The longer I am living in New Zealand, the more this place is becoming "home". And I mean apart from the obvious technicalities of already owning a house here and bringing up my kids here.
I am starting to refer to the people as "us", rather than "them". I talk about my trip to Estonia in May as a "visit to see friends and family", because afterwards I will be "coming back home" to Invercargill again. I am even picking up my first expressions in Te Reo Maori which I am starting to use in everyday conversations with everyday people, and actually understand some of the Te Reo expressions used by other people. I said "Morena!" ("Morning!") to my school tutor yesterday, and nodded when a classmate uttered "Ka kite ano," at the end of the class to me, "See you again."
Just for the fun of it I a loudly sing along to the Tokelauan verses of "We know the way", a song from a movie called Moana, although it has nothing to do with New Zealand. I like the sound of it.
Polynesian identity is slowly weaving itself into the fabric of my everyday life.
I am slowly becoming versed in the local government issues and speak up when I have an opinion to share. The council have already changed a layout of an intersection in front of The Girlie's preschool because I wrote them a letter explaining why the previous one was dangerous. I go to public meetings and keep an eye out on council announcements. I vote. Our family will probably be, to a small degree, involved with the Colombian refugees who will soon start arriving to Invercargill. In the future, especially as our kids become more independent, I foresee our involvement widening even more.
This morning I listened with glee as Radio New Zealand described the soaring Te Reo Maori study uptakes across New Zealand. People seem to be inspired by the widening use of Te Reo in media and want to understand more - the number of people taking up study has never been higher. It makes me happy for the Polynesian settlers of this land as their identity, I feel, has for a long time been subdued under the European influences of the British settlers here. New settlers continue arriving - half of my classmates are Chinese.