Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Two years

  •   June 23rd will mark our two year anniversary of our move from the suburbs of bustling Kansas City to an island on the other side of the world called New Zealand. Over the course of this time we have visited many parts of this world, parts that I thought we would never get to explore. We have seen, ate and experienced things that would of never crossed my mind two years ago. We have swam with dolphins in the Tasman Sea, traveled a road untraveled by many locals, slept in a boat in the Fiordlands, jumped off a perfectly good bridge, hand fed eels, walked on silicone sand, and saw wild dingos. We have had an exciting and wild ride these past two years and we are not ready to call it quits yet ( not to mention there happen to be no jobs in any of the towns that we would consider moving back to). There are still many items on our list that we want to check out before we close this chapter of our lives.  

  • Yes, there are days that we contemplate just staying, packing up our storage unit in the states, shipping our belongings over, buying a house and settling in for the long haul. And yes, there are days all I think about are moving back to the states. Settling down, and establishing some roots somewhere. The pros and cons to either argument are long, complicated, and emotional. And just when I think I've got it sorted out in my head, homesickness will hit me. It happens at the most unexpected times and places. Today it was the home furnishing store. I know what your thinking, "really, the homes accessories got to her, she must really have issues!" SO sappy, I know but it is the truth. The store gave me a glimpse of my old life, when we owned a home and enjoyed decorating it and putting our own touches on the place. Damn you New Zealand! Why do you have to be so breath taking beautiful at every turn? Why do you have to be soooooo good at providing the work life balance to your employees that expats are flocking here from all over the world to enjoy this slower paced lifestyle?  Work is still work, but in NZ work is not life. Why do you have to be such a safe country that my kids can roam about freely without me sitting at home anxiously waiting for them to walk in the door safely?  And why....oh why do you have to be so far away from our loved ones? I am learning that living life as an expat is not for the faint of heart even during the best of times. Honestly it would be easier to commit to one way or the other than to continue to live with one foot in the US and one foot in NZ, which is what we are doing now.

  • Our two year work visa's expire in a week so Brad applied for our Resident Visa's. We were approved after providing our original birth certificates, finger prints, mountains of paper work, and a large sum of money. It basically means we can stay in NZ indefinitely, but don't worry mom it doesn't mean we will, it just gives us better health benefits and the ability to come and go easier.          

  •  The kids are 100% customized to the Kiwi lifestyle, and we all find ourselves using Kiwi-ism everyday.  We are in the middle of winter and they are still wearing shorts and no shoes to school. Owen uses the term "sweet as" on a regular basis and I do not even internally acknowledge it any more, but I do have to explain it to family members when they come to visit. "No, Aunt Maggie he is not telling you that you have a sweet ass, he is  saying sweet AS." We now wear jandals, and togs and eat lollies. I frequently get puffed, buggered, stuffed and or knackered after my long runs. When we get cold, we put on extra jumpers or jerseys. I find myself having a few cups of tea throughout the day with a wee bit of sugar, and heaps of milk. I now know that Brad is also called my partner, and not just husband (I use to think everyone here was gay because they rarely say husband/wife). My heart does not skip a beat any more when Owen asks to borrow a rubber (eraser) from his Dad. And "fanny pack", is  a term one should never, ever use while visiting or living in NZ. "Fanny" refers to female genitalia. SO imagine my horror, after referring to my "fanny pack" at a party last year. 

  •   So I guess what I am trying to get across is that we like where we live. We like it a lot.  And instead of trying to constantly think about what is next or where we are going to be in 5 years, we are just living every day to the fullest, because we are just not sure when this journey will end. We are here now, so we are going to enjoy the now.

  •   To celebrate our two years we plan on going to the same restaurant we ate at on the day we arrived, The Tree House. On June 25th 2011, we were all exhausted from our trip over and just needed to eat before going to bed. We were all craving some American type food, so we all ordered hamburgers and french fries. The hamburgers arrived with large slices of beetroot on them. Beets on hamburgers?? Who does that and why? So I quickly removed all the bright purple vegetables from the hamburgers, and we quietly pushed on. After biting into my hamburger, I quickly realized that it was more like a meatloaf burger. It had onions, and breadcrumbs and was held together with an egg.  It was good, but not what we were all hoping for. I just knew that Owen, who was 5 was going to have a total melt down after trying his food, and it was going to head south very fast. He takes a bit of his food and gets all teary eyed. I told him just to eat his french fries and ketchup (kiwis refer to it as tomato sauce), and not to worry about the burger.  The ketchup here tastes a lot different than Hines. It is not as sweet, and has a distinct flavor to it. Owen tries the ketchup and wham-o, he is out for the count.   He was so heart broken, all he could do was cry. He just wanted something that tasted like home. So after two years of eating meatloaf burgers and kiwi tomato sauce, we don't mind it anymore. We actually kinda like it.  So we are all going to go back to The Tree House and order hamburgers for dinner with extra beetroot.  Have you ever had a hamburger with beetroot on it? It is delicious, you should try it sometime. 

  • Oddly enough I do not have any pictures for this post. I am in the middle of taking a really cool photography class at the local University. So I should have some great photos to show off all my new photography skills. But I don't, at least not yet.