This time last year, Bruce visited colleagues in Wellington, New Zealand and learned more about the job he had applied for there. It was (and still is!) a job that had his name written all over it and he had been shortlisted although the interviews had yet to happen.
The prospect of a move to NZ has taken a lot of getting used to though. The job is great, and there is no doubt that it is a beautiful country with so many benefits. But, oh my goodness, what a distance from family and friends. The UK is our home; could we really go so far away that the time and money required would make even an annual visit back a major undertaking?
Even after the interview was successful and the job offer accepted, there have been periods of doubt:
- Would the department really invest in the type of equipment needed to build up the facility proposed? The answer to that was yes. The container containing the recently purchased mass spec is possibly going through the Suez Canal as I type. In other words, Bruce is taking one of his favourite pieces of lab instrumentation from one institution to the next, a major step in expanding the research capabilities of where he is going.
- Would we get through the visa process? In the end I had to jump through a few extra hoops with my medical history. If the visas hadn't come through, what on earth would have been our plan b?
- When would we tell the girls? When should we aim to move?
We've achieved a huge amount in the past month or so.
Five years' worth of DIY has been crammed into a few weeks, with fresh coats of paint, fixed door handles, replacing the shower cubicle... the list was long. Also, transplanting apple trees and other plants from the allotment (an emotional undertaking). One car has been sold. Those we all items on Bruce's list I might add - I am the taking bags of unwanted-but-still-functional clothing and clutter to the charity shop member of the team. Also contributing to the admin: getting three shipping companies to come round and quote for removals to NZ, three lettings agents for renting our house out once we've gone. Of course there has been non-NZ activity too: a tax return to do, feeding the family, trying to work.
Bruce flies out tomorrow.
The adventure starts in earnest.
We will continue to put everything we can into place while he's away. We have the bathroom refit in March, we need some more work to be done before we can let the house. At times it will be a struggle. The girls are not looking forward to seeing their dad go. Neither am I for that matter! More than two months apart is a long time and we'll miss him. He'll be homesick. Facetime and Skype will become our norm. We will enjoy our distractions - Bruce getting stuck into his new job, and for us girls: ballet, gymnastics, visits to friends and family, and preparations for the ballet show which lead right up until the end of our time here at the beginning of May.
Time will drag when our hearts ache, but mostly time will go too quickly. We'll be off before we know it. It's full steam ahead!