My family and I have just recently repatriated back to the UK. We moved over to New Zealand in March 2012 when my husband got a job working on the infrastructure rebuild of Christchurch, after the major earthquakes of 2010 and 2011.
When we left the UK, we had just lived through a really hard five years trying to get pregnant, doing IVF and then having two babies in quick succession. Our babies were nearly one and just gone two when we began our long journey over to the other side of the world to begin a family adventure.
We didn’t know how long we would stay in NZ for, as neither of us had ever stepped foot on the land of the long white cloud and we knew only a couple of people. We committed to three years, but then within a couple of months I felt like we could stay there forever. We bought a house, joined a church, made friends, Gareth worked hard and loved every second of it and I picked up my own work, which ended up being some of the best work I have ever done.
New Zealand is a beautiful country and the people are so welcoming and relaxed. It was very easy to become at home there. At the end of our first year we began a major renovation of our house, which turned it into our home. In our second year we bought a puppy, who became the fifth member of our family. In our third year, Minnie started school. In the fourth year, I had a job that really didn’t fit me and Gareth moved out of the rebuild programme – both of us struggled and in that year we missed home a lot.
By the fifth year I stepped into what was for me my dream job in a team that I loved instantly and although Gareth was given a tough role at his work, he pushed through and, as always, began to excel. Coming to the end of our fifth year it felt like we were finally settling, getting into our groove.
And yet in February this year, we made the decision to move back to the UK. Sell our lovely home, give our dog away to a new family (who are so so lucky to have the best dog in the world), take our children out of the school they loved, remove me from my work family and say goodbye to some super precious friends.
Of course there were some really valid reasons for coming back to the UK, not least because all our family live here and we have precious friends here too. Also there is central heating in the UK…
From February onwards, it’s been a relentless mission to leave one country and then arrive in the other. We have moved to a place in the UK that neither of us know at all – we are now residents of the South of England for the first time in our lives! Leading up to the move, on top of normal life, we repainted our house and prepared it for sale, I had back surgery four weeks before we flew back to the UK, then in the four weeks since we landed we have had to find a place to live, get the children in school, Gareth has started a new job, we bought a car, set up the usual accounts needed for modern life to work and tried to get to know our new locality.
Today is the first day in seven weeks that my children have gone to school and therefore the first day in the same time period that I have had some time to myself.
Over the last six months I have had so many thoughts and emotions about my life and what was happening in it. I really wanted to blog about it whilst it was going on but I literally had no time or space to get anything coherent down.
We have seven weeks until schools break up for the summer, that’s 35 days when I have five hours a day to myself. I am going to give myself up to an hour of each day to write a blog, giving myself the opportunity to work through all the thoughts, memories, emotions and ideas I can recall from the last six months.
It’s a way for me to work through what has been a very overwhelming chapter of life and to get back into blogging again. For those of you who know me, it might be interesting and for anyone who has emigrated or is planning to, it will hopefully be encouraging/edifying.
See you tomorrow.