I've written about the perks of small-town living before, and while watching TV the other night I was reminded of the magic of small-country living too.
It's nearly 13 years ago we left New Zealand, and because of Covid, this is the longest stretch I've spent here since. We usually return for our summer holiday and with daylight savings and a general holiday vibe, we barely ever catch the news, and to be honest we spend more time on streaming services than network TV.
This trip I have dipped my toe back into regular TV, with sometimes dire results, however what keeps bringing me back is how damn kind and big-hearted New Zealanders are. We've heard the word "kind" a lot in recent months and politics aside, I'm beginning to think it's a more apt description for New Zealand than 100% Pure.
You see, "be kind" is a message that wouldn't fly in many other countries in the world. They are too big and too fragmented with federal, state, regional and city layers to life. There are just too many people to get a consensus on anything, and certainly not something like being kind. As it turns out, even Ellen couldn't do it.
Maybe it's that I feel so torn between our home and life in LA and the life we are enjoying here with family and friends, or maybe it's the heightened uncertainty and immense stress of this year, but I can't stop watching TV and crying. I get this from my Mum. Growing up those old chestnuts like The Flying Doctors would see Mum on the couch, trying to hide her tears, crying as Geoff and Kate successfully navigated yet another critical situation.
It appears I have turned into my Mum. According to a Harley Street study, "daughters are most likely to start adopting the same attitudes and tastes as their mums in the first few years after having their first child". It appears that I am near the end of this phase of metamorphosis as I type. Yet another change of life for women to navigate.
My husband is used to intermittent bouts of waterworks and so as I watched Don Heslop from Lower Moutere and the other Daffodil Day volunteers being interviewed amidst a literal sea of daffodils on Seven Sharp, I let the tears flow. What truly good people working for an even better cause.
It was the same when I saw Nigel Dowd, the Good Sort from Christchurch who opens up his workshop each morning to men with brain injuries who come in to work on their projects and feel a part of something.
During the years away, my pride of being a New Zealander has oscillated. I couldn't tell you who the captain of the All Blacks is and I refused to buy my daughter the only true raincoat Farmers had because it was an All Blacks one. At times I have felt more Australian or Californian than New Zealander.
You have to expect this when you fully commit to a culture and where you live, so at times I've felt very disconnected to my homeland. But when I watch these segments and I learn about people among us doing amazing things to inspire and help others in the community, it reminds me that in a small country you can actually make a big difference.
That is what I want my daughter to know about New Zealand. It may be small, but you can make a difference and your voice can be heard. That and to always be kind.