moving

Playing out the last weeks, Kiwi style.

The past few weeks have been filled with impromptu meet-ups and casually arranged gatherings with friends. It is very indicative of the way we’ve lived our lives here in New Zealand – a very relaxed, unstructured, casual, ‘go with the flow’, ‘she’ll be right, mate!’ kind of way. I still vividly remember having to adjust to the ‘Kiwi way’ in my early years here.

We soon got used to the ‘no flairs’ dress code, that ‘bare-feet’ were all good on almost any occasion and that ‘bring a plate’ and ‘pot luck dinners’ were all the rage. We learned to invite twice the number of people we expected to any BBQ, as Kiwis would casually roll up to the party – or not – depending on how they were ‘travelling’ on a given day – and that was ‘all good’, ‘no worries, mate’!

So, with the ‘big move’ looming on the calendar for the past few months, we’ve been asked, ‘Are you having a leaving doo?’ but have preferred to give the big ‘fanfare’ farewell a miss. Instead, we’ve spent quality time with small groups of friends, from all the different paths we’ve walked during our fifteen years or so of living in New Zealand.

I’m sure our friends won’t mind me sharing a few snapshots from the past few weeks. These photographs mean a lot to us, personally, but – from an outsiders perspective – they also shine a light on the relaxed way of life we’ve enjoyed living in Wellington, New Zealand.

There have been play-date days of gentle farewells at wonderful outdoor cafes…

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Time on the beach to focus on the now and have a breather from the packing and boxes…

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There have been casual evenings with old friends…

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And fun nights with our wonderful neighbours, friends and people that have helped to support us in raising our little Kiwi born children… (It takes a village, you know!).

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And whilst I’ve been at home, looking after our three children, my husband has been working hard to tie together all the logistics and administrative necessities of the big move (as well as holding down his job and being a great father!).  He has had Friday night drinks with his soccer team and old colleagues. Wellington is a close-knit business community and he’s made some amazing friendships over the years.

He has come home to countless requests for assistance with ‘MineCraft’ mods! Thankfully, he has incredible patience… often staying up till 11pm to spend quality time with his older daughters, after having been tied up with work all day.

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As well as entertaining his youngest daughter, with whatever game of the moment she is into… making cars and unicorns talk, or being rolled up like a sausage!

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It’s winter, but the sun has been mostly generous. The ground hasn’t been as calm – but living on the ‘shaky isles’ is something we made a choice to do – certainly keeps us on our toes and has a way of bringing the community closer – even having friends for to sleep over for an impromptu gathering after a rather strong quake!

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So many happy moments of life, simply lived, over the past few weeks. Moments we will treasure always and hold close in our hearts whilst we live on the other side of the Pacific Plate, in California, USA.

From the simple, universal joy and magic of bubbles in the garden with a friend…

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To an outing on Wellington’s beautiful waterfront, where two sisters have a laugh on electric cars and eating gelato…

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IMG_6410We will be back in Wellington, one day, for sure… maybe in a year, or three, or more. We are open to where this adventure will take us and how each person in the family feels.

It’s not as easy as the ‘before children’ days – and the older our children get the more their opinions, as to where to live, matter!

They are so fortunate to have such opportunities to explore.

I am sure, once we’ve settled in Santa Barbara, California, our children will adapt with greater ease than myself!

We shall take every day, every week and every year as it comes…

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The beginning of a new chapter


Three sleeps to go! On Wednesday 7 August, my British husband and I, along with our three children, shall be boarding a plane to a new adventure, living in Santa Barbara, California, USA.

We’ll be leaving our home of some fifteen years, Wellington, New Zealand. The place where our adventure began, when we started out on a two year work visa from the UK. We were a couple not long out of University. Never could we have imagined, back then, that we would become permanent New Zealand residents and have three New Zealand born daughters (who for the purpose of this blog we shall call Little Miss Minecraft, 10, Little Miss Daredevil, 7, and Little Miss Chatterbox, 3).

This new chapter is temporary for us – but then we said that about New Zealand initially… so we have learned to expect the unexpected and be open to whatever direction the river takes us.

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Our home in New Zealand is being taken care of by a good friend. We are shipping the fun stuff, envisaging a year, or two – possibly three, of living and working in Santa Barbara. My husband’s job is based there. We’ll see how we travel, taking each day in our stride. We are leaving so much we love behind. A country that has captured our heart and friends that have been like family.

New Zealand, for me personally, has been a wonderful place to bring three children into the world. One day they will realise how blessed they are. I have been fortunate to have been a stay-at-home Mum over the past ten years and have delighted in living a wonderful, healthy, outdoor life with my daughters, particularly in their early years. Naturally life has its ups and downs. No matter how beautiful a place, filled with wonderful people, there can still be bumps in the road. When I first became a parent, ten years ago, I started blogging my journey to try and focus on ‘the magic’ and not get caught up in the overwhelming responsibility, sacrifice, dedication, commitment and, sometimes, frustration of motherhood. It was really helpful for me to have a creative outlet and to reflect on the highs of every day and week with my growing children – as well as being able to share their lives with family and friends living far away in the UK.

In this new chapter of our lives, we will be living closer to our much loved family in the UK. We hope living just one international flight away, will make it easier to see them all more often. As much as we love New Zealand it has been hard, at times, living so far away. There are so many family gatherings and celebrations we have missed over the years. There have been times when we wish we could have teleported ourselves there in an instant, to hold a loved ones hand – or say goodbye to a much loved grandparent, uncle and friend. This is the down-side of the life we lead. On the up-side we see our children thrive and have enjoyed the freedom to cherish the time we have with them, before they choose to set out on their own wings to soar the trade winds. And we teach our children that…

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We are growing right along side them, as do all parents, and are all the richer for what they teach us about ourselves. Children are sometimes like the most critical mirror, whilst other times they reflect incredible purity, happiness, hope, energy and inner beauty. They will learn, in this amazingly technologically connected world they have been born in, that the friends and family they have, scattered across the world, will always be there for them. Though there is no real comparison to spending time with a loved one, face to face, able to hold their hand, hug them, share a drink in the same time zone, there are some very wonderful alternatives that can go a long way to keeping friendship, love and family strong.

This is the start of a new blog for me. A place for me to share our onward journey, our travels and adventures. A place for me to express myself in poetry and photographs. My family will always be my number one, but after ten years of ‘breeding’ (of which I’ve been breastfeeding for nine years!), it is time for me to rev up for my forties… (erm, yes, 2014 I shall embrace that decade of my life!), and find a little of myself again (I feel a little hidden under domesticity, nursery rhymes, play dough, magic potions, trains, dolls, far too much glitter, fairy tales, cars and planes – my daughters are most definitely not stereotypical girls!).

So welcome to new followers and hello to dear family and friends who’ve known me for years. I’ve met so many wonderful people through being open and sharing my little slice of life’s journey (like the lovely Leonie of ‘Kiwi at Heart‘ who made the cushion cover in this post, as a parting gift, to ‘keep Wellington and New Zealand forever close in my heart’) that I know, without doubt, this new journey will bring me opportunities abound to meet more incredible people.

So, let’s get this show on the road!

Sarah x

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