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Expats saying goodbye!

How can you really say goodbye to a place and people who matter to you for a long time? Who helped you coped in a new environment and lifestyle? Who became like a family as they can relate and understand what you are going through? It’s hard and I’m sure some ex-pats can relate to this.

Some of you dear readers know me for so long by following me through my journeys from Auckland to Abu Dhabi and a 10 month stay back in my birth Country Philippines then back again to Abu Dhabi and now finally going back for good in Auckland, New Zealand.

Some of you can understand that though I always bring positive travel blogs and ex-pats life, it may not be always positive and happy all the time. Yes! That’s life and sometimes life isn’t fair.

This is the time to say my last goodbyes to Abu Dhabi and to all my friends and Mom’s group as I won’t be back anymore. Though it saddens me to say my final goodbye to them, the positive side of this is I’m not hanging or feeling unbalanced anymore as I know that we’re going back home for good now in New Zealand. I can better plan our lives and we focus on what’s necessary and in my heart knowing that I will stay HOME.

Goodbye Abu Dhabi. You’ve been very good to us especially to me that I have experienced a different lifestyle that I never thought of and meeting so many people from all over the world and even learning from them. Thank you for all the experiences and opportunities.

Ma’ assalama!

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Another home away from home!

Going back to Abu Dhabi after being away for more than 3 months makes me realized that I am actually missing my good life here as a mom and as a person. It took me awhile to adjust (not that easy) but I did and I started to be happy! I was busy with lot’s of things going on around me. School events, volunteering, watching my son doing his sports, meet ups with 3 groups of friends, family time, even errands I find it good as it’s my me time to be alone and do some houseworks and I do love cooking, little luxuries in life  (that we cannot do in NZ) like some brunching (in 5*hotels) with friends and family, theme parks, fine dining and more travels.

The lifestyle here that I became adjusted to really makes me wonder why life keeps giving us a crack after I finally settled in.  So yes, we’re back to New Zealand and so many things had happened while we were away for 4 years!! Life is not the same anymore or perhaps I am not the same anymore. (Sigh!)

Coming back here in AD for a quick visit so our family can be together again.  Life sometimes sucks being an expats but it also gives you a lot of opportunities and new perspective in life that we didn’t know before.

So shall we go back for longer period in the land of the desert and opportunity?  I don’t know.  Guess I just leave it for the fate to pick us up and go with the flow. It happened before so I won’t be surprised if it happened again.  So far all I know is… this is another home away from home!

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Going back home to Aotearoa

“The thrill of coming home has never change” … by Guy Pearce

Perhaps some of you who are new to my blog are wondering where is this destination?  Is it a Country, a City or a Town?  AOTEAROA is a Maori name for NEW ZEALAND.  Nope NZ is not in Europe!! Some people asked me before where in Europe haha!  It is actually closer to Asia than in Europe hence a part of Oceania. It is a part of Australiasia where Australia is included.  But never ever say we belong to Australia or inside Australia.  There you go!

I have done my research as I heard that being re-pats anywhere in the World will never be the same as coming back home after a long absence, rather it is the same feeling as being an ex-pat in your own Country.  Anyway… my experience is so far it’s good the only complaint I can say is all my friends are too busy since they are mostly working moms (as I used to before).  I miss the rush and being busy as it’s a different life here in NZ compared to the lavish moms of leisure that we can afford to in Abu Dhabi.

Here the reality now in Auckland you may be interested to know just in case you are wanting to relocate here or also like me as a repat.  It’s a mix of good and bad.

  1. The housing prices have gone up so high!! More demand less supply, unfortunately from an average $500K before 4-5yrs ago it is now $650- to a million $$$ based on average but good location and yes a brand new car is expensive too because of the taxes.
  2. Strictly zoning for schools as the population is getting bigger thanks to BREXIT and TRUMP.  I am sure you can figure it out.
  3. Schools are very RELAXED here for Primaries compared to other Countries.
  4. You don’t know your neighbors anymore as some are gone or sold their houses and those who stay have a boarder to afford the mortgage payments overcrowding the street now with cars parked off-street that cannot fit in their garage or driveway.
  5. There are road works everywhere.  When I left it in June 2015 they started to do the road widening and some sort of beautifying if you can call it that.  Then the Waterview TUNNEL to the airport came to fruition last July 2017.
  6. The City looked less of beauty with so many road works and reconstruction of some buildings.  Main train station was already beautiful before but now half-closed for reconstruction.  I even got lost 2x walking around because I am looking for the Westfield Mall with a nice bench area outside for people on the go having a quick lunch or a chat with their mates.  It’s all closed for public and looked like a big mess!  Same with my own town, though more improvements and new establishments around.
  7. Speed cameras and from 50kmph for the main roads they are thinking to implement 30kmph in the City Centres and around which is ridiculous! (Motorway 100kmph). You don’t want to be caught up speeding in there haha! It can cost you your day salary.  Coming from the “fast and the furious City of Abu Dhabi”  which is a normal 80kmph for the main roads and from 120-140kmph for the motorway, it is harder to get adjusted to but necessary to learn how to be SLOW around NZ. (BTW… we drive on the left side of the road here, pls take note!).
  8. Some grocery food items gone up and some remain the same or even surprisingly cheaper because of competition.  If you are in the foodcourt BK can cost from $5 and that’s already a combo (didn’t change) to some food stores with rice meals with a drink costing from $16 combo which was $14 before.  BTW… some tourists says that our beef here is so much better and you can taste the difference in BK or McDo.  But you will be happy to find that SUSHI and other Japanese foods are cheaper compared to the UAE.  Thanks to some Japanese immigrants who established their restaurants and food stalls in the mall.
  9. Unfortunately, finding a job won’t be as easy as before.
  10. Some law changes and rubbish collections which we now have to buy a ticket per bin which is cheaper if you don’t have enough rubbish (you can wait to 2 weeks to fill up) and to those with large families, the bin may never be enough.

There you are…  so far this is what I realized coming back home. But hey, anywhere you go you will encounter bad politics, problems, and inconveniences… at least here in NZ for sure, this is the reality… RELAXED LIFESTYLES!!!

Queenstown, NZ; vinnevefoto

But if you can live simply and try to be content with what you have… NZ is a great place to live especially raising your children.  If you love sports there are some for you and your whole family to join.  Nature is at it’s best here so you will not be disappointed how beautiful it is here better than a poster card.  Parks are everywhere in every town and Cities and yes it is free.  Hiking or trekking is of minimal fees just be sensible when doing it for the first time as some trails is not that easy especially if it’s damp.

Arrowtown, NZ; vinnevefoto

I live in the WEST so as they say… West is BEST.  We are just less than an hour away from the beach or the open sea as well as the Mountains.  We both have it all here.

WesternSpringPark, vinnevefoto

Nevertheless… I won’t discredit my life in Abu Dhabi as it was the most convenient and luxurious life I ever had in my life!  Though it’s a desert and it can get to 50-degree heat plus some limitations, still anywhere you go there is no perfect place.  There’s always something not to your liking.  I say I am happy to have experienced both Worlds.

AucklandZoo, vinnevefoto

I leave you now with Thanks for reading and let me know some thoughts that would be great to read your comments RE your experiences as repats or as an ex-pat.  Soon (I hope) I will post our brief holiday in QUEENSTOWN.  Please hang on.  Cheers!!