Hello from New Zealand! Wow. I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve sat down and put my thoughts into the blogosphere. I’ve had a lot of people ask me about our experiences coming to and living in New Zealand. So I figured it was time to share some of our adventure with all of you.
(Insert jazz hands.)
It’s been more than 3 months since our plane landed in Auckland.
It’s been a whirlwind of events for our family. It took us months to sell everything we owned, pack our bags, and head off on this grand adventure. When we landed we had no phones, no car, no home.
And no clue what we were doing.
Somehow (and with lots of help from my friend Marney who lives in Auckland – Yo, Marnold!), we were able to get a car, phones, and a little direction. We made our way down to the Bay of Plenty–what we now call “home.”
I’ve had a lot of people ask me WHY we chose to move to New Zealand.
It’s always a difficult question to answer because there’s no simple response.
We didn’t move here for a job.
We didn’t move here to check an item off our bucket list.
We didn’t move here to hike mountains, go surfing, or travel the islands. (Although we’re not opposed to doing any of those things, they just aren’t our primary reason for coming.)
For a while the easiest response to that big “WHY” was simply, “Why not?”
But that’s not really an answer.
Throughout the seven years of our marriage, Tom and I have occasionally thrown out the idea of moving to New Zealand. But it was always with the same sort of “stars in our eyes” way we’d say we wanted to move to Costa Rica or Victoria. It was fun to look at million dollar homes on beautiful beaches and dream what life would be like in “what if” world.
So the idea of moving to New Zealand was never really something we seriously considered.
In fact, at the beginning of this year we resolved to stay put in our rental home in Eden, Utah. Sure, it was a little quirky, but we loved the peace and people of the Ogden Valley. And after moving so many times in the past couple years we wanted to feel settled for a while.
Then February hit.
I’m not sure what happened. Or how. Or why. But something changed in February. We just felt this need to get out of the States.
Out of the blue I mentioned New Zealand.
This time, however, we didn’t play pretend and look at mansions or private beaches. Instead we looked at modest homes, communities, schools, and immigration information. It all happened so fast, but something kept us looking into this incredible little country.
The more we researched the more we felt compelled to go. All of a sudden the answer to “why move to New Zealand” had nothing to do with scenic landscapes or thrilling adventures (although New Zealand has plenty of both).
We moved to New Zealand because we love their approach to early childhood education.
We moved to New Zealand because the people seem to have a much better work/life balance.
We moved to New Zealand because the weather is incredible.
We moved to New Zealand because you don’t have to wear shoes at school if you don’t want to.
We moved to New Zealand to spend more time outdoors.
We move to New Zealand because I love the idea of starting the New Year in summer.
We moved to New Zealand because everything gets quiet around 6 PM… just the way I like it.
We moved to New Zealand because our kids can be kids.
We moved to New Zealand so I can reduce my stress and walk on the beach every morning.
We moved to New Zealand because the food system is not as corrupt.
We moved to New Zealand because it feels 20 or so years behind the USA… and I mean that in a good way.
The list goes on and on.
As we sifted through all the pros and cons of moving (because, trust me, there is no perfect place on earth), the things that kept coming to the top of our pro list revolved around our children.
While there are SO many things I personally love about New Zealand (from the country, the people, the less-stress environment, etc.) what makes me want to stay here is that I feel like my children are thriving like never before.
And then there’s the gut.
The moment we decided to go to New Zealand my family was really happy. There was laughter, fun, and excitement. Over the next couple days, however, as we started looking at the logistics of moving we wondered if we were being irresponsible.
I mean, uprooting your kids and selling all of your possessions is kind of a big deal. Leaving our family and friends was hard. Figuring out how to run the business and get everything in order before and after our arrival was stressful.
When we looked at all the things that needed to be done we were completely overwhelmed. We caved for a bit. We decided NOT to go. It seemed like the best solution… although in reality it was just the easiest.
For those couple days after deciding to stay our family was grumpy, contentious, and unproductive. It was like a dark cloud was looming over everything.
I am a woman of faith. I believe there are things in this life that go beyond our own logic and reason. I believe God guides us, even when it seems hard.
Tom and I talked it over. We prayed. We agreed that we both felt right about moving. We felt it in our gut, in our hearts, and ultimately in our minds. As we looked at our pro and con list it was clear that New Zealand had something wonderful to offer our family. As we made a commitment to moving, the dark cloud vanished. We were all happy again.
So we moved.
We’re here on a Visitor’s Visa for now, but we are looking seriously at our options to stay longer. I don’t know how long, or what the future holds (I mean, immigration could send us packing sooner than we’d like), but I feel right about being here for now.
In fact, the rental home we found is the first home we’ve lived in during our married life where I can envision my children growing up. It’s the first home where I don’t feel anxious to leave for something “better.” And while it’s a nice home, it’s far from the “dream home” we were hoping to move into in the States. It’s nothing special, it’s just… right.
When we set off for this grand adventure we really didn’t know what to expect. We felt guided to go, so we went. Now that we’re here and people ask why we moved I talk about our children thriving, feeling less stressed, and more. But really, when I stop to think about it the answer is simple:
Moving to New Zealand has felt like coming home.
Tell me: Where would you love to live and why?