InterNations Featured Blog
Ivy: Tinker Spider Poison Ivy
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to New Zealand, etc.
My name is Ludivine and I am from the South West of France. I cannot give you a precise location because I have been used to living in different cities every 3 or 4 years due to my father's job. But my heart belongs to Bordeaux.
I have always wanted to live abroad. Several things happened in a short time span and had me living France: my boyfriend wanted to go to New Zealand, the European/US financial crisis, the French government, my work experience, the 2 years left to be able to obtain a Working Holiday Visa and finally my own self. I moved on October 2011.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I started my blog just before moving to New Zealand. Mainly to keep my family updated. At first it was hard, because I didn't really know what to say. So, I started talking about the obvious: the differences between New Zealand and France. I love taking pictures, so I mainly post pictures and a short text to tell where I took the picture and what I was doing. As the saying goes “a picture is worth a 1000 words”. I got very good feedback from family and friends and it keeps me going, because it is quite a “hard” work: I have to look at all my pictures (usually 100), pick the good ones, enhance them a bit (or not), then think about what to tell (the hardest part). I am not a chatty person.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
I picked several posts that represent myself:
- Zealandia: this park was just great. I really had a very good time there. This is my nature side post.
- Ellerslie: I am a horsey person and I started looking for a job in the horse industry. I did not find a job as a jockey (probably because I am wayyyy too tall) but now I know several people in the racing industry. This is my horse side post.
- All that is gold does not glitter: I am also a movie buff. So obviously this is my geek side post.
- NZ British Museum: and I am French, I love museums. So this is my culture post.
Tell us about the ways your new life in New Zealand differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
An obvious difference when you arrive in New Zealand is New Zealanders. People are so friendly, when I arrived I couldn't believe it. In France people fear each other, they don't trust each other anymore, and in a way they are right because the crime rates are way higher, but still, a smile is free and shouldn't get you into any trouble. You easily get used to this positive difference ;) it makes you want to help people too. I did not experience culture shock since this is another “Western” country.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in New Zealand? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
Since I wasn't able to go to New Zealand for holidays as a live test, I tried to read as much as I could about the life in New Zealand: weather, culture, living cost, insurance, work, etc. I knew what I could expect from New Zealand and what I should get used to (such as the average quality of housing, the absence of French cheese, the nonexistent history: no castles, no old churches, soulless towns....).
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
Well I can't find anything funny. But there is one thing that surprised me so much that I guess I should share it with you. This is 10pm in Auckland. I am waiting for the pedestrian light to turn green, on the other side of the road a random guy shows up and stops, waiting. Like me he noticed a plastic bag on his side of the road and he actually picked it up and trashed it in the closest bin.
Also: we had a shortage of Marmite and they actually talked about in on the national TV news.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in New Zealand?
- Leave your impatience behind, here people are wayyyy more laid back.
- Do not hesitate to ask questions, to anyone. People are friendly and will try to help you as much as they can.
- Tell everyone you are looking for a job (even the bar tender or the lady you just asked for directions), you will soon notice that most of the people always know someone that knows someone working in a company where you could get a job. This is a small country.
How is the expat community in New Zealand? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
I am not looking at all to meeting French people. I want to blend in, not to spend my time with expats.
How would you summarize your expat life in New Zealand in a single, catchy sentence?
It's gonna be legend.. wait for it... dary !