Obviously, you can’t really decide overnight to move across the world. Tristan accepted his job in early January and we have spent the past two months navigating the perilous immigration system (don’t get me started on this…) Our intention had been for me to stay in my job until Tristan’s visa was confirmed and then resign, staying in England for a few extra weeks in order to work out my three-month notice period, but we were told that this wasn’t possible: his residency and work visa applications have both been processed through the spousal route, which requires us to leave the country together. So I had to resign on 1 February and endure a tense six weeks while waiting for the work visa to be confirmed (we’re still waiting for the residency confirmation).
To amp up the uncertainty, we put our house on the market while we were waiting for the visa to be confirmed. Initially we’d thought that we would keep our place and rent it out, but we then realised the high cost of Auckland housing and figured that it would be very helpful to take as much money as possible! So we put the house on the market with a minimum price in mind, fully aware that the housing market is terrible and that we might not get any takers. But I’m happy to report that the real estate gods were smiling on us: we had an offer in less than a week and agreed a price that was £10k more than our minimum! Good times.
So I’m still working and will finish on Friday, 8 April, at 4pm. And then I’ll go straight to the airport and we’ll fly out at 9pm. And we’ve exchanged contracts on our house and will complete the sale on the 8th. The packers and movers will come and sort us out on the 7th (Tristan’s new employer is paying for our flights and moving costs, God love them). Our stuff is more or less organised and we have a secret weapon here in the form of Pat, Tristan’s incredibly energetic mother, to help us figure out what to ship to NZ and what to leave behind. We’re taking most of our stuff, though – we have a 20ft container to fill (and 75% of the contents may well be my clothes).
Tristan will start work the day after we land, the poor sod. His work will pay for accommodation for the first three weeks and then we’ll find him a serviced apartment for a few more weeks. We’re not going to buy a house immediately because we don’t know anything about Auckland and will need to suss out where to live, and because the exchange is terrible at present and we want to leave most of our money in the UK for a few months. So we’ll need to rent a house, but will have to do so knowing that our 20ft container may take up to three months to arrive, which could leave us rattling around in an empty house. I think we’ll wait for at least six or seven weeks before we find somewhere to live.
The bad news is that this means that Tui and I will have to stay with my parents while Tristan’s stuck by himself in Auckland (that’s ‘bad’ in the ‘it’s a shame that we won’t be together’ sense; obviously, I’m delighted that I’ll get to spend some time with my lovely parents). Tui won’t be welcome in a serviced apartment and I dn’t want to lumber my parents with dog duty for more than is absolutely necessary. So we’ll be five hours’ drive away from Auckland, in a very nice – but very small – town. I’m quite sure that, in three or four weeks’ time, I’m going to wake up in the middle of the night and exclaim ‘OH MY GOD I live in New Zealand now!’