Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Grass Isn't Always As Green As It Looks

I made a post earlier about being positive versus negative. If you are reading this and haven't read that post, I suggest you read that entry as well. That will explain why I decided to write about this.

I changed my life almost 2 years ago now by moving to the other side of the world. To a town much, much smaller than what I was used to. To a different culture. With no friends except my new friend who is now my partner.

In all my entries, I've tried to be super positive. Why shouldn't I be? I've changed my life, rather dramatically it turns out. In some ways, it has been like I've been reborn. It's just that I've been reborn in my forties, not in my twenties. So for anyone who thinks that my life is all hunky dory, just remember that the grass isn't always as green as it looks. And let me tell you why ...

1) It's hard to build a career over when the town you live in doesn't have the industry you worked in. And not many understand what you used to do or how it can help them in their business. The upside - lots of opportunity to reinvent yourself.

2) It's hard to get work when you're over-qualified for at least half of the work available in town. The upside - a chance to try your hand at something new.

3) It's not so easy to make close friends when everyone has established friends, and most people are busy with their families. It's not like you're going to go out drinking all night at one of the 100+ bars in town and make a new life friend.

4) It's really expensive here ... at least in Queenstown. No upside whatsoever.

5) And my current income is less than half what it used to be.

6) Shopping. It's not great. Expensive, limited selections ... especially shoes. The upside - you spend less money on things you don't need anyway.

7) It's super dry here, especially in the Winter. I scared the hell out of myself the first time I went skiing and took off my goggles when I went to the loo. Holy Hell! It was like I'd gone through a time warp. The upside - it forces me to drink more water.

8) It's cold here for a California girl. I'm talking freakin' cold in the Winter. I'm still enjoying it, but am starting to wonder how long the novelty will last. The upside - beautiful.

9) No good, cheap Mexican food. Pretty hard for a girl from LA. The upside - my partner cooks, loves Mexican food, and knows the only real place in town that makes and sells real flour tortillas.

10) Domestic air fares are not cheap. Neither is petrol for your car. This is why I check Air New Zealand's web site daily for their Grab-a-Seat offers. The upside - maybe it will force me to walk more.


  1. I am with you 100% Carmen. I completely understand how difficult it is to make new friends and work contacts. I find that even working for large multi-national brands (like Microsoft, Apple etc) don't carry much truck over here, the emphasis is on local experience. Keep your chin up, what you've done is brave and will be ultimately very rewarding! x

  2. You know what? You are so sweet and an inspiration. I love reading about your adventure. And I had this conversation about work experience with someone just yesterday. So you're experiencing the same? It's frustrating, isn't it? End of March will be my 2 year anniversary here. I hear the longer I'm here, the more it will add to my "validity". haahaa ... I'll let you know.

  3. Hi Carmen, I've been following your blog over the last week and love the positive vibe and your optimistic attitude. If you were the opposite I probably wouldn't be following. Positivity is especially important while reading about Queenstown and surrounds as I'm moving my family permanently to your part of the world later this year. Basically for the same reason as you ...... a much needed change.
    Getting to know people after such a big move is a challenge and can be hard, I already know this through experience but believe me it does get better. I've heard about the "validity" time frame as well. Lol. Anyway I look forward to reading more and seeing more through your eye's. Thanks.

  4. You're such a darling and I second Mel's comments - so positive!!! Thanks for your suggestions about the South Island things to see I'll put up the second installment of vegemitevix's 10 things to see in NZ soon-ish. Hopefully will have some posts in Stuff too in the next wee while. Do you Twitter? xx

  5. Hi Mel - Nice to "meet" you online. Thank you for the lovely comments and for following my blog. Sometimes I think my blog is my online diary, but then, luckily, I remember. :-) That's very exciting that you're moving to Queenstown. I'm curious why you decided here for your next move. Well, I can be one acquaintance you have when you arrive. Lets keep in touch.
    Hi Vicki - Thank you for your comment as well! I'm going to plan a solo getaway for myself when my partner travels next month for his work. I'm going to check out your suggestions for a place to go. I am on Twitter. I follow you. I'm "caligirlininz". I try to use Twitter a bit more for posts related to work I'm doing, but I just can't help myself sometimes. I love to promote things I find interesting or love myself. Look for me under your Followers.

  6. Hi Carmen- I really appreciate your response, I've been rather slack of late and only just noticed (literally a moment ago) that you had commented. Anyway, our move.... gee, is for many reasons but mainly because we are in a position to offer our children a chance to live somewhere unique and beautiful. Some may argue that I already live somewhere unique, after all Australia is a wonderfully amazing place to live, maybe that's the reason so many New Zealander's move here! :) We love the outdoors and I really just want to immerse my boys, (yes, I have three, one just 18yrs, one just 14yrs, and my littlest will be 1yr on the 30th March), in nature and a different culture. Basically if I could tramp and ski from my back door it would still be too far away! Hubby has family on the North Island and a cousin in Nelson who often works out of Queenstown/Wanaka when he isn't overseas (his a professional adventurer, I suppose that's what you'd call him, or a crazy adrenaline chasing nut!). Look forward to reading some new posts and dreaming of the end of this year.

  7. Hi again Mel - It's August and I just noticed that you had replied back in March! Clearly I'm not very good at this. :-)
    Would really like to stay in touch with you. Here's my email ... debhagen@earthlink.net.