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Somewhere in the flash that was the last two weeks, I bought a plane ticket, packed up three suitcases of things that made the cut for being important enough to cart across 14000+km, and said my farewells. Amazing how it is possible to gloss over 14 days in one run-on sentence. 
28 hours of travel later (4 airports, 3.5 movies, 100mg of gravol, 2 feet so swollen they wouldn’t fit back in my Blundstones) and then I was here. My heart literally skipped a beat when through the clouds upon our descent to Auckland I caught my first glimpse of the ground. Green! So startlingly green I would have thought it was photoshopped, that the set of the Shire was right outside my plane window. After so much heartache and frustration and tears and doubts, I was here. 
As if Auckland wanted to wash off any hint of my journey, it greeted me with a fierce downpour. One extremely friendly, very chatty cab ride later (thanks Tonix for picking up the tab!) I was at my Airbnb. The rain discouraging any real exploring for this evening (and who am I kidding, I was barely capable of forming a comprehensible sentence let alone walk around the city) I managed to stay awake until the lofty hour of 8:30PM and promptly fell asleep- no need to count NZ sheep to fall asleep that nite. 

For a 16 hour time difference, I managed to sleep until 6AM and awoke feeling refreshed and ready to CARPE DIEM in Takapuna! For someone who doesn’t get too stressed about clothing choices, I must have went through at least four outfit choices… It was bright and sunny outside, the temperature 17 degrees! But past travels had left with me doubts as how to dress and fit in with the locals. While in Spain… 5 years ago?!… the 30 degree weather in May had me in shorts and tshirts, the less clothes the better. But this wasn’t hot to the locals, who were all still in pants and long shirts. I stuck out like a sore Canuck thumb… Settling for jeans, a tank, and a light mac (got to use my new lingo!), I ventured out with a nervous pitterpatter in my chest. Five minutes later, I realized that shorts, dresses, and flip flops (are they called thongs here like in the neighbouring Australia?) were still very much in season, and I was definitely going to be sweating today… 

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” and though it has only been four days since I first ventured out (trying to be ever so causal and glancing at my Google maps every few blocks to make sure I was on track) I feel like I have walked a thousand miles a thousand times over. The days have flown by and I have barely had a minute to sit down! I moved in with my new flatmate (yes, more new lingo!) on Friday and it already feels like we have been friends for much longer than a mere few days! I am counting my lucky stars that I have ended up with someone so lovely to live with! 
The last few days have been a blur of trying to figure out all the nitty gritties of moving to a new and distant country- learning the lay of the neighbourhood, driving on the opposite side of the road!!!, applying for a tax number, finalizing my bank account, getting a Kiwi (autocorrected to the capital K, my iPhone is catching on quick!) cell number, buying furniture and outfittings for my room… Oh, and most importantly- trying to figure out that sweet spot in the day when everyone back home is awake and I can chat them up, who knew 16 hours time difference would be so tricky? Hahaha    
I had my first day of work today! Managing to miss the bus, I took an Uber out to the hospital and began a long day of orientation, paperwork, a million new faces and names, and too much time spent doing online modules. All of the not so fun stuff of starting a new job. For all my Canadian nurse and hospital friends, I cannot even begin to describe all the differences between NZ PRIVATE healthcare and the healthcare that I was born, raised, and educated on… and I haven’t even worked with patients yet! 

It’s been an exciting and very eventful five days of changes and a continuous onslaught of new learnings and adaptations. There have been many moments when I came face-to-face with the realization that I am definitely not in Kansas (/Canada) anymore. A short list of things that have especially stood out to me-

  1. People causally walk around without shoes- on the busy streets, in the grocery store, at the hospital 
  2.  So many Pita Pits! I always had a good laugh at the “International Training Centre” downtown Kingston thinking ‘where else than maybe the USA are there Pita Pits!?’ (Pita Pit having been born in Kingston) Well apparently NZ!!! 
  3. Very few people J-walk… a real shame cause you end up standing on the street corner for ages waiting for your right away (speaking of which, Kiwi drivers are not the most generous in giving others the right away…) to cross. I know this will make my mom happy, who definitely never loved my causal J- walking everywhere in YGK…
  4. There are PLENTY of words that are totally different from our Canadiana terms. Living with a Brit means getting not only a good laugh at all the new words I am learning from a Kiwi standpoint but also at the posh ways she says things. One of my current faves- grocery cart (Canada) vs. trolley (UK) vs. trundle (Kiwi)  
  5. A switch to turn on power plugs. So when you plug in your device you have to turn the plug on before you can actually use whatever you’ve got plugged in there and then turn it off when you’re not utilizing that plug… 
  6. There are no screens on the windows, since there isn’t anything dangerous to sneak/slither/fly into your house unlike in the nearby AUS… So everyone’s house are full of flies… Which doesn’t seem to phase anyone? 

I have that warm and fuzzy feeling that life here is going to be pretty grand. That is a pretty broad and sweeping guess seeing as it hasn’t even been a week, but if this one week is any indication of things to come, I am pretty damn excited 
Beyond excited to be Liv(ing) life abundantly in NZ ūüíē

Fly

“You should keep a blog while you’re gone!”

Well… I do have one but I am the most neglectful blog mother ever, leaving my poor blog to its own devices for months at a time. I am sure by this time it is now a feral creature, running amok on the internet with no parental contribution or guidance.

The casual suggestion to write a blog from a coworker reminded me of my rough and emaciated little blog. With some big changes having happened since the last time I posted, it is perhaps time to feed my little monster and give it some direction.

For two weeks in September I was gone off to Portugal with my sister for a little gallivanting and indulging in my favourite hobby of travelling. My wonderful liaison Kate with Tonix Health Recruitment had been busy seeking out job opportunities for me in Auckland. The original plan had fallen through and Kate had therefore sent my CV off to South Cross Hospital in North Harbour. My school of nursing and ONA were filling out the required paperwork and shipping them off to the Nursing Council of New Zealand (NCNZ).

Southern Cross got back to Kate, who got back to me, and an interview was set-up! Normally interviews don’t cause me much anxiety, but the idea of speaking to someone on the other side of the country, with an 18-hour time difference, brought me a terrible case of the butterflies. At the time I didn’t have¬†WIFI so I headed over to a friend’s house. Conveniently Southern Cross was having WIFI issues of their own so we settled for a phone interview, and I was able to grimace and squirm my way through the questions without having to be seen on video. Liisa, the manager who did my interview, was super lovely (a description that I am sure I will be attributing to most Kiwis once I meet them!) and the interview felt casual and not at all intimidating. Without patting myself too much on the back, I felt pretty well about how the interview had¬†gone! Liisa then just had to contact my references and the rest would hopefully be on its merry way!

As all things go, it took a little while to get in touch with both my references but I guess I got the gold star on my chart and Liisa¬†was “very happy to take the next step and ask [me] to fill in their application for employment forms”! *insert happy dance*

The next step was to figure out which visa I should apply for… I was originally planning on a working holiday visa, but since I was being offered a permanent job this option was off the list. Kate, like the amazing angel she has been through all of this, of course pulled through again and figured out I could apply for a work to residency visa under an accredited employer! Time to get the wheels grinding again and get all my requirements sorted out for this visa!

I am required to have-

  1. Police clearance
  2. Proof of registration (papers still being processed by NZNC)
  3. A physical through a NZIS panel doctor

First two are easy peasy. The last one is not difficult, just expensive…

$400 for the medical, $80 for a chest xray, and $50 for bloodwork. Whoever said you can’t buy happiness wasn’t planning on immigrating to New Zealand.

With Christmas holidays rapidly approaching (9 days until Christmas?!) I know everything will be grinding to a halt in terms of paper work and logistics…

I put my required 60 days notice in for my apartment, so I am officially to vacate January 31… And then on Tuesday I made the incredibly difficult decision to put in my notice for work. My last day of employment will be January 8, coming off nites, and then ‘funemployment’ until I leave for NZ!¬†The script for the novel that is my Kingston Life has all of the plot fleshed out, with deadlines and clear punctuation now noted. Kingston has been my home for 7.5 years, it will be an utterly heartbreaking finale…

News travels fast, and many people are coming up to me and asking “I heard you’re leaving?!”. I feel like I should make up cue cards as the questions all run along the same (now) predictable lines- “Why are you leaving?!” “How long are you going for?” “You don’t know anyone over there?!” “What will you do when you get back?” (my least favourite question since I haven’t even left yet, let alone figured out what I will be doing tomorrow…). I get a lot of people telling me I am so brave, making a huge leap to the other side of the world to a place I have never seen, to a place where I know no one. IF only they knew how often I have found myself bursting into tears, or that my usual hit-the-pillow-and-off-to-sleepland bedtime routine is now¬†tortured by anxious and worried thoughts, “What am I doing? Am I making a huge mistake? How can I possibly leave everyone, everything behind?”

I seek reassurance¬†in beautiful pictures of NZ found through social media (who knew Instagram and Pinterest could become comfort blankets?) and hilarious posts from Air New Zealand’s Twitter page. I am bolstered by people’s awe and amazement that I am going to be living in¬†the country that everyone has always dreamed of visiting. The encouraging words are always much appreciated, and people’s interest in my grand adventure is a bittersweet treat as I have never liked being the centre of attention but I¬†am grateful that people are so genuinely interested in my well being and future.

Since my wee, little blog has now been given the TLC it so desperately required I can probably leave it to its devices for another little bit. With 2016’s expiry date also looming in the future, I can happily and confidently say that I pretty much accomplished my “resolution” for this year, though it will just be a bit belated… MAKE THE BIG MOVE!

Merry Christmas, and may your 2017 be the grand adventure you have always been seeking!