Things Nobody Tells You About Tauranga

Friday, February 17, 2012
While my kids are enjoying their new school and friends, I think I am finding the adjustment to a new environment the hardest. Does that mean I'm getting old? Doesn't change get harder as you get older? But then my husband is quite a bit older than me, and he seems to be adjusting fine. But then he was born and raised in the North Island. And me? I'm a native South Islander. So I am longer on my native heath, and I think I'm feeling that.

I was born in a mild, temperate climate. With thick, frizzy hair inherited from my Maori ancestors.
Where the bugs all died in winter, and people knew who their neighbours were - in fact, their lives were intertwined.

I was born and raised in a town where you went to stay at the headmaster's house when your parents went away, and where the kids in your class at school were in your Sunday School class as well. Born in  a hospital where all your other friends were born too, delivered by the same doctor, and where your mothers were all pregnant together.

Tauranga. Its a bit different to that.

For one thing, I do not like the heat and humidity. My hair was not made for it.
I also don't like not being able to look out my house windows and see countryside for miles and miles. Here, at the house we're renting I look out onto tropical jungle. Palm trees, avocado trees, any kind of trees that block out my views. I miss the mountains.
I miss having blankets on top of me while I sleep. I barely have a sheet now, and that's only because I don't want to get eaten by mosquitoes.

I went to collect the mail yesterday and as I was unfolding it on the kitchen table, guess what scampered out and ran across the table right in front of me?
A cockroach.

Charming, isn't it? I found it, scooped it into a cardboard box and dumped it outside on the driveway in the rain, hoping it would find it's way out and disappear. Far, far away from me. But I know that in the outdoor umbrella we bought up from roach-free Christchurch, and which is now sitting in my outdoor table in the backyard, are plenty more waiting to jump out at me. Apparently, Tauranga is riddled  with them, thanks to the trend of having bark in your garden beds to stop the weeds.

Also, there are ants. Lots and lots of ants.
And daddy-long-leg spiders. And cicadas.

I also miss the beautiful, clear drinking water from Christchurch. The shower doors are impossible to clean here because the water is 'hard'. It doesn't taste as nice either.

And I miss not being able to go out and leave your door unlocked. I miss waving to my kids on the school bus. I miss the friendly bus driver. And I miss the personal touches that come with a small, community-minded school, like the school office ladies knowing your name and who your kids are. I've had two near misses with my kids because of poor communication from Bethlehem College. Don't get me wrong, it's a great school. I'm so happy my children are there, but they need an administrator who has a head for organisation. Just saying.

And nobody smiles. People on the street look grumpy and if you smile at them, they really do look as though you've lost a marble in your head. They're all dressed really well, but with sour-puss expressions, all in a hurry, hurry, hurry to go places and do things important, I guess.

And I miss my friends, and I miss my neighbours. And yes, I'm having a great big moan, because I'm feeling homesick and wishing this whole transition stage was over and we were settled and on a more familiar footing with our environment.


scrutiny said...

Mssive great big EWW! to the roaches! Massiver, greater, bigger hug to you. Hang in there - I'm sending positive thoughts! x

Claudia said...

Hugs to you. I know what you mean about the homesickness - I had that as a teenager living in Hamilton for 10 years. I never got used to the mossies and ants there.

Jennifer said...

Hi Rachel!
I was so glad to read a few posts back that you and your family had made it safely up to Tauranga and the children were all settling well into their new school. Yes, the cockroaches are disgusting. Our bach is always full of them when we first arrive for a holiday. Next time I'd recommend swatting any you find with a fly swat because for every one you see out in the open, there is a whole colony of them lurking in behind the scenes! :o(

Hang in there. The trouble is when you move to a new place, you're always going to notice pretty quickly what you're NOT going to like. You just can't help it. The positives will, I'm sure, outweigh the negatives with time. It's all part of adjusting.

Take care :o) Jennifer x

Poppy Q said...

I hope things get better soon, it's early days yet.

Julie Q

Heather L. said...

Oh dear. :( I hope things improve and you are able to enjoy the better parts. Did your house sell? Maybe you can move back. :) I understand about missing things like mountains. Indiana is so flat and I miss the beauty of Scotland the beauty of New England (where I was born). Oh well, No place has it all.....

Cate said...

Huge hugs Rachel. I know that you are no stranger to living in different places, but it is a traumatic upheaval to go through when you have a family in tow.

Hang in there - it took us a good 12 months to truly begin to settle when we immigrated from Australia. 13 years later, although NZ is home, there is still the "what if?" in the back of the brain.

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