The first thing we did when we arrived was to take the airport shuttle bus into Wellington. This bus winds through some of the airport suburbs then go through the bus tunnel under Mount Victoria. We got off in the CBD ( Central Business District) and the first person Tina saw was Blanket man 🙂 a local sort of tramp who refuses to wear clothes and just wraps up in a blanket, famous in Wellington. I then showed Tina how to get up from Lambton Quay to Gilmer Terrace where the Quest was and we got a room, a slightly bigger room this time. And tried to keep Tina awake as long as possible. We both managed to get through to about 8pm that first day. Flicking your body clock by 12 hours isn’t as hard as it sounds. It just took about 4 days to actually flip. Staying awake as long as possible is the trick. 8pm, then 9pm, then 10pm for a few nights. The Quest itself it nice enough, but its location is terrible. Don’t get me wrong, its close to town and to work and all the attractions, but they built it in a vacant lot beside two hotels and 4 multi story car parks. You’re constantly being woken up by squealing tires, or trucks beeping whilst they reverse out of the dead end, or our favorite, the 4am bottle bank emptying. We soon bought some foam ear plugs and face masks to block out the sound and the early morning light.
Now this was fun. Frantically leave Wellington on Friday 22nd of December to fly all the way around the world in 34 hours. Landed on Saturday 23rd at 2pm in Dusseldorf and suddenly back in Germany 🙂 fun fun Arrghhh.
But I had Tina back in my arms again and all was right with the world. We spent Christmas tidying up the house ready for the handover back to the Army, and Tina’s Mum was there as well to spend Christmas with us. Debbie left on the 28th back to the UK and into the arms of Dave, and Tina and I , well we sorted the garden out, and worried about the packing. We closed down the Sparkasse account then panicked that we didn’t have enough money to pay for the removals on the 2nd of Jan, so the next three days we max’ d out out cash point withdrawals on all the cards trying to get the 5,000 euros we needed.
It all worked out in the end. The house was packed by the German firm. We realised they were under the impression we wanted to store the contents of the house for three months in Germany before sending it, soon corrected that and as I type its in a container ship on its way to Wellington. Should arrive here on the 26th of February.. The house handover went fine also. Tina learned her lesson from the last one, and paid for cleaners to come in and sort the house. We just had to make sure all the walls and doors were present. A few little last minute panics over the garden furniture and using the dishwasher to clean the Dyson, but all ok in the end. We handed the house back to the Military on the 4th of Jan after spending the night on the spare bed under a sleeping bag made for one. Romantic eh 🙂
We then moved into the Holiday Inn in Monchengladbach. The same hotel Tina stayed in when she first arrived in Germany nearly three years previously. Saying goodbye to all our friends was sad. They were all supportive and promised to come and visit. I wonder how many will make the trip? Sad times, but exciting times. Having done the trip before I was prepared for the long flights. Tina took it in her stride and we left Dusseldorf for the last time on Saturday January 6th 2007, to arrive in our adopted country, all wide eyed and dog tired on Monday 8th January.
So, there I am, in New Zealand, busy learning a new job and missing Tina like mad. Tina had the rough end of the stick being stuck in Germany, and arranging the removals to move our house contents out here, getting rid of the brand new Car, which we still need to get rid of ( sodding awkward gits in the customs in BFG, but that’s another story) and generally worrying over everything. bless her, it was a little rough trying to sort everything out, especially when the BFG customs required an actual signature from me, wouldn’t accept an email or a fax or a scan. Thank you DHL and sod you BFG customs. Anyhow. I spent the 7 weeks we were apart Skyping Tina morning and night, which wasn’t to bad except for the exact 12 hour difference. Learning the new job, getting my bearings and learning the local suburbs, and sitting in Starbucks on Saturdays and Sundays resting my leg ( just had keyhole surgery on my left kneecap 2 weeks before flying). Seven weeks apart seemed like an age but wasn’t to bad looking back. Tina worked out most of the stuff in Germany and said goodbye to all our friends, lots of tears all around.
So I had the Visa in my sweating palms. We then booked the flight that afternoon at 1pm with British Travel in the concourse in JHQ, and I flew from Dusseldorf the next morning. Travelling from DUS to LHR to LAX to AUK to WEL. Exhausting flight. I Waved Goodbye to Tina on Thursday 1st November as she was heading to the UK for her mothers Birthday. I flew out on Saturday 4th and skipped the 5th altogether, landing in Wellington on Monday 6th Nov. Lisa, my new boss picked me up from arrivals and drove me around to Wellington itself via the coast road, showing me oriental bay and some of the sights. Lisa dropped me off at my accommodation on the Terrace, and then I started work at 0830 the next morning as the Team leader for a 3rd line group of lads. Fun job 🙂
So the process of the Visa application started. We took on a consultant, recommended by Al Hollis who had just done the whole process. They in turn said, go for your work visa as its faster to get out there with that, then once you have it we can do the EOI (Expression of Interest), that’s what you need to fill in and get accepted for emigration.
So we plowed through the paperwork, took a weeks holiday in Florida with Cat, and then got the police checks and the medicals out of the way when we got back. Had to get up at 5am and drive to Dortmund for the medicals. Thanks to GPS it wasn’t too difficult. Expensive though for an x-ray and a medical.
Once we gathered all the facts and data, we pushed them through to the NZ consulate in Berlin, and they took a week to turn around and grant me my work visa. We were a little on tender hooks that last week, wondering whether to book a flight or not. But I got the Visa back through courier post on the Friday lunch time.
Well, to start, Tina and I are living in Germany. Tina works for Fujitsu with the MOD and I sit at home looking for a job. Not as bad as it sounds as I was working in Iraq for the previous couple of years, and since we got married Tina my wonderful wife, asked me to stop going there so I did.
So there I am, looking for a good job within the bubble that is the British Army in Germany. We had a nice quarter given to us by the MOD (Officer status you see), and we enjoyed the benefits of living tax free in Germany. A good life all in all, but a protected life in the bubble. People live for decades like that, but the bubble has to burst soon with the withdrawal of British troops from Germany. So we looked at what we’d do when Tina’s time in Germany would come to an end.
Returning to the UK didn’t look to good, as it’s one of the biggest third world countries in Europe. Failing infrastructure, overburdened education system, health system, transport system, stealth taxed to death. Last man out turn the lights off please. So we looked abroad. Canada maybe, hang on, lots of French there. Oz ? Hmm, New Zealand. Lovely, that’ll do me.We went to the Summer Ball in Rheindahlen with the civilian Mess and met a bloke there from NZ. He said come on down you wont regret it. So we had a chat, and decided to go for it.
Tina looked around the web in NZ and found out that there was an arm of Fujitsu there and I banged my CV off to their HR. A couple of days later and a few interviews and I had a valid job officer with Fujitsu in Wellington. Next stop, Get a Visa 🙂
I’ve been thinking of doing this for a while now, just to keep friends and family updated. as at 2013, these personal blogs are more of a diary, with social media, Facebook etc. prevalent is there a need for this ? I don’t know, but is nice to go back and see what we were up to, more of a public family record now. maybe one day the grand kids might stumble over this in an internet archive and realise what and who we were.
Looking at it now, some of the time references are a little scruffy, but that’s mainly because the bulk of the entries were created in Feb 07.
Not to worry, Enjoy.
Tina & Scott 🙂