Discussion: Closer to Home?

135 Responses

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  • Kyle Matthews,

    One thing EVERYONE who visits the US should do - that copy of the green form they staple in your passport - the airline's supposed to take it when you check in to leave - sometimes they forget - if they do the INS thinks you're still in the country - don't go to the gates until you're sure the airline took it from you

    I've only been to the states twice, but both times the departing airline has forgotten and I've either had to remind them, or stop myself going on the plane to return to the counter to double check that it really does say "take this out before you leave".

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Those customs requirements for NZers going to America are flat out nutty. I have never been more grateful to have two passports, and get a 'welcome home' at both ends...

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    I have never been more grateful to have two passports, and get a 'welcome home' at both ends.

    You're lucky. My unfortunate workmate went across to Australia for a week, to celebrate the end of Ramadan, and now he's in the paper after NZ Customs gave him a "welcome home" that I expect to read about from people who've been negotiating the hell that is US ICE. It's pretty fucking disgusting, actually, and more than a little depressing that we've managed to stoop to that level.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    And this seems the best place for a home thought from abroad, but why the hell did I have to go to Melbourne to see an excellent Len Lye show at the ACMI?

    It was a huge pleasure to see all that work in a coherent whole. They really should run that show in Wellington sometime in the next few years. (It seems like the best gallery to run it).

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    It's pretty fucking disgusting, actually, and more than a little depressing that we've managed to stoop to that level.

    If it was just a one off, I'd give them grace. But it has happened so many times it isn't funny. New Zealand's reaction to this similar incident seemed to be "get over it", but it was seen in a particularly bad light in Australia. A good number of people I know have been interrogated and held for the crime of being Middle Eastern, or of being a political activist.

    Another person I know had their clearance at Auckland Airport revoked after they converted to Islam. After the mess that was the Zaoui saga, with the Prime Minister trying to throw out a refugee (and changing the law to shut the gate after he entered), I'd say it's systematic.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    New Zealand's reaction to this similar incident seemed to be "get over it", but it was seen in a particularly bad light in Australia.

    What makes Abraham's case worse is that he's an NZ citizen. Bad enough to do it to visitors, but doing it to people who have gone to the required lengths to tie themselves to the country is a whole other level of naff.
    He also said while we were talking this morning that the Aussie customs officers were very easy to deal with, even polite and friendly. It's not a comparison that sits well, given that Australia isn't considered to be the most ethnically-tolerant of nations.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Nik C,

    I'll be moving to France next year, because my boyfriend's French and he wants to finish his degree. I wasn't planning to go overseas for a while, maybe in a couple of years, but I love him and I speak the langauge fairly well, so, why not? Hopefully I'll graduate and then fly out with him in April.

    Since Aug 2009 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • Nik C,

    I'll be moving to France next year, because my boyfriend's French and he wants to finish his degree. I wasn't planning to go overseas for a while, maybe in a couple of years, but I love him and I speak the langauge fairly well, so, why not? Hopefully I'll graduate and then fly out with him in April.

    Since Aug 2009 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    I love him and I speak the langauge fairly well, so, why not? Hopefully I'll graduate and then fly out with him in April.

    Absolutely. Other things can wait, love is more important.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Well I had an interesting experience yesterday - arrived in Auckland a bit late from Hong Kong, the plane had left late and took a couple of attempts to touch down (wheee!)

    Returning from Taiwan I was carrying a couple of commercially made gift boxes from my Taiwanese Client and the hotel I'd stayed in - I ticked the 'carrying food' box on the declaration and told the Ag&Fish guy I had "Packaged Cakes" - the guy with the xray machine got upset though and people took my passport and started running around and one guy started acting quite belligerent, especially when I quietly pointed out I was going to miss my connecting flight.

    Luckily I'd happened to mentioned to the nice lady with the cute beagle that I had "Moon Cakes" (a traditional Chinese cake for this time of year - we used to buy them in SF when we lived there) - apparently the problem is that some are made with egg (what cakes are not made with egg?) otherwise I'd be looking at a hefty fine - once they tracked her down they took my cakes and let me go - apparently they have a hot button for moon cakes - even though I'd checked the 'food' box and said 'packaged cakes' that wasn't enough because I hadn't been specific enough with the screening guy I was liable (in my ignorance) ......

    I made my connecting flight (what bastard put the domestic terminal so bloody far away - usually I enjoy the walk after a night on a plane, not this time) with minutes to spare and then sat there drenched in sweat next to some people who probably wished they'd gotten another seat.

    My point anyway is that our people can be pretty bloody minded too if they want to be

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Amy Gale,

    The crunch came, of course, at the border. All three of us, including the two US citizens had to go into the customs office and wait for me to be processed.

    Yeah, that was a seriously unwelcome surprise last time my parents came to visit and I went to pick them up from Toronto. I mean, really. If I was going to be smuggling workers, I'd pick 'em younger and fitter. And a bit less aware of my weak points.

    Me, I miss the Air Tahiti Nui JFK->PPT->AKL run. Can't understand why it wasn't the most popular route evah.

    tha Ith • Since May 2007 • 471 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Yeah I miss the time when all the flights stopped somewhere in the Pacific on the way - used to be if you were going home to visit for the (Northern ) summer you could get the earliest flight to Honolulu, spend the day at the beach, then grab an onward flight to AKL at midnight

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Sarah Horth,

    And a bit less aware of my weak points.

    Snort! Very funny Amy - just had R's parents staying from the East Coast and that dynamic is so true for so many family relationships.

    Seattle • Since Aug 2009 • 44 posts Report Reply

  • Amy Gale,

    Snort! Very funny Amy - just had R's parents staying from the East Coast and that dynamic is so true for so many family relationships.

    Hah, I haven't even mentioned the bit about how by the time we got to Buffalo I was threatening to stop the car and put them out by the side of the road unless they started behaving. (Sadly this was interpreted as a potential bonus that would facilitate the viewing of canal boats and so forth.)

    Oh, but I love 'em, I do.

    In related news, apparently land crossings are now eligible for the visa waiver pre-certification thingo. Good news for border crossers, not to mention their offspring.

    tha Ith • Since May 2007 • 471 posts Report Reply

  • Sarah Horth,

    That's good news.

    Love the naughty step in Buffalo story. We had R's dad decide he really wanted to buy the awful rental car we bounced along in...because it had manual window winder-uppers. Driving my gadget geek husband up the wall :)

    Seattle • Since Aug 2009 • 44 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    used to be if you were going home to visit for the (Northern ) summer you could get the earliest flight to Honolulu, spend the day at the beach, then grab an onward flight to AKL at midnight

    For my purposes, the flight that used to go direct (I think?) from Dallas/Fort Worth to Auckland was pretty special. No LAX!

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Well of course in those days there were maybe 7-8 airlines flying from the US to NZ (AirNZ, Qantas, United, Continental, something French, AA I think, PanAm, ...) lots of options

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    I would love to come home. You can measure the depth of my desire to come home by the fact that I would even settle for Palmerston North (yes, I have lived there, twice, so I know what I am saying). We are slowly settling here, making friends (a difficult task for introverts), learning the city and the climate, enjoying what Adelaide has to offer. But I miss my family and friends, and I miss the landscapes of home. What I also miss is the determination in New Zealand to get things right. There's a real "can do" attitude in Australia, which is deeply refreshing. However I feel as though New Zealand has a real commitment to social justice, however poorly put into practice, and a commitment to justice for Maori, and a commitment to making the country a better place for everyone. It's not as gung-ho as the Australian approach, but I think it's more reasoned, and more based in a sense that if we try, we actually can build a good place to live.

    Also, I miss kumara. And tui. And kereru.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac,

    Count me in as someone who had massive culture shock initially when I lived in London. However, I had also made a very determined point not to hang out with other antipodeans - expedited when the only two people I knew buggered off to Belgium - which was kind of not the best strategy for someone as introverted as I am.

    Of course, our culture still has tons of stuff from the UK embedded in it, but it's far from being the same. I will say that London's multiculturalism is one of its more positive aspects, especially when you compare it to Canberra's homogeneity.

    Anyway, after a couple of extremely depressing years, I made friends with other kiwis and assorted saffas and Aussies, and my god, that made a difference.

    After nearly 5 years there, I was home for 18 months (it's still "home"), and now I've been here in Australia for exactly 5 years. I came here purely because of my ex partner, and I'm staying - for now - because I'm doing pretty well career-wise, and want to get that a bit more established. Also, fuck returning home to the Nats, although this govt doesn't seem to be quite as bad as the previous National incarnation.

    (I will say the kind of people from kiwiland who want to live on the Gold Coast deserve it - maybe we should just make that the dumping ground for all crass arseholes in Australasia, and perhaps spin it off into its own dog-eat-dog "financial liberalist" state with no maaaaaaries or other off-white people around to get annoyingly in your face.)

    Getting back to the point, Australia really isn't my turangawaewae, I miss my friends, I miss the landscape, I miss the cultural mix in Auckland or Wellington. And yes, I miss the ACC, which I can't believe they're even considering removing one iota of (of course, screwing that up has been National policy for yonks). I hear of so many people and organisations who would like to put on events here in Oz, but can't because liability insurance would be prohibitive. That sucks.

    And here's a question: when do you call yourself an "ex-pat"? I've lived away from NZ for a third of my life, but I certainly don't consider myself one. Is it when you decide you're not likely to return?

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac,

    Oooh, thanks for the pointer re AirNZ's direct route to Vancouver. I went to Hawaii a few years ago - great place, once you're away from the worst beaches - when they were doing just two fingerprints. Fuck being fingerprinted like a crim - although I'm dying to visit SF again and maybe head to Seattle, I can do without. I do want to check out Vancouver though.

    Does anyone know if they do the fingerprinting rigmarole if you travel by land from Canada to the US, if you're holding a non-Canadian/USAian passport (I have a choice of NZ or Irish)?

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    "Home" is a funny word - for the longest time it referred to where I wasn't - living in the US Dunedin was home, after we moved back Oakland was home for a while, now I think I'm back to Dunedin being home again

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Sarah Horth,

    Agreed Paul.

    When I lived in Tokyo, 'home' was both Auckland and Tokyo - I'd refer to Auckland as home while in Tokyo and Tokyo as home when visiting Auckland or out of the country.

    Seattle • Since Aug 2009 • 44 posts Report Reply

  • David Mir,

    I've been in Sydney for 7 years and am about to head home to NZ for a few months for some further study. Part of the reason is expediency- the availability of student allowance and the exchange rate mean I come out a few grand ahead of where I'd be if I did the same course in Australia, and as I'd have to travel to another state to do it here (commercial diving certifications aren't offered in too many spots as you need a lot of gear and some very deep water to put it into) anyway the travel aspect is a non-issue.
    I moved for the same reason as most younger kiwis- the lure of the big city, Aussie salaries, sun and beaches, but the longer I've been here the less appeal it holds- the endless urban sprawl and astronomical property prices in particular are something of a put-off. There are also things I prefer about NZ culturally compared to Australia- the awareness of indigenous culture, and less of a tendency toward patriotic chest-beating for example. NZ is a small country and largely the NZ media acknowledge that- so the news, sports coverage etc are generally pretty internationally inclusive. Compare that to Australia, whose media at time seems almost American in it's focus on Australian events to the eclusion of others. Watching the Olympics here was bloody painful- no coverage of Val Vili's shot-put final, but every time an Australian swimmer so much as pulled her cozzie out of her arse-crack you'd be treated to half-hourly replays of it for the next two days.

    Sydney • Since Jan 2007 • 17 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    David, our experiences aren't too different.

    but the longer I've been here the less appeal it holds- the endless urban sprawl and astronomical property prices in particular are something of a put-off.

    Agreed. We've bought and now feel a little trapped into the market movements that constantly recalibrate our "wealth". Also, with kids, the lifestyle differences between NZ and Australia are also partly a function of the urban sprawl. We tend to not have friends and kids over nearly as often as is possible with larger NZ "sections"; instead we'll meet in the parks - parks that can be exceedingly good I should add.

    the awareness of indigenous culture, and less of a tendency toward patriotic chest-beating for example.

    I'm always careful about this but I agree. Perhaps it's function of the later colonisation, I don't exactly know, but I'm grateful that though there remain injustices needing remedy, NZ's committed to remedies whereas not all Australians are.

    Watching the Olympics here was bloody painful- no coverage of Val Vili's shot-put final, but every time an Australian swimmer so much as pulled her cozzie out of her arse-crack you'd be treated to half-hourly replays of it for the next two days.

    Is that just patrotism or also a higher tolerance for flat out sexism? Ever watched episodes of the NRL or AFL footy shows? Far-freak'n-out! It's boorish, sexist, homophobic crap on network TV!

    Further evidence for this is that until recently, Netball tests were seldom broadcast even though Australia's got anti-sphoning laws to ensure national sporting events are free-to-air.

    Mustn't gripe but, mustn't. It's a grand country with much to commend it, it just isn't home.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • David Mir,

    Perhaps it's function of the later colonisation, I don't exactly know, but I'm grateful that though there remain injustices needing remedy, NZ's committed to remedies whereas not all Australians are.

    I think it's a pretty complex combination of factors- later colonisation, differences between the respective indigenous cultures themselves and their responses to colonialism, and the very different colonial and immigration histories of the two countries.

    Is that just patrotism or also a higher tolerance for flat out sexism? Ever watched episodes of the NRL or AFL footy shows? Far-freak'n-out! It's boorish, sexist, homophobic crap on network TV!
    Further evidence for this is that until recently, Netball tests were seldom broadcast even though Australia's got anti-sphoning laws to ensure national sporting events are free-to-air.

    I know what you mean- I'm a big NRL fan but refuse to watch the footy show as it certainly isn't about football. I don't really blame that for the Olympics coverage though- I think it was a straight up case of the Aussie media believing that their viewers were more interested in ANY story about Australian athletes than anything else. To their credit, many Australian sports fans didn't share their views, and agreed the coverage was terrible.
    Australia is a weirdly conservative place sometimes too- I can't envision a woman prime minister here, and the amount of clout that religious organisations here seem to have compared to in NZ is scary sometimes. Kind of like in the US, I think it would be pretty much political suicide here for an election candidate to admit to being an atheist, or anything but a "normal" family type- which obviously isn't the case in NZ given Helen Clark's tenure.

    Mustn't gripe but, mustn't. It's a grand country with much to commend it, it just isn't home.

    Oh, absolutely. But hey, again I think (at least on Public Address anyway) we're well beyond ridiculous "love it or leave it" sentiments where ANY criticism of aspects of a society is taken as traitorious slander.
    I could reel off a few things that annoy me about NZ too- for starters there's our tendency to constantly think of reasons NOT to do something before we undertake anything and end up doing something half arsed. When the debate over the waterfront stadium for the RWC was going on I couldn't how it would have panned out had it been in Sydney (a city that seems to understand the "if you build it, they will come" concept). The amount of public works that went into Sydney before the Olympics was staggering- yet NZers bitched and moaned and couldn't get their shit together enough to build ONE decent stadium and instead settled on trying to make a silk purse of the sow's ear that is Eden Park. It was frankly rather embarrassing.

    Sydney • Since Jan 2007 • 17 posts Report Reply

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