It’s been quite some time since I last posted….mainly because I’ve been chasing after a two year old while managing to get some work done and having a bit of family time. But the other day as I was rocking in this chair, this idea for a post came to my mind and while riding in the car back from a night away in Wellington, I had some free time to get my thoughts out so here it goes…
Wow it certainly has been a while since I last wrote on this thing. There have been plenty of times where I have thought about it and life has just gotten in the way. I have been doing a lot of reflecting over the last few months and finally have a little bit of time to sit down and write.
5 years ago today (27th November 2009) the path I was following had a little bit of a curve in it. I was visiting New Zealand on a bit of an “Eat Pray Love” tour but had no intention of having the love part…at least not with a person. It was my 2nd Thanksgiving to be away from my family. (The first was while i was living in France) and although I missed them, it was nice to have some time to travel and reflect on what i was doing and where i was going.
Fast forward five years. and I have so much to be thankful for. On that trip five years ago I met a man who made my heart happy every time I thought about him. I smiled when I was with him and felt like a part of me was missing when I wasn’t. I will always remember the 27th November as being the day we met…Mainly because I bought a t-shirt at the Pearl Jam Concert and it had a big number 27 on the back of it to indicate the date (I’m terrible with remembering things) So I am thankful for having Ben in my life. He is a great friend, a supportive partner and an awesome dad…which brings me to the next thing I am thankful for.
I am thankful for Madison Jean Newport, the little love we brought into this world on the 20th July this year. She has made me feel a love I never knew. She amazes me every day with the things she is learning and doing. She gives the best cuddles and smiles a mum or dad could ask for and I feel so lucky to have her.
I am thankful for the friends I have made from my antenatal group as well as other mummy activities we have done. These women are funny, caring, supportive and I know will be great influences on my child as she grows up.
I’m thankful for good neighbours. They make us laugh and are always watching out for us.
I’m thankful for my family. Especially my mom and dad. They came to visit after Madison was born and although we are miles apart I know that she will know them and love them just as much as their other grandchildren. For my family in New Zealand – Cousins and aunt and uncle – having them here and visiting as often as possible I think has helped me call New Zealand home a lot earlier than I anticipated.
I am thankful for my friends from the states. I miss them dearly and cannot wait for Madison to meet them.
It has been a great year. I cannot wait to see what the next year has in store for us.
I wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving.
On the 29th of January I was meant to meet Ben at his work after I got off work so we could go look at a property. I had to run a quick errand and then headed to his work. God apparently had other plans for me that day as less than a few blocks away from the supermarket I had been at, a girl failed to stop at a stop sign and hit the front corner of my (less than 3 month old) car. It sent me driving straight into the side of another car. My airbags deployed and I was in shock.
I don’t remember much about the accident. I know I grabbed for my purse as I thought the car was on fire (it was just the smoke from the airbags) and I got out of the car. Luckily there were plenty of witnesses around to see what had happened. There was even an off duty police officer. Someone had called 111 (emergency number in NZ) and the ambulance was there within 5 minutes. A police officer showed up and was getting all of the details. As the adrenaline wore off I realized that my hand was hurting a little bit. Ben showed up and handled everything with the car. I started to get light headed and my hand started to hurt more. Due to being in an accident involving other people I was advised to go to the hospital. So I experienced a few firsts that day. 1st car accident, 1st ride in an ambulance, 1st ride in a wheelchair (that I can remember) and first time to experience such a seamless process in a medical facility.
Let me explain. New Zealand has a system called ACC – Accident Compensation Commission.They provide comprehensive no-fault personal injury cover for all New Zealand residents and visitors…So if you are in an accident in New Zealand, you are covered. (This essentially makes it so there are not completely ludicrous lawsuits that go on in other parts of the world. ) So I did not have to pay for x-rays, hospital visit, ambulance ride, ace bandages, pain relievers. They also take care of your salary if you are unable to work and pay for transportation if you are unable to drive due to your injury.
I got to experience this process. First I was unable to go back to work until I was cleared by a doctor to return to work (this made me feel helpless). After my first week home from work I was approved to go back to work part time on light duties. This proved to be a little difficult as it was my right hand that broke and II write with my right hand. I learned to type really well one handed and also learned to write reasonably well with my left hand too. After two weeks I was approved to go back to work full time.
The second challenge was how I was going to be getting to work. Ben goes to work quite a bit earlier than I do. The first two days back at work I took a taxi from our house in Napier to my work in Hastings – about a 25km drive. ACC paid for this taxi ride which was around $70 each way. I researched other transportation methods. I discussed with ACC to allow me to have a taxi ride from our house down to the bus stop in the morning (a $7 trip) and take the bus from Napier to Hastings and back (a $3.40 ride each way). I did this for a little over a month. Imagine how much money I saved ACC by not taking a taxi.
Ben and I became a lot closer over the course of the month I was in a cast. He had to do the work of both of us including cooking, laundry, and grocery shopping. He helped me shave under my arms and even straightened my hair for me. He was such a trooper. However, when I was able to drive again there was a tiwnkle in his eye knowing I had gained more independence.
I went through a long process of becoming a resident. My initial visa when I came to New Zealand was a working holiday visa that was valid for one year. When it became apparent that I wanted to stay in New Zealand (and Ben was happy to have me stay) I began applying for an extension of my Visa. I sent through heaps of documentation to prove that Ben and I were in a relationship. After 1 week of sending it through I was sent a letter stating that what I had provided was not enough information. So I sent through some pictures as well as letters from both Ben and I stating our love for one another. This was enough information to grant me 6 more months of a work visa. So after we got back from America, I once again began the process of filling out documentation, collecting letters from people we know stating our relationship was valid, sending more pictures and more documents including our marriage license to prove that we were in a genuine and stable relationship. I had to do this twice (once to extend my work visa and one for residency) as I was told that residency applications can take up to 2 years to process.
On the weekend when I was working downstairs, the courier showed up with a package…I was granted an extra year and a half with my visa and then shortly thereafter was granted a residency visa. So though it seems as if I really didn’t need to apply for that extension, I guess it is better to be safe than sorry. And now I am a resident of New Zealand – which means I have all the rights of citizens except I can only travel in and out of NZ until January 2015 at which time I will need to apply for permanent residency. I also still need a visa to get into Australia (NZ citizens don’t) and I’m sure there are a few other things.
One thing it hasn’t changed – I’m still not a fan of Marmite 🙂
Ben has been working on renovating the downstairs part of our house and turning it into a one bedroom flat. We decided right before we went on holiday that we were going to move downstairs when it was finished and Ben wanted to finish by the end of the year. We worked pretty hard on the house in November and December.
I learned some valuable skills including how to use “No More Gap” which is a putty that fills in gaps and cracks. I was even allowed to paint a few things, though Ben and a couple of friends painted most of the house. We decided that we would move in over the Christmas/New Years holidays.
Even though we weren’t completely finished, we were finished enough to move in. Ben phoned his mates to see if they could help us move. On moving day he and his brother drove into Hastings to purchase a new refrigerator. Though we didn’t get the one that we had originally wanted we ended up getting another one that is just as good, if not better. While he was out trying to sort that out I was getting things ready for the move and starting to move little things downstairs.
Before Ben got home about 5 of his friends showed up to help. I wasn’t sure what needed to be done first so they left to get a coffee and ended up coming back when Ben was back. He organized everyone to move everything and, I kid you not, everything that we needed help with was moved in less than an hour. This included hoisting our couch off the roof (which we knew we were going to do). It also included getting one of our wardrobes through a window and lowering it off the roof as well. I wish I had videoed this task as it consisted of 4 guys on the roof and four guys in the bed of Ben’s truck, waiting for the wardrobe to be slowly lowered down.
Nothing was broken and within a couple of days everything started to feel like home.
After Ben proposed we were trying to figure out when a good time would be for us to get married. Being from two separate countries in opposite hemispheres, we knew that it was going to be rather difficult getting the people we wanted to celebrate our marriage with in the same place at the same time. So we decided that while we were in the states visiting we would tie the knot. On Friday 19th October we went to the courthouse in Fort Worth and had a judge in cowboy boots and a real southern accent marry us with my mom, dad, sister, Aunt Robin and cousin Jackson as witnesses. Afterwards we went and got Ben a pair of cowboy boots and had some barbecue with my cousin. We spent the rest of the afternoon getting ready for our party at mom and dads house. This was a planned party, just our guests had no idea we were already married. After many people arrived we snuck out and changed into wedding attire and surprised everyone by having a blessing of our marriage performed by my good friend Lesley. We surprised quite a few people and, although not everyone could make it, we were surrounded by friends and family. I’m so happy to be Mrs. Newport and look forward to having a similar celebration in New Zealand.
Though I have not posted very often on this, I thought I would put some thoughts down as I am on cloud nine.
Since I have been in New Zealand Ben’s and my relationship has just continued to get stronger and stronger. We have grown with each other and learned more about each other every day.
In the past few months we have talked about moving our relationship to the next level and this weekend we took that step. After a nice homemade dinner on Sunday night (after a very long weekend of hard work on the house) Ben got down on one knee and proposed.
I, of course, said yes.
I keep getting messages from friends that say that Ben is a lucky guy. But I have to admit that I am a lucky girl. If you ask anyone that knows me and has seen me around Ben they will tell you that he has this calming effect on me. Somehow he is able to turn a panicked, stressed out me into a relaxed person without too many worries in the world. Just a simple look from him turns a frown upside down. Though it sounds cliche, Ben completes me.
We have had a pretty unconventional relationship with us only knowing each other two days before I left to go back to the states. Yet, through the assistance of amazing technology and a few leaps of faith, we have managed to make it work.
No matter what title you put on us – boyfriend/girlfriend, fiancees, husband/wife, the thing that we will always be is partners and I am stoked to have such a level headed, fun loving, patient-with-me partner.
We have recognized that no matter where we are living, as long as we have each other we will be alright. It is hard to live away from family and friends that I have known for a good majority of my lifetime, but I look at it as just a little bit more travel (and time zones) than moving to a different state.
I am excited about this next step we are taking and to continue to grow and fall in love.