Today marks one year exactly since we landed in New Zealand! It’s hard to describe the emotions I’m feeling today. It doesn’t help that while it’s September 12 here in New Zealand, it’s still 9/11 back in the States and I have my FB feed full of memories of that horrible day. So I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to celebrate this day of arrival for us, perhaps we’ll merely mark it as a passage of time going forward.
I don’t know if anyone reads this blog, so I don’t know if there’s anyone that’s noticed how long it’s been since my last post. I haven’t written anything here for over 3 months. Not sure why. Maybe it was partly because it was winter. While it was a MUCH milder winter than even the mildest Colorado winter, it was winter nonetheless. Colder, wetter, windier weather. Lots of illness (LOTS of it!) meant that we stayed home a lot and just tried to rest and come to terms with things here.
A couple of posts ago I included an image that depicts the normal wave of positivity vs negativity when moving to a new country. For the last few months we have definitely been feeling the lows. I’ve been nervous to really write about them. First, because I don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up. Never have we even once considered moving back to the US. Anytime things get bad and we find ourselves thinking ‘this isn’t what we signed up for’ or ‘what did we get ourselves into?’ we take a step back and ask each other ‘Have any of the reasons we moved here changed or disappeared?’ And the answer is always no. Because the real reason that we moved here is that we wanted a better life for our son. And even though the way we measure a ‘better’ life may have changed, the fact that New Zealand is a better environment for him vs the USA has not. I have experienced some surprise and frustration that the pre-school system here is QUITE different than what I was expecting (maybe a whole post on this subject is needed – I’ve learned quite a lot about it since we got here), but none of that can compare with the idea that in the US, even my pre-schooler may have to practice active shooter drills. So no, we are not going back. Sorry to disappoint anyone that may have been holding out hope.
Second, I didn’t really want to write about how BAD things have been because no one wants to hear that kind of stuff. Not when you’re on an adventure in a beautiful country and doing something that most people only dream of being able to do in their lives. I’ve often felt like complaining about my life would be a slap in the face to everyone who’s supporting us. But the truth is – there are bad things. Turns out that Ben’s company started a major restructure before he was hired, and it has persisted throughout his first year here. There are SO many changes happening that it would be hard for anyone to keep their head on straight. It’s scaring away a lot of the long time and even new employees, who just want what they are used to having. So Ben goes to work every day not knowing what to expect. Our house, while it is a cute little blue house with a BUNCH of renovations inside, is still a huge pain in the ass. Why? Mostly because it is on the main street. Yup. It’s called High Street (irony, as we moved here from Colorado). It is a main thoroughfare through our town of Lower Hutt. And because we are RIGHT on it, we can not only hear every single vehicle that drives by, but we can FEEL the larger trucks that rattle the road as they go by. And we can feel this all the way in the very back of our house at the furthest point from the road. Think it’s not so bad to hear traffic going by? Well, what about if it’s going by you about 15 feet from where you’re sleeping? And because the house you live in is on the historical register, the front two rooms literally cannot have any remodeling work done. Meaning that there is no insulation or double paned windows in our bedrooms to help muffle the sound. All we can do is use a noise machine and hope we can fall/stay asleep. So, life here has it’s ups and downs just like anywhere else.
So now what? We’ve been here a year. What’s next? Well, for us it’s mostly life as normal. I’m taking Early Childhood Education classes for free as part of our membership with PlayCentre. Speaking of PlayCentre, Patrick will be going two days a week starting next term (terms are like quarters here. There are 4 terms per year, the 1st one starting in late Jan/early Feb and they run about 9-10 weeks each with a 2 week break in between. Then there’s a longer break over the holidays between Term 4 and Term 1). Ben is looking into networking in the Video Game industry here in NZ. He’d LOVE to get a good paying full time job doing video game development. That’s the dream. We’re also planning for Ben’s parents and sister (and her wife) to come for a visit in the next two months. We are really having fun trying to plan all of the different things to do while they are here (his parents are staying for nearly two months! 🙂 ). I’ve been eating healthier and working out more in hopes of losing weight and feeling better. I enjoy getting up in the morning and going for a 20-30 minute walk/jog around our neighborhood. It’s a great way for me to connect with New Zealand and also get in some ‘Me’ time. We’ve met some really great friends and are enjoying spending time with them as we are feeling more and more settled here in our lives in New Zealand.
I really hope that in the next couple of months we get out of the funk we are in. I’m sure we will, as we will have family visiting for the holidays, and that was one of the HARDEST times for us in this last year. It’ll be so nice to be able to make more memories with family. Until next time (whenever that may be…)