock.

    Granted, it's not as extreme as landing in Cambodia and trying to fit in, but I don't really see how saying Australia is not a foreign country really works. You could say most of the same things about traveling to the UK or the USA, too. Where do you draw the line of foreign? I draw it at the actual border.

    Furthermore, what are you comparing it to? How many Thais have extensive travel experience, as a proportion of their population? For it to be anything remotely like NZ they would need to have somewhere around 17 million people abroad constantly. Even if they were just over in Laos, that would count. For Americans, it would need to be around 60 million. I would count Canada. For Chinese, around 400 million.

    Lots of New Zealanders of certain demographics have travelled. There are very many who have not.

    Yup, but when you put actual numbers around it, how does it look?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8482 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    if you come from somewhere rural

    Like the North Island, the South's population is mainly urban. Rural/urban is a big cultural difference though, certainly.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16614 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to BenWilson,

    Where do you draw the line of foreign? I draw it at the actual border.

    I draw it at experience. Auckland is far closer to Sydney day to day than it is to - say - Gore. Which I think was part of the point of this thread.

    Gore shares a passport with Auckland.

    Furthermore, what are you comparing it to? How many Thais have extensive travel experience, as a proportion of their population?

    Actually, I think you'd be very surprised how many have travelled and how many have been to New Zealand. "I loved Auckland" is not an uncommon response to a where are you from question. Travel in Asia is very cheap too and more like taking a bus than a flight often. The Chinese now dominate global tourism and the other Asian nations likewise are very outward bound these days. Many of these countries all have very, very large middle classes with money and desire to travel.

    Travel in Europe is both cheap and common. And - more - offers a far broader trans-cultural experience than a trip to the Gold Coast or an upping of domicile there or to Sydney.

    You could say most of the same things about traveling to the UK or the USA, too.

    I disagree. We [almost] share a spoken language but the day to day in both nations is not ours. There is a reasonable period of adjustment needed in each.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3206 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to BenWilson,

    For Chinese, around 400 million.

    And yet they tend to dominate the economies of large parts of the non-Chinese world. There are more Chinese as a pure number living elsewhere in the world by a huge margin.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3206 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Equally Gore is closer to Sydney than Auckland - many people down our way make the occasional trip to Sydney for shopping rather than Auckland

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2127 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Jennifer Duval-Smith,

    As a returned New Zealander I am especially delighted that we are receiving home some of our smartest, funniest and most analytical ‘diasporees’ (that’s you Jolisa) because you don’t have to be blind to the faults of your homeland to love it.

    And every Archie Bunker who emigrates to Queensland's Sunshine Coast has done their civic duty.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4238 posts Report Reply

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