How on earth do you define home as an expat? I’ve said before that London has my heart but New Zealand is my soul (whereas my appetite is totally multicultural) as a throwaway Instagram caption, but actually it’s more true than I gave this unconsciously summoned phrase credit for.
I guess this post could be subtitled ‘how to make home a home, when you move your home to a new home a really long way away’. Which would be an achingly long subtitle.
So, I decided in a moment of New Zealand caffeine fuelled inspiration to share 5 of the ways that I celebrate my New Zealand roots 12,000 miles away from where they began. Putting the Kiwi into London effectively!
It was the only way I could ease myself from the labyrinthine issue of repeatedly saying home whilst not quite coming up with an easy answer on how to define home as a post for our monthly travel linkup with the topic of “home”? Sorry.
1. Gathering a tribe *actual collective noun* of Kiwis (adopted and natural)
Many of these treasured friends have popped up on the blog a time or three, and form the core of my London tribe (and be warned: when they leave I follow them around the world – a few cases in point may have been witnessed on my Instagram of late). They utterly ‘get’ the whole expat experience, are more than happy to occasionally grouch about the unique tribulations about international life and most importantly share their discovered tastes of home (see point #3).
2. Cooking up a storm, making my favourite childhood treats
I had a copy of the Edmonds cookbook sent over and use it way too often. The first item I placed with reverent care into my suitcase was my camera, then it was my Edmonds cookbook. Originally made as a marketing tool for Baking Powder, according to Wikipedia “it remains New Zealand’s fastest selling book with over 200,000 copies sold in one year.” The blurb on the back says over 4 million copies have been sold – that’s almost one for every adult New Zealander in the world.
Everything I’ve introduced Mr Kiwi to so far has been a hit; Bacon & Egg Pie, Pumpkin Soup, Lolly Cake, Banana Cake & Onion Dip. The recipes are simple and straight forward spring boards into customising to your own taste – my cookbook is covered in scrawls, variations on a theme and a touch of revising to the Bacon & Egg Pie recipe to get it up to family standards.
3. Running all over London in search of the perfect Kiwi brunch
Heavily documented, I feel that this is a uniquely London/Antipodean hobby, and has to go at the top of any decent CV. From Sweetcorn Fritters to slices of Lolly Cake, I have been known to travel for up to an hour to get a taste of home.
4. Decorating our house with reminders of New Zealand
On our wall hangs a photograph of one of my favourite New Zealand views, our Christmas decorations are dominated by Santas wearing shorts and we have uniquely Kiwi momentos dotted around our shelves which never fail to make me smile. Just simple touches that conjure the Land of the Long White Cloud.
5. Scheming English replacements for favourite treats
Sometimes you feel heartache at the thought of the people, your town and the culture you leave behind when you move to another country. Sometimes, it’s more of a hollow feeling in your stomach. You know, like it’s empty? I’ve spent many an extensive hour trialling British counterparts for my favourite Kiwi flavours – and found a fair few replacements.
How do you sneak in touches of home?