Hello New Zealand!
We’ve made the move to beautiful New Zealand peeps!
Many people have asked me why.
Why did we emigrate? Why did we choose New Zealand? Why did hubby go before me? As the explanation is not a simple one that can be explained in a couple of sentences, I’ve decided to blog about it. Not only to answer questions from friends and family but also maybe help others who are starting this journey or contemplating it. This series of blog posts will give you the reader, a glimpse into our highs, lows, frustrations and finally our new life.
If you’d like to keep reading, I will put the links to the new posts at the bottom of this one. Otherwise you can sign up to follow the blog. Here goes….
Nobody is Prepared for their Mom to Die
In September 2015 the foundation of my world was rocked when my precious mom was taken from us. She had lived a good, long life, but nobody is ever prepared to lose a parent, no matter their age. I felt orphaned as my dad passed away when I was 20.
My cousin Phil flew up to Johannesburg to be with us while we mourned. During this time she brought up the subject of emigrating to New Zealand. I was a bit taken aback as I had never thought that she and her family would leave South Africa although there were some rumblings of them looking into Australia a few years earlier. Phil and her family live in Cape Town which is arguably the best run province in the country, so I was intrigued. Why would they leave? Hubby and I had often talked about moving to Cape Town (it’s so beautiful there) but jobs aren’t so easy to come by in the Western Cape for marketing and IT professionals and it was just a fleeting idea.
Emigrate? Not Us
Phil told us all her reasons for wanting to move to New Zealand and she made some good points. We had never considered emigration, it just wasn’t on our radar. My brother, Dorothy from the land of Aus and Aunty Lollipop (my sister) both hold foreign passports. They were easy to convince that New Zealand held many opportunities for us and they encouraged us to look into it. Dorothy shared some of his own views of the land that is just a hop, skip and a jump from his back door (well an eight hour flight to be exact, but he lived closer to the island than any of us.) After the funeral the family scattered back to their homes around the globe and life went on.
But the seed had been planted.
Many life changes happened between September and December (including losing great friends to the UK and Cape Town) so we decided to go and visit my family and friends in Cape Town so that I wouldn’t be reminded of our usual Christmas at home without my mom. For the past 44 years I had spent every single Christmas with her. We booked a lovely Air Bnb close to my cousin and the beach and had Christmas lunch with them. We spent many nights chatting, laughing, eating, drinking wine and discussing New Zealand, way into the early hours of the morning. They were seriously considering moving to New Zealand and told us all about their extensive research. It really seemed like an awesome little country. “Little” because the South African population sits around 50 million whilst New Zealand’s is just over 5 million.
But was the grass greener in New Zealand? Well yes, because there’s loads of rain, but South Africa had given us wonderful opportunities, an amazingly comfortable life and it’s the only home we have ever known. This wouldn’t be an easy decision.
Hubby and I had a lot of time to talk about it on the long drive home from Cape Town. Where did we start? We decided to attend one of those emigration agent seminars. Hopefully we could learn more about this intriguingly beautiful country, that we really knew very little about. As soon as we got home I booked for the next seminar. I was astounded by the number of people who attended. As a marketer, before any public presentation, I prepare myself for the marketing angle. This is usually fear-based so we eliminated that from what we took away from the presentation. We left with our interest piqued. It was all very interesting and we found out some really fascinating facts about New Zealand.
Pros and Cons
Sitting down and doing a pros and cons list, it was decided that we would look into New Zealand as a potential new home. The first step was to join a few Facebook groups with people of similar interests and then start doing our own research. We uncovered some really interesting, helpful bits of information (about everything) over the next few months and it was a bit overwhelming at times. Once we started researching, we were both up until the early hours of the morning reading, searching and discussing. We had heard and read so many stories of people moving to New Zealand and how hard it was. Some made it and loved their new lives, some had returned to South Africa (minus a huge chunk of change) and some were sent home by immigration against their wishes. This wasn’t going to be a walk in the park.