It's 5am, I've had less than 10 hours sleep in the last 60, and I'm wide awake - ah, the joys of travelling to the other side of the world...
How did I get here?
While on holiday in Italy last September Liz and I discussed moving from the UK to New Zealand. Now, decisions of this magnitude should definitely not be made on holiday so we were very sensible and the plan was to look into jobs, housing, cost of living etc. before deciding. We'd been to New Zealand a couple of times before and loved the people, lifestyle, countryside, but obviously everywhere is seen through a slight filter of feelgoodness (possibly not a word) when you're chilled and relaxed on holiday.
Once we'd sussed out that at least one of us should be ok jobwise, and financially we'd be OK, we looked at the visa options. Not to bore you with the details, NZ visas work on a points based system and we had enough points so once we'd had medicals, police checks, etc. we actually applied in February. At this point it was starting to get a bit more real, though I think I was far too relaxed about the whole thing and possibly my subconcious was just shielding me from the enormity of the situation!
We were told it would take 3-4 months before we were assigned a case officer. Although everything looked promising there were defintiely no guarantees so in the meantime we had to try to prepare for the move, but not get too carried away in case it all went pear-shaped. We started packing without actually packing - sorting out, throwing away junk we really shouldn't have kept for so long, etc. If nothing else came out of this we were going to not have so much kipple in future!
Then in March I heard from my friend (Derek) who had moved to NZ in January. He is based in Wellington and we'd set our hearts on Auckland by this point, but the company he worked for was actually expanding in Auckland and did I want him to put my CV forward? Abso-bloody-lutely! So, after a couple of interviews via Skype in April, they offered me a job. In the meantime our case officer had been assigned, so I forwarded all the details of the job offer and we had our visa application accepted. Now it was starting to get scary - we had just a few weeks to get everything sorted before I started the new job.
Fast forward to today. The last 6 weeks has been a bit of a blur but I'm here, in an Auckland backpacker hotel, starting the new adventure (Liz is joining me soon). I've said goodbye to lots of family and friends - I hope a lot of them will come to visit.
Kia ora New Zealand!