At the end of my first year in New Zealand I didn’t think there could possibly be a year that was worse: losing mum just weeks after I left England, and only 2 weeks after I found out she was terminally ill, arriving alone in a brand new country, a city I had never been to before, starting a job that didn’t turn out to be at all like I expected it to when I accepted it via teleconference call in the UK.
So what has year 2 brought for me?
Well, it’s always going to be a sad fact that every anniversary of my arrival will also bring sadness: Mum was diagnosed with cancer (although I didn’t know it at the time) on 10th April 2013. I arrived in New Zealand in 16th April. She died on 23 June. But for me it was already 24th, so my anniversary day always happens 24 calendar hour later than the recorded time. And it was truly an awful day.
Anyway, here’s the year in summary.
I voted in the New Zealand general election, which seemed strange. I had to do a lot of homework to work out what was what in my new political world. Just 12 months later, my home country has called a general election. I already feel like I am in no man’s land. I’m not quite a kiwi, but am no longer a British citizen either. Here, you have to apply to be on the electoral roll, it doesn’t happen automatically. I chose to apply, Mark chose not to.
We saw The first anniversary of Mum’s death. That was a hard hard day. Well, the day after was. Like I said, she died on the evening of Sunday 23 June 2013. When I got the call, it was early morning of Monday 24 June 2013. I was leaving on a plane to England that same morning to visit her. I expected her anniversary, the 23rd to be a difficult day. It passed relatively easily, I was at work like normal. But the 24th didn’t. I reall struggled on this day, I was sent home from work. I sat high up at Riverton Rocks and cried, for hours. Grief consumed me. I have to say, it has probably taken me the best part of two years to be able to start to cope with losing her.
Dad got remarried. This was somewhat unexpected but I am so glad he is happy again. Like I always say, life is very short. We need to make the most of every moment given to us. With his and Judy’s help, I was able to go back to England and help celebrate their big day, as well as catch up with some old friends, for a whistle stop 7 day trip!
I gave up teaching. I had tried special needs teaching here, I tried mainstream here too. Neither were working for me. I had hoped a change of country would fix my already brewing restlessness with teaching, but it hadn’t. Losing mum had made me realise that life was far too short to be unhappy. So I quit. The fallout of this was huge. It was pretty much like another grief process. Teaching was all I had ever done. It was like a massive loss, an unimaginably huge physical and mental shift. It took me a while to get used to, before I was able to accept that I had done the right thing. I tried some other jobs, easy part time ones to help pay the bills while letting sure pressure off myself employment wise. This didn’t work out either. I eventually decided to resign my job, in order to preserve my own sanity.
I set up business for myself and went full time self employed at the start of April 2015. This was something I had been wanting to do for many years but never had the guts. Circumstances helped me to make the brave step and ‘go for it’. The time I gained when I quit teaching I used to complete some new qualifications to enable me to set up business properly as a personal trainer, triathlon coach and nutrition and weight management coach.
Friends and acquaintances say I have never looked happier, healthier or this well for a long time.
These last two years have been incredibly challenging at times, something through decisions of my own making, sometimes due to events out of my control. I sincerely hope year three is more kind to me that years one and two have been!
In the next 12 months I hope to:
- Grow my business to the stage that I am making at least the same as I was in the last part time PAYE wage I was collecting before I took the leap into self employed.
- We make good strides towards insulating and heating our home.
- My stress levels are greatly reduced.
- I get back to all the exercise / pastimes I used to do
- We go on a long overdue family holiday TO RELAX.
I think these are achievable goals, so life, please be kind to me for a while!