Thanks to a wave of homesickness, my enthusiasm for writing withered and died: in fact, all my creative juices evaporated! A crochet pile remained untouched, I didn’t take any photos and baking attempts resulted in disaster (although I blame the lack of an electric hand whisk for the latter). In the last few days, I have slowly got my mojo back thanks to people in my life cheering me on from the sidelines and I have decided to adopt the mindset of the ladybirds on the apple tree at my mother’s house: get on it.

Looking back in the run-up to the wave, I guess I developed an anxiety: I got the absurd idea that I had to perform as the ‘perfect’ expat. Doing myself no favours – having an anthropology degree and coming from a family of immigrants made me acutely aware of my place as a foreigner in a different country and culture. It seems silly now, but looking back on it but in recent weeks, I made decisions such as only buying books from New Zealand authors (a new friend howled with laughter when I told her this), not allowing myself any imported foodie treats from home, insisting I try to make friends with locals than relying on other expats and generally indulging my fears, which made me wonder whether I should have been quietly escorted into the nearest padded cell.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with any of these activities; making an effort and getting to know a new place is good, but in any tense, nervous situation, you fall into autopilot and lose sight of what is important. As mentioned, my friend – once she got over her hysterics – reassured me and said, ‘Us Kiwis are a fairly chilled out bunch. You really don’t need to worry.’

Crossing my fingers to come back as a ladybird in the next life.