September 12 is one of my anniversaries—a minor one, maybe, but important nevertheless. On September 12, 1995, I arrived in New Zealand as a tourist. During that trip, Nigel and I decided that we definitely wanted to be together, so I found a job and we met with an immigration consultant.
The date mattered legally because it was the starting point that the immigration service used to calculate the amount of time I’d been in New Zealand. That mattered because in order to gain permanent residence, one had to be legally resident in New Zealand for a certain period of time. So, this date is really where my New Zealand adventure began—even though I didn’t arrive in the country to stay until November 2, 1995.
Of course September 12 has another significance: It was the date in New Zealand that in the US was September 11. By that infamous September day in 2001, I’d been a permanent resident of New Zealand for over two years, so the date I arrived in New Zealand as a tourist no longer mattered, and I’d forgotten it. In any case, the date it was in the US became the focus of observances, not the date it was here in New Zealand. September 12 is again just one of my days.
We tend to lose track of the minor anniversaries in our lives—the small dates that lead, ultimately, to the bigger dates we do remember. Mentioning such a date here is my small way of remembering what became life-changing, a series of events that began, really, on September 12, 1995.