Just what exactly does my kiwi adventure look like? Here’s a brief summary…
3 years in New Zealand; 1 unexpected trip back home; 2 trips to other countries;
36 weeks of ‘school holidays’; 5 classes taught;
4 addresses I’ve lived at ; 1 overnight stay in hospital/case of pneumonia;
several roadtrips to and from various parts of the country;
1 plane jumped out of, 1 bridge jumped off, 2 rivers white water rafted, 1 Milford sound Kayaked, 2 luge tracks raced, 1 skyswing swung, 2 hills rolled down in a ball filled with water (ZORB);
1 solo concert attended, plus many others with friends;
2 cars purchased; 2 almost 3 speeding tickets; 1 minor car accident;
1 love of my life found;
3 visas – 1 student and 2 essential skills working visas;
2 second cousins from my mothers side of the family met for the first time;
3 family members visited me; 3 university friends visited me;
3 cell phones (but the same number since day 1!);
1 Rugby World Cup experienced; 1 All Blacks game attended;
40ish? Couchsurfers hosted; 4 couches surfed;
1 half marathon ran + 4 10km road races;
3 summer Christmases, 2 Canadian Thanksgiving dinners brought to Kiwis;
unforgettable friends made; endless laughs; countless lessons learned, expectations met and surpassed…
Ever the multi-tasker, I came to New Zealand to satisfy several dreams at once… my need to explore and travel, and my childhood dreams of becoming a primary school teacher I continued to study. I came to New Zealand because I wanted to be the minority amongst the Kiwi Culture (after researching universities in Australia that were notorious for having heaps of Canadians/Americans in the programmes. I decided to brave the harsh Dunedin winters in order to take the One Year Post-Graduate Diploma of Teaching programme with a world renowned reputation, and haven’t looked back. A class of 23 of us, the tightest-knit group of strangers I’ve ever been a part of, with a mere 6 of us representing Canada, in appropriate proportions.
When I was leaving home, I’d prepared my parents for the possibility of me staying, if I was able to get a job. I knew how difficult it was to get into a job back in Canada and after consulting with Mike from CANTeach, he’d said that many people had been able to get jobs after studying here. I figured why not put what I’d learned into practice and then have some experience under my belt. So staying wasn’t any surprise.If you had told me that I’d be living in a sub-tropical climate, 2-4 hours from major civilization but across the street from a gorgeous beach and countless beautiful beaches in the local surrounding area (my dreams!) teaching at a Catholic School…. well now that no one could have ever fathomed!
Now I may not be the conventional traveler that I once was, since I work full time and have the same old routine, but I’m not overly phased by this because I still feel in control… I decided to leave home and see something new, and have decided to stay in the beautiful country that still has so much to offer me, an education system that other countries strive to replicate (Ya hear that National party…. stop copying all the other countries things that don’t work!). I’m quite happy with the ‘settled’ feeling that comes with Thom and I living together, having all the comforts of home in our home, a fully stocked kitchen, and growing veggies out on the front yard. We may not own our house but man we have a dream home to call home!
I think it’s also reassuring that it’s not all over yet even though we’re settled… Thom and I took our first vacation trip together in July, to picturesque and perhaps unknown to many island of Rarotonga, in the Cook Islands. We began saving in July, $125/week each… and have accumulated an untouchable travel savings account of $7050 to date! I am stoked with that! We plan to roadtrip across Canada, in 2013 hopefully. I have no job as of December 2012, but Thom has just taken on an amazing opportunity which he starts next week. So whether we take to the road after Canada or come back, who knows. Until then, it’s nice having 2 weeks off every 10 weeks, which gives me a wee chance to explore new and old parts of this beautiful country.
These 3 years I’ve been living in New Zealand have been more amazing that I ever could’ve asked for! I can’t begin to thank all the people who made this experience what it was and continues to be, but I am forever grateful