3 Years Repatriated in New Zealand

Sunset Ohakune

Time flies. 3 years seems like a long time and yet it feels like I’ve just returned to my home country of New Zealand in many ways. I sometimes wonder if that feeling will ever change.

After reading my post from last year of ‘2 Years On… Expat back in New Zealand’ I feel a bit weird. It kinda makes me realise how much has happened in the 3 years since I’ve been back.

The year that was

The word no-one likes to mention that is grief

Many of you may remember me mentioning my grief last year and may know how difficult that has been for me. I don’t believe grief has a timeline and it still rears its ugly head more often than I’d like, though the ‘waves’ I mentioned are much less frequent now. It’s like a piece of my heart has chipped away and a rock of pain and heartache has replaced it. It’s always there and I’m just learning to live with it and let it be. It represents the love I have for my father and how he’ll always be with me.

Discovering snowboarding

Whakapapa Skifield - Happy Valley at sunset

Whakapapa Skifield, New Zealand – Happy Valley at sunset

If I was to account something major (that isn’t professional help) for helping me through my grief it would be snowboarding. I took up the adventure sport last year and despite injuries I loved every moment. It was something close to nature, something new and something that took all my attention to learn and my mind off other things that made me sad.

As winter is drawing near again, I’m getting excited to get my board out again and feel that release as I glide (hopefully not crash) down the snowy white slopes. There isn’t much more beautiful in winter than when the mountains are covered in white snow, the air is fresh and crisp and the skies are blue with warm sun shining down.

Beautiful road-trip of New Zealand’s South Island

My birthday and Christmas are really hard times of year for me, so last year I decided to take the time to do a road trip in the South Island at Christmas.

Still reflections of Lake Matheson

Still reflections of Lake Matheson

I’ve travelled to different parts of New Zealand over the last few years since returning from London, but I had always wanted to link them up and see as much of the beautiful landscapes as possible. So much so, that my blog series of the South Island road-trip is still a work in progress (promise I will finish them soon). Every day I woke up to the sound of birds from the comforts of my tent (or occasionally a hotel/hostel room).

Hokitika Gorge

Hokitika Gorge

Each day the scenery took my breath away, New Zealand just got more and more beautiful as I travelled around. I still have a soft spot for Wanaka and dream of spending my days between there and Mt. Maunganui in the North Island.

View from the Summit of Rocky Mountain, Wanaka

View from the Summit of Rocky Mountain, Wanaka

International Trip: Borneo

Less than a week ago I returned exhausted from Borneo. Over 6 months in the planning, I chose this spot for my love of nature and wildlife. It was a bit of a mixed bag in terms of itinerary and airlines, but I’ll explain more in my coming posts. Japan is still high on the priority list for the coming years and the UK too.

Here are a few phone photos to keep you going – these were a few of the ‘good moments of the trip’:

Mt. Kinabalu, Borneo

Mt. Kinabalu, Borneo

Pulau Tiga Survivor Island

Pulau Tiga aka ‘Survivor Island’

Sunset at Pulau Tiga

Sunset at Pulau Tiga

Sepilok, Borneo

Sepilok, Borneo

Big changes

I hate to admit it, but I’m that adult with braces. I opted for less-noticeable ones and am pleased that I should hopefully only have 6 months to go. It’s something that I’ve always considered and this year it felt like it was time to finally do things I always wanted to do rather than put them off.

You never know how long you’ve got, better to take action than just dream.

Sold - Buying my first home

Sold – Buying my first home

I guess the biggest change for this year was moving into my first home.

No, I’m not rich.
Yes, I thought it would never be possible in Auckland.
Yes, there’s been times I’ve regretted it and cried on my steps wishing I had never done this alone.

Why the heck did I do it then?
Like times in my life before, various aspects of my life aligned and it felt like the right thing to do at the time. I purchased near a train station to reduce my commute, though I’m further south of the city than before. That being said, it is closer to family slightly and the mountain for snowboarding and feels like a good safe area. Compromises had to be made and I think I made the right ones.

I’m currently in the midst of organising tradies for some repairs, looking for a flatmate (let me know if you know of someone cool), enjoying fresh fruit and vegetables from my garden and looking to make this house a real home. With time I hope it will come.

The year ahead

Ponga tree fern

Ponga tree fern

My life seems to revolve around my house improvements and work at the moment. Soon it will also revolve around snowboarding (yay).

I’m going to focus on life balance more this year.

I find I can go days without speaking to anyone during long weekends and public holidays, so each weekend I’m going to make an effort to catch up with a friend or family member in some way to try to avoid getting too lonely. Having a flatmate will also help that. I’m also going to try make an effort to widen my support networks.

I’m going to start doing something more with my photography. I plan to print and frame some work for my home and look at selling photos and prints also. Travel and wildlife photography has been a big passion of mine for many years and I feel like it’s about time I did something more and share my passion with others.

I’m also going to make a concerted effort to look after myself better. Last year was filled with injuries and sickness, much of which I think could be related to my grief and letting my immunity get so low. This year once I get over the current ‘hay fever turned cold bug’ from the 30-40 degree (Celsius) temperatures of Malaysia, I’ll be looking back to my wellbeing, both physical and emotional to avoid stress and feel happy and well.

The pathway in Green Park, the parks in London make it livable for someone who misses nature

While it was about this time (3 years on) I started feeling content in London, I definitely don’t feel the same back in New Zealand. I put that down to having such major life events occur over the last 3 years that have rocked my life like never before. I know my life will never feel that way again, but I’m now looking forward towards a new life. I still miss my friends dearly and I hope that one day I’ll get back to the UK to have a big catch up with everyone and hug them all tight! You guys are always welcome in NZ too!