Click here to read Part One: An Idea
As our idea to move to New Zealand made its home in our hearts, it didn’t take long for my husband to get an offer from a company in New Zealand. A web developer, he had what New Zealand considers an essential skill, which helped us gain immigration points (more on that later). So we knew we had to have the job before attempting to gain visas.
The offer wasn’t from just any company; it was a group he’d admired and met when they came through the USA a few years earlier for web conferences. This would be his dream job.
He had three rounds of Skype interviews and the offer, although not signed, turned out better than we ever expected— only in Auckland. We hoped for Wellington, the capitol city comparable to San Francisco, whereas Auckland has more of a Los Angeles vibe. We certainly weren’t picky; it was just an alteration to the tentative plan.
It was December 2012, summer for the southern hemisphere, which meant most of the country was on holiday. For us, now with a verbal offer, we began a checklist of what had to be done in order to move.
First, we had to sell our house. Everything revolved around that. If it took too long, it would delay his start date and our departure date. Our goal was to be in New Zealand in July. So we rang our realtor and told her our plan to get the ball rolling.
Second, we needed to figure out how much all of this would cost. We received quotes from a shipping company so we could hire a container for our belongings. We also compared quotes from moving companies who would help wrap everything up and move it onto the shipping container once it arrived. I decided it would save us more money if I packed everything up on my own (more on this later), but we still had to hire guys to move it onto the container. We had no date though so we couldn’t book anything until our house sold.
Then we needed to find out what was involved in transporting our little shih tzu overseas. New Zealand has strict policies about bringing pets into the country. Our pup would need to be quarantined for two weeks and needed several vaccinations before leaving, the first occurring six months before departure. Luckily, we got his first round completed on schedule.
Upon gathering this information, it made reality sink in. It wouldn’t be cheap. Maybe if we decided to ditch all our stuff we could wing it, but this wasn’t an offer to go off on an adventure for a year. This was an offer of a lifetime.
At this point, we hadn’t told our families about our idea yet because… well, how do we tell loved ones we’re moving to the other side of the world? Especially since we’d just had a baby?
My husband’s family lived three hours away and mine were a short plane ride. We rarely had visitors other than my family in the years we’d lived in Vermont, but still, it would be hard to explain why we wanted to do this. My husband also wanted to be sure everything was secure with the job before sharing the news. So we kept it between us.
And it felt right.
Several phone calls were made to New Zealand immigration as we tried to sort through the pile of paperwork. It was very specific; down to the color of ink. Trust me when I say it’s a tight screening process and America is even tighter.
We met with our doctor to go over what medical tests were needed… there was a lot (more on that later). We had pictures taken; passport sized and placed in the corner of every page of the immigration paperwork, with the Dr/nurse/technician’s signature half on our photo and half on the page. It’s very important to follow the directions or you’ll have to do everything over again (more on all of this later).
Since we knew it was going to be our last Christmas in our house, I asked family to come to us. It wasn’t the tradition and I may have stepped on some toes, but what sucked more was that I couldn’t explain why I wanted to have at least one Christmas in our house in Vermont. My husband was still waiting to sign a contract with the company about his offer. So because of that one detail, we still hadn’t told our families.
While we waited for the company to get back to us, every night we researched as much as we could about where we’d be living, cost of housing and food, everything. With each click, we were drawn more and more to the island country.
And it felt right.
Even when it all came to an abrupt halt.
Christmas break ended and my husband heard from the company offering his dream job. They rescinded due to expense issues. He was devastated. He broke the news late one night while I was half asleep in bed. Pale and short of breath, he looked like he’d lost his best friend. He shared the email exchange with the company and I listened as my husband’s dream began to float away…
…but then I caught it.
I surprised myself that night. While I could’ve read this as a sign we weren’t supposed to go, instead I found myself encouraging him to keep trying. That’s when I realized this really was OUR dream. We both wanted this. We were suddenly more sure about this move than ever before; this was the right step for our family and we weren’t going to let anything get in our way. At this point, I knew New Zealand was going to happen for us one way or another.
The next day he put out more inquiries, instantly receiving a positive response. He jumped on the opportunity right away. After a round of interviews with this new company, he had a signed, secured job offer in the city we wanted to live in.
And it felt right.
Up Next Part Three: THE WORK