Family Travel

New Year, New Home, New Zealand

28 December, 2013

Today has been our last full day in England for a while. Tomorrow we fly to New Zealand to begin something wholly new. We don’t know what, but we have a few (billion) ideas.

The last week has been a bit emosh, to say the least. My heart jumps into my throat at the littlest thing- my nephew Hudson reading Ramona her bed time story, looking at photos that have captured fun moments from the last few years, saying weepy, snotty Goodbyes to friends who’ve been my besties since I was seven.

It’s been the most overdrawn goodbye in some ways. We began properly telling everyone that we were moving to New Zealand at the start of the summer, mostly through, er, this blog. *note to self- best to tell employers about such a big move before blogging about it*

Then we said Cheerio and galavanted about Europe, than came back with a broken van, then said Laters again and trundled to Spain, then had a leaving party last week, and now, after a million farewells and six months of preparing to go, it’s here for real, quick as a flash, the time to leave.

I fall in love with New Zealand when I’m there. I really do. I moved there when I was 18 and lived there until I was 24. I met Tim there and when Tim and I were having those hypothetical conversations with each other about the possibility of marriage (you know, “If two people had only just met but really loved each other should one, like, ask the other one to get married? It’s just for a friend…”) he asked me which place I considered home. I didn’t think twice. I’d lived in New Zealand for five gleeful years already, three with my folks about and two more without them, without any family at all; “New Zealand! I never want to leave!”

We left about 18 months later, in response to an urge I had to be close to my sister while she had her first baby. And we’ve been here almost seven years…

My sister and I this week- matching blankets, coats and babies! (She is on her third now.)

For about five generations my family has been fairly nomadic- staying in places for just a couple of years at a time. Every generation, until us, have been ministers of religion, living all over the UK and the world for different vocational roles.

My grandparents, whenever anyone asked them what place they loved the most, which area they called home, would always reply, wherever they were, “Right here!”

I guess it’s in my blood a little bit, eh? This love-the-place-you-are thing.

20131228-194147.jpg My folks, this week.

Because right now I really feel I am tearing myself away from here. I feel like the London that I spent much of my childhood in has been in my bones all along. That returning to the neighbourhood I grew up in, and raising my girls for a bit here, has kind of unlocked a deep sense of home, a primal “This is my land! These are my people!” kind of thing. (Also, “These are my fried chicken bones! These are my fallen out hair weaves!” – not a patch of ground exists in South London free of these. But they weren’t actually mine, you see…)

We have just had the most wonderful 7 years here. We’ve made so many good, new friends and have rekindled old ones. We’ve had such a lot of adventures, riding our bikes, joining in protests, communal living, wandering streets, going to festivals, picnicking, swimming in rivers.

We arrive in New Zealand at 11:45pm on the 31st December- that is quarter to 2014! It’ll be weird celebrating the New Year with strangers around the baggage carousel (but I’ve had weirder, especially the one involving lots of elderly Scots and bagpipes.)

So, a new year and a new home, and lots of new adventures awaiting us. I just need to find out what a Zealand is, then I’ll get a new one of those too.

Have a lovely celebration yourself, and I wish you a great sense of hope for the year ahead.

*looks around the room at my family, has a bit more of a cry*

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  • Sonya Cisco 28 December, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    Wishing you so much joy on your new adventure xxx

    • Lucy 29 December, 2013 at 8:32 am

      Thanks Sonya, I hope you have a lovely new year too x x x

  • 76sunflowers 28 December, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    I love your NZ story and wish you all the best. So pleased to have briefly met you at Camp B back in August πŸ˜‰ My BIL and his family have been drawn back to NZ following 2 yrs in Canada so maybe one day I’ll get to visit. Have a fab fab time x x

    • Lucy 29 December, 2013 at 8:31 am

      There are so many Brits who feel this pull I think, it’s amazing.
      Maybe see you there one day!

  • Mary Keynko 28 December, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    Can’t believe we didn’t get to meet in person before you go! Have an awesome time and look forward to reading all about it here! (P.S Son and DIL are planning on a sport of travelling in the net couple of years – I might send them to you for a cuppa!)

    • Lucy 29 December, 2013 at 8:31 am

      Yes, definitely dooooo! And also, gatecrash their trip!

  • Teeny 29 December, 2013 at 12:18 am

    Where are you going to be staying here (NZ)?
    I’d love to get together a ‘welcome’ type package for you so, if you like, and don’t find it too creepy you can message me your post address once you know where you will be. I live in the Wellington region….but not IN Wellington. More like, out in the sticks over the motorway and beyond. I’d find it hard to move away from my family now that we are all in one spot. Take care.

    • Lucy 29 December, 2013 at 8:27 am

      Oh, too kind Teeny! Not creepy at all πŸ™‚ I’ve sent an email πŸ™‚

  • Stephanie Ward 29 December, 2013 at 1:34 am

    I’ve lived half my life in the UK and half in NZ and consider both to be home, so hard that they are about as far away from each other as you can get! But, I love your sentiment of loving where you are now, and I am sure you will find your new place with some awesome people. And, small town NZ has some AWESOME op shops πŸ™‚ Happy New Year.

    • Lucy 29 December, 2013 at 8:29 am

      It is such a PAIN that they are so very far away form each other! It’s really the distance that makes this just so so hard.
      Also, I CANT WAIT FOR THE INVENTION OF SUPER ROCKETS so we can zoom about in micro seconds. Get on that, science, okay?!

  • Carly 29 December, 2013 at 4:54 am

    All the best with the move! I did the same thing last year and can say I did not regret it at all! I was very nervous but we love living back in New Zealand it has so much to offer and is perfect for kids πŸ™‚ Hope you settle in well and Happy New Year xx

    • Lucy 29 December, 2013 at 8:30 am

      Oh, so cool to hear that Caroy, thank you! Love the name of your blog, will be checking it out x x

  • Roger Driver-Burgess 29 December, 2013 at 8:10 am

    Feeling for you as you leave, Lucy. I know you’re going to love it here, but I’m glad you’re coming from a place of connectedness, too.
    Thinking of you.

    • Lucy 29 December, 2013 at 8:30 am

      Thanks Roger πŸ™‚

  • Notmyyearoff 29 December, 2013 at 8:43 am

    It sounds like you are moving home away from home. I wish you all the best and look forward to reading your new adventures πŸ™‚

  • Emma 29 December, 2013 at 11:30 am

    You are about to start the emotional roller coaster that is expat life! As much as it drives me mad sometimes, I wouldn’t have it any other way… Good luck, bon voyage and bon courage! πŸ™‚

  • Anna 29 December, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    Oh good luck! What an adventure! We were just talking yesterday about living in NZ and then I came home and read this post (and the previous one…) and I felt all emotional ha ha! I can’t wait to hear all about the adventure on the blog next year! Exciting times! X

  • Boo Roo and Tigger Too 29 December, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    I was going to wish you good luck but as you are in fact going ‘home’ I wish you happiness, health and hopes that you’ll regularly update us with beautiful photos and stories of what you have been up to

  • Leslie Kendall Dye 29 December, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    Aw, I’m tearing up and homesick for London after reading this, and I live in New York!

    Thank you for sharing such a lovely personal story. Just the other day I was saying to my husband, “please let’s sell everything and move to France. couldn’t we?”

    Best of luck, excited to hear about your new adventures. I understand Hobbits live in New Zealand, so I want to travel there someday.

  • Valerie 29 December, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    Good luck guys! I am sure you will have wonderful adventures. My sister lives in NZ just outside Auckland with her husband, kids, goats, chickens etc lol and I know they LOVE it. If I ever make it to see my sister I will let you know, we may even bring you a souvenir from Blighty. Safe travels

  • Emma 29 December, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    OMG I’m so excited for you!! The leaving part is so hard but the adventures will be wonderful and I for one can’t wait to read about them. Stay safe and God speed babe xxxx

  • Samantha Mertler 30 December, 2013 at 4:04 am

    So weird! I lived in New Zealand for just shy of 5 years. 2003-2007. I’ve been back in Canada for coming up on 7 years.. New Zealand totally spoke to my soul and I thought I’d live there forevermore.. But haven’t made it back. Good luck it’ll be awesome.

  • Paula 30 December, 2013 at 9:30 am

    Oh, eee! I just found your blog and live in NZ. Happy travels! Where will you be settling?

  • Mia 30 December, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    All the best xx

  • emily 30 December, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    My best mate lives in New Zealand and she feel the same kind of 2 way pull you describe every time she visits us back in the UK. Have a wonderful time and do keep us posted of your adventures. xx

  • LondonHeather 30 December, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    All the best to you and your family! It must be so exciting and yet so difficult to say goodbye, but that’s the way of adventure, right? Looking forward to reading about life in your new home in the New Year. X

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  • Lady Demelza 2 January, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    Lucy, I am so thrilled about you moving to New Zealand, because it means I can come and visit you. I hope you don’t mind that I’m inviting myself over, because I’ve already decided that’s what I’m going to do. Don’t worry, I haven’t even got a passport yet, so I won’t be rocking up before you’ve had a chance to get settled. No need to put the kettle on just yet.

    • Lady Demelza 3 January, 2014 at 3:21 am

      Umm, it just occurred to me that that possibly sounded a bit over-excited about lunatic stalker-ish… gosh, I’m so crap at communicating in these little comment boxes. Perhaps what I should have said was… Lucy, I’ve never been to NZ, even though I lived as close as Tasmania for several years. I’ve been thinking I’d love to get my passport again and come see NZ. You being there makes it all the more exciting. When I get there, I’d love to come and pop in for a cup of tea. Especially if it were served in one of your lovely tea cups.

      • Lucy 3 January, 2014 at 9:24 pm

        Hahahaha excellent- I’d LOVE TO SEE YOU!

  • Crystal 4 January, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    Good luck! I hope you guys are settling in to your new home in the glorious summer sun. Wishing you joyous days filled with love and laughter x

  • BabyCalmCorinne 9 January, 2014 at 1:00 am

    Welcome to NZ πŸ™‚ Sounds like you’re in the Nth Is. at the moment. Feel free to visit us if you’re down in Chch later on πŸ™‚

  • Cara 2 February, 2014 at 9:10 am

    Congratulations on making the move! I read your most recent posts about you being in NZ and got all confused thinking I’m sure Lucy is a UK blogger. I read back until I found this post. We were actually over in NZ 16 Dec to 10 Jan visiting family for a wedding. What a wonderful place for you to raise your family. We split our time between Auckland, Mount Maunganui and Whitianga (my favourite place-the coastline was amazing here.) My children had a ball of a time. I agree that most trees have a swing in them. I look forward to following your further adventures. Ps there is a gorgeous campsite at the base of Mount Maunganui if you ever get down that way. We wandered around it lots admiring the caravans and camper homes. I must find the time to blog it all x