Sunday, 16 September 2012

The Wellington dream is over. But not yet

I have run out of options to stay and work and live in New Zealand.

Actually that's not true. There are plenty of options, like getting a job on the skills shortages lists, or studying to become a teacher, but for a whole bunch of reasons I've crossed these off one by one.

My last shot was to apply for residency, but this week it has been clarified that this option is not possible.

The sad bit

I'm pretty sad in a lot of ways. For a start, I feel I'm exactly the person NZ should be trying to attract - positive, dynamic, smart, adaptable.

And having been here 4 years already, I kind of feel I should just be allowed to stay - I have had to explain to several people that this isn't actually possible.

I would have liked to have been able to come back to New Zealand later in life, and work and live and just be a normal part of the furniture like I feel at the moment.

The "hey it's not that bad" bit

However.

I was having a think about things back in 2008, and what brought me to New Zealand, and what I wanted to get out of it. One of the things I wanted was a government communications job, like I had in Essex. Uh-oh! Cue the global financial crisis, and a new conservative NZ government who'd promised to cut government communications jobs. Primo.

So, it was a unique kind of relief when I realised that this year, I got the government communications job I had looked for when I first rocked up.

Another worry was that I hadn't "done" Wellington - that 2 years, even 3, wasn't enough here.

But now, I feel like 4 years is enough. Sure I'd really like to stay longer, but if I have to go, then I gotta go.

And now ... the awesome bit

I'm not leaving Wellington quite yet. Residency was a long, complicated and expensive Plan A. Meanwhile, I have a perfectly good and almost exciting Plan B.

I'm heading over to Melbourne for a holiday when my visa expires. (Hot weather? After 4 years of Wellington "summers"? Rock ooooooooooooon!)

Then I'm coming back to NZ on a visitor visa. This is partly so I can get one more Christmas and one more new year to celebrate in little old New Zealand and see my rellies up North. Summer Christmas, summer new year, barbecues and beers all round ... I highly recommend it.

But not only that. I'll have all day, every day, to design T-shirts and build up my arsenal of designs. I'm not living off T-shirt sales yet, but this could be the push and/or opportunity to make it happen. Some people start businesses with just a bold idea and a little bit of cash. Well, T-shirts are already working for me, and I've got heaps of ideas. 6 months, full-time, to turn it into something decent? It's not impossible.

Ironically, in my 2 Years of Temping Hell, the insecurity was *so much fun* it made me anxious, frustrated, and frequently angry at myself and the world around me. But without the imminent urgent need to find a job, and having enough savings and pocket money for now, this batch of unemployment means:

1) waking up when I want
2) enjoying every sunny day, not just the ones on weekends
3) enough time to exercise well, cook well
4) more time to spend on music and writing

In short, it means health, wellbeing, relaxation, and control of my time.
And hey, it also means not worrying about things like restructures or overarching frameworks or 3 sets of reporting. I mean, my current job's great, but these things are not!

So then. 2013?

My visitor visa would expire around about April/May, and I'm already planning my next trip back to the UK (perhaps via Thailand or Malaysia - it's on the way, right?). It'll have been 18 months since seeing UK friends and family, the longest time ever, and I'm already looking forward to it. I'm also looking forward to Chippenham Folk Festival 2013 - beer, dancing and folk music, it's part of my upbringing - and of course the Jez Kemp Slovakia Tour of June 2013. Ahoj Slovensk√° republika!

And you still can't keep me away from the Antipodes. September 2013 is when I turn 30, the cut-off point for registering for a Working Holiday Visa in Australia. I figure I might as well use it - apparently Melbourne is pretty cool (it must be, it's full of New Zealanders), and I'm no longer terrified by the prospect of living in Australia, or the "Federation of Dangerous Animals" as I like to call it. So I could well be on a flight back to New Zealand to hang out with some friends, before crossing the ditch for 2013-14. Then, er, maybe Canada or something?

Anyway. That's my current situation. That's the plan. But hey, 4 years ago I had a plan to move to Wellington for 11 months, then go start a band in London. And look how that went.

Onwards!
Jx