27 06 2010

Sooooo…we are learning to have a very loose hold on all our plans. They seem to change daily. It’s actually not that often, but so many details go with each change in plans, that by the time we have all the details ironed out from the last change, another big change happens that causes us to begin all over again.

I was given the option to get a one year visa, with an arrival date of August 10, meaning that I had to be on the ground by then. I got a job though, that would give me permanent residency, and would also override the need for the aforementioned visa. I was given a contract and accepted a position. I bought a ticket, and Shannon and I made plans for her to be able to close the sale of the house, tie up loose ends, and get our cat to NZ.

Then immigration would not approve the job. The skills were not on the immediate needs list, and therefore did not qualify. Ugh. Disappointing, but in some ways instructive. It’s nice to know that this country expects you to bring something to the table, and wants you to provide for yourself, while it also protects jobs for current citizens. Hmmm…seems like a good idea to me, even if it makes my life a bit more difficult.

So it’s back to the drawing board job-wise. Travel-wise, we initially thought the date I had to be on the ground was August 10, and Shannon could go when she wanted. We thought I could still go in July, and Shannon could travel over after I had found a job. We then received our one year visas, which stated that we both had until September 23 to be on the ground in Auckland, and we then have nine months to find a job for me within the immediate needs list.  When we find one, our visa will convert to permanent residency.  After two years of permanent residency, we would have the option to apply for citizenship.

All of that means that we decided that I will change my plane ticket to sometime in the middle of September, and that Shannon and the cat and our things will travel with me. There are pros and cons to each plan, and we continue to hold to our plans loosely, open to change and trying to make wise decisions. I’m glad for the chance to spend time with friends and family for a bit longer though, and it will certainly make tying up loose ends easier. The job market for me in education won’t heat up until October anyway, with the end of their school year in December.

We are moving forward in patience and with open hands to see where God takes this adventure. Any prayers you’d like to send on our behalf are appreciated.


The Parts of Our Life We Don’t Want: Name Your Price

14 06 2010

Ah, the joys of seeing the stuff you own bartered down to one dollar per piece. If only the memories and feelings could be sold along with the goods would these bargain hunting vultures truly have appreciated the carcass they were picking at. Of course, it did not help that on the morning of our planned estate sale, we were blessed with torrential rains and the most brutal humidity that has ever been chanced upon us.

Only the most dedicated came to our sale, which we still held (indoors), and as people tromped up and down our stairs and out the door with our stuff, there were some interesting exchanges:

1. a lady whose first words to me were “I’m looking for books that can help me with my druggie brother. Do you have anything like that?” Then she started praying–loudly–in front of the other patrons. It made us all a bit uncomfortable. I spied a book given to me by a friend. It’s title? Suicide: When Love Is Not Enough. The friend was sitting there at my table and saw what I was looking at. He shook his head. I ended up  giving the lady a couple of books free of charge which I don’t think will answer her prayers, but made her happy. I asked my friend where the book had come from. “Long story,” he said. “And it involves internet dating.” No one has bought that book yet.

2. a lady who bought a small chair for video gaming playing, and then demanded that I wrap it for her so it would not get wet. She then demanded I carry it out to put it in her pick up, though either of the two snarling teens in tow with her could have done it. She informed the teenage boy that this $10 chair would be his Christmas present.

3. a guy who asked what I wanted for a desk. I told him what I wanted was on the price tag. He grunted. I noticed the large eagle and gun on his T-shirt and brought up the bad health care bill. He got so excited about that and the Miller Lite rolling cooler I threw in that he gave me asking price (or close enough).

4. a lady who asked the price of almost every item we had for sale, and when I told her how much it was, she always offered one dollar. One dollar for each golf club, one dollar for every wall hanging (even stuff we did not have for sale). After a half an hour of this, she decided on some items that came to $10. She paid in quarters.

And then we had some strange people too…

It was an okay day I suppose, considering the weather. I just know we are going to have to go through the whole thing again though, since the sale didn’t allow us to really make a dent in the stuff we need to part with. We’ll try again June 26.

Back in Black (or we will be)

9 06 2010

As of July 6, I will begin the process of becoming a Kiwi, a Silver Fern, and more specifically, a JAFA to those already living in New Zealand. It was no easy decision, and there are pros and cons of making a semi-spherical move. I suppose on the con side it is far away, but on the plus side, whether I head east or west, it’s about the same distance back.

Both my wife and I have had international experience before, she having spent a semester in Ireland, and I having spent a summer in Northern Ireland and two years in the Czech Republic. Having made those transitions before makes the practical knowledge easier, but doesn’t seem to keep the sometime anxiety at bay.

Questions sometimes hit me just as they did before I left for the Czech Republic. Am I crazy? (Debate rages about this whether I go or not, so moot point.) Is this really the right thing? (Hmmm, this presupposes there is a right or wrong decision to be made, instead of just a decision.) Will anybody like me? (Possibly no, but unlikely. Armed (legged?) with a sixth toe on my right foot and the ability to talk with anyone about anything and seem interested at the same time has landed me lots of friends wherever I have been.) Will the pizza be good? (Now we’ve come to the crux of the matter. My experience in Czech Republic was wonderful, but could only have been improved by the replacement of ketchup as pizza sauce with true tomato sauce. Seriously, Papa John could clean up over there–just needs his better ingredients and muscle car…).

The plan for now is as follows. I leave July 6, intent on finding a teaching or principal job in the Auckland area. My current visa gives me one year to do this. Once I have a job, Shannon and our cat, Palin, will make the trip over, along with all of our stuff, which has been consolidated to about 30 boxes, 1/3 of which are books. Of course, as always, we hold our plans loosely in our hands, because as soon as we make a plan, some factor causes it to change.

Stay tuned.