Brandon and I have been in NZ for 1 year... yesterday!
We flew out of Atlanta on March 25th and arrived in Wellington on March 27th... one hell of a time change!
The road here was just as bumpy as the flight into Wellington! It took about 1.5 years of denials then approvals for us to get our pretty blue stickers in our passports. We actually left the US before our residency had gone through and thank God it did! We pretty much sold everything we had in the US just to save up and be able to afford to move over here.
We took about 2 weeks off before we flew out to say our goodbyes to the family & friends. We went to Sarasota, FL to see my family, then to TN and ATL to see Brandon's family. The only time I actually cried was when I got in the car and our dog jumped in with us. Then trying to get her our of the car and her staring at us cause she didn't understand why she wasn't going with us... I just lost it! (getting misty eyed just thinking about it now)
Again, we sadly had to leave our dog in the US and we miss her everyday! She is living with my parents now and is spoiled as so we don't feel (too) bad for leaving her behind. She has constant ear infections (cocker spaniel) and we didn't think that she would have be able to handle the 30+ hours of flying and then the 30 days of quarantine, since she wouldn't leave our side at a puppy park or anywhere for that matter!
I've Skyped a few times with some family and friends which is great! I got to see my dad blow out the candles on his birthday cake which made it feel little like I was there. We've also been able to see our dog which has been good and bad!
When we first arrived we stayed with friends in Khandalla for about a month before we found our own flat to rent out in Kelburn. We moved in around Easter 2009 and haven't moved out yet. We're in a great spot in Kelburn and can walk to the Cable Car, bus or Village in 5 minutes
Finding jobs wasn't as easy though. After about a month I was VERY lucky and got a fixed term gig for someone that was taking maternity leave. The job ended at the end of 2009. Another job opened up in another dept which started in the new year which was perfect timing! I applied and interviewed and started in Jan of this year. It's much more stressful at the moment, but I think I'm getting the hang of it. Brandon on the other hand didn't have as much luck with work. He had 1 interview with a company that sets up av stuff but the hours/pay didn't work so he had to pass that up. Finally around 5-6 months after we got here he found an easy IT help desk job, that he hates... He's finally got his butt in gear and will be going back to school in May (after talking about it for years) for Animation and Digital Video (already has post production degree). He needs a job that will let him be creative so hopefully once he has this diploma he can get something with Weta (his dream) or a company that does similar projects.
We have been walking machines since we moved here! We don't have a car but might see about getting one soon. wow... I haven't driven a car in a year! Could be interesting when I give it a go!
We haven't really traveled too much since we've been here. We took off one weekend and went to Otaki Beach, which was great! The weather was a bit shit, but we had enough time to get some shells before it started raining. We then just sat in the house all weekend watching tv, drinking and playing Scrabble. Which got us hooked to the game and we had to go out and buy it for ourselves! We just had a wedding to go to this weekend so we drove out to Masterton for the day. Ugh... I'm so not used to being in cars anymore and the curvy roads! The views over the Rimutaka's were fantastic though!...when I wasn't thinking of the nausea! We're spending our Easter weekend in Napier, which might be our last get-a-way since Brandon's starting school soon.
So how do we like Wellington... I HATE the weather! I'm really dreading this winter that's almost here again and I think I blinked at the wrong time and missed Summer completely! I'm always cold here and it gets me rather depressed at times. I know! I know! You don't move to Wellington for the weather! So when the weather is nice, and I'm not suck inside working I like to walk around town and sit by the water. I got a lovely sunburn on my arms one day while reading by the water... I'm still a bit tanner in that one spot! I think we've convinced our landlord to get us some heaters for the living room. We have a panel heater in the bedroom that we bought which helps a bit on those cold nights. Hopefully our landlord will get us some of those so the electric bill doesn't go insane. They live in the house above us and seem genuinely concerned about our happiness living here. He always makes sure I'm ok and still happy with the flat (I think he knows that if the wife isn't happy that's all that matters! good man! haha) Electricity is just as expensive as everything else here which we found out quite fast. I'm sure you all remember that fiasco! Clothing and shoes are soo expensive here! I just can't get myself to spend the $$. Walking around during the 7's was great! However, I can't see how Halloween isn't big here... I mean it would give another excuse to wear your costumes! We survived the holidays away from our family's. It was the first EVER Thanksgiving and Christmas away from my family so I wasn't sure how I would handle it. We both worked on Thanksgiving but we just had a nice fancy meal for dinner. We stayed here for Christmas and just made a turkey for 2 and spent some time with friends the other days off. I think it really helped to make our own traditions now that we're married and have this new life here. I don't feel totally settled here yet, I just feel like there is something missing but I have no clue what it is. We have all that we need (big flat screen was the first thing we bought) and a nice place to live. Maybe it's the fact that we don't have a car or any pets... Trying to find a place to rent that allows pets and isn't a million dollars a week is another issue. I really want to get a dog but haven't found a nice place yet... Our landlord has a dog so I get my fill by petting him from time to time but it's just not the same.
All in all life has been good here in Wellington. I miss my family and friends but haven't been depressed about it or home sick. Brandon's going back to school soon and here's a scary thought... we're not too horrified by the idea of having kids! Eek! Maybe in another year or two we might actually try... ugh... I'm still freaked out about it... maybe 3 years from now...
So that's been our year in Wellington... More to come... in another year!