The first part of my life in New Zealand was spent in small towns like Thames, and later Dargaville. I settled quite comfortably into West Auckland with only a short stint in the early 2000’s in an apartment in Albany to be close to my work. I loved that job, and particularly my boss and the geeks I shared my days with and went out for Guinness every Wednesday at what was then called the Brick in Albany.
Seems like lifetimes ago now.
Then I met Grumpy. A Shore boy from birth.
For those of you not familiar with the concept or location of “The Shore” I will bring it back a few steps and explain. Auckland’s North Shore is located across the iconic harbour bridge to the North of the CBD (central business district) and the East of the Upper Harbour Bridge, also known as the Greenhithe Bridge.
The North Shore has long been synonymous with affluence, beautiful beaches, an impressive list of successful Kiwi sportspeople, business people and even celebrities. I remember thinking of the Shore as place where big parties raged on unsupervised, and rich good looking “it” girls would squeeze into tight white jeans, midriff shirts and platform shoes as they venture out into town or the local bars and eateries.
Everyone has a slightly different idea of what the shore means, and, as anywhere, it has high and low socio-economic areas. There are enclaves of culture, art, cuisine and diversity, and there are some very old neighbourhoods that are suffering some reticence to gentrification where neighbours just don’t seem to get along as a result of people being unable to breach the gap between old and new. For me it has been home for well over a decade. We live on the border West Auckland and our back doors open up to overlook Herald Island and Whenuapai airbase. I Love our home, and our neighbourhood, our views, our garden, our trees, our neighbours, and our friends.
This weekend, I finally accepted, that I am now, and probably will be for the foreseeable future, a Shore girl. There is so much to see and do over here on the Shore. There are some excellent cafes and beaches. We have one of the biggest indoor malls in New Zealand, the Albany mall is where we break for lunch most work days. There are safe and fun playgrounds for the children, and some excellent family friendly eating establishments complete with book corners and fenced in play areas for the kids to enjoy while parents catch up for a coffee. Most Sundays I take one or more of our four children to the Glenfield Mall where hundreds of other Shore dwellers, from an amazing cross-range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, meet to eat and rummage through the market stalls.
So this is the weekend that I officially came to terms with the fact I am fairly well adjusted to having my work, play and life based in this leafy little corner of New Zealand. Where do you call home? What do you like to do in your neighbourhood? Do you like where you live? It was nice stopping for a moment this morning to reflect on the fact the younger me would never have imagined ending up here, but I am pleased that I did. This is home and I love it. Have a great week everyone. XXOO Dee