This blog on New Caledonia is for those of you who ever wondered what life on a tiny island in the South Pacific might be like. Tired of bracing winter winds, the stress of an inner city or simply dreaming of a life change? This is a blog about what happens when, in the words of Yogi Berra, "you come to a fork in the road, [and] take it".

09 February 2006

Daily Life in New Caledonia

Many of you may be wondering what daily life on our little island must be like - in reality. You must be saying to yourself, "It can't all be sea snakes and breathtaking views and jet skiing and sunny skies." Sophie, who just returned from Europe reports that she was asked, "Do you have supermarkets there?" A ha. Indeed we do. And our lives are somewhat similar to yours. There are some differences, though:

  • We live with the light. People here rise and set with the sun. It is not unknown that they are up between 4.30 and 5.00, have lunch at 11.30 and dinner at 18.30. They are in bed between 20.30 and 21.00. (As for us, Laurent gets up at 5 some days and 6 on others. I get up at 7.30 -- I just can't manage a 6 o'clock rising on Paradise Island. Sophie gets up around 6 during the school year as school starts at around 7.15).
  • We live outside. That is, when it is cool enough to be outside. Right now it is summer, so we take care of errands and do sports earlier in the day - or later - when it is cooler.
  • We do a lot of sports. You see a lot of runners, walkers, roller skaters, swimmers and bikers. Laurent runs a lot, I swim (yes, in the sea - and at the outdoor pool).
  • We eat lightly - lots of fruit and salads, but we also eat chicken, beef, fish, bread, cheese and yogurts.
  • We find life expensive as most everything is imported. When we first landed, we were shocked by the price of salmon imported from Ireland (not that we need to eat salmon from Ireland!) - €80 for a piece the size to feed the three of us. Another friend of ours didn't realise the price and bought a portion of cheese for €25.
  • Telecommunication costs are exorbitant. Our Internet connection costs us €125 a month on average. The phone (before calls) costs about €40 a month. Cable runs just over €80 a month. (And every time we see a commercial for unlimited calls, Internet and tv for €29.99 a month, we, well, drool.)

There are things we do individually. Sophie is very creative and puts together the most amazing collages of photos on the computer. I've been taking a sand painting class and have been patiently bringing colour to (my) amateur drawings. I very much miss my piano and singing, but have yet to join a group. Sophie will start her drums again soon. Laurent has been studying English with a great software called the Rosetta Stone. I begin and end my days reading, and I probably spend more time thinking than I do writing about how to improve websites. We eat dinner together every night and we watch the news from France and we laugh out loud at our kitten's frantic night-time antics. Our daily lives are not that far off from yours ... really!

Photo by Laurent Guiader, 2005.


TweeWin said...

I'm just wondering, if there are ads for phone, Internet, AND TV for 29.9 euros, why don't you use that service? Haha =) Are you renting your phone and is that why you have to pay 40 euros a month for the phone alone? =O That's crazy that it would cost that much for these mainstream services? 0___0

TweeWin said...

I've been contemplating living in NC, but based on your experience, and the cost of living, I don't think I can afford it. =( Too bad. Such a nice place, too. Perhaps I can still go for my honeymoon, when I marry. ^_^

Julie said...

Thanks for pointing out the inconsistency with the 29.99 ads and what we used to pay for tv/Internet/phone. The ads were actually from France (tv is broadcast from there) and were not applicable in New Caledonia. Telecommunications were extremely expensive when we were there and the speed slowish. But I hear that they now have new cabling and that things have sped up (and perhaps the cost has come down).

We do recommend living there, but a visit would be wonderful as well.



TweeWin said...

Oh wow, that explains it. ^_^ Hopefully, the price for the telecommunication services went down. Based on your response, does it mean that you are not living in NC anymore? =O

Honestly, I knew about NC from watching a drama. ^_^" It is such a beautiful place, and dare I say, the picture of the definition of the word 'paradise'. =) I just started researching about it, to see if I could indeed live there one day. The cost of living alone turned me back in the road. =( Perhaps I can only afford to vacation there. xD

Julie said...

Hello TweeWin,

We live in Paris now, but dream of returning to the island. Though very expensive, there are ways to live simply. I would advise you to visit it first. You may find a visit easier to organise and commit to than a move!

Kind regards,


TweeWin said...

Hello Julie,

Thank you for your patience with my inquiries. ^__^"

Wow, and I thought living Europe is expensive. That must mean NC is more expensive than France! =O I can't imagine that possible, but it's not in paradise would be costly. xD

Anonymous said...

Im lookıng an ısland for lıve forever with my friend.. and I found thıs ısland on Google Map.. and started to investigate about ıt.Somebody can help us about there ? there ıs amazing !! beautifull :)

I bored from my country,always terrible news on tv..
can we find a job there for live happy ?
contact with me pls and thanx..

Ngoc Nguyen said...

Hi, im Vietnamese and maybe i ll move to live in New Caledonia in 2 months later. And i would like to ask you some informations about NC? Im wondering that it ll be welcome me or not. My husband is French but i worry a little bit. i've never thought that i would lived out of my country before. thank you so much if i can receive from you some news.
im looking forward to receving your reply.

Julie Harris said...

Hi Ngoc Nguyen - Thanks for your comment/question. My sense is that it may be hard at first (leaving one's country for another is always a little destabilizing), but that you will come to make good friends in New Caledonia. There are other Vietnamese on the island, and I am sure you will find them. Try not to worry and enjoy your time and this amazing new experience. - Kind regards, Julie