The years, they whiz by like lightning now. It was just about exactly three years ago that we were in transit – arriving in New Zealand to start our strange bold new lives, 6000 miles away from my homeland. Three years now I've been living in New Zealand, and according to my wife who keeps track of all the legal stuff (I just sign forms now and again) I'll become a citizen soon enough. (That'll make six passports for the three of us!)
It is a bit tricky now from the comfort of our little Auckland home to summon up how unrooted and nomadic we were for a spell there, back in 2006 -- packed up our old life in Oregon, a little cross-American rambling before we left, and showing up in a damp and humid Auckland spring to start anew. We're "settled" now -- bought a house, got jobs, the boy started school this year, all the usual things that make up a living.
The US is never very far away in my mind and I sometimes find myself defending it to a few folks who unfortunately have a rather broad or stereotypical view of a nation as sprawling and yes, fundamentally good as I think America is -- I never thought moving to another country meant I suddenly gave up on the US. (Indeed if I had to list a pet peeve of living in New Zealand, I'd say "people bashing America for the heck of it" would be one of 'em, but I really don't try to be too thin skinned about it -- we bash Australia a lot worse down here.)
I've covered the ups and the downs of life in NZ now for the last few years, and while I'll always be a "foreigner" here, I feel a lot more clued in than I was the very first time I visited this antipodean land more than nine (!!!) years ago now. I always tell people I honestly don't know if we'll stay here "for good" -- is there such a thing? I've moved a lot, lived in several American states and ever since finishing high school it's rare I've stayed in the same place more than four-five years or so. But we are very glad to be here, here and now, and tomorrow, as they say, is another day.