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Almost our 1 year anniversary

Almost our 1 year anniversary

Old Jun 15th 2010, 8:18 pm
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Default Almost our 1 year anniversary

I would like to say before you read this that this is my account of my families’ life and experiences of our first year here in NZ. It will not be yours and you may not agree with any of it but hey,that’s just tough. I know it will be a ramble and a lot to read (sorry in advance) but as I start I have no idea of what to write or how it will unfold. So grab a cuppa,sit back and,hopefully,enjoy.


Well, where do I start? We left Glasgow on 29th June 09, which was very emotional and very hard to do. But we did it and landed in Christchurch on 1st July 09. After a few days of rest and getting over the jetlag we arrived in our new hometown of Dunedin on Sat 4th July 09. My friend and her family were there to meet us….me, my hubby Gary and boys Andrew (then 9) and Gregor (then 6). We had not seen them since they left in November 2006 so it was quite emotional on a lot of levels.

We quickly settled in to life, and were really busy in the first few weeks ......we got a house,2 cars,3 beds,washing machine,fridge freezer,tumble dryer, electric blankets( a must here in Winter!).Gary was in his element when we went shopping. We went for the cars and he bartered $3000 off the 2 of them and when we went for beds he got almost $2000 plus free delivery off just by asking what deal they could do. When we got our washing white goods, which were already reduced in the sale, he got a further $70 off and free delivery worth $55. He was loving NZ already! We also registered with GP, got IRD numbers, car and house insurance and drivers licences. We also now have a new 42” Sony flat screen tv and sky; Gary being Gary got delivery and installation free and money off totalling just over $500.

The boys were really patient as we had a lot of shopping to do when it came to looking at cars, beds etc as well as houses so we decided to do some things for them, remembering that technically they were on summer hols from UK and would be straight in to school having only just finished 3 weeks before! We took them to the Cadbury factory tour on my birthday, which was great. We had to put on wee paper hats and got to see the factory at work. On the way round our bags were filled with lots of chocolate bars and bags of buttons. Then on the Saturday night we took them to see Ice Age 3. The cinemas are brill;the seats are very comfy with lots of leg room and the food deals are reasonable. We got a huge tub of popcorn,2 double scoop ice creams and 2 drinks for $15. They also do lots of family tickets for stuff, like the pics was $32. We went out to see the albatross colony, walked on the beach and did a lot more exploring. My friend and her lot threw me a birthday bash on Friday night and we met their friends who have 3 boys, 12 and 10 year old twins . Gary was driving his new baby.....a Toyota Landcruiser Prado. I need a stepladder just to get into it!

We met the principal of the school and saw the classes the boys would be in. Andrew asked if he could be in his friends class and was told that he had planned on him going into the other class but, if it would make him feel better then he could. Gregor's class was next door.The playground is better equipped than some of the parks back home. There is a huge sandpit, which is not in use at present but in the summer has a huge sun canopy over it. There are climbing frames,a flying fox,monkey bars,basketball nets,a football pitch and a huge wooden fort with 2 slides off of it. The boys loved it right away.

We were only in Dunedin a few days and……….we had an earthquake..........we felt a tremor! The settee shook,the lights flickered and the curtains were moving. I said to Gary did you feel that and we just looked at one another thinking, no it can’t be. But it was!! The boys slept through it all. Now this was one of my cons for the “ why should we stay in Scotland “ list so I was really worried at this point. Needless to say not felt one since!

My friend and her family were great, letting us borrow a car for the first week so we could get about. They also fed us a few nights as the motel had a microwave and 2 rings to cook on so could only do limited meals there. And they showed us some lovely spots to go with the boys. It was weird because with my friend and me, as well as the boys and her kids, it was really easy to get back to being together, as if had only been a short time and not 2 and a half years.

I had to go and get organized for my new job and had my medical check,bloods and flu jag ( ws at the height of swine flu outbreak ) on my birthday. I met my new boss and she seemed ok. I also met a couple of the staff that I would be working with and they seemed nice too. They seem really laid back and were not phased when I said that I am the kind of person who would ask several times rather than make an arse of it,and they said that they didn’t expect me to be fully up to speed for about 6 months! The only problem I could see is that parking is a nightmare (same at hospitals worldwide then!)

We moved in to our house on 17th July. It was really quick….it was advertised on Thursday 7th July ,we saw it that night and had the lease sorted by the following Monday.We were able to move on the Friday so Saturday and Sunday was emptying boxes and deciding what went where. We had timed it so that our container arrived just as we were due to leave the motel after our initial 2 weeks and luckily it all fell in place. Then it was work and school on Monday. We had 2 weeks to sort everything out and we seemed to manage it all well.

On the Sunday after we arrived in Dunedin Gary called his folks and I went to pieces and refused to talk to them. It took me another 24 hours to pluck up the courage to phone mine but managed it ok. It was hard when they called on my birthday though. Now it is much easier that we have skype and we talk to them every week. I wasn’t too emotional after talking to them , but one day a patient was singing I belong to Glasgow (moderately demented so unaware of my connection) and I had to go to the loo as I was starting to well up. Sure this will keep happening when I least expect it,but so far no regrets about moving. It has been a lot smoother than I thought,and everyone has been so nice. Don’t get me wrong, I have my “moments” and I think OMG what have we done but these are only moments. And our families support us 100%.

The boys have joined the local rugby club called Pirates. They have teams in all age groups from under 5 up to under 14's then several adult teams. The teams all have names associated with pirates so Gregor's is Whitepointers and Andrew's is Buccaneers. They have a great set up where every Sat night they have players of the day presentations for every team with a report from the coach as to how each team got on. They have a canteen where they cook chips,hotdogs,pies etc and a bar as well as lots of raffles etc each week. A lot of the families go for a couple of hours and it is really friendly. In fact our neighbour is a coach and has 2 boys who both play. The boys have really hit it off with them and have been in their garden and house playing. They have a dog who they like to play with and go walks with the boys to the park. They also helped them build a tree house in their garden. We have been able to let them be kids here,letting them out to play away from eyes view without worrying about them. This has allowed us to give them a bit more responsibility too, which they seem to enjoy. I have let them do activities I would never have dreamed of back in Scotland and I have become a more relaxed mum. I do not worry if their tops or socks don’t match their trousers;I don’t care if they go in the sea and get their clothes wet or get covered in sand….I always carry spare stuff in a bag. And my kids love it.

We have been away at a few places just to see some of the country we now live in ( Te Anau,Milford Sound,Cromwell,Queenstown, Alexandra,the Catlins ,Moeraki to name a few ). The scenery is stunning and Dunedin is a lot more hilly than we thought......think San Francisco on steroids!! It will certainly get us fit walking around town that's for sure. The Botanic Gardens are amazing and the view from Signal Hill is stunning. In our first week we saw our first seal on the rocks at Aromoana beach, which looked as if it would be lovely in the summer. And it is.

Work is going well and I keep getting thrown in the deep end but so far managing to swim ok! Getting up in the early hours is not too bad (not a morning person ) but I prefer it to the late shift to be honest.As for the parking well I get there a bit earlier,park 10 mins walk away for free and this helps after a shift as it is a bit of unwind time before I get the kids from school’s out! I am working double the hours I did back in Scotland where I did permanent nights. I do mostly days now and it has been really hard for the kids not having me there for everything. Andrew was upset about it a lot at first but they seem to be coping well now.

The seasons are mental........lambs and daffodils in September. Christmas in the sun. Cold and frost in July. This total seasonal change has thrown us but we are getting used to it now. We planted a load of stuff in the greenhouse and the veggie patch,doing our version of the good life; potatoes,carrots,parsnips,onions,springonions,melo ns,strawberries,chillis,peppers,
tomatoes,lettuce,cabbage,cauliflower,brocolli,peas ,courgettes and leeks.
We did really well for our first attempt. This is something we always wanted to do in Scotland but were unable to due to lack of garden space.

Gary was looking for work but was getting nothing.It was not for the want of trying. He stayed at home while I worked and now realises being a stay at home dad and househusband is not as easy as he thought it would be! He started his own photography business and while he was getting small sales at local markets and fares it was not a good income so he kept looking and finally got a job in March this year. It is not what he wants to do but it gets him out,meeting people and earning. He is still looking for a job he wants to do but meantime will stick at it. He has made a couple of friends there which helps too. Although both of us working during the day brought new problems with the kids…..and we had to put them in to an after school programme which after lots of reservations on my part has worked really well. I was always there during the day and had no need to rely on others to look after my kids and this felt strange to me. The school holiday set up has also given us headaches and I am trying to get days off during the week and working weekends to manage this. It is expensive to put them in to programmes,on average $100 for them both per day so the more days off during the week the better!

We kept our house back in Scotland and were having a nightmare trying to let it out but finally we got someone to take a let in March. This seems to be going smoothly so fingers crossed. We will keep letting it there and renting here for a while mainly until the market picks up in UK but we ultimately want to own our own home with a bit of land.

Our friends visited with their 3 kids in April and you know what,it was great to see them but when they left I was not as sad as I though I would be. Because they could see after being here why we love it and why we would never take our kids back to what they were returning to. They loved it here so much they have started the process to get PR and come here to live.

Everything is going along nicely,and we are all still having a great time here. We have had a year of missing firsts….birthdays,Christmas,Mothers day etc and not being there was emotional but they are past now. Christmas was hard in particular but hey,who would choose a cold,wet day against a lovely sunny day at the beach followed by a BBQ?
We are at the beach almost every weekend,even in Winter, which the boys love. Andrew was in the water constantly in the Summer and they play with the rugby ball or frisbee at beach golf or do the long jump. They don’t ask for stuff they way they used to back in Scotland,but then they are not bombarded with adverts on the TV,kids here don’t have all the latest gadgets so there is no competing on that level….they are too busy doing other things. And we are out socialising more as a family. We go to friends to watch the rugby,or just to have a few drinks while the kids play or going to the Otago and Highlanders home games at Carisbrook; we now have season tickets and love our rugby. Bring on the World Cup! We have applied for tickets and think this will be an unbelievable experience. And Scotland are playing in Dunedin,so we have to go.We have also been to basketball matches watching the Nuggets play. The boys take part in sports throughout the year at school…..tee ball,mini ball,hockey,rippa rugby,swimming and there is no keeping up with the Jones’s attitude like back in Scotland which I love. You really can wear whatever you like here and nobody will bat an eye or make derogatory comments. In general I have found people to be friendly and helpful. If you have to return something to a store there is generally no problem in getting it sorted. That has been my experience so far,like I said at the start this may not be the case for you.

There have been downs as well as ups but a year in to our new lives we do not regret it for a second. Our boys have blossomed and yes,they are wee shits at times and misbehave but that is growing up. They would be like that wherever they were. We have fall outs but again,that is part of life. Our lives have changed and for all of us I would say for the better. We started out having wee chats every couple of weeks about how we all felt things were going, and about how we were feeling. These were useful even though the boys are young. They were able to say they were sad and missing people but they also wanted to stay here. These now have been stretched to monthly chats but to be honest the boys are so settled. I really think having skype has helped a lot as they can see and hear friends and family. Infact,the boys now do not talk about Scotland as home, to them home is here in Dunedin. They have made friends here and want to be All Black’s when they grow up ( over my dead Scottish body !!). We will return to Glasgow in 2014 for the Commonwealth Games as this was a promise we made to the boys and our families before we left but it will be a visit only. I think I can safely say we are here for the long haul.

Phyl x
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Old Jun 15th 2010, 9:24 pm
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Default Re: Almost our 1 year anniversary

Karma worthy update Phyl (but I have to spread it around before I can give some to you!! watch this space!) So pleased its working out for you & your family, long may it continue, best wishes & lol
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Old Jun 15th 2010, 10:09 pm
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Default Re: Almost our 1 year anniversary

Hi Phyl

such a good read so proud of everything your family have achieved! It was so good to meet you and Gary when we were over such lovely people and very helpful and I'm glad we stayed in touch.

I know you will have a long and happy life in NZ you have worked so hard for it and deserve it

Angela & Jim x
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Old Jun 16th 2010, 8:20 am
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Default Re: Almost our 1 year anniversary

Awesome update Phyl...mammoth write up, very interesting to read.

Looks and sounds like you have slotted into kiwi and Otago life just nicely.

All the very best for you and your family in New Zealand
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Old Jun 16th 2010, 9:01 am
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Default Re: Almost our 1 year anniversary

"I would like to say before you read this that this is my account of my families’ life and experiences of our first year here in NZ. It will not be yours and you may not agree with any of it but hey,that’s just tough."

This was a lovely update and i thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Well done you and your family.

I find it very sad that you felt the need to start it off with the beginning you did, and i promise this is no reflection on you, rather, an observation that you have also picked up on that there is always someone ready to criticise and put you down on here. Its as if everyone is happy but no one can be happy about it!!! - it is very wierd.

Good luck to you and yours, long may it continue x

Psycho x
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Old Jun 16th 2010, 9:09 am
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Default Re: Almost our 1 year anniversary

Fantastic update - thanks for sharing. Hope things continue to go well for you and your family.
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Old Jun 16th 2010, 9:54 am
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Default Re: Almost our 1 year anniversary

happy anniversary!
a worthy update, and thanks for taking the time to share that with us. you can really see how much you have settled in over the year, and long may it continue.
best wishes,
M&J
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