Alaskans Down Under

I decided to turn my life over to chaos. I tend to do that every few years. Must be from growing up with a Mountie for a dad. We moved a lot and I think I got used to shaking things up.

We’ve been in Homer five years and I’ve been yearning for a shake-up. Luckily for me, the fates agreed and handed our little family a very cool opportunity.

Hunter’s contract with his last employer stipulated that he could not work in his field for 12 months after said contract’s end. As we neared the end of his contract, we had a few options. I was drawn to going back to Canada to cover a maternity leave in communications (for my US friends, Canadians get 12 months maternity leave, creating some interesting opportunities for short-term work). Hunter considered a few options including going back to Florida for a spell. In the end, we decided to find an adventure.

Long story short, a contact of a contact knew a thing or two about working in New Zealand. He put us in touch with a recruiter and in a matter of weeks, Hunter had a new job.  Then we started the long, expensive and arduous process of applying for a skilled migrant visa.

Fast forward a few months and a several thousand dollars and here we are: our house is rented to a lovely family, Milton is being fostered by our amazing neighbours, our stuff is in storage and we’re holed up at a friend’s mom’s house until we go.

Our passports arrived in the mail from London this morning so tonight; we’ll book our flights and start the final push to leave. I’m so excited. I’ve never been to New Zealand and moving sight unseen makes this much more thrilling.

We are heading to a town on the east coast of the south island called Oamaru. Its claim to fame is steampunk and little blue penguins. I hear they make a killer cheese there. Apparently, the beer’s pretty good, too.

Pea starts kindergarten right after we get there. The idea's been hard for her to grasp but I think it will work out well. New Zealand’s year-round school system allows kids to start school as soon as they turn five, no waiting for the next school year to begin. There’s going to be lots of opportunities for Pea, it’ll be great.

Little Hunter will have all sorts of things to keep him busy, too. He’s learning to talk and I’ll bet he comes back with an accent.

So that’s what’s been keeping us busy these days. We have every intention of coming back after the 12 months have lapsed…Oh who am I kidding? It's December. We’ll probably stretch it to 18 months to get an extra summer in. Who wouldn't want an extra summer?