What not to do when you emigrate…

Making the decision to move to New Zealand was very difficult and I definitely should have gone about it in a better way…

It wasn’t on a whim that I decided to move to New Zealand, I suppose it was always a possibility. We were busy planning our wedding and all of a sudden an opportunity came up for my husband. I didn’t really plan. For any of it.

Here are my tips about what not to do when you decide to emigrate.

Don’t put off telling the people that you love

I did and I regret every single moment of it. I think they knew a move was likely (we’ve traveled around quite a bit) but they were thinking we’d move to Europe. New Zealand came as a big shock to them.

I knew for around 6 weeks before I actually told my family and they only had 9 days to process the information and say goodbyes before I actually left.

Apart from being scared to death about telling them, the main reason for not telling was because I was getting married and I didn’t want it to be a bittersweet day for my family. I just wanted them to be happy – and they were.

But the fact that I didn’t tell them is and will forever be, the most selfish thing that I have ever done. This is a constant regret of mine and it plays on my mind most days.

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The horrible way my extended family found out…

 

 

 

 

Don’t plan it at the same time as planning your wedding

As if a wedding isn’t already the most stressful of things to plan, we decided to emigrate straight after our day.

By the week of the wedding I knew that I only had around 2 weeks to tell people, pack up my things, quit my job and leave.

Looking back I think that was a little silly really. It was also probably the main reason I got a huge cold sore the night before the wedding. Not what I wanted to show off while I was walking down the aisle!

Don’t emigrate immediately following your honeymoon

My honeymoon wasn’t quite normal. I went from my home in the UK to New York – Washington DC – Boston – Los Angeles and then we landed in Wellington (our new home).

On the day where normal couples are exited about taking their first trip together as newlyweds, I was quite upset and it got emotional for all of the wrong reasons.

I had said my goodbyes the day before so I wasn’t crying, but my chest tightened as we packed our suitcases into the taxi and left our home in Staffordshire. What should have been a heart racing moment was actually a heart wrenching moment instead.

I had an amazing time honeymooning in the USA, but as the sun went down over Los Angeles at the end of our honeymoon I began to think about the life ahead of me.

How long would it take me to find myself a job?

How long until we got to live on our own again?

Where would we live?

Would I find friends?

I wouldn’t change it for the world, but I wouldn’t promote planning things that way around.

Don’t have back up plans

I wasn’t originally supposed to move to NZ,  it wasn’t really the plan. I wanted to move to Europe (where we had lived before). This plan depended on my husband getting his dream job, but things didn’t turn out that way.

Soon after, he was recommended for a job in Wellington, had a Skype interview and was offered a job here. Luckily, we have family here so we were able to wing it and turned up without solid plans.

I realise now how lucky I was that this was an easy option for us; for most people, emigrating to anywhere is a long and stressful process. We came to a home (with our own separate part of the house), family and for my husband, a job. I would recommend having a solid plan, we were just very lucky.

Would I do it again?

Apart from not telling my family, I don’t regret the sleepless nights, extra stress and the money we saved by packing up before our 3 week trip; but if I could do it all again I might put a little more thought into it!

Separation Anxiety

If somebody had told me as a child where I would be today, as an adult, I wouldn’t have believed them…

As a young child, I slept over at Nan’s every single weekend. I have very fond memories of this; Mum would stop at the shop, I would choose a treat and then Nan and I would share it while watching Blind Date or Gladiators before she tucked me up in bed. I loved it – cheesy 1990’s British television and all.

Then, when I was 6 or 7, my Mum had to stay overnight in the hospital to undergo a procedure. This moment in my life really affected me and as a result, I began suffering from some separation anxiety and refused to stay anywhere for years after. My attachment meant missing out on precious time with my Nan, skipping sleepovers with my friends and foregoing my class 6 camping trip (I was the only one in my class that didn’t go).

I am still unable to explain how it felt when I was away from my mum, I just remember feeling like my heart was breaking and not being able to explain why.

At 13, my school organised a class trip to Germany and my parents (and friends) encouraged me to go. I plucked up the courage to go and I remember enjoying myself. I think this trip was the point that I started to become more independent. Since then I recall regularly staying at friends houses and I went on another trip with school to the North of France, this time visiting Paris and Honfleur.

What I tend not to remember so much is crying in the bathrooms…

In 2006 aged 18, I decided to go to university and part of my decision was that I would live on-campus in Halls of Residence. This must have been my turning point, the experience was amazing and I loved every moment of my 3 years there. I even met my husband there – but little did I know back then where being with him would lead me…

I was 19 when I met him and since then I have spent more time away from the UK (and of course, my family) than anything else. Sometimes that’s a very sore point in our relationship, but I know if it weren’t for these experiences I wouldn’t be the person that I am today. More on that in future posts!

I feel much more independent now (at 28), but I still get those deep feelings of hurt and regret for having left my family. I have just learned to cope with them and enjoy what life throws at me.

At 13, I would have bet a whole months paper-round wages that I wouldn’t be living 18,000 kms away from my parents!

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