The Land Down Under

11 03 2016

When I moved to London, almost five years ago, I started this blog in order to document my experiences. Unfortunately, I let this fizzle out after a year of living there. Now that I am onto the next adventure in my life, I felt this was the perfect time to reinvigorate this blog and to get back to writing about my experiences. It has been three months of transition for me, but now that I am finally settled into my life in the land down under, I thought this would be a good time to update you all on my last few months.

Last autumn I made the decision to leave London after four and a half incredible years. It was not an easy decision, but I felt the time was right to move onto the next chapter. I informed my bosses of my decision in September, and by Christmas I was gone; but it wasn’t quite that simple. Leaving London was one of the hardest things I have ever done and it will always hold a very special place in my heart. I met some incredible people throughout my time there and had some amazing experiences. My last week in London was an unbelievable roller coaster of emotions and by the time it came to boarding the plane back to Vancouver I wasn’t sure I was making the right decision. Looking back on things, I do feel it was time for me to move on, but I know that I will certainly return one day.

When I returned to Vancouver I was still in a state of shock about leaving London. I was debating internally whether or not it was the correct decision and was absolutely terrified about what lay ahead. What made it easier for me was being back in Canada and having a strong support system at home. My parents were great in encouraging me to look forward to my new adventures, and seeing my oldest friends in Vancouver is always special. My biggest worry when I leave Vancouver is that things won’t be the same when I return, but every time I go back there it feels like I have never left.

While in Vancouver I got the opportunity to go away for a couple of weekends. The first was a weekend with a few friends at a remote cabin on Gambier Island. It was the perfect spot to get away for a few days and to catch up with friends. It also reminded me of just how beautiful the west coast of Canada is! The second weekend away involved perhaps the most stereotypically Canadian day imaginable. It began with a day of skiing on Whistler Blackcomb, was followed by a hockey game (Ice hockey for anyone who might be confused!) on the frozen Alta Lake, and ended with a campfire on the lake. For years I have watched with envy as my friends have posted pictures of themselves on Facebook playing hockey on the lake and was very excited to finally get the opportunity!


Gambier Island on New Year’s Day


A Sea Lion in the distance


Hockey Card on Alta Lake


Kits Point on a sunny day


UBC vs UVIC in their annual match


Vancouver Canucks vs Florida Panthers

The trip to Vancouver was an excellent way to rejuvenate myself for the next adventure and to gear up for the next challenge. I think if I had come to New Zealand immediately following London it would have been extremely hard to get motivated but, with a renewed enthusiasm from my trip, by the end of January I was ready to get started. The programme didn’t start for almost another month however, and New Zealand is a long ways away; so I went to Hawaii for a week before moving to the Southern Hemisphere.

Mum and Dad had booked a trip to Kaua’i and graciously invited me along to stay with them. It was a fantastic week filled with snorkelling and body boarding as well as a fair amount of sightseeing. Dad also managed to look up his cousins, who live on the island, and we met up with them for dinner. One of Dad’s cousins, Claudette, happened to be married to the former state senator of Hawaii, which led to a very interesting political discussion, as it happened to be the eve of the Iowa primaries. My last day in Kaua’i was spent with colleagues of Dad, who were also vacationing on the island. It was another day of snorkelling and relaxing before I embarked on the long journey towards New Zealand.


The view from our apartment in Kaua’i


Poipu Beach, Kaua’i


The Beach by our apartment




Family gathering with South African cousins

I arrived in Christchurch on the 9th February, which happened to be my 32nd birthday. It certainly will rank up there in terms of memorable birthdays as I got the opportunity to meet my niece, Olivia, for the very first time! Louise and Andrew were fantastic; ensuring I had a good birthday, and have been tremendous with helping me settle back into my New Zealand life.

One of the perks of moving to the Southern Hemisphere in February is that it instantly becomes summer. It was the perfect time to arrive in Christchurch as I got to embrace the Kiwi lifestyle very quickly. I have spent a few days at the beach so far and have been making the most of living very close to Hagley Park.


At the top of Rapaki Track


Sumner on a beautiful day!

It has been a major adjustment the last few months, and to be honest, I am still getting used to it. Going from working in such a positive environment in London to being a postgraduate student working almost exclusively independently has not been easy, but it is something I am quickly getting used to. I am enjoying the chance to read about education and to challenge myself academically again, but I am missing the interaction with the pupils and colleagues. It was also initially difficult going back to the College of Education at the University of Canterbury as it felt like groundhog day (I spent a year there in 2008 completing my teaching qualification). I still have to convince myself occasionally that I am here doing a Masters, not reliving 2008!! I am starting to feel a bit more settled here however and I know from past experiences that it will only get better.

I will try my best to write regularly on various topics, as I need to improve my writing if I want to complete my Masters!!





































One response

11 03 2016

So glad you are blogging again. I really enjoy your insights and updates!

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