As I mentioned in yesterday's OOTD post, I'm going to do the second NaBloPoMo prompt today after a bit of reshuffling.
"If you could live anywhere, where would it be?"
This is actually a tricky one, because I'm torn between three different places.
My parents live in Kawakawa Bay, east of Auckland and nestled between the Hauraki Gulf and the Hunua ranges. At first glance, on a bad day, if the tide is out, the bay is nothing special. The beach isn't nice and sandy and the bay is very shallow and flat, so when the tide is out it's one big mudflat. But on a good day, when the tide is in...You drive out past Clevedon through the hills, steadily climbing, and then suddenly you come around a bend and over a crest and the bay is just there, all of a sudden below you, like a blanket of jewels. I can't express how beautiful it is in words, it really has to be seen to be believed. It's one of my favorite sites in the world. We've had a beach house in Kawakawa Bay since I was a child, and we used to go out there a lot on weekends to go fishing. It's taken a long time, but my parents have finally built their beautiful Lockwood dream house on a huge section at the end of a street a couple back from the waterfront. I'm yet to get over there to see it but I will at some point in 2013. The Bay is where my parents are, and so that will always be home for me.
On the other hand, I've always called Wellington my "spiritual home". I left Auckland and moved to Wellington when I was 18 and stayed there for 6 years. I grew from a teenager into an adult in Wellington. I love the cafe scene, the compact CBD, the culture, and the people. I support Wellington sports teams. I have plenty of friends in Welly and I miss it a lot. Wellington is so pretty and has some fantastic sights. It's definitely my favorite city in New Zealand.
Finally, the Gold Coast is where I currently call home. When I first moved to Australia, I fully expected it to be a permanent move. But I quickly realised how homesick I was and how much I missed New Zealand, and I went through a phase of hating Australia and wishing to just be gone. When we moved from Hobart to the Gold Coast, we always agreed it would be a temporary thing - just a few years, until we were financially ready to move to New Zealand. Well, we're still not financially ready, and the Gold Coast has grown on me. It's tacky and flashy and cultureless and touristy, sure - but it also has great weather, great friends, gorgeous beaches and hinterland, a pretty good standard of living, and easy access to the rest of Australia...or back to New Zealand, or to South East Asia. I've now been on the Gold Coast longer than I lived in Wellington, and picked up some Gold Coast sports teams to support too.
I finally realised this year that I really am a product of two countries, not one - and while I still describe myself as a New Zealander, I'll happily claim Australian in some situations too. When I'm talking about a national "we", Dave sometimes gets confused which "we" I'm referring to - although of course, in New Zealand vs Australian sporting competitions, it's always New Zealand! Both countries have their good points and bad points - no country is a perfect utopia, and I'm not going to get into the institutionalized rivalry between the two countries here. I guess the answer to the blog prompt question is, "I can't choose!"