Dear Inday : haere mai, mabuhay & welcome 2 New Zealand!

hello brave new world !

[ Note : Inday is not the most flattering of Pinay names, but we can’t deny it’s a term of endearment.  We originally meant this for a particular person coming to these shores soon, but it’s applicable to every new wife assimilating herself to a strange new world because of her Kiwi husband.  Thanks for reading, and happy birthday to kabayan Mr Ariel Alvaran ! ]

Dear Inday :

KIWI MEN like to sweep their girlfriends off their feet, but are as down-to-earth as the prospective providers that they aspire to be.  They have an eye for beauty (otherwise, how did he notice you?) but love to work with their tools, their muscles, and the rough brown earth.  They love their life partners and relatives fiercely, but won’t mince words to correct wayward ways.  To say the least, New Zealand males are a study in contrasts.

But where are my manners?  I’m so happy your arrival to Wellington is imminent, I’m so happy that you’re starting a new life with your Kiwi love, and I’m so happy that you’re ready for everything with uncritical, open eyes !

That’s too many happys in one sentence, but there’s no overstating the moment.  You can expect, as I’m sure you will agree, a 180 degree turn in prospects, lifestyle and attitudes in New Zealand.  It’s not just the scenery and the standard of living, but the culture shock, the multiracial demographics, and the thousand-and-one adjustments you will make.

Coupled with this is getting used to living with someone now, as you are also recently married to someone outside our culture.  I am sure you have emotionally and psychologically prepared yourself for that, and the fact that you love each other very much is no doubt a big help.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the white people around you.  Well, they may or may not overwhelm you, but they did me, so that’s what I’m telling you first.  It’s like there’s a surplus of blond hair, blue eyes and statuesque height all around, like the characters you saw on TV and the movies are now in 3D.  They are people just like you and me, fart belch and pick their noses (when no one else is around) but happen to be a little better on the eyes.  It takes a little getting used to, like…

the dollars and cents, the sales, and the staple food. Get used to them, too.  As little as NZ$50 will buy you two bags of groceries, good enough for your beau and yourself for the better part of a week, quite unsettling when you consider the four-digit pamalengke for medium-sized families back home..  Both supermarkets and department stores also hold giant sales almost every month, the competitors just taking turns so they don’t overlap, don’t try to buy everything in sight.  Bread and meat are the staples here, although lots of Kiwis have become health enthusiasts picky about their food.  Don’t worry about your rice and Asian spices, there are Asian stores in every city.

Getting a job.  You will find it convenient and practicable, as long as you and Kiwi hubby aren’t starting a family asap.  You will need to supplement his budget, because Kiwis are quite disciplined savers, like to get value for money and, to be diplomatic about it, are very equal-opportunity when it comes to sharing expenses around the house.  On your side, you will want to send money home to the folks and siblings too, you want some spare bills and coins for your little pleasures, and sometimes you’ll have erratic cravings for bagoong, longganisa and chichirya that he won’t understand.  Buying them with your own money forestalls any guilt feelings about using his.

you can be warmly dressed and remain fashionable.  Nine months out of 12 in Wellington, Christchurch or even in Auckland, you need warm clothing, and the warmest NZ day is still the coldest 5 percent of days in a year back home.  But you don’t have to sacrifice looking smart and sexy, with all the cool autumn and winter fashions available.  You might even suppress laughing to know that kids sizes are quite accommodating to many Asian women, Pinays certainly included.  This means you get them at lower prices, and if you don’t mind pre-loved wear, the opportunity shops (or op shops) are also good alternatives.  Bottom line is you will continue to look trendy, desirable and  eye candy to your man, without serious damage to his wallet (and yours).

If all forms of entertainment fails and you’re still lonesome for home, just remind yourself that there is a robust Pinoy community in almost every major population center in NZ, you just need to reach out and touch someone.  Church groups are the natural places Pinoys gravitate to, and Pinoy Masses are at least once a month throughout big parishes in Auckland and Wellington.  There are Pinoy groups that celebrate Independence Day, Sinulog, even Simbang Gabi and other well-loved Philippine traditions.  The way the global barangay is growing, you will never run out of townmates, kabayan and kapamilya.  There’s even a Filipino channel available for you and hubby to subscribe to.

All in all, you are going to have a wonderful stay here in NZ, but home will always be where the heart is.  Best wishes to you and hubby, and cheers and mabuhay to a wonderful life together!

Kabayan Noel

2 thoughts on “Dear Inday : haere mai, mabuhay & welcome 2 New Zealand!

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