Now we had made the decision the real work began. Its not easy to get into New Zealand. Even if you have a job offer you still have to get a work visa, pass medicals and have police checks. We had to sort all this out in time for DH to start work in six weeks. This is not an easy thing to do in the UK but we were living in Belgium and our French was quite frankly appalling!
The first thing I did was enlist the help of my mother. She has lived in France for about 6 years and in that time has become fluent in the language. Mum agreed to help and she started to ring around trying to get a medical booked with a doctor that could speak English. We also had to have X-rays for myself and DH. We managed to get a medical booked and all of us got on the tram on a snowy Belgian evening and headed towards the one doctor in the city qualified to do Medicals for New Zealand and that spoke English.
His english it turns out wasnt brilliant but he was great with the kids. The examination was very thorough. As well as having a chest x-ray to check for TB and other respiratory diseases they take several blood and urine tests and hieght and wieght. I dont think I was as thoroughly examined even when I was pregnant.
The girls were a bit confused when we started stripping off to begin the examination. "Why has daddy clothes on?" DD1 exclaimed and they both watched avidley as the Doctor began to tap all DHs joints and listen to his chest. They were both very keen to strip off when it was their turn. DD2 was so keen to join in she kept climbing onto the examination table in the middle of my exam.
I hated the whole thing as it didnt occur to me that we would have to strip off and I had a very old pair of knickers on and non matching bra. Very embarrising in a country with an underwear shop on every street corner.
The next thing we had to tackle was getting DH a work permit and me and the girls visitor permits. For these you need police certificates stating that you havent committed any criminal offence and passports valid for over 30 months. Now luckily the police certificates werent a problem but both my and DD1s passport had less than 2 years left on them. Anyone who has ever had any dealings with the passport office in the UK will know that getting new passports is never easy and getting them from abroad is doubly difficult. We had to send the passports back and forth to the embassy in Paris twice before we finally got them renewed and it cost us almost 20o Euros in the process.
We gave notice on our rented property in Brussels a few days after Christmas and then had to decide what to do with our house in the UK. We had brought it only 2 and a half years before. It was meant to be the house the kids would grow up in. That was before we realised what a crippling mortgage we had taken on and what a horrendous commute DH would have to do. It was a new house on a nice estate but with the falling house prices we were going to loose a lot of money if we sold - so we decided to continue to rent it out. Only problem was we were in the process of finding new tenants as our old ones moved out at Christmas. Talk about a stressy time! If you have high blood pressure or heart problems - do not move to the other side of the world. They should put a health warning on all those "Wanted Down Under" programmes on the BBC.
It got to the first week in February and we had agreed a start date with DHs new employers of the 1st March. We still did not have our work and visitor visas, we hadn't booked our flights or found anywhere to live yet. I was just a little bit stressed!