Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Grass is not greener.........just more fun to mow!

From what you see on programs like "Wanted Down Under" you would think that when you move abroad life suddenly becomes amazing and you never have to deal with the mundane everyday business of work, washing up and wiping snotty noses. Well of course its not like that. You still have to go to work, you still have to get the kids up and washed and scrubbed in time for Kindy, and you still have to pay the bills.

It has been a reminder this week that life can still be, at times a bit of a slog, even in New Zealand. I have had some kind of sore throat, coldy type thing and generally feeling like I don't want to get out of bed in the mornings. The girls have also been feeling under the weather. My youngest has been waking up at three in the morning and climbing into bed with my oldest and waking her, and us up in the process. My husband has had to work late several times this week and is tired and grumpy. I blame the weather. It very hard when you are sitting watching the rain thunder down and 12000 miles away in Brittany your Mum and Dad are describing how difficult it is coping with the heat wave they are having.

This week has been hard and it has highlighted the fact that when I am feeling less than 100% there is no one here who can give me hand and there is no family to lean on. Its also difficult and hard work making friends in a new country. People are extremely friendly here and go out of their way to help you and make you feel welcome. It can still take time however to form friendships where you feel fully at ease and don't worry whether the joke you make might be taken the wrong way or whether they will understand a reference to Dr Who (it comes up a lot in conversations, honestly!). It could just be me who worries about things like this, but it can take a lot of time to form good friendships and networks of people you can turn to when things get tough.

However, having had a good moan, I think I should point out that I have no regrets about moving here. I just have to look at how happy my two girls are. My oldest has made so many new friends at Kindy and is desperate to get there every morning. My youngest loves exploring the countryside and beaches. We all get to see a lot more of my husband who we barely used to see in the UK as his commute was so horrendous. I am slowly but surely beginning to make friends amongst the other Mums in the area and should be able to start back at work soon. The other thing I should mention is how lucky I feel every morning when I look out the window and see the sea.


  1. The title of this blog post is so spot on. There are good days and bad days whereever you live. When we arrived here in 2006 we headed into some of the worst weather in many years. In some senses you've done the same and arriving when you did means you've almost had two successive winters to contend with. July and August can be tough here - the weather can be terrible and like deep winter in the UK miserable. The big difference here is that you don't have Christmas as a beacon of light in the middle. We went to Fiji for a cheap and cheerful break to overcome this in our first year. I don't have kids so making friends was hard but as soon as I got to work I've made some firm friends and never looked back. Keep reminding yourself of what you came to achieve here and as long as you hold that clear and firm you'll have more up days than you can imagine.

  2. My husband is a Kiwi, so when I moved to NZ, I had a network in place. However, I was driven to find friends of my own, and I was surprised at how VERY DIFFICULT it was. I finally found some friends through work and other mums and (no surprise here) other expats.

  3. I don't think a day goes by without me regretting, in some small way or other, leaving the UK.

    It doesn't help that I spend half my day comparing the UK and NZ, and the other half working for UK magazines.

    My wife suffers no such over-analysis... she just loves it here.

    I can't help finding the bad points though, perhaps as an antidote to my wife's cheerfulness.

  4. Thanks for all the comments. There is nothing I dislike about NZ and lots of things that I love. The only thing I really miss from the UK is my family and friends. I think, as Juli and DE say, that I will hopefully meet lots of people when I finally start work again.

  5. Awww, BIG HUGS. I've only just found your blog but all I can say is, 'Here! Here!'. I have two children and have been here many years. When we first arrived we were without children and our friends were quickly made through work. Over time my friends have changed and I've found Wellington to be extremely transient - with many good friends leaving for Australia or returning to the UK. What I have discovered is that as long as one remains 'open' then new friendships will definitely be forthcoming.

    Still, it's not easy when children are unwell and so are you. I have struggled at many times and wished for my Mum to be living round the corner - or even to be in the same time zone so I can phone her for a chat and a bit of support!

    I'm in Wellington, so let me know if you would like to meet up (I'm a stay at home Mum to a 3 year old and a 5 year old).

    Best wishes, Sarah