Wow. One year ago today, we landed in New Zealand.
A year ago, we completely uprooted ourselves. We had nowhere to live, and our available possessions totalled what we could carry in our suitcases and hand luggage. We had quit our jobs, and therefore had a finite amount of money to survive on (and most of it still in my UK bank account waiting for the exchange rate to pick up). We had left behind all of our friends and family and had moved to a city where we knew no-one, and a country where we knew less than ten people.
Written out like that, it seems completely insane that we even thought about moving halfway round the world.
We have had a very steep learning curve along the way, and things haven't always been as smooth as they could have been. However, things could have been a lot harder and a lot bumpier at a number of different points along the way.
So, a year on, I have absolutely no regrets. We have found ourselves a lovely place to rent, and are able to consider buying a house of our own, probably in another six months. I have got a great job, which, though it may be intensely stressful at times, is also one which I am now able to consider making my career. We have made a huge circle of friends, and, whilst we, of course, miss our friends and family, it is not in the sense of wishing to be back in the UK, but more wishing that they were out here with us, and able to share in the joy of this country.
We celebrated our anniversary in fine style - New Zealand celebrates Bonfire Night as well, so on Friday, we went out for a restaurant meal (we went to one of the Wellington Wagamamas, which overlooks the sea), and then to the Wellington Fireworks Festival. The event raises money for the Wellington Free Ambulance (in most areas, you have to pay if you need an ambulance; here in Wellington, thanks to charity donations, it is free), and included fairground rides and stalls, as well as a crafts fair and a section for the emergency services to provide public service information (the fire brigade did their "why you don't pour hot water onto a chip pan fire" demonstration - they got a very impressive ball of fire coming out of their mock kitchen; the ambulance service were doing a free CPR session - currently Wellington sits at fourth in the 'cities you are most likely to survive a heart attack in' statistics - they want to make it first; the police service had the wreck of a car which had been driven by a drunk driver then came off second best in an argument with a tree - they also had information boards on the accident, which included not only a reasonably graphic description of the injuries that killed the driver, but also then include the detail that the friend who was sat behind the driver was trapped by his mate's body, and had to wait for that to be extracted before they could cut him out of the car!). The whole event was also hooked up to the local radio station, so there was music playing out of the loudspeakers, including a specially composed piece of music, timed to play out with the fireworks exploding. The fireworks themselves were absolutely stunning; probably one of the best events that I've been to in a long time. It was a lovely way to celebrate being in the country for a year :-)