I have spent the last week and a bit at home, New Zealand. During that time I spent four days in Auckland catching up with friends and five days on the road with two Australians visiting Waitomo, Taupo and Rotorua.
During the last six months I have been trying to fit into Australian culture but it has been a long and hard process to do so. Returning home I expected to have changed enough that I wouldn’t quite fit back into New Zealand culture either. However, within half a day of being back I felt as if I had never left – finally there were people who could understand my accent, my mannerisms, and accept me just as I am.
Being back home has left me questioning where my true home exactly is. I am a born and breed fully blooded sixth-generation Kiwi. I am not European, I am Pacifica, I am Pakeha, and I am proud of my New Zealand heritage.
There is a far too cliché saying that states “home is where the heart is”. For me, the last six months have been an interesting journey into the heart. For the first three months of living in Sydney I was immensely lonely. Not knowing anyone crushes the human spirit. Of course making friends is a solution to loneliness that challenge is simpler on paper than it is in reality. After six months I have begun to build a number of friendships in Sydney, however, it will be many years until the number of friendships will even get a chance of rivalling those I have in Auckland.
So where is the heart now? I feel like it is in the middle of the Tasman Sea, torn between two different countries, and buried under a sea of emotion. A few weeks ago I had someone attempt to convince me that emotion was a bad thing and that showing your emotions was a sign of weakness. However, I see emotion as a strength, it gives us feeling, lets us know when things are going well, and when they are not. Emotions can be soul destroying though; especially when you let the downward emotions overrule the confidence ones.
It is with a bit of sad emotion that over the next sixth months I see myself fishing this heart out of the sea and continuing the westward shift towards Australia being my home – at least in the short term. While New Zealand will always be my whakapapa (origin), Australia by virtue of work is now my residence, and it is within that context that in order to move forward in my life I need to work in. I may be a stranger in a foreign land, but when in Rome you must do as the Romans do, however you must never forget your past, where you came from and who you are.