When we first thought through our trip here, to New Zealand, we knew Joel would be able to continue his work, and I had done some research and brought along all I would need to apply for certification to teach in the country- or so I thought.
I think Joel and I also were prepared for the fact that it might not be as easy for me to find work, and ultimately if I didn’t- we would be ok.
We moved, we journeyed and eventually Joel adjusted to what was once normal for us- work, structured schedules and deadlines. It’s weird to be in another country, though. While trying to find the mental capacity and structure to upkeep the normal aspects of life- the things that make it possible for you to be adventuring- you still need to watch your bank account knowing there is a price to pay to cross items off your bucket list.
You work hard in order to travel and live days spattered with dreams come true, but you don’t expect that to be much of an adjustment. That’s been our experience anyway.
Part of the adjustment has been me not being able to be the financial contributor I like to be and want to be. I am a perpetual little sister- I want to keep up with everyone else, I strive to be independent, I’m just a little too stubborn for my own good- and that means I have a tendency to get a bit squirrelly when I’m out of my element.
A few days after we’d gotten ourselves sorted in Papamoa, I sat down to revisit the necessary documentation and process required for me to get my teaching qualifications in New Zealand, and discovered a few unexpected elements I was missing for my application.
The more I thought through logistics and timelines, I realized I would just rather put my efforts into different pursuits. SO that’s what I did…or am doing.
The Day to Day
In our house, I am the resident with the most free time.
Brandon and Stacey are able to do a lot of really amazing design work and their office is generally set up and buzzing around the kitchen table. Joel has a little corner office in the back of our house where he’s able to type away with few distractions and a decent enough wifi connection (as long as no one is using the microwave) to take calls and whatever he needs, really is back there.
I generally strive for a positive attitude as I try to busy myself with tasks that seem useful (this is just a me thing- I’m sure most of the Klettke-Nickerson crew would be totally fine if I just sat around eating ice cream on the couch as a full time job).
I have kept our part of the house (bathroom and bedroom) as consistently clean as I ever have kept things. At first I made sure things were off the floor and our bed was made so we weren’t surprised by cockroaches or something finding a safe haven in and amongst all those cozy nooks of cloth, but it’s evolved from there. It seems to help my mental health to have a clean space knowing I have so much extra time.
This ‘see the clean, feel the happy’ thing extends to other everyday tasks, too. There was mice week (or weeks, really) that kept us all busy, and I was happy to run errands to find different pest control options. A week of weed-control, too- doing a little upkeep on the rock garden around the property as well as a little trash pick up around the yard (Stacey was great with this, too).
One of my favourite ordinary things to do here is hanging our clothes to dry on the line. I love hearing the oceans rhythm and knowing we’ll soon have sun-warmed, wind-ironed, happy clothes.
I have really enjoyed cooking lots-meals, cookies, muffins, desserts, big breakfasts… This is something I’d like to continue and expand on. I’m eager to learn new and different recipes, and it’s been fun experimenting with new meals as a group.
To Do Lists
With so much extra time I’ve tried being productive with the things that kinda tend to creep up on me.
I’ve tried writing a blog post once a week or once every other week. My favourite way of completing blog posts is to pack up my laptop bag and walk to Henry & Ted to grab a cappuccino before opening up the ol’ Macbook and typing until my eyes, brain and fingers have had enough.
The whole house has now gotten into hitting the gym a few times a week. This is new and necessary because we all love Hokey Pokey ice cream…maybe a little too much.
Stacey and I have pulled up YouTube yoga videos a few times as well, just to try and keep ourselves active and stretched out- it’s especially great doing this after road trips and things where our backs are all outta whack. We roll out our matching yoga mats and giggle as we heckle our virtual instructors (usually after they want us to do something we don’t wanna do).
Another time-consuming task I’ve been able to tackle while being here and unemployed are photos! I was able to take advantage of a Shutterfly deal and get our wedding photos set in a big book that’ll be waiting when we get home.
I was even able to organize photos for the books our amazing wedding photographer will put together for us and I’ve sorted through our photos and FINALLY posted a good selection to my Facebook page 🙂
Having time off has given me a chance to invest in things I love- but often push aside with the everyday.
I am a slow reader, but have read more books since being in New Zealand than I have probably in the last year or more. I feel a difference in my memory, my grammar (which is usually terrible) and my vocabulary when I read- so I’ve appreciated this time to stretch my brain a bit.
I’ve been challenging myself to journal-often journalling through my thoughts on sermons I’ve been listening, things I’ve been reading and some of my thoughts as I process through my massive amounts of quiet time.
I love to research. I like to make sure if I need a jacket, I buy the one that’ll last me a while and that most purchaser seem to like. I also really like to support local products when I can and I think it’s cool how local shops and products often reflect the values of an area.
SO since being here I’ve spent some time researching different local shops, cafes and products. This has been really fun- I have learned lots already, and know that will only grow.
I’ve had a great time finding companies that make kids clothes just 20 mins away, or toys that are made in Tauranga and products that have been based in New Zealand for nearly 100 years. That stuff is just cool & I’ve been having fun discovering these spots.
My research has even reached into entertainment- we’ve had fun watching kiwi movies, and reading books written by New Zealand authors. It’s also lead to further entertainment as we practice our kiwi accents and as we butcher the Maori language and laugh at our attempts to properly pronounce things.
Finally, researching has brought me lots of joys as I’ve had time to book flights, day trips, hikes, Airbnbs, treks and different activities to be sure we take advantage of our time here. It’s been great to have time to plan trips for our visitors, too- trying to find new things for us to see and do while customizing activities (or at least attempting to) for specific friends/family members.
The Bucket List
I have a physical bucket list written out a home- things I don’t want to forget about. Things I want to try while I have time. I have a satisfying box to place a check in when I’ve completed a task, along with space for a brief description of how the task was completed.
The list is mostly made of silly, little things that are easily accomplished peppered amongst bigger tickets items.
I’ve thought of my list a few times since being here, and have tried to work towards some checks when we get back home.
Things like: read a certain number of books in a month, sketch every day for a month, snowboard somewhere outside North America, plant an edible garden and make latte art while learning to make some great coffee are all on the list and easily accomplishable here. SO that’s my goal.
I’ve contacted some different places that offer adult art classes to expand my skills, I’ve signed up for a barista class, I use my sketchbook more than I have since University, we are going to the South Island to board Mt. Hutt at the end of August and I’m in process of volunteering at a primary school not far from our house.
Loads of things to chip away at during this season of life.
Just Being Here
Even though I’ve had a chance to do a lot of activities since arriving, some days my job becomes keeping positive and reminding myself I’m here.
One of my bucket list items was to live abroad. I’m living the life I’ve dreamt of living, and doing something I’ve always wanted to do.
Sometimes I have to remind myself that we live by the Ocean, and it’s time to unplug and see this place. Live the life I’ve been blessed to lead.
Little things like teaching Stacey how to crochet and making a 100% New Zealand wool tuque in the process, or sketching (even though portraits aren’t my strength- now’s the time to practice), or just enjoying the rainbows we seem to get daily and our beach.
I always want to see and be thankful for this life, and our life lived abundantly.