One man all by himself is nothing. Two people who belong together make a world. With that adage in mind I embarked on a roller coaster of changes last year, and moved from Mumbai, India to Wellington, New Zealand. The move has changed my life dramatically, but I can't say I'll ever regret the decision.
India is many things to many people, to me its home and it always will be. But as they say, the home is where the heart is and my heart belonged, to an engineer who was offered a contract with a leading telecom provider in New Zealand for a couple of months. I bid my then boyfriend, a teary eyed farewell with a heavy heart and, hoping against hope that this temporary move wouldn't kill our relationship. Six months later, he was still in New Zealand, with no hope of returning in the near future. So we pined for each other and we fought and we ranted and raved across countries and borders, to find a solution to our long distance affair.
The New Zealand Harbor
The move meant good things for him professionally, but the barriers of distance were killing us. I couldn't get up and leave to join him in New Zealand, as much as I wanted to, because you don't just do that in India. We live in a rigid society where a couple that aren't married just do not live together. Living without each other was such sheer torture that we decided to do the inevitable, we got married. We had a grand, traditional-three day Indian wedding, with all the frills that went with it. Relatives from all over the globe flew in, friends who'd predicted that 'me' a headstrong career minded woman, who'd be the last amongst us to be married, were flabbergasted and everyone who knew my fianc' a die- hard bachelor, were amazed. We still took the plunge. I quit my job at a high profile fashion magazine and packed my bags and went from being 'Ms' to 'Mrs' in a matter of months.
My brand new husband had to fly back to New Zealand immediately, and I couldn't fly with him because of some visa issues, and so I bid him yet another teary-eyed farewell. A week later the 'visa' saga concluded and I had to plank the long and daunting flight from Mumbai to Wellington. I had never in my 23 years stepped foot outside of India, and so the prospect of 24-hour journey into an alien country seemed terrifying. I put on a brave face none the less and laden with a knapsack bigger than me, boarded my flight, which would take from Mumbai to Singapore on the first leg, where after an 18-hour halt I would fly to Auckland and then Wellington.
At first the thought of spending all that time at the Changi airport in Singapore seemed very exiting. I mean Changi is every shopaholic's dream come true, and I don't know of a single other person who loves to shop more than I do. But after wandering around the duty-free haven of Singapore for a couple of hours, the excitement soon turned into boredom. To kill time I booked myself into two of the six free city tours that the airport was organizing and merrily embarked on a fascinating trip into the heart of Singapore. The tour was excellent, we were taken to the most frequently visited spots of the city, and the best part was that it didn't cost a thing. We spent the better part of the day, basking in the warmth of the enchanting city. I left Singapore with the memory of a very pleasant experience, and was away to continue my journey to my new home.
Naval Ship New Zealand
I arrived in Wellington on cold and windy afternoon in February welcomed by my very relieved husband. I remember feeling completely awestruck by the beauty of the city and wondered in amazement what the rest of the country would look like. I was suddenly aware of the abundant 'space' around me. Having lived most of my life in the crowded city of Mumbai this appreciation of 'space' wasn't unusual.
My first few hours in New Zealand passed in a haze of excitement. In spite of my long and exhausting journey I was enthralled by my surroundings. Driving into the city from the airport we drove along the beautiful Wellington harbor, and I remember thinking I'd landed in paradise.
After a couple of hours of settling in and many unsuccessful attempts at sleep the realization of being so far far away from home struck. A wave of hysteria washed over me as I realized I was in a new country where, I knew nobody, had no job and absolutely no friends. But all apprehensions soon disappeared when I gazed towards my husband who was sleeping peacefully and sweetly snoring, and I knew I'd be fine.
I've been here almost a year now and can't think of another place I'd rather be.
I've visited many different places in New Zealand in the past nine months that I've been here and, every new journey has been an adventure on its own. The country is packed with beautiful destinations and breathtaking sights. Whether it's swimming with dolphins or skiing on snow caped mountains or visiting spectacular blue watered beaches or traditional kiwi farms every holiday has been a riveting experience.
All in all, my stay here has been packed with several ups and downs, but I'm so grateful for being given the opportunity to travel and live in this fascinating country. No matter how much I miss my friends and family and yearn to see them, I can't help, but fall in love with this city, I now call home.