November 2, 1995 was a hot, sunny day. Or, maybe it just seemed hot when I'd just flown in from Chicago, where, only a few days earlier, we'd had our first light snowfall of the season, and the average temperatures were changing from cool to cold. Whatever, the difference was pretty jarring.
Way back in 2007, I talked about my arrival:
"Nigel had just started a new job and couldn't meet me, so I took an airport shuttle to the house, got the key that Nigel hid for me, and went inside. Leading in from the front door was a path of laser printed sheets, one letter per sheet. They spelled out 'Welcome Home'. I knew I was."This anniversary has always been about the two things: Our life together, and my moving from my homeland to a new country on the other side of the world. This blog, and my podcast, have documented a bit of both, because while they’re separate, one would not be true without the other: Our life together began because I moved to the other side of the world, and I moved to the other side of the world so that we could begin a life together.
When I moved to New Zealand, people told me it was brave. Brave? How was it brave to do the only thing that made any sense? Taking a chance on love may have been uncommon, and moving to another country for it was unusual, to say the least, but brave? Really?! What other choice did I have?
And what of Nigel who, 20 years ago, opened himself and his life to possibility? He was no less brave than I was, apart from that whole moving countries thing. He couldn’t have known how high maintenance I can be; fortunately, by the time he did, it was too late—he was smitten, too. That man deserves a medal.
The point is, we both did what we needed to do. Sure, it may have been radical from the perspectives of people who were not us, but for us, it was merely logical. And necessary. And it all started today, twenty years ago.
All of which is why I’ve often called this “the day that mattered”, as I did back in 2012: It was the day that my life in New Zealand began, and it was the day that Nigel and I began our life together.
So, twenty years in New Zealand, twenty years with my wonderful Nigel, and twenty years building our life together in this beautiful country. It all began on November 2, 1995.
I’ll keep celebrating this anniversary because of everything it means.
Posts from previous years:
Surreal 19th Expataversary (2014)
The day that really mattered (2012)
Sweet sixteen (2011)
Lucky 13: Expataversary and more (2008)
Twelfth Anniversary (2007)
Eleven Years an Expat (2006)
Ex, but not ex- – A 2006 post about being an expat
Changing policies and lives – A 2011 post about becoming a permanent resident
12 years a citizen – A 2014 post about becoming a NZ citizen
Foreign-born human – A 2015 post re-examining the word “expat”