Declan

We moved to New York in May 2018 and live in Brooklyn. We both entered the ballot to get a Green Card and were drawn a year apart. I’m working at Goldman Sachs in asset management.

We’re still working at home, though I could go back to the office now. Transport is the issue, travelling on a packed train for 45 minutes is not the best in a pandemic.

We were at home for a wedding in late February. It’s crazy now to think how quickly things changed. Now we can’t go into a shop without a mask and yet at home in New Zealand there are rugby games at Eden Park with 45,000 people watching.

Both of us are into working out and fitness, not going to the gym is annoying. In the beginning we were running a lot. Luce was quite clever and bought some really heavy stuff from the supermarket, big water jugs and tins of tomatoes.

Lucy was working at the gym when we met, I was in the queue of suitors to ask her out.

I was born in Reading whilst Mum and Dad were doing their OE, apparently I had a little English accent as a four year old.

Lucy

Around 20 million people apply for a Green Card every year and only about 50,000 get them. It’s completely random.

I work in the finance team at WeWork. We have over 850 buildings world-wide and over the last two years I’ve been here, there’s been astronomical growth and a lot of changes. When I started I attended the company’s summer camp in the UK which was pretty much a massive music festival for the 7,000 employees – Lorde was playing. The 27th of July will be my first full week back at the office – 5 months after lockdown began.

We arrived back in New York from New Zealand on the 12th of March, two days later we were working from home. Because we live in a quieter area in Brooklyn and are locked up in our apartment all day, we have been somewhat isolated and sheltered from the types of things you see about New York on the news.

Back in New Zealand I was working for Deloitte. I was born in Hawkes Bay and went to Woodford House as a day girl. After a gap year at a school in London I studied finance and economics at Vic.

We feel pretty lucky having the green card, amongst everything else that’s going on, it’s one thing we don’t have to worry about. It doesn’t feel like things will go back to normal for a long time.

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Image supplied by interviewee

This interview and the others in the series are an extension of my new book “This Is Us” it is in all good bookshops in New Zealand and also available in Australia. It will be available elsewhere in the world from August.

This Is Us – the diaspora in lockdown – these interviews are slightly different from the ones in the book as they focus on New Zealanders living abroad in this time of isolation.  Copyright Licensing have awarded me a grant to complete this project and convert these postings into a book.

If you can think of suitable interview subjects please let me know via pete@petecarter.nz – I currently need interviews in the more unusual places around the world.

Exisle have released This Is Us as an e-book you can buy it here.

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Pete Carter is the author of This is Us. Due out in June 2020 it will be published by Exisle and tells the story of more than 200 New Zealanders in words and pictures. The book is really a portrait of the nation and how it is made up. Pete wrote Our Dog Benji a children’s book illustrated by his nephew, published by EK in 2017. He is also the author of two books of poetry. He has had magazine articles published and poetry in anthologies. As a photographer he has had two solo exhibitions and work included in group exhibitions in NZ and overseas and has sold work to and been commissioned by corporate clients.

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