I Want Out : An American’s Tale

Continuing in our popular series of Migrant Tales, first hand accounts of the migrant experience of New Zealand taken from places around the net.

Today’s tale was recently published on Expatexposed.com, a not for profit emigration discussion board dealing mostly with New Zealand.

The author is an American woman who deeply regrets her decision to move to New Zealand with her Kiwi partner two years ago.

Initially I moved here from the U.S. because I am engaged to a Kiwi and we made the decision to move here to be near his mother. I was alright with this because when I visited NZ I just fell in love with the country, and because his mother has no one else here really that she can rely on. It has been two years now, and I have not been able to even get a nibble as far as a job, we are barely making ends meet and to make matters worse at the end of the month my fiance’s job ends because the company is closing down.

After having been here for two years I can say that I wholeheartedly hate living in this country. Everything is insanely expensive, the job market is garbage and I am almost always either freezing or too bloody hot. Our overpriced flat has no heat or air, is constantly damp and we’ve got a mold problem. Our landlord is useless. I desperately want to go home to the U.S. but my fiance’s mother would be left with no one here, and my fiance just thinks things are dandy in NZ, or at least that things are better in NZ than in the U.S. I am terrified that i’ll have something go wrong medically with me here because having seen the state of NZ hospitals and the healthcare system in general I know I would be up the proverbial creek without a paddle. I do feel that my health has declined since moving here. With food prices the way they are in NZ the only food we can afford isn’t food that we should be eating to stay healthy. I am really not at all sure what we’ll do when my fiance’s job ends.

In closing, I dearly want to go home but even if I got him to agree at this point we wouldn’t be able to afford it. I am really just over this place.

11 thoughts on “I Want Out : An American’s Tale

  1. In my opinion after spending a month in Kyoto in Japan in 2013, I found the place to be way better than New Zealand

  2. Im embarrassed to be from this country. I currently live in Christchurch and i can’t even count how many times because i lost count where i have been snarled at yelled at by people from cars while im walking down the road minding my own business. Especially at the mall people are always walking around with an angry look on their face and if you so dare to even look in their direction you get an evil glare. Just today i was at bishopdale mall i had to go into the tavern to use the toilet i left after going to the toilet was walking across the parking lot and this man he had to have been 40 years old almost knocked me over and said what are you looking than said do you wan’t a go do ya. He wanted to fight me i did nothing to this person except for walking past him minding my own business on my way back to my moped ready to go home. Ever since i moved to Christchurch i have never experienced so much hate and bullying in public and when on the road until i moved here. When i leave NZ i will never come back to this nasty unhappy nation run by bullies and a government who rips its own population off.

  3. God bless America. After spending a full decade in New Zealand I returned to the US in 2012, and even after the considerable expense of getting back here I thank God I had the opportunity to return to my home. I am a professional person, a PhD level Clinical Psychologist that was treated like a dog in NZ, even though I acquired NZ citizenship while I was there. The “tall poppy syndrome” never went away. The Kiwis were continually cruel and petty. They are disrespectful, nasty, and mean-spirited. I have never experienced such blatant bad manners! And they think they are just the upper crust, when they amount to nothing other than British hillbillies. They went out of their way to make my life an absolute misery. They hate Americans and Australians in what amounts to nothing other than a national inferiority complex. It is a horrible place, filled with horrible people, doing horrible things to one another. Avoid it like the plague if you are considering relocating there. Do your homework, and be very careful. Especially if you are from a ‘first world” country.

    • I find American’s experiences in NZ to be so interesting. Growing up there we were definitely brought up to view Americans as less than, but this also tied with a desperate wish on almost everyone’s part to be American. Or British. Or something more exotic than what we were. It’s only quite recent this NZ nationalist pride thing, and it seems so false.
      NZers just do not get the positive, go getter, genuinely friendly approach of Americans. They think it’s fake, as if being dour and passive and knowing a guy who grows dope is what’s genuine and enviable.
      Honestly I think what it comes down to is they see Americans as having been blessed with so many natural advantages that they deserve to be taken down a peg or two. They can never admit to being jealous of Americans but just act it out.
      I hope Laura does write more about her experiences.

    • “but this also tied with a desperate wish on almost everyone’s part to be American.”
      It is this dichotomy that is so baffling. I guess that they’ll think themselves weak or not “hardened up” if they ADMIT that they’d really like to be like someone/somewhere else. It would be like a betrayal that they cannot be honest about.
      They want what they can’t have, so they choose to hate it, even though they want to be like what they hate. It is like self loathing by proxy.

      • Funny story:
        The guys that I was working with stopped by for a few beers after work one night. We’d gone to my house as it was closest. We were sitting on the deck outside as we [I] did not want to disturb the family too much.
        It was getting dark and cold, so I went inside to grab some sweatshits. When I handed them out and they were put on, one of the guys exclaimed “feel this material, it is so thick and warm, I want to be an American.” At that point, one of the other guys gave this fellow a look that had daggers in it, as though the one that said “I want to be an American” had said something that was thought but not said and revealed a secret that most felt but dare not utter.

      • Brilliant assessments here on this site. Carpentaro, particularly well stated. I lived in NZ for two years in the 90s (I’m American), after living in Australia for one year. omg, NZ is a nightmare. They certainly have a strong propaganda machine in place, though, since so many Americans think they would love to live there. At least until they talk with me! lol! I have traveled much of the world and have to say that NZ is the most miserable place on earth. Stay away. Far, far away.

    • I’m both sorry and concerned by your NZ experiences Laura. I’m a kiwi planning on returning to NZ having lived abroad for 25 years, so I have some apprehension about what awaits me.

  4. We are Americans who left New Zealand only a short time ago. We are settled in our new place of residence, happily, knowing that we made the right choice this time. But sometimes we get a blast from the past, reminding us of our years in New Zealand. Today is 9/11. Everywhere in America people are remembering the extremist attack tragedy. It feels strange to experience this anniversary in a place where Americans are not the object of barbed remarks and made fun of, and the day is commemorated with gravitas. I warned my children to be prepared that the teachers may have a history lesson for them, and as a result they may be a bit sober today. He thought automatically that I meant that they were not drinking! The “culture” in New Zealand, such as it was, defined our word associations, and sometimes we still make them. Have to re-wire ourselves. Again – happily.

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