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Thread: Update after one year in New Zealand

  1. #1
    Glenda's Avatar
    Glenda is offline All Knowing Deity
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    Default Update after one year in New Zealand

    Crikey, I?ve just realised we have been here over a year now ? surely there must be something I can say of interest summarising our first year here.
    :icon_confused:

    To recap, we left the UK 25th June last year and, after a stopover in Los Angeles to take the kids to Disneyland and Universal Studios, arrived in New Zealand full of excitement and optimism. We drove up to the Bay of Islands, buying a car en route, and after a week in a motel found our rental home. Like most emigrants, we spent the first 1-2months sleeping on the floor and making ?do? with the minimum furniture until the container arrived. We did not mind one bit, the winter weather was reasonably warm (better than this years?!) and as I said, we were so optimistic about our ?new? life. Hubby was keen to get us permanently settled and we bought a section of land and discussed with the building company the plans for a new house to be built on it; then he flew back to the UK to sort out the closing down of the business and sale of house.

    A year later, I can say the kids (now aged 6 to 14) settled down well into school and have no preference for the schools they left behind in the UK. The two eldest boys have kept their ?British identity? to some degree in that they do not care for shorts and bare feet, plus still have a preference for soccer over rugby. They have, however, immersed themselves into educating themselves about New Zealand and are keen to try out the bungee jumps, zorbs, etc. (sigh). My eldest is considering the future and which NZ university he may go to (hurray!) and also looking forward to learning to drive later this year when he turns 15 (double sigh). My daughter now has a slight inflection to her voice, the youngest runs around in bare feet and throws himself in water as if he has gills. All four have become noticeably less materialistic ? birthday/Christmas monies usually just go into their savings accounts, and they seem more polite and less concerned with peer pressure as they were in the UK. Kiwi words have slipped into our language ? for example, sweets have become ?lollies? and ice lollies have become ?iceblocks?. We eat Weetbix instead of Weetabix, and the kids have developed a taste for such ?new? foodstuffs as fresh pineapple, pumpkin soup and butter chicken. We shop at New World or Woolworths (the only two supermarkets in our town) and, like most Kiwis, usually only buy what is on offer.

    We have been surprising fit and healthy here (touch wood!). I registered with the doctor?s surgery (without any UK records as we didn?t have much relevant medical history to report) and have only visited it once ? when I slipped a disc in my back whilst carrying a box of mandarins. (The use of the word ?mandarins? here seems to imply any small orange which we would call clementines, satsumas etc. in the UK). On an emergency appointment I was surprised to be only charged $45 for the consultation and a weeks medication of painkillers and anti-inflammatories ? of course, charges differ from surgery to surgery, perhaps it is a good idea to check out charges when considering where to register. After the back injury, I undertook some physiotherapy which was covered by NZ?s accident scheme (ACC). They paid for the physio whilst I just paid a surcharge of $10 per visit ? obviously this charge could vary from place to place. Dental treatment has been a bit more expensive ? there are private dentists and government-assisted dentists here and you will have to ask around to find the latter. From what I can understand, the government-assisted dentists give free treatment for children under 12 in some places, under 17 in others. Check ups are once a year. I have had a little dental treatment and it is expensive ? a normal filling will cost about $90. I am at the moment having a porcelain crown fitted and the cost - $950 (gulp). I understand I have a really low-cost dental surgery too!

    We did not go ahead with the purchase of the section or construction of a house. The purchase was subject to a satisfactory geo-tech report and the report indicated that the whole half-acre site would need to be completely dug up and extensive stormdrainage/soakaways incorporated at great cost. Anybody considering purchasing property here make sure that you include conditions to your purchase ? we are more than pleased we had. Sensibly, we decided to stay in the rental house until the house in the UK was sold. A year later, the house in the UK still has not sold.

    We swotted and took our NZ driving test within three weeks of arriving here. It is a good idea to do this as soon as possible, even though you need not to for a year. It is surprising what slight differences there are in the road code, and I do believe it makes one a more confident driver here having that NZ licence. Taking the test was simple enough ? just an eye-test and scratchcard where you had to get 42 questions out of 45 right. I find driving standards here not that different to the UK, probably less road rage. You can probably tell a Kiwi driver from a Brit one when you are waiting to turn into a queue of traffic ? the Kiwi would generally be oblivious to your plight, the Brit would wave you in.

    Everyday living hasn?t been unpleasant here, though some adjustment has had to be made. We quickly got used to the TV channels; the reception up here in the Bay of Islands is dreadful and we could only get slightly fuzzy channels 1 and 3, and a very fuzzy channel 2. We subscribed to Sky and now have all terrestrial channels with clear pictures, plus a dozen other channels for $46.61 per month. You can pay a lower charge just for having the terrestrial channels for around $18 per month. There are too many commercial breaks, but you get used to it. I pay by direct debit $150 per month for electricity, and it is so much more than I use in the month that I have around $300 in credit. Mind you, with the winter on us and with the frequent use of electric fan heaters, I am sure this credit will soon disappear. Even though we are in the warmest part of the country, houses do get cold here without central heating and proper insulation. Most houses have a coal or wood-burning stove which can keep the main living area warm, others have warm air pumps from these stoves, or from the electric, gas cylinders etc. Some have absolutely no heating or, like ours, just an open fire. Hot water bottles and electric blankets are very popular(!). Indoor winter clothing around here is usually a t-shirt, followed by a long-sleeved shirt, followed by a fleece. Often it is warmer outside than in. We are with NZ Telecom and those telephone calls to the UK have to be watched ? fortunately they do have a cap of $6 per call if you phone outside of our, and their, peak times 9am to 6pm. Most of our bill is for standing charges and internet usage ? around $45 and $40 per month. There are probably other telephone/internet schemes about.

    I can honestly say on behalf of the kids and me, we absolutely love it here and have never been more content. The scenery, the weather, the birds, even the insects are a comfort as well as a thrill. I cannot say entirely that we have had an emigration success, as within a couple of weeks of my husband?s return to the UK he shocked us all with news that he intended to stay in the UK. The move had obviously triggered the release of some suppressed emotions in my husband, and our marriage ended up being the casualty. I think many couples emigrate for that ?fresh start? even if, like us, they are not aware of it at the time. Fortunately, the separation and divorce procedure has not tainted our view of New Zealand and probably has helped in our settlement here as being the ?home without the stressy person? ? I would not recommend it as a settling in aid though(!!!)
    :icon_rolleyes: :icon_wink:

    :icon_biggrin:
    Glenda
    In NZ since June 2005
    Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness - Chinese proverb

  2. #2
    pianist is offline Junior Member
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    Default Update after one year in New Zealand

    Hi Glenda,
    Geez...so sorry to hear about the breakup of your marriage. Reading through the first part of your account, I would never have guessed - you sound so positive and strong! The process of moving (and preparing to move to NZ) itself is so stressful. On more than one occasion, I almost felt like throwing in the towel and telling my husband to move there by himself...no, just kidding....but it came close!
    I was once divorced too, so I admire the strength and positive outlook you have....especially living in a new country without your close friends and family around for support. Like we say in the US "You go, girl!"

  3. #3
    MotherBear's Avatar
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    Default Update after one year in New Zealand

    A year gone already! I remember your installments coming in when you were making the move and waiting eagerly for the next one. For those that haven't yet found and read Glenda's story, seek it out on the Home page. It's worth reading. [img:3e7ba1187f]http://www.smileypad.com/v224/Happy/Big-Thumbs-Up.gif[/img:3e7ba1187f]

    One year has come and gone and you've all done very well in settling and making a new life for yourselves. I wish you all the very best for year 2 and, in fact, the rest of your lives in NZ.
    Mother Bear

    Try to bloom wherever you are planted.

  4. #4
    KiwiHopeful's Avatar
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    Default Update after one year in New Zealand

    Thanks for sharing your story, Glenda. I've been having bouts of cold feet lately (they come and go, and I'm not really surprised). Your posts are always encouraging and I am especially glad to hear that your children are thriving in NZ--even if your marriage didn't. :hug:
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    LilAmy's Avatar
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    Default Update after one year in New Zealand

    Hi Glenda,

    Wow what a story so far, you and the kids really sounds like you can now officially call NZ 'home'.

    It's great to hear stories like that as all too often people who I've talked to have known someone who's ended back in the UK after a few months as life hasn't worked out. So good to hear the positives!

    I am so sorry to hear about your breakup, you are very brave to stay in NZ after going through all that, I really admire you for sticking NZ out. Well done you...

    I hope your next year brings you many more happy experiences!

    Amy

  6. #6
    Debd's Avatar
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    Default Update after one year in New Zealand

    Hi Glenda, NZ sounds great for you all, just the ticket!! Reading your first settling in diary really helped us alot. I remember reading it to Eddie many months back now! I think I will have to read it again though... you take in different things at different times.
    I too, like pianist, was surprised/shocked to hear how your recent story turned out with you sounding so at ease! It's brilliant that you've settled in nicely with your children, even with all that going on! :icon_biggrin:
    Thanks for your helpful info with costs etc!
    Have fun,
    Debra

  7. #7
    DawnMarron is offline Oh Masterful One
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    Default Update after one year in New Zealand

    When I got divorced several years ago now, everyone kept skirting around the issue, not wanting to speak and upset me, thinking we both must have been going through the worst time - but in actual fact we were really cool about the whole thing. We knew it was the right thing to do and that we would both be happier starting a new life - and it's turned out that way too! Some things are just meant to be. I'm not saying that what Glenda's gone through or anyone else that's been through it isn't a massive emotional turbulant trial, just that sometimes it's not the catastrophe that it may seem to others. This is of course only my personal experience and I am not trying to speak for anyone else in a similar situation.

    Anyway Glenda, you and the kids sound as if you're having a great time, I know there have been other difficulties for you to deal with during your first year but overall, your positivity and courage have kept you smiling.

    You're a credit to the rest of us.

    :icon_biggrin:

  8. #8
    fisheress's Avatar
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    Default Update after one year in New Zealand

    Over a year already! Couldn't belive it when I saw your post. I remember getting my hubby to read your story when it appeared on the site!!! Congratulations!!! I know you've been thropugh it............but your family are definitely reaping the benefit now!

    Can't believe I've been here 7 months too!!!! In some ways it's as if I've been here years, in others it seems like yesterday when I was sitting in that empty house waiting to go to the airport!

    Well done Glenda..........don't disappear now, just because you've had your anniversary!!!

    Good Luck for the future too!
    Fisheress

  9. #9
    Glenda's Avatar
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    Default Update after one year in New Zealand

    Hi again,

    Thanks to everyone for their supportive words.

    The marriage breakup has been similar to as Dawn experienced, in that it has not been a big catastrophe and has really been a relief. There was the initial shock and the period of "will he change his mind?", then we discovered we were coping quite happily without him.

    On the downside, I should add that we do miss family - my parents and sister in particular. Telephone calls and emails do not, for example, replace that car coming up the driveway with my sister bearing chelsea buns.

    Our "new year" resolution (after a year of quiet adjustment) is to gain more confidence, develop those new friendships, and enjoy life more!

    :smiley20:
    Glenda
    In NZ since June 2005
    Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness - Chinese proverb

  10. #10
    Pulsarblu's Avatar
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    Default Update after one year in New Zealand

    Wonderful Glenda! The most important thing is not to dwell on the past, focus on the present and work towards the bright future!

    Pulsarblu

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