I would just like to start with the strange weather pattern, 6, 7, 8th Jan 2007 was raining just like this year and 9th it’s sunny and warm. hmmm coincidence.
As I remember (I was very tired for days) it was very wet and overcast when we got here, and I was jetlagged, in a foreign city and had no idea about how much a dollar was, or how to spend my day. Scott and I were off together, as he didn’t go back to work until the Thursday, leaving me to fend for myself in the overpriced, poky, noisy, over heat sensitive quest apartment. With a TV that had people swearing on breakfast TV with funny accents. At least with the Germans I had no chance of ever understanding them!!
It felt very strange knowing that I wasn’t just that short hour plane ride to see friends and family, it felt strange that I could almost understand what people were saying 😉 it felt strange that the only person I knew in a thousand mile radius was Scott. But how exciting it was too. Scott and I hired a car and drove around the Wellington suburbs to check out our new city, but I was saddened by the rain in the middle of summer (I was lead to believe that New Zealand was a tropical country!. Yeah right )
Those first few months seem so distant, yet so vivid, in my memory, my first birthday here just a few weeks after arriving, and we went on a helicopter tour around the city limits, which was amazing. Then our wedding anniversary in shed 5 and Scott’s birthday at our then local pub “The Roundabout”, where they sat on stools leaning on their sweeping brushes at 8pm and said “no rush” I remember the agonizing and sometimes endless journeys of house hunting trying to find a rental which wasn’t gonna cost us a ton a night to stay in. I reckon I must have looked at least 30 houses, walking around the suburbs with a street map of Wellington, not realizing the hills of Khadallah or the very long trek that is between Redwood and Keneparu drive train stations.
It was by some small miracle that I stumbled upon Lee Newman, and his family, who were the first kiwi’s really that made us feel like we belonged here. The rental we rented from him was a small 3 bedroom. We spent the first few weeks on a re blow up bed, and a handful of get in quick items from Briscoes and the Warehouse. Lee found us a car, gave us firewood, and generally was a good friend to us. In fact if it wasn’t for Lee and his family we wouldn’t be in the house were in now, as it was Les, Lee’s father who knew Jason who sold 27 Kiwi Crescent to us 😉 Lee offered us accommodation at his parent’s house, and the use of a car for marginally less than the quest, but we just couldn’t impose.
I found myself having a double stroke of luck at that time, because we also found the Johnstons, who were and still are fantastic friends, and Carol has really been my adopted Mum (Sorry Carol I know that your not old enough). It was also lucky that they were British as well and in fact from Newcastle, so that made Scott and Kenny instant friendly rivals 😉 It was through Carol that we met Jan & Brain, another British couple whom we have a good crack with every Tuesday night.
I also started looking for work, as days spent at Frank Kitts park with a book was all fair, but I needed to be active, its not the same spending quality time on your own. So I stumbled across temping agencies and thought this was a good way to get to know the city and maybe make new friends whilst getting paid for it. I must admit I have had some very interesting jobs and have learnt some new skills Getting the accent right was a little difficult, to start, but not impossible, although I did have some difficulties with people on the phone, and them with my accent too.
As temping jobs came and went and finally getting our stuff arrive at the beginning of March (which was actually very quick) and nothing broken that I can remember, Scott and I were settling in to the lifestyle in NZ. Personally I think that the work ethnics are quite different here to those of the British and indeed the Germans. Working 40 hour weeks, and not accepting overtime, or extra cash for just doing your job!. Hmm. Bosses seem to really care about there employees too with personal touches at Christmas time like gifts rather than bonus’s. No one ever blamed me for any cock ups since I have been here either, was probably because I was the temp and I didn’t know any better 😉 . Scott seems to be getting on well at Fujitsu as well, with managing his small team, and taking exams to get him up to date in the IT world. The majority people I have met since working in NZ only seem to stay in one place for 1 year to 18 months before leaving and then returning for more money..strange
The winter was cold and long, it was very strange living in a wooden house with no heating and single glassed windows, with only a log fire and very expensive oil heaters to warm you up. Thank god for electric blankets that’s all I can say. But we kept ourselves busy with open homes. (Aghh the wonder), I often still miss them. It was quite ironic though after all the open homes, tears and tantrums that I had and put Scott though thinking we will never find a house that we wanted, we brought ours before the Open home even took place.
Since moving into our wonderful 1949 home and a few slight adjustments later I can honestly say that I am glad that we took this property, it’s a great section we get a lot of sun and with Samson now in our lives it almost completes the Elsdon family.
We have had some wonderful adventures this year, with a visit to Christchurch, touring on the tram and by Gondola. Rotorua, with Chris & Marcia, with the wonderful delight of traditional Maori ways and visiting thermal wonderland. Auckland to see “We Will Rock You” the musical which was one of the best evenings in 2007 for me. Our trip to Fiji was short and interesting taking Scott back to his army roots when he was 18, it is nothing really how he remembered it.
I would like to thank our visitors also this year, Marcia, who is hopefully coming again soon, as she had such a blast, and was an absolute pleasure to have. Chris, who actually spent the money and time to get here, I know how difficult that must have been for you Chris, it was great to see you, and I do hope that you had a good time too. (Even though you had to hang around with two girls yuck). Julie, my wonderful sister in law who is welcome back anytime, and I promise to have a bed for you next time, just give me a little more than 2 weeks notice 😉 We hope to get a lot more friends to visit before 2008 is out 😉
Emotionally its been a difficult year, with moving so far away, having to start again, making new friends, starting new jobs, learning new cultures, changing currency AGAIN, finding a short term rental which was almost impossible, finding a house which seemed worse at the time. With having to sell my dream car in England, and the house which Mum and I really bonded in. Missing my best friends from England and Germany. Learning our way around and where’s best to shop. Learning new pronunciation of words like DARTARBASE and ROWTER. Having Christmas away from my niece and nephew, and being surrounded by family and loved ones. The time difference has been difficult not just being able to pick up the phone and having someone there at 2 PM in the afternoon. Seeing Santa wearing sunglasses. Changing careers from IT to PA. Putting on weight, losing weight, and putting it on again.
I would just add though if it wasn’t for the fantastic support and love that I receive on a daily basis Scott, there’s no way that I could have done any of this. He is my rock.
So with all that we have been through this past year, with the time and money spent to get into the country, having to give up the car of my dreams, and dealing with the aggro that I went through to get it to the UK in the first place. Selling the house, , getting 2 medicals done, and filling in endless paperwork, for immigration, medicals, MAF inspection forms, moving contents over from Germany, registering with the IRD, doctors, dentist, and passports going back and forth. I hear you ask was it worth the pay cuts that you both took, the changes that you both undertook, the emotional rollercoaster that you have been riding for the last year. And my answer the same as Scotts I should imagine, is yes..
Yes to purer air and less pollution.
Yes to better education at school because of smaller classes.
Yes to less population in the whole of NZ than in London alone.
Yes to the immigration selection, its hard work granted but you can control social situations.
Yes to very low crime rate.
Yes to never living more than an hour away from a beach.
Yes to the long sunshine hours (albeit in December) getting dusk at 10:30pm
Yes to the magnificent view we get from looking out of any window in our house.
Yes to asking your kid no matter what age to run along to the shops to get some ice cream with no fear of anything happening to them.
This move was initially for us but is ultimately for our children, our children’s children and thereafter. Who knows what 2008 will bring, certainly planning on having those pitter patter noises sooner than later.