Bring a Raincoat

I think that most people who love blogging say that one of the reasons why they love it is because it introduces them to people that they likely never would have met otherwise.  I’d say the same thing.  One of those people that I probably never would have met save through blogging is fellow expat Molly.  Molly most recently lived in Alaska, which I think is pretty cool in and of itself, but has moved to New Zealand within the last 6 months or so.

We’ve been emailing back and forth for a couple of months now, and it’s been great to get to know her and see her part of New Zealand through her fabulous photos and blog posts.  I’d like for you to get to know her, too!

Name: Molly George

Blog: Bring a Raincoat

Current Location: Dunedin, New Zealand

Just to give you and idea of the distance between where Molly lives and where we live in Auckland – if I wanted to drive myself to Molly’s for a visit, it would take about 18 hours {plus a ferry ride} and would cover a distance of roughly 1,431 km {890 miles}.  New Zealand might be a small country {about the same square mileage as Colorado in the States} but it’s very long.

Occupation: PhD Student

Why did you decide to start a blog? I decided to start a blog so that I would have a place to express my emotions and experiences related to living in NZ. I study immigration, migrants, identity and concepts of home in my PhD research so I think I can be hyper-aware of my migrant experiences and spend a lot of time analyzing (over analyzing!?) feelings and interactions. I think I needed a creative outlet to help me do this in a healthy way and have some fun with it. I thought that perhaps other immigrants or those curious about living away from home would be interested. I really believe in expressing the exciting and liberating side of the experience, but also the challenges – To create a realistic picture of the ups and downs.  Also, it’s a great outlet for my photography hobby and a wonderful way for family and friends to see some of my life here.

**Here’s a sampling of some of Molly’s photos**

Looking back along the peninsula from Tairoa Head

Road Trip

Staff Club @ University of Otago – wouldn’t you love to drink your coffee here?

What made you decide to move to New Zealand? I came to New Zealand in 2004 to study for 1 year. Through the University of Otago’s “tramping club” (hiking club), I met James, who later became my husband.  We’ve moved back and forth between Alaska (the place that had become my home) and New Zealand several times in the last 7 years. This time, we know we’ll be in NZ for at least 4 years because I’m enrolled in a PhD program.  Beyond that, who knows exactly, but I think we both envision our lives being based primarily in NZ, with some years in the USA as well.

What do you love the most about your current home? Well, I’d have to say, James, my husband!  He’s 100% Kiwi (though he has also become an American citizen).  He embodies a lot of what New Zealanders value: a positive, can-do attitude and strongly confident, but never taking himself too seriously.  He’s a true Renaissance Man with a two-car garage FILLED with bits and pieces of old machines and found objects.  He can put them together to rig up something new or repair something old. In New Zealand, they refer to this as the “Number 8 Wire” phenomenon – being able to fix or make anything with limited, second-hand supplies, a bit of ingenuity and some old-fashioned common knowledge of ‘how things work.’  I’ve come to appreciate this side of the Kiwi person and New Zealand culture in general through James.

James, celebrating a belated Thanksgiving in New Zealand

What things do you miss from the United States? I miss my family and friends.  I was living in Alaska, which is hardly close to my family members in Arizona and Washington DC – I only saw them about twice a year anyway!  New Zealand is further away geographically, but more importantly, I feel further away because I’m living in quite a different culture. Though I love to travel, emigrating is a huge change and I’ve struggled at times with this rather unexpected turn of events. I miss a certain sense of ‘belonging’ that I have in America.  On a lighter note, I also really miss Mexican food and good shopping! I even sometimes miss “loud Americans!” I never thought I’d say that, but people here are more reserved and sometimes I miss that American style of just chatting with total strangers and laughing out loud anytime, anywhere.

What are some of your favorite restaurants in your new home? My favorite restaurant in Dunedin is India Garden.  They have the most delicious curry dishes and garlic naan.  And mango lassi.  Oh, delicious.  It’s family owned and we always ride our bikes there for dinner on Wednesdays, when they have a mid-week special!  I also love the Esplanade.  It’s right on the beach with a wonderful open fire in winter. It’s warm and cozy and offers up divine bruschetta.  I’ve also recently discovered The Craft – a Monteith’s Beer bar in Dunedin’s Octagon.  They have a great happy hour on Thursdays.

Favorite things to do in New Zealand? Road-biking up and over big hills in the Dunedin area with vistas and gorgeous views to reward you at the top and sheep to keep you company along the way.  I also love tramping (hiking) in the hills and mountains in the southern South Island.  We spend many-a-weekend sleeping in a tent in some remote valley somewhere.  And I don’t have to worry about bears here!

Tell us about a tradition that you’ve started in your new country: Well, the holiday season has just passed, and that was full of new traditions this year, but since I’ve blogged about that, let me try to think of something else, more of a daily thing…  We do a lot of roadtrips into the mountains here.  I love driving along NZ’s roads.  I’ve also recently caught on to the world of podcasts.  Since I really miss NPR, it’s great to download some of their programs. Now we often listen to This American Life and A Prairie Home Companion while zooming along NZ’s narrow roads.  It’s a great combination of our two worlds!

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Make sure you head on over to Molly’s blog and send her some love 🙂

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