If you had asked me six months ago, where we’d be today, I’d have looked at your and said without a second thought “hopefully not homeless.” We packed our bags, cashed in our savings and moved here with the hope of a better life, what ever that looked like.
We had only one rule; no going back. We knew we had to find a way to make it work. After all, this was our dream. This was my dream for the last almost 20 years. And here we were. We made all the sacrifices, we fought until we cried. We cried some more, we fought together and against each other and then finally, one day, the puzzle all just fit together. Just like that we got on a plane.
To a city that neither of us had been to. To a country only I had visited, once, as a teenage girl. With different dreams and different priorities. And yet, here we were. Together in this new place. Standing in the supermarket trying to figure out how to scan and check out our own groceries.
A life that could have gone so terribly wrong. But somehow, it hasn’t.
I sat alone at home for 3 months. Applying to job after job after job. I would have done anything to make this life work. But one day, I got a response. You’ve been selected for an interview… an automated response that I wasn’t sure was real. But a day later, I got an email asking me if I could come in.
Of course, I said yes.
In that moment, everything changed. I had this chance, to make this work. I spent a week researching and reading and learning everything I could about the role. I drank every bit of that knowledge down like if I didn’t, I might die of thirst. There was no way I was going to be unprepared. Preparation is bloody key!!
So I got the job and life felt a million times easier. It was only part time but it was a start and that is what really mattered. Truth be told, financially, we struggle because it’s a part time job which means it’s a part time salary and we definitely don’t live the same life we did back in South Africa. I am okay with that because we spend our time doing so many other things so shopping and fancy dinners out don’t seem to matter.
We live in a lovely house – once we get residency, we will look into moving our dog over. Realistically, it would probably only be one for now. We are hardly home and our big dog barks when he is left alone. So he’s probably going to stay with his adopted family until we get our house and can figure out what to do next. My heart of course is broken thinking about this but he’s so happy now – they have a puppy and he’s a puppy at heart so he loves them.
We do struggle, of course! Things are hard here. But we are happy. We love the view from our house on the hill. We love walking everywhere – I’m still shocked every time I work late and take the bus home on my own and nothing feels scary.
We have friends and have get togethers and even friends with kids who we hang out with and our kids all get along. So life is starting to feel a bit more normal.
Rumour has it that I will get more hours in the new year – but honestly, I just love my job so much. I love the people I get to work with and the work that we do – it feels like I’m doing something that really matters. Making people feel safe is something that I relate to because I KNOW what it’s like to feel unsafe. So every day I go in to work feeling like I’m spending my life on something worthwhile.
Oden goes to a school he loves, he has a teacher that is wonderful (although she’s sadly leaving the country in January) and she has helped him to feel at home and settle into his new school. He fights us when we go to pick him up – he’s almost NEVER ready to go home. I’m happy he’s happy.
Gerard is doing so well in his programme – with his PhD topic all sorted and great supervisors and friends in his department. It’s a nice feeling to know he’s happy too after I told him this was the place that would be right for him. Turns out, I was right.
And we’ve had both our parents visit now – having my mom here for Christmas feels like the best gift. The perfect end to this year. Oden is over the moon about his grandparents visiting. It’s wonderful.
Anyway – that’s us for now – six months in – we aren’t home sick, not even a little. We miss our people, we miss our dogs but we don’t feel like we made a mistake. We wake up and we are thankful every day for this life and somehow, without even noticing, six months went by and we are doing okay.
I love it here – it feels like home. New Zealand – my home, now!