It’s that time of the year again for a blog post that isn’t just about a photo. This blog has been a sort-of-photo-journal of my families adventures here in New Zealand since we moved from the UK and on Monday of this coming week it will be 2 years since we moved.
That’s 2 years since I have been in the UK. It feels that we have been here for forever now and our life in England is a lifetime ago. That doesn’t mean that it makes it easier to miss people. It’s been 2 years since I have seen my dad, step-mum and best friend which remains one of the hardest things about being here.
It’s been a strange and emotional week here in NZ with the terrible and tragic events that took place in Christchurch last Friday. We moved to New Zealand for many, many reasons. I am quite happy sharing that one of the reasons was to leave behind the growing tide of racism and general hatred for anyone who might be a little bit different that seemed to have taken over the British media and a bit too much of the population too. We didn’t want our kids growing up in that environment.
Aside from being completely devestated and heartbroken for the families who were affected by the shooting last week, for a time I was also sad for New Zealand. Sad that these terrible kind of events had made it to our shores. This week has been a bit of an eye opener though and it really struck me how different it feels being in New Zealand with this going on around us than in the UK.
I remember distinctly the morning of the London tube bombings. I remember sitting numb at work desperately trying to get hold of friends who had been commuting to London to check they were safe. I remember the immense sadness that took over the country for a time but since then as the wave of attacks and threats grew and the number of incidents reported on the news grew in number it often became just another news item. Certainly never have I seen an outpouring of support like I have seen here in New Zealand this week.
When I arrived at work on Monday and started talking to my colleagues it became immediately clear that this felt different. In some ways this week has reminded me why we moved to New Zealand. We live in a country which friendly, open and supportive. People care about each other and communities are still very much alive and well. We have a Prime Minister who I don’t think anyone can argue (no matter what your political views are) has shown true leadership. She has carried herself with more humanity, integrity, honesty and emotion than can be said of most world leaders – ever. She has summed up perfectly how the nation has been feeling.
New Zealand has in turn shown an outpouring of love and support for the affected community here in a way I have not seen before. Every part of every community is raising money to support those affected and a swathe of activities across the country are taking place in recognition, remembrance and to show support and solidarity across all the cultures of the NZ society.
It has been quite humbling to see and a very different community to be a part of.
It is in this context that I now look back on the 2 years we have had here and am so grateful for what we have achieved. We have had ups and downs in our first 2 years but now, 24 months in feel completely settled where we are. In August, we bought our own home so own (along with the bank 😉 a little slice of this beautiful country. My eldest son has started school and a heap of other things are really slotting into place. We have a great network of friends and it’s not hard to notice that we live in a truly beautiful place and get out on some amazing adventures.
When we were in NZ on holiday before had decided to move here, I saw with envy a mum who had picked her kids up from school and took them straight to the beach to play. Fast forward 2.5 years and tonight I picked my son up from school and headed to the beach for an ice cream. We are really lucky.. although luck hasn’t had a lot to do with it. We have worked hard and it’s paying off.
When people ask us if we will stay here for forever, we always say never say never. I haven’t forgotten that 5 years ago this wasn’t part of our plan so who know’s what our plan will be in 5 years time. For now all that matters is that we love where we live and we plan to carry on enjoying it.
Here’s to the next year.. and hopefully a bit more time to take photos for the blog this year!