It’s been a little while since I have written anything on the page as you may know we are planning a move to New Zealand for a year (or two). With working full time, exams, completing training and all the visa stuff; any free time is Kitty’s. Alas due to getting my days mixed up I’ve got an unexpected day off so here we are!
I wanted to write this article to share with you the excitements and trepidations about making a move so far away but also to write about the things I love about home here in the UK. It’ll be a good perspective for future me in 12 months time in New Zealand when thinking about making the return trip home. First I’ll start with the things that really excite me about the year ahead:
There’s so much to say about this beautiful country it’ll be difficult to do it justice here, plus I can write more about this when we’ve experienced it for ourselves, so I will keep it brief. We chose to make the trip as quite simply we want an adventure. Something different from our normal work/life at home because well, we can.
New Zealand is a no-brainer; it’s got great working opportunities for me as as GP and the health system has many similarities with ours in the UK. The major difference will be the work life balance with 8 hour compared to 11 hour working days and 20 minute vs 1 hour commutes, I’ll have a lot more time for family. Kitty is missing her mummy a lot at the moment and the guilt of being away long days vs the need to earn money is difficult at times, I’m happy to leave this behind for a little while.
I know weather sounds trivial but with 1/3 more sunshine per year and 1/3 less rainfall per year in Christchurch compared to were we live now, there’s a lot more time to be had outside where all three of us are at our happiest.
New Zealand has it all; beaches, surf, mountains and cities. We love to ski and we’ll be a 90 minute drive from the ski slopes (eek!). Rick is really keen to learn to surf and we’re eyeing up lovely rental properties on the beach. Christchurch has a vibrant and growing vegan scene and great coffee- great for us foodies. The nursery we’ve picked is run by a lovely lady who has her own child placed there, always reassuring. As with most of the nurseries we’ve found, Maori culture is integrated into their day which will be wonderful for Kitty to learn about. The city is family focused making it really easy to get around with Kitty (free public transport) and a tonne of activities to do with her in addition to the stunning countryside. I will certainly be elaborating more in future articles!
As you can see from our Outdoors page there’s a lot to love about where we live with the Lakes a 90 minute drive away and the beautiful Ribble Valley on the doorstep we are really very lucky. I’m not going to into this too much here as there’s more important things to cover.
A little note must be made for the sense of belonging. I’m from the North West of England which has a very definite identity from the way we speak to the way we act. I can spot a fellow Northerner anywhere in the world and will usually get a smile and a “how do” even if I’ve never met them. It helps me in my work as I can pick up little nuances in what people say which may make a consultation about an ear infection open up into the real reason patients came such as domestic violence or mental health issues. It’ll be a challenge in New Zealand trying to learn these subtleties in the way people speak and act depending on their background. It warms me to be part of that identity but it is something I will certainly take with me to New Zealand, I’m always going to be a proud Northener wherever I go.
The aspect that I love the most about where we live is friends and family. My parents are under an hour away and so are Rick’s. They each have Kitty once a week and she thrives in their company. We see aspects in her personality from both sets of grandparents which certainly comes from spending so much time from them. Even the little things which warm your heart such as the way she says “yellow” in the exact way Granny does. They have a wonderful bond with her as a result and although we have Facetime and Whatsap, there’s no doubt it will be different. We’re also fortunate to have Rick’s siblings, their partners and our lovely nieces and nephews nearby. Although we don’t see them as often as we used to owing to teenagers having their own busy lives and no driving licences (yet) meaning it’s mum and dads taxi service for them, it’s nice to know they’re nearby. Kitty adores her cousins to the point that she has Rick and I pretending to be them sometimes at her play tea parties! Our family know what they mean to us and we will really miss them. My brother lives away in the States so I am used to a distance relationship with modern tech, we make it work very well and we’re closer than we’ve ever been. Knowing this makes leaving the UK a *little* easier.
We’re really lucky to have some wonderful friends here too. Some of which we’ve known for just a couple of years and others we’ve known for most of our lives. These are the people you can be 100% ourselves with, unmeasured and relaxed. They are the people who understand our “in” jokes and the people who make us laugh until we cry (ahem corner bath). They are easy, like minded and wonderful people. They’re the people we adventure with, hang out with and chill with. The kiwis are going to have to work hard to come close to this bunch!
Our move is now just over two weeks away. I’m really excited as we’re going via the US to spend two weeks with my brother, sister in law and my gorgeous nephew. My parents are also coming along so we’ll all be together for the first time in ages which is really exciting. Before that though we must say our goodbyes to the wonderful people I wrote about earlier. This is going to be hard. Really hard….
Moving on before I sob into my laptop. We’ve already sent some stuff on a boat to Christchurch which will arrive about 4 weeks after we do, the rest we’re taking in three suitcases which we’re rapidly realising is not a lot of space when you’ve got a daughter with a penchant for large teddy bears.
We’ve got our visas sorted and I’ve done all the extra bits I need to work legally in New Zealand. The visas were relatively easy but the the prep and paperwork I needed before I could even apply was a long and expensive process and I’m glad to be done with that! The last couple of weeks in the UK will be about time with family and friends and tying up a few things.
A final thought; whenever we speak to people about our trip to New Zealand we hear the increasingly familiar phrase “you won’t want to come back.” Perhaps we won’t but I will have this perception of my life right now to look back on and will see that’s hard to beat.
See you on the other side (literally) of the world, stay tuned for our NZ posts.