A question for the New Zealanders among us:
I've recently decided to move back to New Zealand after almost a decade living abroad in Canada and Costa Rica. And I wonder how much New Zealand has changed socially, culturally, economically since I left. What differences (large and small) will I notice after 10 years away?
My New Zealand is frozen back in January 1999. When I left, Jenny Shipley was the prime minister, 91 octane petrol was 80 cents a litre, and the average house cost about 50% less than it does now. My home town, Dunedin, was a fairly sleepy, but funky, place with some good restaurants and great clothing stores and a good (although declining) live music scene. It was a safe enough place that I could accidentally leave my back door not only unlocked but wide-open for a whole day with no ill-effects.
I've heard that going home is in some ways more of a culture shock than moving away. When you emigrate, you expect everything to be strange, but when you go home you expect to be home which makes any unfamiliarity harder to deal with. After such a long time away I think it's likely that I'm in for some surprises. What do you think?