Yesterday, without me noticing, a month slipped by and suddenly we are one month into our new life.
A full month since the day we got off the plane and wow, life is crazy. I can’t believe I hardly noticed as the days slipped by that instead of days and weeks, a month had passed. I was too busy having the best time ever to watch the clock tick by. No seriously, I was. I love it here. I love every single minute of it. Even the bad ones. Though to be fair, they are few and far between.
What have we achieved since arriving here?
Well, the part I was most nervous about was finding a house turned out to be terrifying! We had the biggest list of requirements while still trying to be realistic. We needed to live near to where we are going to be working and we needed to be able to find a school for Oden. Perhaps most impossible of all, it needed to be pet friendly.
New Zealand has a housing shortage and it is well documented that finding pet friendly rentals is IMPOSSIBLE. Well, we have four pets so we were certainly doomed to die on the pavement somewhere. We made a strategic decision to find a place that is cat friendly and then bring the dogs over later. My heart is broken. I am a dog person with every fibre of my being. I love my dogs so very much. The though of not seeing them for all this time was heart breaking.
However, I am also not a fool. I know that finding a house and settling in here now, with my family is a pretty important part of living here. Soon as we are settled, and get residency, we will buy a house. Least that is the plan. Once we do, our dogs will come over. We hope this will happen next year.
After a very stressful couple of weeks we visited our DREAM house. We had already applied for one house and been turned down and we had seen another house we thought would be fine for now so we applied for it. The catch was that it was only available on a short-term lease. In January, we would be out there house hunting again but we thought that with a New Zealand landlord reference, we’d be in a strong position to get another place. We got it and the night before we signed the lease, to our amazement, the landlord from our dream house called us to say we can have the place! I nearly cried from happiness. Okay okay I DID cry from happiness but who can blame me. So that’s the house sorted. We get the keys on Sunday and we are THRILLED!
The Kindy (pre school)
Well, we had seen the most amazing pre school but unfortunately, the farm school was in the farmlands and after a week of commuting into the city we knew that that life was not one for us. We LOVED being out in the country but even by train, it’s just not practical to live so far out from where we work. Commuting by train takes ages with a toddler and if anything happened to him, we’d be an hour train ride or a 50 minute drive away from him. Nope – no ways. On top of that, most schools open after 7:30 and close at 5pm so as a working mom, I couldn’t even get to and from the school in time to still get to work. So it didn’t work.
Our back up plan was a school in the city. We had specific reasons for it but when we went to look at it, it was just SO disappointing. It was old and crummy and run down. The staff was lovely but honestly, that place looked so sad like it desperately needed a fresh coat of paint. We just could not bring ourselves to take him there. So we kept looking and eventually found a LOVELY school with a very nice teacher who reminded me so much of Oden’s first teacher (Candice) who he absolutely adored. It just felt right! I feel like leaving my child in their care is the right thing to do. So we enrolled him immediately and he starts in a week! So excited for that.
I have been applying for jobs for the last two weeks. I have been turned down from four jobs. I know that though this seems personal and feels like an attack on me and who I am, it’s really not. I know that I am extremely skilled and have a lot of great experience. I also know that all I need is one interview to be able to convince someone that I’m right for the job but it still hurts. It hurts getting that email that says we regret to inform you. On the plus side, at least they let you know. Back home months just pass by and you just have to assume you didn’t get it. But gees Louise it’s hard. I’ve been reminding myself that I planned three months for a job hunt and I’m only two weeks in. After three months of trying I might start to panic. To be honest though, I would do ANYTHING to stay here so if jobs in my field don’t work out, I will change my strategy. I’ve always been good at making things happen and I’m not done yet. So though I am struggling with the rejection I am also staying positive and realistic. All I need is ONE yes.
On a more positive count, my husband is amazing. He has bagged himself tutoring roles and also a Teaching Assistant job. So at least one of us is proving employable out here hehe.
Seriously though, I have been told that without New Zealand work experience, it’s really hard to get hired out here so I’m just going to keep trying and maybe do some volunteer work to get some local experience. Staying positive for now.
We haven’t been doing ANY socialising since we arrived. There are some wonderful people I can’t wait to meet. We have just been so busy setting up our lives that trying to meet up with a friend got shifted so many times that eventually I felt incredibly guilty but we finally met for coffee (well milkshakes and tea) and it was so great to actually meet a real life friend who I have been communicating with online for months (maybe even a year already). I still need to meet up with other friends who I have met online and I’m so excited for that! Once life is settled and we are in our permanent house things will happen for sure.
The Next Few Weeks
We are staying in an airbnb in the city for the next five days. On Sunday we get the keys for our house, on Monday our beds arrive AND OUR CATS and then on Tuesday everything goes crazy. Gerard starts at University, Oden has to go to school and I have to be there every day to help him get used to the school plus I still need to job hunt and apply for jobs. We won’t really have furniture until September when our container arrives so in the mean time we need to go and buy a whole lot of stuff. So there is still so much to do.
The Last Month
Things have been crazy. We have driven so much. We have learnt so much about living here (like ringing up your own groceries and pumping your own petrol lol) and we have discovered a warmth in people like nothing I’ve ever experienced. People are truly so lovely. Everyone is so welcoming and happy that you’re here. I see a lot of negative anti-migrant stuff on the comments on news articles on Facebook but I’ve not experienced this in real life. Instead people want to know all about where we come from and what we are doing here and how we like it and and and… even people working in shops ask us all kinds of questions with such excitement for our new lives.Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be. ― Abraham Lincoln Click To Tweet
So although there have been challenges, like staying in temporary accommodation and struggling with the not setting up a home part and others, like not finding a job, I am so happy here. Oden is so happy here and Gerard, every now and then he stops to tell me he’s so glad we chose this country. Then we smile and sigh. It’s hard not being constantly emotional at the thought of what we went through to get here and the relief to discover that it really was all worth it.
Now if only someone would employ me… 🙂