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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 is 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 a repats 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 expat in your own Country.  Anyway… my experience is so far it’s good the only complain I can say is all my friends are too busy since they are mostly working mom’s (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 mom’s 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 repats.  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 stays 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. 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 airport came into fruition last July 2017.
  6. The City looked less of a beauty with so much 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 dissapointed 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 what 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 have 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 a repats or as an expats.  Soon (I hope) I will post our brief holiday in QUEENSTOWN.  Please hang on.  Cheers!!

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Abu Dhabi : My kind of City

AD, vinneve photo

AD, vinneve photo

A City’s environment is shaped not only by people who have an important influence, but by everyone who lives or works there.  By Robert Cowan”.

I have always been a City girl growing up but with a twist.

I like living in or near the City but I want my space too and the charm of being not so far away from everything.  A place where there is also a peace & quiet… where you can relax going home at the end of the day, a bit away from the hustle and bustle of the main “City Life” but not too far away from it all. Guess you might be wondering if there is a City like that exists.  Yes, there is and I always tell my friends and relatives that I prefer to go home in my “City” and this is my home away from home (my hometown -Auckland, NZ).

Now here living as an expat in Abu Dhabi, it is also a nice place to live in, away from the crowds and too much traffic.  Perhaps it is also where we live is the main factor as we are in the middle – not too far away from the main city and the airport on the other side though with so many expats children here the schools can be a problem so opting to a far away places as most schools have a long waiting list especially the very good ones. No problem for us, there is a school bus provided and it does matter where you live, really.

Abu Dhabi is similar to Dubai but more relax in a way less crowd and less traffic and yes more greeneries!  You will be amazed how many plants and trees are in here as if this is not a desert city, unlike Dubai where tall and shimmering buildings are the ones adorning everywhere and they’re fast paced of life making me uncomfortable if I stay longer than a few days.

Dubai is just around the corner (just 1 & 30mins drive by car depends on where in the City you live), so if we really want an action further away then we go there but not as often.  Why not? it is because we also have some kind of actions here for the whole family and friends!.  See photos below.

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SOUK QARYAT AL BERI  typical Arabian market that most locals and tourists frequent too.  It has an amazing view, restaurants, and good souvenirs to buy or even do some photo ops.

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Hyatt Capital Gate and ADNEC

Unique Architecture as seen above and below…  ADNEC World class venue where some events are being held and their calendar is full of events!  Aldar HQ (left) and Emirates Palace (right) and so many others…

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If you want fast and the furious we have Ferrari World here and you can enter from YAS mall (biggest mall in AD) my fave mall ever and buy tickets from there.  FYI, Formula 1 Grand Prix 2015 will be held here for the 7th year! (info & tickets as per link), Yas Marina has something for everyone both ashore and afloat day & night and of course, YAS Waterworld for fun water play you have in mind (more slides, rides and attractions in any other park in ME) and they even have the Ladies night. If you just want a Park for the whole family to enjoy then please visit Emirates Park Zoo they have a resort too!

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source: constructionweekonline.com LINK 

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Emirates Palace, vinneve

There are so many things you can do here that some people think Dubai has it all. AD night life is also good, but more finesse and decent that as far as I know.  Lots of concerts being held here and sporting events that the whole family can participate. Lots of parks you can stroll around as AD is the “Garden City” of UAE.  Traveling around here by taxi is a breeze and very safe.  I haven’t encounter unrespectful and scary taxi driver here and yes I even traveled at night with my little boy!

I can say that I love being here in Abu Dhabi.  More relax and homey.  For new expats, there is the weekly magazine free for all to get from any malls, pharmacies etc. Even at the airport, they have so many free magazines to read and they even have educational ones (business too) for free!

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View at the back of Qaryat Al Beri Souq, AD, vinneve foto

AD Week magazine has a lot of information for expats on what’s happening and what you can do or meet ups with other expats or just join a club.

People are different from one another and I like the values (more conservative and traditional) and lifestyles here.  It is a matter of YOU finding out the charm beneath the humble CITY besides this is the Capital of UAE so there’s more to it than meets the eye!  Please discover it yourself and you will not be disappointed.

Sources: other photos as per LINK and some are my photos.  Feel free to click the link (words in red) for more information.

Coincidence or Fate?

Magazine

Magazine

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“coincidence is not just only a road to facts but also a call to ponder”
Ernest Agyemang Yeboah

Hmmm…. Do I wonder if it’s a coincidence that will bring us to the land of the desert or is it really by Fate?

I was tidying up and throwing old newspapers, news clippings and magazines when I come across this magazine from an airline which I happen to use most of the time going “across the ditch”.

As you can see it was a very old one but how come I have kept it?  I remember that I supposed to read it and has been fascinated how the “Open City” looks like nowadays.  It looks “luxurious” to me.  But then it was forgotten, stored in a carton of books and magazines.  Those were the times that our life changed and continue to surprise me!

Nineteen years ago to be exact, I supposed to work in Dubai.  My mother wasn’t impressed and so she’d rather let me work in Taiwan instead, letting me go to pursue my dream of OE (overseas experience).  It wasn’t easy for her and she cried a bucket!

Now it seems “fate” is catching up on me.  Soon we go and see the beautiful Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the rest of ME (hubby will roll his eyes again for sure!) and whatever else in store for us.  BESIDES…