Life without Tim Tams ain't so bad
Kiwi expats have been sharing their views on how living overseas compares to New Zealand. Corinne McKenna has found things to love about both the UK and NZ.
I have made the UK my home for the last two and a half years.
I fell in love with and married an Englishman and we moved back to his home country after the Christchurch earthquakes. We now have two little boys, one born in New Zealand and one born here in the UK.
This is not going to be an "it is so much better here" type of article because the truth is every country is unique and so is every person.
Plenty of people I know would rather cut off their own hand than live in the UK and I know many folk who do not think New Zealand is all that great either.
However, after two and a half years it is nice to be able to reflect on what I love about my new adopted home country and the things I miss with all my heart from my beloved New Zealand.
The United Kingdom - what I love
1. Central heating
I love the warm houses here! No more relying on a heat pump heating up just one room and having to keep my coat on in cafes because it is absolutely freezing inside in the middle of winter.
I no longer turn a fan heater on in the bedroom 15 minutes before I go to bed and then sprint down a freezing hallway, leap into bed and huddle under three blankets and two duvets whilst waiting for my body to stop shivering so I can fall asleep.
Every room in my house over here is warm, there is no condensation and I have one duvet on my bed. The utility bill is much less per month than what we paid in New Zealand and I no longer have to wear socks to bed for fear of getting frostbite in the middle of the night.
2. You can walk everywhere
We live in an historic market town and our car gets used maybe once a week. We walk everywhere because everything is so close. The only downside is that when it rains (which is often) I feel too guilty to use the car to go such short distances. Thank goodness for pram rain covers and umbrellas.
3. The history
It is everywhere, completely accessible and entry fees are low. There is no excuse for not being able to find something to do on a Sunday afternoon over here.
4. The people
I love British people, they are beautifully mannered, friendly without being over-bearing, and generally quiet.
I have had no problems making friends and felt I fitted in straight away.
5. Cadbury's chocolate
I love British Cadbury's chocolate. It just tastes better in my opinion. I am sure many will disagree.
New Zealand - what I miss
1. The houses and the space
They may be cold but I miss the size of the houses in New Zealand so much. They are huge compared to what you can buy for the same money in the United Kingdom.
I felt very claustrophobic for a long time when we first moved here. It is not just the houses, everything feels small and crammed in here, from the narrow roads and footpaths to the tiny shops.
Although I love the cosiness this provides (especially in winter) I do long for the space and light of New Zealand's open landscapes and single story, open plan dwellings.
2. The people
I miss the relaxed nature of New Zealand people. The "sweet as" attitude Kiwis have is so endearing and immediately makes a person feel comfortable.
3. Tim Tams
No, Penguins (a chocolate biscuit that is kind of like a Tim Tam) are not the same. Not even close.
4. Nor'west winds
Coming from Canterbury a nor'west wind always takes me back to those idyllic feelings of childhood when life seemed complicated but in reality was really simple. There is nothing here that provides my mind with that instant transportation back to my youth.
January in New Zealand is a time of icecream, holidays, sun cream, and very little work. Over here is it grey, dark and miserable and I have not quite got my head around the fact August is the month of holidays and sunshine over here.