Candy | Auckland CBD

I’ve been in Auckland for about six weeks, and I actually haven’t engaged with too many people, oddly enough. I’m fairly outgoing so, but I can tell you the last time I had a memorable moment.

I take a daily walk to the pier, and usually, the guards that are there, guarding where the ships come in, in the customs area are from a different persuasion, but this particular day was a New Zealand man. He was putting sunscreen on his face, and he was, he immediately said, hello hello. And, we spoke. I spoke. He said you’re not from here. I said, no. Where are you from? I’m from America. America, oh. He began to talk about my president or the president, because I didn’t vote for him, but he’s still the president. He began to tell me about how he thought he was a great Christian, because he’s born again himself, and said, well so am I and that’s good to know. I said, but if he’s a Christian, some of the things he’s doing to divide people isn’t really very good.

I actually am a New Yorker, so I grew up with this man and, pretty much, well he’s not my protégé, but you know we’re, he’s like maybe 10 or 15 years older than me, but he has always been divisive. He’s always had privilege, and he is not educated, although he likes to think he is, but he’s not. So, we didn’t get into that type of discussion, although I think I might have said just that, and I really wasn’t about us engaging each other or fighting each other over the facts, but my phone rang, and I started to talk on my phone, and he handed me a card that said ‘The New Trump party of New Zealand’, making New Zealand ours again. So, I thought, okay. I continued to talk on the phone, and as I was leaving, he was saying, listen I really appreciated talking to you, because it’s not too many times I get to engage with people. You’re obviously an intelligent woman, because you know, I said, yeah I’ve been to university. And, he said, yeah and I can see you’re a woman of class. I said, okay because I can engage you? He said, yeah. He said, but I just want you to know that I’d like to talk to you again, and I wasn’t trolling you. I wasn’t trying to get you mad, or get you to start an argument or whatever. Anyway he said, this Trump party is not about diversity, you know we, we embrace diversity here in New Zealand, but it’s about making sure that we want to get rid of big business and the monopolies and tech companies. And, I said, okay. So, that was really the last time that I engaged somebody that was from here.

So, that literally was the day before the Aussie guy came and shot up the Thanksgiving homage to my president, or the president of the United States, among other little things. I actually live most of the time, I have family in Australia, so I’m actually here doing a visa stay, and so when I found out it was an Australian man, it was just quite interesting. Where I’m staying there are a lot of international people, so that kind of engagement has just been, you know, we share a kitchen, so that’s when we talk, but it’s nothing really. So, that was my last engagement.

I think a lot of times part of the reason people become alienated is because, well one, if you’ve never grown up around anybody, you’ve never engaged anybody, you only know one person in your neighbourhood, and then you go to various sources to kind of find out about people, so to speak, without engaging a person, because we’re just, we’re all suffering from the same things. We all want to be loved. We all want to have security in where we live. We all want to be able to go somewhere and not be, you know, harassed or feeling threatened because of the way we look, or the way we talk. It’s, I think it’s extremely important to engage people, and it’s also important to remember the way you communicate.

I think a lot of times people, especially now, I think it’s, it’s politically right than it used to be, was really about being morally insensitively correct, as opposed to this, you know, making politically correct the wrong thing to do. You can just say anything to anybody and it’d be okay, and that’s not really the deal. I mean, you know, if you want to engage me, how are we going to talk? If you’re going to be thinking, if you have preconceived notions, it’s good to talk to me about it, so that I can tell you about mine, and then we can discuss it and exchange it, because again, like I said, we all bleed blood. We all want safety and security. We all would like to be living the high life, but we also like to be comfortable in whatever life we’re living, and not to be able to feel threatened, no matter where you’re at, and so I think that’s the most important thing. I think most people forget that stability is, is important when you, when you want to change and when you want to learn, and you can’t change if you don’t want to learn, if you’re not open and honest about your feelings.

I know a lot of time people talk about American music, and American music to most Europeans and every place else is soul music. That’s not what American music is to Americans. It’s you know, country and western, or it’s anything but. We didn’t know the rest of the world was listening to the soul, R&B and even hip hop, but that’s all African-American based. So, if you get your views from someone, from the movies, or from some of these documentaries that are skewed a certain way, and you don’t anyone, you’ve never engaged anyone like that, so you have a preconceived notion when you sit down and talk to them, if you even bother to do so, because nine times out of 10 you’d be frightened to death if you listened to some of the stuff that these people are saying about certain cultures.

I know the difference between Australia and New Zealand, and how it was colonised, and it’s a big difference. I see more aboriginal people here that I’ve ever seen in Australia. I, in fact, I keep looking for Aborigines and can’t find any, and as I talk to Australian people about the aboriginal people, they keep telling me all kind of things about how, you know, well we’ve given them reparations and we, we don’t rent to them, because they destroy houses, and they started painting them with all these broad brushes, and I kept saying to them, every last Aborigine is like this? But when you are a marginalised person, and it’s been generational, they stay in their lanes, and their lanes are nowhere near, or actually I take that back, they are near, they’re five miles away from the cities that have all of the amenities, but yet they live in houses with no amenities. So, they also don’t have any advocates, which is astounding to me, because I can’t imagine after all this time where they are, but there are none.

When I read some of the signs that tell you about the history of these people. Is it called Māori people?  When your people came, they had to actually negotiate. They didn’t come, they couldn’t wipe them out, they had to negotiate things, and to me that meant that they took time to understand, took time to talk to people about what they were willing to give up or what they, what the exchange was. Here, I see them everywhere. I see them. They’ve got jobs. They’re cops, they’re lawyers. They’re walking around. They’re here, and it’s not like their place was taken away from them. So, I feel like they, they’ve made an impact. They’re not marginalised to a certain degree. I don’t know, because I haven’t been here that long enough.

I think I’ve, every one that I’ve engaged has been warm and inviting you know, I go to the supermarkets and the fish stores and things like that, and they’re working, and so the first thing they ask me is, what island are you from? And, I always have to say Manhattan, and they laugh, because they don’t know what the hell that is, but anyway. So it’s, again that opens up a discussion about, you know, where you’re from and this, that and the third, and then it’s always been interesting. So, that’s what I think about communication with different people.

I’m a New Yorker. I was born in Harlem Hospital. From Harlem Hospital we went to Bed-Stuy. From Bed-Stuy we went to St Albans, that’s in Queens, from St Albans we went to Manhattan. I went to school in The Bronx, and I have relatives in Staten Island. So, I have just hit every one of the five burrows in terms of a New Yorker, and that’s even rare, because not too many New Yorkers will go from on burrow to another, unless forced to, or you know, engaged with family.

I’ve lived in many different countries. I’ve done business kind of all over the world, which is probably why my children are all over the world, but I consider myself a global citizen, which is kind of rare for an American, I’m assuming, because I don’t know too many of us in America. When I say I’ve been other places, people are usually astounded and, why would you go there?

My parents were divorced when I was fairly young. I have a younger sister. I have a father who’s, I won’t say Rolling Stone, but anyway, I have a brother and a sister that is quite a few years, maybe five or six years younger than my younger children. We embrace one another. It’s not, you know, those things happen I’m assuming, but it’s still family.

I’ve been divorced for about 15 years. I’m the mother of four. I have two granddaughters, one in Melbourne, Australia and the other in New York. They actually are the same age. They were like three months apart, so I’ve spent time going back and forth, especially the years that they were born. They’re now going to be four this year in May and August. Since my divorce I really haven’t engaged in, I have friends, but I don’t have any I guess you’d call a significant other. I’m really enjoying my freedom at this stage, but I travel a lot by myself, which is also quite unusual for a woman my age to be buy herself traveling, but I don’t fear anybody or anything. I’ve been in a lot of places where tragedies have happened, like here this time, I was in New York for 911. I was on my way to Harrods when it blew up. So, I’m just finding it quite interesting to see the, how the texture of the atmosphere around you changes, it’s been interesting, to say the least.”

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