The Spinoff Hot Take Advent Calendar: December 14

Every day in the lead-up to Christmas, open the door to reveal a Spinoff writer’s short, sizzling commentary on a weighty subject. Our arbitrary and strictly enforced word limit: 365. Today: Mark Kelliher on attitudes of New Zealanders who’ve returned home.

I moved home from a six-year stint abroad in January and I don’t regret it one bit. Did I enjoy my time overseas? No doubt. I got to live in New York and travel the states. I got to live in London and escape across Europe at the drop of a hat. It was amazing.

And now I’m home. Enjoying life back in Aotearoa. But this isn’t the case for all of my compatriots who have similarly decided to close the chapter on their overseas ventures.

If you’re talking to someone who has recently migrated home, a common conversation might go like this: “I’m just not sure how I’m ever going to adjust to New Zealand … is there even one decent food market here … like, what do people even do?”

I’m not going to pretend we can compete on the arts and cultural attractions tip. And I don’t have to, because history dictates that. But it’s the little things that have made my transition an essentially seamless affair.

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Like the excellent music and hilarious comedy on offer. Or the fact I can jump in my car and drive to one of many, world-class beaches in a heartbeat (avoid western motorway at all costs between 4pm-6pm weekdays). What about the bus drivers offering a friendly greeting EVERY SINGLE TIME? And the fact my basics, purchased in February, haven’t shrunk yet? Shot, AS Colour. Speaking of kiwi-isms, dropping a casual chur in a meeting really does it for me. Try it out for yourself. And don’t get me started on pies. I will take a Muzza’s over a dry pastie any day.

Look, I get it. Europe is not on your doorstep any more. I miss that too. But guess what? The Abel Tasman is. And so is the Bay of Islands. And so is Queenstown if you cracked it overseas. And if there still isn’t enough going on for you, Melbourne is only three hours away.

So when you’re kicking back enjoying a cold brew on your aunty’s deck in the Mandel, use this time to reflect on what you’ve got back here. It’s not at all bad. Unless it’s pissing down, of course.

Read the Spinoff Hot Take Advent Calendar in full here


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