The HR Juggler

Day 13: A Year In Transition

Posted on: December 13, 2013

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Day 13 is brought to you by the lovely Zoe Mounsey (@zoemounsey) who has had a very exciting year, having moved to New Zealand.

Artwork for today (and every day!) is by the brilliant Simon Heath.

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Thank you to Alison for letting me share my story with you again as part of her advent series. Last year I wrote about new beginnings as we were preparing to move to New Zealand. I wrote about all the feelings that I was experiencing from apprehension, anxiety and uncertainty through to excitement, joy and optimism.

And so some 12 months later I am writing again from sunny New Zealand and I am happy to say that excitement, joy and optimism have been the feelings experienced most over the past year. We have no regrets about making this move and are currently looking forward to welcoming my mum and dad and sharing our new life with them for a few weeks.

It probably helped that we arrived during one of New Zealand’s best summers for a few years. It meant that living in our new home with minimal furniture was very doable as were outside most of the time. In fact I got so used to the minimalist approach I felt quite overwhelmed when the container arrived. The kids love the fact we are a stone’s throw away from the beach and there are fantastic play parks close by. The start of the school year saw me anxiously waiting by the classroom door. Though there was no need to worry, Cate our now 6 year old, fitted in with ease and made lots of friends. I got to meet lots of mums (and dads) and have built up a fantastic friendship group here. I did have some concerns initially about schooling here as it is quite different from the UK – less of a focus on structure and assessment – but I have learnt to accept and trust it. Lucas, our now 3 year old, has also fitted in well, he now talks with a kiwi accent and I think he is planning a future career in construction given the amount of sand that ends up in our house.

I have also gone from being a stay-at-home mum to rejoining the workforce though not as I had originally planned. I have experienced the same problems in the UK with trying to find a part-time role in the field I would like to work, however through the wonder that is twitter I found a very flexible role in academia. In some ways it feels as if I have gone back in time as I started my career as a health services researcher and I am now undertaking qualitative research on the impact of the Canterbury earthquakes on health care professionals. I really enjoy it and love exploring other people’s stories and experiences. It has reawakened a desire to write and I am currently playing around with that.

So what have I learnt from our first year in New Zealand…

…you can change your scenery but life goes on pretty much as it did before – I still make the lunches, do the school run, do the chores, decide what we are having for lunch etc. Though I am making a conscious effort to enjoy life and celebrate the little things that make me smile

…there is a freedom in being somewhere new where people have few preconceptions about you – in many ways coming here felt like those first few weeks of starting university, you get a chance to ‘reinvent’ yourself a little bit. For me I felt that I didn’t have to conform to other people’s expectations and I made more of an effort to be sociable and say yes to opportunities

…some people will always have an opinion on what you choose to do (and will probably voice it) – I am slowly learning that it is better to accept it as their issue and not let it become your issue.

…my kids are amazing – we pretty much changed everything about their world and they took to it like ducks to water, from the gruelling 28 hour journey to being (gently) pushed down a mountain on a snowboard!

…you need to have some tough conversations – this has been particularly true for us living in such an earthquake prone area. Hard as it was we have had the ‘what if?’ conversation and made the necessary plans.

…and lastly, you can be thousands of miles away but technology means that you can still be ‘present’ for the people in your life. Through the magic of Skype, Facebook, email and Twitter we have shared lots of moments with family and friends.

Transition is a key word for me for 2013 – the word refers to ‘a passage or change from one place or state or act or set of circumstances to another’. We have obviously changed our physical location and circumstances but I feel I have personally changed too. I finally feel comfortable in my own skin and have a clearer sense of who I am and what matters to me.

Looking forward I am excited about the next part of our adventure especially experiencing our first Kiwi Christmas.

Wishing you all a fantastic Christmas and a 2014 that is full of adventure.

7 Responses to "Day 13: A Year In Transition"

Dear Zoe,
What a heartwarming post! I feel as if I have lived with your transition and what an amazing adventure it has been so far! The overwhelming message from this and hour regular blogs is that you have arrived home. Thanks for sharing your adventure with us and wish you all the very best for a lifetime of happiness in your new home. X

What a motivating way to start the day. Thanks for sharing Zoe, I’d love to hear more about the schooling adventures over time, I think we obsess about many of the wrong things in education in the UK.

Your learning is really helpful and I can take it and learn from it too. So pleased that your adventures are proving positive – long may they continue.

Indeed, uplifting Zoe – I am reminded by your point about ‘uplifting being in a new place’ of the song ‘Somewhere only we know’ by Keane

[…] Zoe Mounsey shares a beautiful write about change and continuity through life transition. Reflecting on her own experience moving her family from one continent to another she discovers some realities of big change and little truths. A delightful read, this post is a part of the lovely Alison Chisnell's (@AlisonChisnell) Advent series and comes complete with compelling e-art vis the redoubtable Simon Heath (@SimonHeath1). A holiday classic. See more @ZoeMousney […]

Thank you for comments glad you enjoyed the post, always good to take a step back and reflect on what has been a pretty momentous year

Just found a moment to catch up on some of these posts and this one certainly resonates with me, Zoe. Your summary of learnings capture exactly my thoughts over these past few months. We are some six months behind you in our transition so I continue to follow your journey with interest…. :-).

Happy Holidays!!!

[…] tale of a literal and metaphorical journey forms the subject for post number thirteen by Zoe Mounsey. I wanted a traditional travelogue-style image to go with this […]

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