How do you arrive at the decision to up sticks and move to the other side of the world? How an individual comes to make that huge life changing decision will be different from person to person or family to family but what is the same for anyone who decides to go for it, is the willingness to embrace the unknown, embrace change and take a risk.
Around June last year, the subject of moving came up again, over the years we had spoken about immigrating more times than I can count, it was never the right time, there always seemed to be too many obstacles in the way, it was a dream that we couldn’t ever see becoming reality. We used to watch the TV show Wanted Down Under with Carissa and Cailyn all the time and joke about us doing the same (I still love that show but know now that it’s pretty inaccurate!). We started seriously talking again about what we wanted out of life for us and for our kids, could Glasgow offer it? Don’t get me wrong we LOVE Glasgow and Scotland, but was it where we wanted to work, live and continue to bring up our kids, or could we find something more elsewhere in the world? John worked away during the week at home and was really missing the kids, he wanted to put them to bed every night not just weekends, we both agreed it was definitely something we wanted to explore further, we weren’t getting any younger, it was now or never, if we had decided never, I really think we would be plagued with thoughts of what if? Google became my best friend 😄.
Call it fate, but around the same time John received an email from a recruitment agent looking to recruit in New Zealand. Literally the other side of the world after asking my friend, Google, I found out that the furthest city in the world from Glasgow is Dunedin, New Zealand, 18,835km away, we couldn’t go any further!
We had so much to consider, we had a nice life, we had plans and planning permission granted to extend our kitchen (I was so excited about this because I was getting an island – who doesn’t love a kitchen island?! 🤣), Carissa and Cailyn would be leaving their dad behind in Scotland, we would need to get his permission to allow us to get visas and take them out of the country, my oldest daughter, Chloe, who lives with her dad, would she want to come or would she choose to stay where she was? Leaving our family and friends and everything we had always known, the list went on and on. After talking, talking and more talking we decided he should at least email the recruiter back and get more information. It was a huge life changing decision for everyone and we needed to know more before we could decide to go for it or not.
The information John received from the recruiter narrowed down my research area, I wanted to find out as much as I possibly could from the other side of the world about what life here in Auckland could be like.
Good schools were top of our priority list, we also looked at the cost of things like housing, schooling, health care, food and all the regular household bills to make sure we could afford the life we imagined we could have here. (I am working on a follow up blog about the financial side of moving to New Zealand and what you can really expect to pay for things here, I have found that even with the vast amount of research I had done, there were still some surprises).
I narrowed down my search to the Whangaparaoa Peninsula in Rodney, Auckland, living by the sea was high on our wish list and this seemed like the perfect location to fulfil that part of the dream. The housing is also marginally more affordable here than it is in other parts of the North Shore and Rodney. There is a great choice of primary schools, any of which I would have been happy to send my girls to. The high school, it’s called a college here, also seemed perfect for them, I knew when we moved, Carissa would only have a few months left in primary before moving on to college. If your moving or thinking of moving it is worth baring in mind that not all schools here work the same in terms of the year groups they cater for. You will find that some primary schools cover Years 0 to 6 and some cover Years 0 to 8, as I said high schools are often called colleges and cover either Years 7 to 13 or Years 9 to 13. Years 7 and 8 are classed as ‘Intermediate’ whether your chosen school covers those years in the primary school setting, college setting or independently – confusing hey! (Again, I am working on another blog about schools in New Zealand).
Potential areas narrowed down and armed with lots of information on schools, housing and the activities that NZ has to offer, we had a much better idea of what our family life could look like here, it was time to speak to our girls and see how they felt about such a huge move. Chloe was really mature and grown up about it, she would of course miss us but would never stop us from going, she was adamant that it wasn’t for her, she wanted to stay where she was but would definitely come and visit every year (as I write this she is here on her first visit). We were and still are very proud of how she handled it all. Carissa was the hardest to convince, she was worried about leaving her dad, the rest of her family and her friends. After a few days of being in the definite no camp, she started to ask questions and actually done some of her own research on New Zealand, she even made us a power point presentation! She came around to the idea and said she was willing to give it a go, we were delighted. Cailyn, was up for this move from the beginning, she said she wasn’t made to live in a cold country, just like me 😂!
All the older kids were on board – result! John contacted the recruiter and said yes, he was interested, things were moving although I still didn’t fully believe it was actually going to happen. A couple of days later, John had an email with a date and time for a Skype interview with his now employer. It was a Thursday night, our babies were in bed, girls in their room, me in our room feeling sick with nerves and John downstairs at the dining table waiting for the Skype call, I felt like I was waiting a life time for him to come off the call and let me know how it went! He felt confident that it had gone well, it was a waiting game from then on in, patience is not my strong point! This whole process really tested that more than anything else in my life ever has.
After the vast amount of research and talking to our older girls, we believed that New Zealand could offer us, as a family, many more opportunities than Scotland. Not to mention the difference in the weather, kids are kids longer here, they barely wear shoes never mind caring what brand they are, its relaxed and laid back, beach life, outdoor living we knew we would all thrive and love it. From our experience so far, we were right 😍.
Over the next week John had another chat with another member of the senior management team, they asked for references so we knew that all going well he would hopefully get a job offer soon. Another week past, felt literally like forever and the call came! He was offered the job – ahhhhh this shit just got real. The following day he formally accepted it and handed in his notice.
We told the girls that it was happening we were moving, we had to speak to their dad and get his signature and speak to our extended family and let them know what we were planning. Thankfully everyone took the news really well, although they were all heartbroken at the thought of missing us and the kids, they understood why we were doing it and fully supported us. Bring on the leaving doo’s!
Decision made, job offer accepted, house on the market, visa process started and a million other things to do when your moving with four kids in tow – we were going to start a new life in New Zealand, even at this stage, I still didn’t fully believe it was really happening. I felt this way until our one way flight departed Glasgow Airport!
I am working on more blogs about our move here, visas, shipping, flights, finances, schools, kids etc as well as my daily blog. I aim to have one topic published every Sunday. If there is anything specific you want to ask I am more than happy to help if I can, contact me on FB: https://www.facebook.com/coffeeandwineforthewin/ or on Instagram: @coffeeandwinforthewin, ‘like’ me on FB and Insta for daily insights into our New Zealand dream 💓.