Summer’s here and that means start of the tourist season. Which also means that some of our favorite spots will be a bit crowded for next few months. Not long ago I met two backpackers in a van on a beach. Two girls from Europe came over for few months on Working Holiday Visa to experience New Zealand. Like thousands of others. One was from Belgium and one from France. The one from Belgium complained that hardly anyone here knows where Belgium is. I told her that she might be surprised. They didn’t ask me where I come from – my accent didn’t surprise them (well, none of them was English native speaker) and being on a beach for a walk with kids they presumed I’m local.
When they left I thought to myself that I’m not a tourist in this country anymore. And I’m not local either and hardly ever will be. Officially said: I’m an immigrant. And I simply feel that way with no negative context behind this word. For certain reasons I came to live in this country and so here I am. My roots are overseas and always will be, but home is where the heart is, as they say. My closest family is here and wherever I would be with them, there would be my home. I don’t want to sound sentimental, that’s just the way how I feel it.
I know which shop to go to buy what I need, I can recommend you some nice places around to go to, I know which restaurant would be perfect for Saturday dinner or Sunday lunch or I can even tell you little bit of local history. If you meet me as a tourist, I can help you out. If you meet me as a local, you’ll know that I’m not originally from here. And of course you’ll ask me where do I come from and of course I’ll tell you the truth.
I got my daily/weekly/monthly routine and with that is connected feeling of belonging. Something I dare to say is important for each of us. Yes, traveling is amazing and once you start it’s hard to stop. But the best thing about it, is to have a place to come back to, no matter if it’s place where you actually come from or place which you call home for your own reasons. I found mine, at least for next few years. Thinking about it, I have few homes around the world. Not a bad thing.
If this whole thing doesn’t make sense or it sounds too serious, don’t worry. It might be just a festive season came upon me. Christmas is coming soon, very soon. Another ‘warm’ Christmas for me – no snow, no winter jackets, no skiing, no darkness after 4pm, instead summer dress and beach. Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to Christmas every year. Somehow it all brought me to that question: Where do I really come from and realizing I might not know the answer yet. Again, don’t worry, I can adjust pretty much to anything. Like here, if I would have it on a list, I would tick it off: Settle down in NZ – done!