This blog has been a great way of creating a record of our emigration adventure and in the main that is all it has been intended to be. A visual record of the beautiful things we have seen and the adventures we have had both for us and our families back home to see… but today marks a year since we landed in New Zealand with the aim of making it our home so I am feeling reflective. Most of my blog posts centre around the image, the place or the kiwi ‘thing’ that we have seen with just a few words about it, but today I am in a sharing mood so get comfortable!
A year ago today, at around 3pm I seem to remember, we landed into Auckland airport with more luggage than we could carry feeling apprehensive, nervous and excited all at the same time. And tired.. we were so tired and swearing we would never get on a plane with our youngest son again who had terrorised the entire plane from the UK to Hong Kong and then onto NZ with his screams for pretty much the entire journey.
The year has flown and all at the same time it feels just like yesterday but such a long time ago. Before we made the jump I researched and researched what we should expect, how we should feel and what we would experience as new expats on New Zealand soil. On the whole, most sources of opinion suggested that when you emigrate it takes 2 years to feel like home and at some point in that 2 years expect to be hit by a huge ‘what have we done’ moment. Lots of people bail, change their minds and go back. Luckily, we haven’t had that (yet) and I think it is fair to say we are all feeling very settled here without even a thought about moving back to the UK (sorry Dad).
That’s not to say we haven’t had our hard days. The first few months were especially tough. New jobs, new houses to find, not knowing anything about anything, tricky choices, bad day cares and missing our dog who hadn’t joined us yet were all amongst the things that caused us stress as we tried to settle into a strange place.
But, we were in a beautiful spot as we started our life here in the Puhoi countryside, the sun was shining, the beaches were near and we made some wonderful friends. Some of the friends we made in the early days have come and gone but even those few who I haven’t seen for months now played an incredibly important role in getting us settled, whether they know it or not. The importance of making good friends should never be underestimated. The new friends I made got me through the days when I felt lonely, was stuck not knowing what to do to entertain the boys on a rainy day and helped fill my head with info and advice about they way of the world down here and important things like where to buy your fruit and veg so you aren’t spending $5 on one bit of broccoli! Without question it is my friends here who have made our transition to New Zealand life easier and I would consider them to be more than friends now, they are now our New Zealand family and the people we spend our special occasions with. We are better settled because we have these good friends around us and I am incredibly grateful for this.
All of this doesn’t mean I don’t miss things back home. I well up as I think about this and have shed a tear or two as I’ve edited this post, as it is a couple of people I miss the most, my dad and BFF especially have been hard not to see for this long. Then there is the food (obviously the next priority!). Why is it all so salty? Why oh why does New Zealand not have decent sausages. This is something that a year in I still do not understand and am frankly a bit disturbed by. The same goes for bacon too. Oh, and pizza. I would give anything for a decent stone baked pizza… or a proper Indian take away, but all of this lack of decent junk food does have one major up side in the fact that I am now a few dress sizes smaller than when we were in the UK. Win for the waistline at least.
I don’t miss the cold drizzly days.. those grey sky days where the cold just doesn’t go away, but I do miss crisp frosty mornings. I haven’t missed all the snow the UK has just had, but I do miss being able to wrap up all snuggly warm in a jumper. I don’t have to miss the rain though, New Zealand has plenty of that and when it rains here it rains properly like someone just tipped a bucket from the sky
I don’t miss the expensive price of good wine, nor the Cadburys chocolate.. how Whittaker’s hasn’t become a global chocolate phenomenon still baffles me. I miss having choice and variety in the shops though – New Zealand stores have limited options and things are expensive here. Oh, the internet. I miss good internet. It’s slow down here, even on the fastest ultra fibre package we have to watch and wait as Netflix downloads programmes to watch. In the early days of writing this blog when we were in Puhoi it would literally take all afternoon to upload the feature image. No joke… that was dedicated blogging!
I do miss daycare for my kids, definitely better standards in the UK (and my biggest boy’s beloved ladies in orange). I miss a good old bit of British bureaucracy and process every now and again. Some things here are left to the ‘she’ll be right’ attitude which can be and awesome and relaxed way of life but also a bit of a cop out sometimes.
I do miss the British spiders. Yes, you read that right. In the UK they don’t jump. They don’t bite with a risk in creating ulceration of your skin. They aren’t the size of the Huntsman. Could be worse though, we aren’t in Australia. We have awesome birds here in NZ. Fantails are definitely a favourite, along with the Tui. Even the pigeons here are pretty awesome!
The countryside we live in is jaw-droppingly beautiful. We live minutes away from amazing beaches and coastline and the places we have travelled to in both North and South Island have truly captured us. New Zealand is far from perfect, no where is, but no one can argue how beautiful a country it is!
We now have two budding little kiwi kids who run around with no shoes on calling Daddy ‘Diddy’ just one of their many little kiwi accents sneaking through. I wonder how long it will be before they are more kiwi than British?
We’ve had our ups and downs, glum days.. I know when I am missing home as I have a craving to cook a Bisto dinner although I still chuckle when I have to go to the “International Food’ aisle in the supermarket to buy it. On the whole though we are one year in and not looking back. Our children are settled, have good buddies around them and so do we. It’s not been easy but it has been totally worth it and right now we wouldn’t change it. That doesn’t mean we will always feel like this, who knows what will happen in life? If you’d have said to me 2 years ago that we would be living in New Zealand right now, I’m not sure I’d have believed you so who knows what will happen in our crazy adventure next…..