Five years ago today…

…my ma and faux pa dropped me off, with all 14kgs of my possessions, at Bath Spa Bus Station. It was time for me to board the National Express to the big smoke, ready to head off on my next adventure.

I remember getting out of the car pretty quickly, making out to not hold up the traffic, and to beat the buses that would be passing by any minute now, but really just to let my tear sodden mother get back in the car and back home. Even though I had left home 12 years prior when I purchased my first house (at age 20, #achievements), spending the previous two weeks with mother and her hubby was real fun. We hung out, we went shopping, crashed in front of the tv, ate lots of food, done some crafting, I visited some local spots that had been part of my upbringing, and my life for the previous 32 years, we biffed all my belongings, I said farewell to many dear chums i’d made over the years, and on that day of April 9, 2014, all traces of me were long gone. But not forgotten, i’m sure. I’ve never been one for goodbyes, and so I probably come across cold with my “okay see you then”. I just find it much easier to pretend i’m just off t’shop for a pint of milk or something.

Anyway, hopping aboard that coach for the next few hours, and then spending the night in a hotel near Heathrow, I had a mixture of emotions. The excitement was intense. Moving to NZ had been what I knew I was going to do for, to be honest, probably 19 years, after my first visit as a teen, but most defo the last ten years. I was also pretty excited about full on starting afresh. I was taking nothing with me bar the bare essentials, and I had nothing, of material value, to return to. This was it. I knew I would succeed, but I didn’t know just how much of a roller coaster it would actually become.

I had a good life back in England. A HUGE circle of many smaller circles of friends, a job that paid well with a good fun team, lived in a good place in a great area. I kept fit, I socialised, I relaxed, I had it all. Why the change then? Why not.

The following day I met up with a bunch of people also boarding that same flight as me, heading to Hong Kong with me, and then on to Auckland with me. One of those people is still very much in my life today. We may have only known each other five years, but we clicked from the second we met at the airport: beer at 9am, yes please, chin chin.  We don’t know the ins and outs of too much of each others history, but we’ve shared this adventure, and with both of us in the same boat, it’s been fabulous. This Saturday we will be celebrating our five years in NZ with a, turns out now traditional, high tea.

Has the last five years been what I expected? Not really no. I mean, I knew I was going to have fun, I was going to explore and I was going to get a job supportive enough to get me my permanent residency, ticks all round for that. What I didn’t expect however was to struggle as much as I have. It was all easy back home. The support and social networks were concrete, everything was easy, it flowed and I was pretty upbeat 11 times out of 10. I had high expectations of that all staying in play when shifting to NZ, as I had always been vocal about coming to NZ for a year back in 2004/05, and splitting with my partner of seven years whilst here, made me who I was; strong, happy, smiley and very laid back.

The first two years here were a ball. I had a great time. I was travelling away on a mini adventure pretty much every weekend, I was exploring new areas on each island, in and out of cities. I was making friends all over the shop. I landed a job that got my en route to the visa I have today. I sub-letted a cracking abode with the best view to date. I saw the famalam on the regular, and I was genuinely just so happy with it all.

Early 2016, things changed. I won’t bore you with the number of things that switched in the universe, and in my life, but things changed. For the next two years, it was hard, very hard. I still travelled, albeit much less, I was in love with a new chap, and I was working. What could be bad with that. I said, I won’t go on about it, but it was h-a-r-d.

We’re now in 2019, my fifth year, and i’m a lot better than I was the last two years, but not quiet where I was the two years before that. What I am however, is bloody proud that in a matter of weeks now, i’m moving in to the house that the other half and I have purchased as our first REAL home together! Imagine that aye. 15 years after selling up the first abode, i’ve finally gone and got another one, and with the other half, i’m positive we’ll make it a great home, a family home (a kitten is high on the list of ‘must haves’). I’m especially happy about the build (it’s a new build property) as it’s not your typical kiwi home. Here, most houses are detached, flat packed, all exactly the same, no character, nothing to differentiate them. I’m sure to the Kiwi’s, they’re great, what they are used to. I’m English, i’m used to homes from there. Solid, sturdy, full of character homes. So I was pleased as punch when we opted, after many stressful views/offers/considerations, to go with the property we are continuing with: a two-storey terraced house. I grew up in a terraced house, the nostalgia is explosive. For the two of us, it’s a great size, we won’t outgrow it any time soon that’s for sure, and it’s about 4 times larger than my first purchase, so we are on the ladder, and not just any ladder, a very gold plated Auckland based ladder. Tough one to crack she is.

That’s the future prep sorted, and i’m looking forward to the new journey we’re about to embark. For now though, i’ll raise my cuppa and toast the memories I have made over the last five years, still trying hard to erase from my memory the more turbulent times that hangover me like a Looney Toons anvil.

If you’ve got a dream people, run with it. It may or may not go as you had planned, but the worst thing that can happen is you make new memories, new goals and new achievements, and that ain’t half bad. xoxo

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