Archive for July, 2012

We are entering a new blogging era. An era powered by new fangled technology! Thanks to work I’m now in possesion of a Samsung Galaxy S3. It’s a beast of a device which allows me to blog on the move! Watch this space…

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Three Years

It is three years today that we landed in New Zealand.   “It Begins!” was our first blog post after we arrived – we seem to have crammed a lot in since then!

We arrived with Permanent Residency but no hint of employment.  In September 2009 I secured a job which I’ve managed to keep hold of! Actually it’s all going ok at the moment. I’m just finishing up a project which has been running for a little over a year. It’s been a great experience and I’m looking forward to applying that stuff back to my team to help everyone get more out of their job.

More recently but also work related is the exciting developments from Josie. She has been self-employed now for a little over a year. She set up Co-Writer as a business to provide copy writing services to businesses, but actually provides a lot more than that. She’s winning more and more business because she actually provides much more than simple copy-writing. Her background and experience makes it second nature for her to advise businesses on their whole communication strategy. This includes things like how to generate a cohesive strategy across all your communications, getting consistent messages out there, communicating in the right way to you target markets etc. It’s not as simple as it sounds…

The other major forces in our lives are of course the girls.

Here is a photo of both of them then and now.  It’s amazing to think that Lucy is just 5 months younger now than Emily was when we arrived…

Emily aged 4 years 5 months

Emily aged 7 years 4 months

Lucy aged 11 months

Lucy aged 3 years 11.5 months

The other major factor that really defines our journey is the change that Josie and I have been through.  The big changes are the new physical challenges we’ve set ourselves in running and swimming – neither were things that we really had any interest in when we lived in York.

I don’t think we had any real comprehension of exactly how fundamental making a move like this is.  There are loads of ways to achieve a move to another country, we chose the longer, but more certain approach.  It is really only once you’ve settled in your new location that you really appreciate the upheaval.  However you think you are handling it, the stark reality is that whilst you are preparing to leave you are systematically dismantling every aspect of your life.  And you just have to rebuild everything again when you arrive.  Think the most enthusiastic bought of de-cluttering and spring cleaning you’ve ever done, all wrapped up and then multiplied by a thousand.

So when we were rebuilding we decided that we wanted to run (Josie) and swim (me).  It’s fair to say we’ve both achieved some really pleasing results.

The Harbour Crossing was my first major swimming goal achieved.  Now I’m swimming the same distance every Sunday with an amazing group of guys and girls that all like to swim in the open water of the bays along our east coast.

For Josie she has run numerous races of various distances, 5km, 10km and half marathons.  In March 2011 she ran the Coatesville half-marathon, winning a splendid medal!

So what of the last twelve months?

Building co-writer has been the main focus for Josie.  Emily has had a real roller coaster at school.  Last year her teacher and Emily did not gel the whole year.  Emily fell behind and didn’t enjoy school at all.  This year she has a fantastic teacher and with some extra help from us and an after-school session she is doing brilliantly.  The most amazing thing about her is her physical development.  She moves like an athlete.  Her form and poise when she runs are incredible to watch.

Lucy has transformed from a dangerous eating machine to a really lovely, flamboyant little girl.  She loves performing (we often wake to the sounds of her singing happily to herself in bed) and has the start of a king-sized attitude on her!  She is so incredibly loving yet independent, it’s going to be fascinating watching her progress.

And me?  I’ve been trying to find my place at work, which I think I’ve just about achieved now.  I’ve been meeting my creative urges by taking photos and making videos of our life here – which usually end up linked on the blog.  My video of Piha was one of the early ones.  Recently we’ve been able to capture some of the kids antics like Lucy in Dance of the Sugar Plum Lucy.

We’ve made the difficult decision recently to sell our house in the UK.  It’s basically a financial decision as we want to use the money over here and make it work for us a bit more.  We’ve got things we want to achieve and having the equity released from the UK house will give us some options.

So that’s where we enter our fourth year in New Zealand.  Some exciting things in flight, probably more potential than we’ve ever had for our lives to go in new exciting directions.  Do you need to move half way round the world to achieve this?  That’s a difficult question.  I think reinventing yourself is harder when you are trying to paint over what already exists.  It’s not impossible, but it takes more effort.  If you are painting on a completely blank canvas you have free reign to choose whatever you want.  I think we’ve learned that if you want change enough you can make it happen and make it work for you.

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Well our open water swim group is still going.  We haven’t measured the water temperature but its fair to say it’s [expletive] cold.  Probably something like 15 or 16oC, which despite wearing our swim wetsuits (about 2 to 3mm), hoods, gloves and boots, we are still finding challenging.  Today was especially difficult… towards the end of the swim we each realised that we had our own little restricted movements of various parts of our bodies.  I couldn’t use my lips properly, a couple of the guys ended up with non-responsive fingers.

The aim was to swim through the winter if we could and so far we’ve been doing well.  3km may prove to be too long for the next few weeks though until it starts warming up again come October and November.  It’s nice to know that we are doing weekly 3km swims which will be fantastic practice for the Harbour Crossing at the end of November which is just under 3km.

After getting home and warming up we hosted a post-swim brunch which worked really well.  Josie disappeared at 2pm to go and do a crochet afternoon – we’re all rock and roll here!

Once my swim crowd departed, the girls and I grabbed a load of crusts we’d accumulated and headed off in search of ducks!  We didn’t have far to go before finding some on Deep Creek, down by our beach.  After feeding them we headed onto the beach and went exploring the rocks over by the Tor.  We walked where I’d swum through just a few hours due to the tide being on its outward flow.  I love taking photos in the winter, the light is dramatic and everything is crisp.  We’ve been blessed with blue skies and calm seas for a number of weekends now – better swimming conditions than the end of summer, start of Autumn.

Check out the pics of our huge girls!


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It’s been a while coming, but I’ve finally finished the series of videos from our Nothland Road Trip we did with Rob and Natalie back in March.  Lucy said the other day “Wouldn’t it be exciting if the Jucy van came down the drive with Rob and Natalie!”

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