I was Facebooking my Saturday evening away when my wife mentioned to me that the 16th of September marked our second year anniversary here in New Zealand. Wow, has it been that long already? I can still remember the uncertainties we felt when we packed our bags and set off for the Land of the Long White Cloud two years ago. We didn't know anybody here, and all we had packed in our 3 suitcases and hand-carried bags were clothes, my camping cookset, a laptop, a Lea Salonga CD, some Lego bricks, a Macross action figure, some medicine, a Yummy magazine, the Adobo Book, and a journal containing messages from my former office colleagues. We didn't have any job offer, nor did we have a pre-arranged place to stay in. Crazy, wasn't it?
We made it through the first two nights courtesy of Kuya Mon, a mailing list admin based here in Wellington who tried to help us find a place before we arrived but instead we switched to plan B which was a couple of nights at their place.
From there on we experienced the kindness of strangers: from taking us out on weekends to forwarding us job vacancy notices, giving advice on what we need to do, to giving things for the house. It was an eye-opener for me. I have been lucky to have good neighbours back in the Philipines too, but all the while I was assuming that we would be left to our own devices in this land. But we formed new, great friendships along the way.
The first year was quite difficult, to be honest. The first four months weren't so bad because I concentrated on finding a job. But when that was sorted and our lives gradually settled into a daily rhythm, I'd catch myself daydreaming about what I would've been doing at that time in the Philippines. I missed my friends, our mountain climbing adventures, our out of town trips, weekend movie nights, Friday gimmicks. I missed my family.
But that's not to say I'm not happy here. Sure, I lived quite a busy life in Manila and Baguio and enjoyed it tremendously. But now I also find this relatively quiet life suits me just fine too. This actually reminds me of the old days in Baguio when life was simple. I could spend weekend afternoons chillaxing at home with my family, or on sunny days friends are just a phone call away and nature trips are less than half an hour away. I'd love to do a camping trip soon.
For now, two eventful years have gone, and I look forward to more stuff life has to offer in the years to come.