After a 36 hour marathon of flights in the direction of New Zealand we finally landed in Christchurch on Thursday 29th March.
I immediately felt welcome when we arrived; Gareth went off to get the many articles of luggage we’d managed to slip onto the plane (two car seats, push chair, travel cot, and as many suitcases allowed for a family of four), our 10 month old was strapped to my front and just waking from a middle of the night sleep (it was now 3pm) and my two and half year old daughter was screaming her head off on the floor surrounded by the 8 hand luggage items we had dragged through four airports. Her reaction was totally reasonable and I was completely sympathetic, heck I wanted to join her! As I stood there holding both my children, sweating under the weight and general discomfort of the situation, a wonderful woman who smelt like a field of flowers in comparison to my rather pungent traveller odour, scooped Minnie up in her arms and gave her the cuddle my little one had been asking for.
This angel, with her cheerful manner then helped us find all our luggage, got us on the fast track through customs, walked us to arrivals and delivered us into the arms of our friends who had come to take us to our hotel. When I look back a week later I still marvel at our good fortune to be greeted and cared for in such a perfect way. I was expecting to lose it in the airport when I arrived but it actually was my first introduction to the Kiwi way – children and families are important and they think of ways to make our lives pleasant and fulfilled. I’m sure it’s because they have more space and fewer people but we have a lot to learn from them in the UK – I for one am going to learn as much as I can.
In our first week with a small family we have managed to get over jet lag (the children slept through from day five), find a place to house sit before we move into the rented house we’ll stay in until our furniture arrives, hire a car, get a phone on contract, open a bank account, do a weekly shop and cook real meals, go to the beach and make some new friends. Most importantly I feel at home here already and despite being in a foreign land where they have earthquakes on a weekly basis I am excited about the future years we have here.
May their positivity rub off all over me!