I’m a New Zealander, I’ve lived in New Zealand most of my life. However, just over two years ago now I moved to London. Which is all the way on the other side of the world. A 27 hour & way too expensive flight away. I mean you can’t even get one direct flight from London to New Zealand. It’s too far away for that.
No we don’t live in huts in NZ, we live in proper houses (I have seriously been asked this before AND recently! lol). You will find normal cities just like the one you live in or have visited to, yes we have farmland and yes we have more sheep in NZ than the population in NZ as a whole (which is 4.6 million as of 2015 – People this is, not the sheep).
I love it here in London, I miss the sunny weather in NZ and my friends and family, but not much else. Well except that when I lived in NZ I was in the position to own AS MANY BOOKS AS I WANTED! Yes. You read right. That means that since I have moved to London I have had to curb my bookish ways. It’s horrific I tell you!
As I’m living abroad and this cannot be my permanent residency, I have issues when it comes to loving books. I’ve had to deal with this for two years already!
1. I couldn’t bring my paperback books with me
I moved from New Zealand to London with one massive suitcase and one backpack. I either sold, gave away or threw everything else I owned out. Yep. That means I sold, gave away or threw my books out! Well actually, I didn’t throw any books out (thank god).
This was incredibly hard for me to do. But I decided that I would be able to buy those books again when I’m settled down in a country and I know I won’t have to pack my life up again. So I will have those books again!
2. I have no room for books in my flat
My flat here in London is tiny. Which means there is no room for books. Actually. THERE IS NO ROOM FOR BOOKS! This is crazy. But we barely have anywhere to put our food let alone anywhere to put a bookshelf, so there’s no where to put the books. As for the food, we have to only buy what we need and go back to the grocery store mid-week – this is because we have a mini fridge between three people (This is how small my flat is).
So this is one of the reasons that I had to start using my ereader instead of reading precious paperbacks, there is just no space.
3. When I leave this country I have to ship everything home
Hence the reluctance to buy anything bookish.
I honestly couldn’t imagine how hard it would be to ship my books back to New Zealand, I would either have to buy extra luggage or pay hundreds, maybe even thousands (depending on size & weight) to have the books shipped via BOAT all of the way back to NZ. And if I had it shipped by boat it would take a whole 3-5 MONTHS until I would get my boxes delivered! And who would know what condition they would be in at that stage!
So no. I cannot buy myself physical books. Because there’s just no way I would plausibly be able to get them all the way over to the other side of the world.
4. The library system isn’t as good here
Okay. Maybe this one is just me. But I don’t get the library system here. I’ve tried to sign up to the library down the road but it really just feels a bit too difficult with having to provide proof of residency and proof of address etc. Plus the hours they’re open doesn’t leave me a lot of time to visit after work…
Also, the book selection is actually just crap. I’ve suggested a few books but they don’t have any new releases at all. Perhaps it’s because not a lot of people borrow books from the library? I don’t know what it is but it’s just not worth signing up in my opinion. Which sucks.
In New Zealand our library system was amazing, new releases were constant, it was easy to check books out and extend the amount of time you wanted them for, you could rent ebooks and everything!
While I 100% love living here in London, it’s really hard being a book lover when I know I can’t permanently reside here. I can’t buy things like books or even home-ware because I wouldn’t plausibly be able to ship them home. I haven’t even thought about contacting publishers to ask for physical copies of ARCs because I would have no where to store them, no matter how much I want to.
Living overseas and being a book lover isn’t the same!
Do you live abroad? Do you find it hard being a bookworm overseas too?