Why we moved across the world.

A little over a month ago my husband, daughter, and I packed up our whole lives into a total of 12 suitcases (9 checked bags, 3 carry-ons), boarded a plane in Portland, OR on a Wednesday evening and landed in Auckland, NZ on a Friday morning ready to call this our new home.

Obviously, if you look at the timing of it all, it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that we made a last ditch effort to get out of the States because of the election, however those of you who know anything about immigration realize that simply isn’t the case.  The process takes planning, and you really have to want to do it.

So why would we leave our families and friends?  Why would we empty our home, sometimes parting with beloved items?  Why would we brave a 12+ hour flight with a 3 year old?

This was not a decision made lightly, or quickly.  Four years ago, before our little girl was on the way, my husband and I took the most amazing vacation of our lives.  We spent two weeks exploring the south and north islands of New Zealand.  Aside from the astounding beauty of the land itself, the thing we couldn’t get over was the kindness of the people we met.  Everywhere we went, people were warm and welcoming and incredibly willing to help complete strangers any way they could.  It was one of those experiences where we dreaded returning home, our hearts had found a place where they would stay.

Ever since then we’ve talked off and on, sometimes seriously, sometimes just dreaming, of moving to New Zealand.  It wasn’t long after our daughter was born that we realized Washington, DC was not the environment we wanted to raise her in.  So before she even turned one we were on the road to Portland, OR.  We had hoped that would be enough, although I will confess we hadn’t even arrived in Portland before we were talking about the possibility of making New Zealand a reality.

I would be lying if I said the events of the past few years in the United States had no impact on our plans.  I will say, the desire was there first, though.  Looking at our little girl and watching the escalations of violence, racism, sexism, and the attacks on reproductive rights, etc.; and knowing that we had the will and the extreme privilege to be able to make a change for the better for her, we could no longer justify not moving.  Our daughter is our number 1 priority in this world, if we are able to do something to improve her life then we will do it.

At the worst, we will spend a few years of her childhood living abroad while she is exposed to new cultures, at best we have finally found a place to really call home.

In the next few posts I’ll talk about the immigration process, the logistics, and what it’s been like settling in.