Passing the one month mark

Today marks my first month in Auckland. Exactly one month ago I arrived at this place I had only seen in photos with four suitcases of luggage (plus a handbag and a Macbook Air) by myself, not knowing a soul here. I was very worried it would be a wrong decision because I had given up so much and risked so much to do this.

I was warned that Auckland would be boring for a city girl like me. Turns out many of the comments were legitimate. Shops do close at 5pm. Things are insanely expensive. The bus system kinda sucks. Some of the things they have here are really backward compared to what I was used to in the US and HK. For the first 1.5 weeks, I felt lonely and wondered why things couldn’t just go as I planned. I’d done so many research before I came, why my transition wasn’t perfectly smooth. I’m glad I came clean and told some good friends how I felt because they reminded me I was being too harsh on myself as always. I was trying to be a perfectionist without thinking realistically. They ensured me by the end of my first month, I’d have made so many friends. My best friend Tiffany even predicted me to end up befriending a random shopkeeper. Well, I befriended a bus passenger instead, a Kiwi version of me. Even better!

I was never the one to just sit back to wait for things to happen. I make things happen, so I embarked on the most ambitious social journey. I literally went to every gathering I found remotely interesting in town to meet people. I said yes to every invitation I got so long it was logistically doable. I was not ashamed to tell people I needed to make friends. I did things that I would never do in HK. I wanted to experience the Kiwi life!

I’ve always been social at home, but I now I’m 10 times that. I’m so proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone to venture into the unknown. Kiwis are the just the friendliest and most welcoming people, not just those who were born here, but anyone who shares the love for NZ.

One month in, I probably have never been this frugal in my life. Instead of working in a comfortable office writing press releases and being a respected lecturer/teacher making very decent money, I’m now just a humble student counting every dollar I spend, but I’ve no regret at all. I get to enjoy life and make up for all the fun I have missed all these years. I no longer have to endure the morning MTR rides. I live in a house with a yard and a room 3 times of the size of mine in HK. Every night I get home I can look up and see a star-pierced sky. At school I get to do and talk about what I’m passionate about every day and embrace my nerdy side. I’m surrounded by intelligent people who are just as crazy as me and people who like me for who I am. I’m working towards my dream of becoming a PhD and having fun in the process.

Coming to Auckland was one of the best decisions I’d ever made.


About Nicky

Nicky English is a journalist, an educator, a podcaster, a couch potato, a dreamer, and a child at heart. Learning is her passion, so is the English language, which she believes is the tool to unlock the door of knowledge. Born in Hong Kong, she received intensive writing training at The University of Iowa, where she double-majored in journalism and political science. Apart from the Hawkeye State, she’s lived in Chicago and Philadelphia. When she was a guest student at Georgetown University, she fell in love with Washington, D.C. She also has a Master of Arts in Communication. A little side note—she cannot imagine a world without her Mac and iDevices. Like many crazy ones, she hopes to change the world one day at a time.
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