Saturday, November 02, 2013


Today is my eighteenth Expataversary, the anniversary of the day in 1995 that I arrived in New Zealand to stay. That means today is also the day Nigel and I have always celebrated as our anniversary, though there are now more options to choose from.

There’s not much I can add to what I’ve said in previous years (the links to all those posts are at the bottom of this post). Last year, I commented on that fact:
“It’s been a challenge to avoid repeating myself when talking about the same story each year: I took a risk, moved across the planet, things were rough at first, they got better, now they’re great, The End.”
Except, it’s never really the end, is it? Well, not until it IS, if you know what I mean. Actually, even then no one knows for sure what, if anything, follows. Which says to me that we should treasure each moment as if it’s our last, because sooner or later we’ll be right.

No one’s life is filled with nothing but wonderful moments, but mine has been pretty close, at least much of the time. In my case, it’s because 18 years ago I made the right choices and decisions. The results have been fantastic.

Which is not to say there haven’t been challenges along the way. For starters, there’s all the stuff related to being an expat—dealing with government authorities in two countries, the not insignificant amount of money and time needed to travel halfway around the world for a visit, the inevitable sense of loss that eventually evolves into a sort of detachment and ultimately into a life centred fully in the new country.

Over the years, things have changed for us. In the beginning, apart from recognition by NZ Immigration, which the USA did not provide, there was no real formal recognition of our relationship. Then some recognition was enshrined in law (the Relationships (Property) Act), then Civil Unions and finally marriage equality.

For me, this date, November 2, was always about my expataversary, about the whole expat thing, and most especially about why I became an expat: My life with Nigel, which began on this date. Over time, the expat part has become less important, and the life together the more important part. Two days ago, Nigel and I were married. Will that change the date we celebrate as our anniversary? Maybe we could just have a three-day celebration every year.

Last year, I described this date as “the day that really mattered”. And, it was. But now, 18 years later, there’s so much more to note and to celebrate. Even so, it all began 18 years ago today, and my life is immeasurably better because it did.

Mostly, though, my life is better because of Nigel. Eighteen years later, I still feel that way.

Posts from previous years:
The day that really mattered
Sweet sixteen
Lucky 13: Expataversary and more
Twelfth Anniversary
Eleven Years an Expat

Ex, but not ex-


rogerogreen said...

You're just a celebratory glutton!

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

Yes! Though you must have meant a glutton for celebration, eh? That sounds like a nicer sort of glutton, less "7 Deadly Sin-ish". In either case, this year's Season of Celebrations has now ended. Fortunately, it's only a few weeks until the start of the Season of Holidays!