Part 1 – Preparing for the Move

Telling Family and Friends

So, what is the best way to tell people you plan to move halfway across the world?  We aren’t sure we have the answer or that we did it the best way.  However, we will share our story.

A lot of friends have heard Anthony and me talk about how we want to move.  It is normally a conversation that starts after we all have a few cocktails.  We briefly looked into moving to Denver, Europe, Roatan, and St. John (very extensively).  These are all before we found New Zealand.  Once we had NZ on our radar and came to the conclusion that we were going to start the process to make the move, the drunken conversations came up more often than not.  It was during those times that we knew most people weren’t taking us seriously.  That was okay because we knew it wasn’t just drunk talk.

 

Hanging out at Crafthouse celebrating our plan to move to New Zealand

Our goal was to move to New Zealand by September 2016.  We started to put together a plan/tentative timeline in January 2016.  Now we were ready to start to tell family and friends that we really ARE planning to move to New Zealand.

We first told my cousin and his wife on our trip to St. John.  I wasn’t sure how my cousin was going to react (mostly because of the distance from family), but I thought his wife was going to be on board with our decision.  We were very fortunate that they both supported our decision.  I think it took a little sinking in for my cousin.  Once he googled New Zealand, saw the breathtaking images, and learned a little bit about the country, it was very difficult for him to not be excited for us.  While waiting for our departure flights, a passerby might have assumed he was moving to NZ with all of the googling he was doing.

Obviously we are celebrating our plan to move to New Zealand!
Obviously we are celebrating our plan to move to New Zealand!

After our trip, we returned to Pittsburgh and informed my mom of our decision to move since it would have the most impact on her.  Not having a lot of family in Pittsburgh she needed to decide if she wanted to stay or move to be close to the family we have in Kansas City.

My mom seemed surprised of the location but not surprised of our decision to move out of the country.  Anthony and I have been vocal about wanting to move abroad for awhile.  She asked lots of questions which I think was good because we had a lot of information that we could provide.  The one thing I took away most from our discussion is that she said “Life is too short”.

Anthony’s mom seemed surprised when he told her about New Zealand.  She also had a lot of questions and was very supportive.  She texted him a few days later that she wished she and his dad had taken more risks when they were younger.  That was something that stuck with both Anthony and me.  We don’t want to regret not doing things.

Anthony was confident his mom would react the way that she did, but his dad could be more difficult to sell on the idea.  He is what you may refer to as “old school”.  You go to work, you support your family no matter what type of work you have to do or how many jobs it takes.  You then retire, work some more, and enjoy some travelling.  Very admirable traits but not how we are looking to live our lives.  Anthony was planning to tell him about a week earlier than he initially did.  He was talking with his dad and he kept telling Anthony that he had such a good job, job security, and that he should never leave it.  That conversation didn’t seem like the best time to bring up our plan to sell everything and move to a country that we had never visited.  Anthony called him about a week later and informed him of our plan.  His dad questioned whether we were planning to visit prior to making the actual move.  This wasn’t an option for us based on time and money, so we planned to do a lot of our fact-finding after we step off of our one way flight.  Overall, Anthony’s dad was very receptive to our plan.

Word travels fast around our area.  I planned a dinner with some of my girl friends to inform them, and we mostly told everyone else as we saw them.  Anthony’s family took care of informing most of his extended family since they all live close and see each other often.  We were able to discuss with all of them in more detail when we visited.

Another memorable reaction this summer came from a friend we don’t see all that often when the discussion came up of selling the house and moving to New Zealand.  She looked at us and said – oh, that really is a thing and you’re doing it?  We totally understand why she would think it was just drunk talk.  But yep, we are doing it!  Cheers!!

 

Homeopener 1
A pic with the Mr. Rogers statue. When you are moving halfway across the world you can convince your friends to take pics they normally wouldn’t. Oh, and they will also do this because you promise to go to the casino with them.
Homeopener2
The Pirates Home Opener Day was a bit chilly. Since we had never been to the Home Opener we decided to go this year since it might be our last opportunity for awhile.

Selling our house

We had two main obstacles to conquer before we could actually make the move to New Zealand.

  • Selling our house
  • Secure a visa

We started prep work on the house in December.  There were a few small projects that weren’t 100% complete and a few other things we wanted to update for curb appeal.  We worked on them for about 3-4 months so we would be able to list in early spring during peak season.

Our realtor listed the house on a Sunday evening in early April, we got two calls for viewings on Monday, and we had two verbal offers on Monday night.  We accepted one of the offers on Tuesday, and didn’t even have time to get a For Sale sign in the yard.  This was a good thing because we lived on a main road, and we would have been questioned by co-workers when they saw it.  We weren’t ready for our employers to be informed yet.

It was unexpected that things would move so fast, but it was a good “problem” to have.  The biggest concern was that we would need somewhere to live while we were waiting on our visa.  We were also surprised by an unexpected family circumstance and had to decide how to move forward.  Regardless of the outcome of our decision, we knew it was time to move out of our house in suburbia.

Over the next month and a half we had to figure out what to do with all of the “stuff” we’ve accumulated over the years.  We sold things to family and friends, then during several weekend yard sales, then online, then gave stuff away…you get the point.  We closed on our house on 5/31/16 and moved into a tiny condo with my mother.  We are basically living out of a bedroom, but we are happy to not be bogged down by “stuff” anymore.  A lot of changes were occurring during this time and we were moving in the right direction.  We still needed one more thing….the visa.

 

Taking out garbage right before the house closing.
Taking out garbage right before the house closing.
Jaguar Fan
Our friends had a white elephant gift exchange at Christmas this past year. It was a bit ironic that we got the Home of a Jaguar Fan sign that is used to support our school district sports’ teams. At this time Anthony and I already knew of our plan to move to New Zealand but we hadn’t shared it with anyone yet.