16 05 2011

After writing our half year evaluation in February, I was not expecting that I would write a post on returning in May. Moving to New Zealand was my most interesting experience in life so far. It was an amazing adventure in the most beautiful country I can imagine. However, career wise it did not work out for me and might become real hard for Dirk as well if we had decided to stay.

The end of March was the deadline. In February I had a couple of great leads for jobs and it all looked really promising. Dirk was already talking of going back to Europe, but I had great hopes on finding a cool job after searching for months. In our bellies we were missing Holland, our family and friends, but we were still enjoying the deep blue seas and purple mountains. We were not in a hurry to move back, but it would be our long term plan if it would not work out with my job leads.

Coming closer to the deadline I got a bit more worried in getting one of the jobs. In New-Zealand everything moves a bit more slowly, so my patience was really tested. Why did we come up with a deadline you might wonder. Why not continue searching? Well, the deadline was for two reasons. First, although it is quite cheap to live here, I was running out of money. Second, even more important, keeping a good state of mind. Some of you know how it disheartening it can be looking for months to find a job. It is even worse in a country on the other side of the world where you are uncertain of the rules, where the economy is not flourishing at all and, most importantly ,where you do not have your friends and family to fall back to. I felt homesick for the first time since I was 10. So, a deadline was just good sense.

Kaikoura - Purple mountains

And it worked! After the deadline passed I was still without a job, but now I could sit back and relax. Once more enjoy the deep blue sees and purple mountains. Walking the Heaphy track, flying above Abel Tasman, sipping wine in Havelock, all things I could enjoy without worrying finding a job in New-Zealand. Of course in the back of my mind a new worry was creeping to the surface, but that one I could beat with confidence: I know Holland and I know a lot of people in Holland. And I am really enjoying preparing my return. I am really happy to return and meet again everyone I know.

There is of course a downside as well. I will leaving my new, lovely NZ friends behind, the relaxed lifestyle of sunny Nelson and Dirk is staying a couple of months longer to finish his training. A few weeks ago I was quite frustrated that it did not work out here, but I made my peace with it. It is not a bad thing or a failure that it did not work out to settle here. My goal was to find out if it was possible or not to build up a life in a different country. On many aspects it is was possible, like creating a home for ourselves and find friends to hang out with, but career wise it was not. Or not yet.

The Heaphy Track

1 05 2011

Exceeding bounderies

2 04 2011

I find it very peculiar that moving to another country makes you do things you would never think of doing before. I find it somehow easier to conquer my fears in New Zealand then at home. Maybe this country is so beautiful that it does not matter any more.

My biggest fear is heights. When I am standing at the top of a tall building my knees start to shake and my whole body wants to fall to the ground. I never liked flying. I prefer the part just after landing the best and I enjoy the first steps on solid ground so unbelievably much. Additionally, I hate to sit on tall animals like horses or elephants. And last but not least, the first time I drove in the mountains I was so scared. I was afraid to crash either into the solid rock on the one side or in to the ravine on the other.

Somewhere in the last couple of months I grew over my anxieties. Well, I did not get that far that I jumped out of planes or bungeed from bridges. I am however not afraid any more of driving in the mountains. Better, I am starting to like it. I also did fly in the smallest air plane without fear, but that might be caused by the coolest pilot I ever met ;-). And finally, I did ride a horse on top of a very big hill.

It is not that the fear left my body, but I can manage it. As long as the result is so astonishing and exciting as it was each time, I can handle it. If I stayed low at the ground I would never have arrived in New Zealand in the first place. You know, it is a really long flight. Even if we do not take that into account, I would still miss out on a lot of spectacular views and rides. So this moving to another country made me exceed boundaries in ways I could never have done at home.

City life

7 03 2011

Today started really well. My flight to Auckland was pleasant and we had a good laugh as the flight attendant was making unexpected jokes. Now I am writing this piece while relaxing in a big park called the Domain. The air smells like freshly mowed grass and cicadas are chirping like it is still high summer. The park unfolds around a hill, probably an old volcano. On top of that hill, the big museum of Auckland is housed. It is built in Roman or renaissance style which you almost never see around here in New Zealand. The style doesn’t fit as well as it would have been in Paris for example, but is impressive anyhow.

The strange thing about Auckland is that most New-Zealanders who do not live there hate it and those who live their regard the others as old-fashioned country folks. As for myself, I love to visit Auckland because it has a real city vibe without being too big. There are many parks where you can relax and you feel like you escaped the big buzz.

The CBD of Auckland is a miniature of version of a generic metropolitan city, but has all the big shops and small boutiques you need. In a minute I am heading of to the library. I love it because it is huge and has many books on innovation. Something I miss in Nelson as the innovation section is only one meter wide. I do not necessarily want to live in a big city, but I certainly miss living close to one.

Kerstvakantie #3

6 03 2011

Random facts

4 03 2011

Time for a quick list of some random observations of this interesting country New Zealand.

Did you know:

  • that at road works they place guys with go/stop signs to regulate the traffic. The mobile traffic light is not yet introduced in New Zealand.
  • you can still borrow books for free at the library and you can borrow an unlimited amount of books (jippy!).
  • they use words I never heard used before by English speaking persons: “heaps”, “jandals”, “tramping” and “wee”.
  • they have some interesting brands in the supermarket, which feel kind of familiar, but aren’t.

  • they have hate love relationship with Greenpeace. Some adore Greenpeace and will hug you on the street if you are volunteering. Others hate Greenpeace utterly and see them as a hurdle to a more wealthier future (oil = jobs).
  • they are certainly not as clean and green as you might think. There was a lot of destruction of nature in the past and there are still things happening which aren’t possible in Europe any more.
  • to become a pilot in New Zealand is quite easy: the education programme is really cheap compared to other western countries and kiwi’s get a nice student allowance on top of that. So, it may not come as a surprise to you that there are heaps of unemployed pilots in New Zealand and most of them go for jobs to other countries such as Australia.


Kerstvakantie #2

20 02 2011