Back in the summer of 2011, my dad was on the phone to some ‘business guy’ and he wrote on a piece of paper saying “do you want to move to New Zealand?” and slid it over to my mum. My mum wrote back “yes” and the rest, as they say, is history.
My parents aren’t your normal run-of-the-mill kind of people; they’re weird and wonderful and that’s why it only took two short sentences to decide to move to the other side of the world. I was in year 8 at the time and I was in no frame of mind for my entire life to be uprooted and relocated to the other side of the world. I had a solid group of friends, I loved my school and I knew that I’d miss my family terribly. In retrospect however, moving to New Zealand was one of the best things that’s ever happened to me and I want to share my experience with you all in today’s post.
Here’s what it’s actually like to move to the other side of the world.
We spent the entire summer packing up our belongings, saying goodbye to all of our friends and family and hosted a huge leaving party just before we left for New Zealand.
The first few weeks were a rollercoaster of emotions; we were ecstatic to be living in an entirely new place, we lived right near the sea and we even had our own swimming pool! We were also pretty exhausted and a little emotional as we adjusted to a new life away from everything we knew.
Our new home was in the Bay of Plenty, just a two hour drive from Auckland and it was absolutely stunning. There were very few shops around – and by that I mean literally none – but it was sort of nice to experience a whole different way of living without the city life.
I didn’t start school for a few weeks so I spent that time getting to know my new home, and my new country. It’s not easy upping sticks and moving to an entirely new place but it was incredibly exciting. I felt like I was living in a movie; we had the sea right on our doorstep, a huge paddock accompanied by a swimming pool and an entirely new accent to get used to.
We were actually pretty lucky in that we got to know a number of fellow English expats, one family who actually lived next door – if you can call half a mile away ‘next door’.
It was nice to be able to share the experience with people who had gone through the same thing as our family and if you ever find yourself moving overseas, I would definitely suggest trying to find a group of people who’ve gone through the same thing as you. While we were obviously in New Zealand to experience a different way of life and a whole new culture, it was nice to make friends with fellow English people as it made us feel a little closer to home.
Skype was also a godsend back when we lived in NZ as we were able to keep in touch with all of our friends and family; to be honest, I’m not sure how well I would have coped if I hadn’t been able to talk to people back home regularly.
One of the things that no one told me about what it’s actually like to move to the other side of the world was just how much I would miss British food. Jaffa cakes, Walkers Smoky Bacon crisps and Monster Munch were all ‘delicacies’ that I missed immensely and so we arranged for friends back home to send us a goody bag every few weeks full of treats!
Another strange thing that I found about living in New Zealand was the school system. For example, we didn’t wear shoes to do P.E and my younger brother and sister didn’t wear shoes to school at all! Most people also did their weekly shopping barefoot; something that our family didn’t take part in.
Living in New Zealand was hands-down one of the greatest experiences of my life and while I don’t think I quite appreciated it enough at the time, I can now see how completely life-changing the whole experience was. My parents taught me how to be brave and courageous and that living in a whole new country – even one that’s nearly 12,000 miles away – can truly be a remarkable thing in shaping your personality.
I’m so grateful that I got the opportunity to spend almost a year of my life in a different country and I genuinely think that I’m a much better and stronger person for it.
Would you ever consider moving to the other side of the world? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @imjustagirl_16.