Journal: Month 1
What a crazy few weeks its been! The big scary thing has happened - I've shifted aaaaaaaall the way around the world to England. Not bad for a wee country bumpkin who hadn't been to Auckland a few years ago! This is the first of the journal series, where I get a bit more personal with my experiences overseas and record the nitty gritty of living as an expat. I hope you find it interesting!
Leaving New Zealand
It was awful leaving my family. It was horrible saying goodbye indefinitely to my parents, grandparents and all of the other special people in my life, not knowing what the future holds for myself or them. It was such a stressful day too, trying not to forget anything and making sure everything was organised - our bags, our stuff at home, and all our loose ends. I bawled my eyes out walking out onto the tarmac to the first plane of many, and it took until Hawkes Bay was well out of sight until the tears stopped. Poor Micky was telling me we could go straight back if I thought I was making a mistake, but eventually the resolve and excitement kicked back in and I knew it would all be okay. It had to be!
First stop: Burleigh Heads, Australia
Our first stop was gorgeous Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast of Australia. We had made a mistake flying to Brisbane airport however, as it took us over an hour on the train to get to Burleigh, whereas the Gold Coast airport was a much shorter trip there. Oh well! We absolutely loved Burleigh Heads, spending our days revelling in the cruisey beach lifestyle that everyone enjoys there. Tons of people are up and about before 6, surfing and enjoying the national park and walkways. And at the other end of the scale, people are too full and tired from being busy and eating delicious food to stay up late! We ate out at least once a day, learnt to skateboard and biked kilometers and kilometers to the nearby beaches and towns. Everywhere we went though wasn't as nice as Burleigh. Surfers Paradise was too busy, Broad Beach didn't have a cafe and boutique filled heart, and Currimbin was windy and spread out. Burleigh was definitely a place I can imagine us living - I really loved it! But, considering it's the first place we have visited in Oz we can't make those decisions yet!
Next stop: Germany
Our flights (all three of them, 6 hours being the shortest!) were good, but unfortunately our bags hadn't been put straight through to Munich so we had to pick them up and check them through again in Bali. BUT - we weren't allowed to pick our bags up unless we had a visa! A visa just to go through to the baggage area and take it through. Ridiculous! 70 euro's and a two check-ins later, we were set for the next flights. Growl!
However, Munich at Christmas time was MAGICAL. I loved it here - the relaxed and contented vibe off the people, the gorgeous winter fashion, and the Christmas spirit! Coming from New Zealand where we celebrate Christmas on the beach with a barbecue and new jandals, it was a total change. I had hoped it would snow, but no luck! It was sunny, but the sun set early and the temperatures dropped very quickly. We had ranges of -2 to 10 degrees, but it was quite manageable when wearing merino socks and sipping Glühwein (mulled wine). The streets were filled with wooden cottages packed full of Christmas loot - ornaments, chocolates, nativity scenes, pies and sausages, and the department stores had impressive Christmas window displays. I have never felt the Christmas spirit so strongly - our three days here were wonderful!
A Christmas Surprise
We are now in England, having surprised Micky's family for Christmas. (We had said we were coming back in January, so they were a bit shocked to have us turn up in December!). We are back for a year, working and seeing some more of this gorgeous country. After that, well... Nothing is set in stone yet! :)
So far, it's been uncharacteristically warm (by that I mean about 10 degrees!) and pretty relaxed. We have eaten lots of oatcakes, and shopped. There are more museums to explore, and nearby cities to visit. Plus, I have managed to get a job starting next year, and signed up to the Manchester Roller Derby League. Bring it on! The new year brings a new job, new friends and new places to visit. I can't wait!
Thank you to our hosts in Burleigh and our friends who kindly opened their home to us in Munich and showed us around during our stay - you are awesome! :)
Check out my post about our AirBnB stay here... Stay tuned as well for more posts to come about the best things to do in Burleigh, and the best places to fill your bellies! :)