A young fella gets in the car. He’s got a box of those pre-mixed drinks. I’d gone up the drive to collect him and he was thrilled because not all Uber drivers will do that. I start chatting to him. He says ‘what on earth made you come to New Zealand?”
Kiwis always ask this, as if any place in the world is more exciting than New Zealand. They perennially overestimate our desire for excitement after a certain age.
I told him the story of how I got the little, insistent voice in my head telling me to move to New Zealand. Of the process I went through analysing all the different countries I could possibly move to. About my spreadsheet and the quality of life analysis that I spent quite a lot of time researching like a big weirdo nerd.
I’m winding up when the guy looks in the mirror at me, crinkles his forehead and he says, “Do you have a blog where you write short stories?” And I said, “Yeah”. He said, “My parents have had you as their Uber driver”
I started laughing and said, “Oh really” He said “Yeah, they told me this story. I recognise it from from what they said and they even sent me the link to your website, it’s like Dear something or other.” I laughed agreement, sort of amazed.
And that, Sophia, is the story of New Zealand. It’s a small place, but like the microcosm it is, it reinforces that however small, our voice echoes.