One Year Today!
Exactly one year ago today we flew into Nelson. What an adventure it has been. The children have settled really well in their schools. The eldest has just started at Nelson College for Girls, one left at Nelson Intermediate and a little one still at Hardy Kids - in fact - you can see him on the Hardy Kids front page....Ginger hair, ginger jumper....All of the children LOVE their schools.
The eldest is particularly academic and she is thriving at college - coming from the UKs academically driven system she was a little bored by the end of Intermediate but her overall confidence, sense of self and anxiety are much improved by the NZ system. The middle one is more creative and is thriving at Intermediate. She feels less pressure to live up to her sisters academia and has her own achievements celebrated. We are all different and all brilliant and that is recognised and applauded in the NZ system.
The youngest, who was quite shy and reserved in the UK has REALLY come out of himself here in NZ. They struggle at day care to bring him inside for kai as he just loves being outdoors. They let the children play outdoors all day if they wish, come rain or shine. He is sometimes very wet/muddy/sandy by the time we collect him. His motor skills have come on leaps and bounds and we love the "give it a go" mentality here.
The girls have been to camp two or three times already, had surfing days and made musical instruments. Happy Girls. All of them have made lovely friends. What more could we ask for.
As if emigrating wasn't stressful enough...
Well, we landed in Nelson on Mon 3rd March 2020. We had a mad week of buying children's school uniforms, learning the school routine, bus routes and getting acquainted with the Osteopathic and ACC health system here. Then, bosh, straight into work the next Monday. I worked for two and a half weeks before we locked down on Wednesday 25th March. Didn't see that coming.....
Thank God we got in when we did. After a year of going through the skilled migrant resident visa process before our visas were granted Jan 2020, we just squeaked in. I started back to work properly Thursday 14th May after seeing zero patients for over two months and a few emergency patients at the latter end of lock-down.
Lock-down ate our savings. At least we had some though. Happy Days.
Lock-down really gave us a chance to catch our breath (metaphorically and actually as it turned out). We did not stress too much with the girls and their home schooling. We were very relaxed about it. They had already had a massive upheaval and were missing their Dad who was due to join us in April 2020. Little did we know, we would still be waiting a year later. The only positive in this scenario is that this year seems to have sped by and we hold out hope of seeing him by the end of this year.....
In the first two weeks it became apparent that we had most likely contracted Covid. The most telling signs at the time for me - extreme breathlessness during intercourse and yoga (at least I still felt like nookie and yoga) and realising I could not smell a Roast Chicken dinner cooking. Nada. Zip.
The children had mouth ulcers and digestive issues and John was similar to myself but less extreme. Everyone recovered fairly quickly but I would have cyclical bouts of symptoms every 4-6 weeks for about 4 cycles - each cycle decreasing in intensity but with bone aching tiredness.
Much better now though. My immune system did a remarkable job considering the immense pressure I had been under in the year running up to actually emigrating. I have only recently been able to talk about the visa process without palpitations. John also did a grand job of recovering considering he had nearly died from Legionnaires Disease the year before and the children are just rudely healthy.
Aside from that, we mostly baked, soaked up the sunshine and got some dodgy haircuts. John made some lovely furniture and we all enjoyed exploring the hills around Nelson.
I also managed to squeeze in 100 hrs of CPD through the Ara Institute of Canterbury. The Osteopathic Council of New Zealand (OCNZ) had given me three years to complete it but I thought I might as well knock it out quick whilst I had time on my hands. Glutton for punishment sometimes....
Not long after lock-down we moved into our own rental. The lovely Osteopath whose house we had been staying in, we returned to her. It was unfortunate, but no ones fault that Covid had also scuppered her plans of exploring Europe for the year....
Everyone tells you how hard it is to find rentals and good, warm, dry ones at that. But this was not the case for us. We have a lovely home, which we viewed and fell in love with. Luckily for us, it was still available when we were able to make the leap a month later. We love it so much, we hope to purchase it in the future, all being well.
Not long after moving in, John secured a job with an awesome local company just across the road - The Custom Space and he runs The Custom Finish / Spray side of things. The folks here have also become great friends. It is a shame that his job as a Prototype Engineer does not seem to exist in Nelson but he is managing to express a little of his creativity with guinea pig palace design and build. Poor John, lucky guinea pigs.
Having him so close though has been a game changer for us. No more slogging into Central London daily only to return home at 8/9 pm having missed the family dinner. I think if I shouted loud enough, I could call him for his dinner from our front doorstep. Glorious.
I was also able to start my Competent Authority Assessment Program which had been delayed due to Covid. This is a year long transition to ensure you are up to speed with healthcare in NZ and are at the level of a competent NZ Osteopath.
At present, I am just finishing the last quarter. It has been quite a chore on top of everything going on but also a great reflective tool for practice. The document currently stands at around 135000 words......and counting.....
You will be pleased to hear that I have been at a Level 5 (A*) since the beginning - Phew. I am aiming to have it completed by the 1st April 2021 - when I will go SELF-EMPLOYED! I have spent the last few months navigating GST, Tax returns, getting an accountant, sorting ACC individual registration, Inland Revenue and Kiwi-saver etc. Exciting stuff!
Of course, in and around all of this mundane but necessary stuff we have had some EPIC adventures!! This is what NZ is all about! It has taken us a full year but we finally have our kit levels near where we had them in the UK. Such a shame we could not bring our kit over but it would never have passed the environmental inspection.
Anyway, we only travelled light, selling everything in the UK (our small pot of savings) and moving with a backpack each and an extra suitcase of important bits. We now have the magic bus, tents, bikes, kayak, life jackets, camping equipment and adventure backpacks. Happy Happy Days. We are good to go! We haven't ventured too far - there is just SO MUCH to see on our doorstep.
We love Nelson Lakes, The Grampians, The West Coast, The Abel Tasman and on it goes....Sometimes everyone begs to have a weekend at home but the countryside is so alluring. Thankfully, we have years to explore - and long may it last.
Family & Friends
Do we miss family and friends? Of course, but the internet, for all its woes has made communication and for anyone wishing to follow our adventures, tremendously easy. The girls miss their Dad. Having him here will be the icing on the cake and when the world opens again, we hope to see other family and friends here too. We are also super blessed to have some incredible kiwi friends.
Are we glad we've done it? Absobloodylutely. I think I can safely say that for everyone...