20 years on

It’s still March 12 in London, well at least for another hour and a half, but with the time difference it is already March 13 in New Zealand.

Twenty years ago my life changed forever, when my mum lost the love of her life – my father. He was a really good man and I miss him every day.

One of my brothers said to me the 13th is a day of reflection and I like that approach. In the last 20 years, I have moved halfway around the world, travelled to 33 countries (some of them multiple times), met the love of my life and grown as a person.

I was fortunate to grow up in a loving family, surrounded by positive role models who encourage and inspire me every day. My dad was one of these people – his selflessness in helping others is something I will always remember, as well as the importance of family.

In 1991 he wrote in a letter to his aunt ‘…This is a bit of a ramble but actually it made me stop and think about each of the kids individually. I would have to admit to being very proud of each and everyone of them. With the various strengths to be found among them they present a formidabe force to be reckoned with when working together’.

It seems strange that tomorrow is just another day, when it feels like so much more. But I will follow my brother’s advice and reflect upon the past and my personal development and growth and I will raise a glass on toast to your memory Dad x

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Five Years Ago Today

Five Years ago today, I arrived in the UK. Life in London always seems to move so fast and the years have truly flown by.

Looking back, this was definitely the right move for me. It can be hard at times with the distance and whilst technology definitely plays a part in keeping in touch, it’s not quite the same as real human interaction. But you make the most of the time you do get together and video call the rest.

I love being able to travel; to see the world and experience different cultures. Part of my heart will always be in New Zealand, but over the years England has also developed roots in my soul.

I have visited so many incredible places, made wonderful friends, had some crazy adventures and met the most amazing man.

Five years on, and still loving it.

Reflections in the frozen pond

5, 4, 3, 2, 1…’Happy New Year’…and then begin the resolutions and reflections.

One of the biggest lessons I have learnt in life is that life itself is unpredictable. That does not mean that everything is flung together in chaos and we frantically cling to the liferaft of sanity (although on occasion that does occur). Moreso, that on ocassion the unexpected happens and throws us for a loop.

We become adept at procrastination, putting things off – not out of malice or spite but because we believe we have more time. This blog post has taken almost 2 weeks to write because one train ride to work was not enough (and another 4 weeks to post because I keep forgetting when I reconnect to wifi to publish).

I have been reflecting a lot lately on the things we often leave unsaid because we think we will have another opportunity or the things we leave undone because tomorrow awaits. I believe every day is an opportunity to live life to the fullest, to tell your friends and family the things you appreciate about them or to book the trip you have been thinking about for months.

In surrounding ourselves by those that inspire us to be our best self when we look into the frozen pond not only is our outer beauty reflected but also our inner radiance. Looking back at the past year, I can see the difference this has made for me.

2016 was not a good year, I was unhappy at work and it began to affect my personal life and relationship with friends. 2017 was so much better, work had improved and had become a more encouraging environment in which to grow and my mental health and happinness prospered.

I have the love of a good man and I have some amazing friends and family who encourage and inspire me. I am proud of what I have overcome and am grateful for the experiences so that I can truly appreciate what I have now. I am truly excited to see what 2018 holds.

My Top Ten of 2017

It has been over a year since I lasted posted…which is not ideal but things have been busy. To get back into it I thought I would start off with my top 10 of 2017.

In no particular order my top 10 is:

  1. Meeting Abdul; a truly amazing man who makes me feel special every day and is also probably the biggest doughnut I know.
  2. My sister’s wedding; getting to be a part of Michaela and Jared’s special day was definitely a highlight of 2017.
  3. Trip home to New Zealand; it may have flown by, but a month at home was definitely overdue. Was so nice getting to catch up with family and friends.
  4. Travel; with so many trips to pick from it is hard to single out just one – Iceland, Liverpool, Disneyland Paris, Basingstoke, Budapest, Barcelona, Oxford, Italy, New Zealand and Brussels were all fabulous in their own way.
  5. Friends (regardless of distance between us); who have kept me sane, laughed at my jokes and shared in my joy.
  6. Seeing the Northern Lights with my mum was an unforgettable experience and a magical moment to share.
  7. Ringing in the New Year with my love and a few drinks after a delicious meal.
  8. Finding the house in Liverpool my Dad spent his first few years in before his family made the move to New Zealand.
  9. My family; crazy, strong individuals who inspire me every day.
  10. My activities; netball, fighting fit and strength & body.

2017 was an amazing year and I think 2018 is going to be even better. Over the past couple of years I have learnt the importance of doing the things that make you happy and surrounding yourself with the people you love. Life is too short to be tangled up in the weeds of negativity.

Footprints in the mind

Yesterday you would have been 67, I had a drink for you.

I’m reminded of your kindness and your goodness and hope that I make you proud every day.

I remember how you had a hypo at my first communion and needed to drink my cola drink to give you the sugar you needed. You felt so bad, you bought me a proper coke afterwards. It made me feel special that I could help you.

You were a good man and constantly put others first. You and mum were pillars of strength, from which I draw inspiration. I can’t recall a time when you weren’t helping out with one thing or another.

I may have only had you for just over 9 years, but unlike footprints in the sand that wash away with the tide, the impressions you made on me will be imprinted in my mind and heart forever.

Happy birthday Daddy. Love you.

Return from blogging hiatus

‘You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.’ – Dr. Seuss

‘Onward up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak. Oh! The places you’ll go!’ – Dr. Seuss

I know I have been very quiet on the blogging front lately. A lot has been going on in the last six months and whilst normally I would process it by writing about it, this time it felt more appropriate to process in private. But now I’m back…

Three years ago I was packing up my belongings and saying goodbye to the my safety net of friends and family and plunging head first in the depths of the unknown.

I have made so many amazing friends in the last three years and built up a new life from scratch. I’m still me, but stronger and more confident. Based in London I’m afforded the opportunity of regular travel and have managed to add to the number of countries travelled that I’m now at an even 22 with so many more places to see.

It can be hard being so far away from the people back home and having to take part in the big moments from the sidelines, but distance only means so much. Thankfully with technology today it is a lot easier to keep in touch.

Tomorrow is my three-year anniversary of arriving in London and much like this time last year I plan to celebrate over a few drinks with friends.

For those of you keeping track, since moving to London, here is a list of places I have travelled:

Places I've been between 30 May 2013 and 29 May 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

Batteries running low

Two years, six months and 6 days (8 by the time I’m back) ago I left my safety net I had built up in New Zealand and headed over to the UK to start a new adventure in life.

And boy what an adventure…so many cities visited, so many people met. I have no regrets in my decision to leave, it was exactly what I needed. However, it hasn’t always been easy. There have been quite a few moments where being so far away from my family has been hard; only being able to share in grief, joy, concern and celebrations from the big screen rather than the sidelines.

However, for a month, I’m off the bench and back in the starting line up and I’m super excited. Two of the biggest changes since I was last home, is the birth of my youngest nephew and the passing of my gran. It will be different being back after so long, but even an energiser bunny eventually runs out of juice and I can’t think of a better place to recharge than New Zealand.

But don’t worry England, I will be back in January…

Checking in

The saying goes time flies when you are having fun. It would seem the same applies for when you are extremely busy. Months begin to meld together and you start sentences saying “last year” when you meant “last week”.

The last five months have whizzed by so quickly and at the same time felt so long. Apologies to all for the recent blogging hiatus, especially those who sent me very friendly emails to make sure I was okay and still alive. Between travelling, work and moving flats – life has been hectic and my blogging has taken a direct hit as a result.

I am aiming to be a bit more regular with my blogs again and entertain (hopefully) those of you still listening with my ramblings. So just checking in to let you all know I haven’t checked out.

Time flies, but not the memories

They say time flies when you are having fun – it’s crazy how true this is. The last two years have been full of adventures, amazing people, tears, laughter and pure craziness.

It’s a little scary to think that is has been 2 years since I left New Zealand to head here. I remember my last day clearly, especially the panic of my siblings when they realised I still hadn’t packed. I felt really calm about making the move, I knew it was the right choice for me. A step I needed to take to refind myself – the confident person I had forgotten. The final airport scene did make me emotional with so many of my family turning up to make sure I got on the plane see me off.

Tomorrow will be 2 years since I arrived in the UK. So many people arrive here and have to find their feet immediately and sort themselves out. I was lucky to have a friend who helped me settle in and introduced me to some of my first UK friends. I will be forever grateful for her kindness.

I am so fortunate for the opportunities I have been presented with in the UK – a chance to give back to the RMCH that provided support to my family, a permanent position in a supportive and caring team, meeting some truly amazing people who enrich my life with their presence, the ability to travel to my hearts desire and a second family in the wonderful people I live with. My life is truly blessed and I have no regrets.

Whilst New Zealand will always be my home, London is definitely becoming a second home. I have felt a bit emotional coming up to this anniversary, though that is also partially due to being ill the last couple of days and wishing my mum was here to take care of me. I am definitely looking forward to a trip home at the end of the year to see everyone. By the time I get back it will be just over 2.5 years since I have seen the majority of my family and friends and I still have to meet my newest nephew.

It’s crazy to think if I was on a 2-year visa like many of my friends I would be having to catch a plane back tomorrow. But unfortunately or fortunately (depending on individual perspectives) the UK is stuck with me for now…hopefully it’s the latter.

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Sex and the City

As an avid traveller, I have learnt over the years it is often better to enter a trip without any pre-conceptions on what a place will be like. Despite having countlessly watched the entire series of Sex and the City and Friends I didn’t really know what to expect from New York and I was pleased to find that, apart from the shirtless man casually knocking one out as we walked down the street, it was a world of it’s own.

Americans and New York are often portrayed in movies and tv shows as rude and obnoxious, but everyone I met was kind and generous. Their stories were full of intrigue, humour. Truly the most rewarding part of my trip was not a sole activity, but the countless people I encountered and befriended during my short stay.

NYC is full of mystery, there is always something new to explore or see around each corner. If you are spending a few days there I would recommend looking at investing in a NYC Pass to make the most of your stay. If you get a chance then a visit to the Empire State Building in the evening is just as worth a visit there during the day – the views are stunning, just try not to get blown away. The discount ticket sellers in the middle of Times Square will give you a good deal for the best Broadway and Off Broadway shows, just make sure you buy it from the actual sellers at the windows and not the people standing in the square.

Heading upstate – then a trip to Corning Glass Museum is a definite recommendation. Information and interactive, I didn’t think I was going to enjoy this museum as much as I did. But it reminded my of the House of Waterford Crystal and was well worth the visit.

Thanks to my friends I managed to visit a lot in the 11 days I was there: NYC, Binghamton, Corning, Niagara Falls, Ithaca, New Jersey, Philadelphia before coming back to NYC. I am so grateful to all the amazing people that opened their homes and families up to us. I had a wonderful time and I will definitely be back America.