In August this year, we will have been living the dream in New Zealand for 8 years. I can’t quite believe it. It seems just yesterday that we made the decision to emigrate to New Zealand from the UK. 8 years. So much has happened in that time.
Brian and a partner started their own business, we built our own house, we took the kids out of school and educated them at home, we acquired 3 cats, 5 sheep. A dog. Yes… I guess we are are living the dream!
I am in a reflective mood. This usually happens if I’ve spent too much time on Facebook or the likes, and have been looking at photos of family from home.
Emigrating to New Zealand from the UK is not an uncommon thing. But, it’s a little like when you find out you are pregnant and then suddenly every other person you meet is pregnant too. You decide to start a new life in a different country and low and behold; “Oh, so and so has just emigrated to Australia.”
Tell a stranger that you’re thinking of emigrating, and they’ll happily tell you about the time their brother emigrated to America and hated it. ‘He only lasted 4 months and then was on the next plane home’. Some people are positive, others? They just think you’re off your tree. Why would anyone want to leave all their friends and family and start again they ask? If you’re thinking of packing it all in and heading to a new life, here are a few things you can expect to hear. (Usually, from complete strangers who you only just met when you popped into their shop to buy some beans for lunch)
Below is a list of favourite things the naysayers will probably say when you tell them you’re thinking of upping sticks and going to live the dream in New Zealand.
Negative Things That People Will (Probably) Say To You About Emigrating:
- What about your Mum and Dad?
- What about the kid’s friends?
- It’ll ruin that child’s education pulling him out of school at this stage.
- I’ve heard the wages are terrible over there.
- It’s too hot for me. I like seasons.
- Christmas? On the beach? Oh, no thank you.
- Can you get Heinz baked beans over there?
- Will you be home for your Auntie Edna’s 60thin May?
But, there are some things that (hopefully), if you’re lucky enough, that the more open-minded, positive folks will say to you when you tell them of your grand plan of heading further afield.
Positive Things That People (Hopefully) Will Say To You When You Tell Them Your Plans Of Living The Dream Somewhere Else:
- Well if you don’t do it, you’ll never know.
- What have you got to lose
- I had a friend who did the same, and it was the best thing they ever did.
- I’ve heard the cost of living is a lot lower over there.
- Your mum and dad will have plenty of holidays then!
- I bet the kids can’t wait!
- Just think, a BBQ on Christmas day!
- Make sure there’s room for Auntie Edna, she’ll be over to celebrate her 60th!
The thing is, if you’ve got an itch, any itch, you can only ignore it for so long. Emigrating was something that Brian and I talked about long before the kids came along. We had been all over the world. Searching. And it wasn’t because we didn’t like where we were, we’ve lived in some beautiful parts of England and we were very happy, it was simply that we always felt an urge to try something else. And there’s really nothing wrong with that. You either do, or you don’t.
And whether you do it when you’re single, when you’re with a partner or when you’ve got kids in tow, it doesn’t really matter. If you’re going to do it, you’ll do it. Regardless of whether you can get Heinz baked beans or not.
Sometimes Living The Dream Isn’t Easy:
Sometimes, living the dream isn’t easy. You have to be prepared for those days when you just want to put your head in the suitcase, inflate your knickers, and fly all the way back to Kansas.
I’m in a reflective mood about leaving the UK today- probably because I fancied baked beans on toast for lunch and had to have eggs. Or maybe its because I’ve been spending too long on building my new website and my eyes feel like gritty marbles.Living the dream isn’t always that easy. Let me tell you about the things that I’ve missed the most since emigrating to New Zealand from the UK.
Things That You Will Probably Miss:
- Family. Obviously, That’s whats going to hit you the hardest. Not being able to jump in the car and speed down the motorway for two hours to visit the family is a killer. You may be different, for all I know you may be glad to see the back of them (it happens) but if not, be prepared. It’s hard. I’m a bit antisocial, so the friend’s thing has never bothered me. Yes, I miss friends, but to be honest, you communicate so much on social media it won’t hurt that much. I’m also fortunate. Brian is my best friend and as long as I have him and the kids that’s all that really matters.But your family, yes. It’s a toughie.
- The sense of belonging. Actually belonging. As in, my ancestors rode dinosaurs over those hills belonging. I don’t know how many years you’d have to live somewhere before you felt…Dinosaur worthy, but it’s not 8 years.
- Things will be different, but that’s not to say they’ll be better. Make sure you know your reasons for emigrating before taking that huge leap. It’s true, you may very well be sitting on the beach on 25th December, but if Father Christmas hasn’t delivered the right present to a naughty, 9-year-old, you’re going to have a stressy Christmas, regardless of suntan lotion and king prawns.
But. Like I said, if you have a desire to emigrate, don’t let anyone or anything stand in your way. It’s true what that kind lady in the bank said; ‘if you don’t try, you’ll never know’.
It’s not all hard slog though. If it were, nobody would ever do it, would they? Now, to cheer myself up I will go and buy some Heinz Baked Beans from the ‘International Section” in the supermarket but not before I’ve told you about the things that make me so glad that we followed our dreams and made the leap to emigrate to New Zealand.
The Reasons You Will Be Glad That You Followed Your Dream:
- Sometimes I walk down the street, and I’ll remind myself; I LIVE in New Zealand. It still blows me away. Sometimes it feels a little surreal. Amazing. You are actually living on the other side of the world, and guess what? You haven’t fallen off yet!
- The family will come and visit you, and you have wonderful quality time as a result of it. When else would you get to spend all day for three weeks with the ones you love? Plus, it gives you an excuse to paint the house and build that extra bedroom, ready for them coming.
- You meet loads of like-minded families. Like I said before, there are thousands of people doing exactly the same thing as you and guess what? They’re probably in the same town. You make so many new friends from all different parts of the world.
- I still feel as though I’m on a very very long holiday (this might have something to do with me still not having gone and got a proper job yet…) Living in a country that you have only inhabited for 8 years, is new and exciting. There’s so much to discover and explore.
- If you can emigrate to the other side of the world, you can do WHATEVER you like. Honestly. If you can do that, you can do ANYTHING. I never forget that.
- You tell the kids every single thing there is to know about their family back home. I’m not sure if this would be true were we to have stayed, but since emigrating, I make sure they both know every back story, every relative connection. They’ve seen all the old photos and been told about every childhood memory. I imagine it’s a way of keeping them in the loop.
- The wine. You know how I feel about my wine and New Zealand wine is some of the best in the world. If I were to emigrate again, I would choose France, Italy, Spain, California, Chile or Australia. I’m sorry England, I love your beans, you know I do, and it’s true that you make amazing Cornish pasties, but the old vino was a big pull for us.
If you’re reading this and thinking, ‘what if?’ Remember, if you don’t try it you won’t know.
Our children didn’t fall off the education ladder when we moved. I didn’t suddenly forget how to function because the supermarkets were a little different, and Brian certainly didn’t let living in another country stop him from starting a successful business. If you’ve got an itch, scratch it.
Live your dreams and don’t let anyone stop you. Living the dream isn’t always easy, but to say you tried at any dream is going to be worth it!
And if you really, really want beans, go to the International Isle of the supermarket. They’re to the left of the Shredded Wheat.