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Rhonda: Albom Adventures

In our InterNations Recommended Blog section we let you take the spotlight! Expat life in general is, of course, a perfect breeding ground for great, user-generated reads, and life in New Zealand makes no exception. Take your time and browse the great blogs showcased in this article!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to New Zealand, etc.

I am Rhonda Albom, born and raised in Chicago, followed by 15 years in San Francisco and nearly 11 in Auckland, New Zealand.

When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?

Along with my husband and our two homeschooled teenagers we travelled around the world in 2012. I began blogging the lighter and funnier side of expat life and long term travel about a year prior, starting out mostly as an easy way to share our adventures and laughter with family and friends. 

Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?

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?

Honestly, I had a bigger culture shock moving from Chicago to San Francisco, than San Francisco to Auckland. 

 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?

I don't think anyone can be fully prepared for such a big life change. We are people who take life as it comes, laughing at the unexpected, so it really helps with transition. If I did it again, it's the small things I would change, like keeping more of my winter clothes and bringing some of them in the suitcase.

Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?

I arrived in the New Zealand in winter and was shocked to find that my newly constructed house had no source of heat. Even more surprising, the Kiwis that visited found it warm enough to take off several layers. As I complained about being cold indoors, people constantly told me to "put on your woolies." I tried desperately to find a pair of these magical woolies which would keep me warm in the poorly insulated homes with single pane glass windows. If I asked what are woolies, people just smiled, with the look one normally reserves for the intellectually challenged. Well, it turned out that in New Zealand woolies are any warm piece of clothing, be it socks, sweaters, beanies or fleece.

Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in New Zealand?

  • You are not really moving to a tropical island in the South Pacific, it's cold here in the winter, with poor insulation. Bring your woolies! 
  • Be patient, things happen slower here.
  • Bring your sense of humor.

How is the expat community in New Zealand? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?

I find New Zealand to be a very family orientated country, and having no extended family here makes it lonely at times, especially around holidays. The majority of my friends are Expats, but even within that circle, most people seem to have at least one extended family member here. 

How would you summarize your expat life in New Zealand in a single, catchy sentence?

Same as I summarize my life: I am just laughing my way through it all.

Serhat Ahmed

"With all of the information that InterNations provided on Wellington, it made my move from Turkey easier than I could have imagined."

Melanie Rasbery

"Since I knew about the active expat network in New Zealand, InterNations made moving to Wellington more exciting than it had seemed before."

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