With 13 million people packed into an area smaller than greater Wellington, the nearest beach some 350km away, and not a single hill to climb Buenos Aires is poles apart from New Zealand. How could a Kiwi be happy living here?

Somehow though its because of this distance and difference that my pride and love for New Zealand have become so much stronger, you have to miss it to really value it. Over here I'm proud of New Zealand everyday, from the Taxi driver who tells me that the "All Blacks are the best in the World" to my local fruit shop owner who calls me "Crazy" for living here instead of in "Paradise".

Nearly everyday somebody asks me where I come from, and what life is like in NZ. I proudly tell them of the beautiful outdoors, of lunch on the waterfront and going to the beach after work, about the cashless society, no corruption, police without guns, 5% unemployment, and social security for those in need. All this is 360 degrees from life in Buenos Aires.

I have been here nearly 4 years and each year my daughter and I head home to NZ for our summer holiday. We are home for 3 or 4 weeks and it is a time of intense experience and feelings. We are outside as much as possible, we explore new places and fondly visit old favourites, we savour fish and chips, peanut slabs, and cool Kiwi cafes. We run down sand dunes, go body boarding, walk in the bush, fly on flying foxes, and share special moments with family and friends.

I wonder whether we would enjoy these times as much and value New Zealand as much if we were living there, I wonder whether all that beauty and freedom would become just "normal". Over here people have so much less than we have in NZ, but they seem so much happier, with an uncertain future Argentines try to make the most of each day.

I know that sometime in the future I will return to New Zealand, for the moment though I am content to look at Kapiti Island through the photo on my wall. It's a perfect day, the water is a brilliant aquamarine blue and the sky is clear.

Lake Ferry Lounge

Aotearoa New Zealand Tattoo