Wednesday, October 12, 2011

We're moving...

First things first...

Steven and I are moving back to Vancouver, Canada. This is not a decision we chose on a whim in the moment. This issue of where to live and in particular our expectations of how we wanted to live came to our attention on the day of the double earthquake we and everyone in Chch experienced last June.
On one hand we didnt want to run away so to speak when as able bodied persons without children or elderly living with us, helping to rebuild Christchurch felt like a given. For me in particular it has been my home for 22 years, even including the times I lived in Dunedin as a student, Christchurch was always where my heart was. My mother and family live here, my church is here, my mentors and close friends are here. Why on earth would I consent to leave?

A couple of reasons, two practical and one selfish.

The selfish reason, for me personally I am naturally adventurous and I love to travel. Canada is the second largest country in the world and is a part of a continent. I think of CA (geographically) as like a blown up version of NZ really. I want to have a crack at living there long term. I want to explore the place.

The practical reasons, are money and housing. Here in New Zealand, Steven's Canadian qualification as a specialised teaching assistant isnt recognised, therefore all he can he can do is the minimum as well as the pay. With the recent earthquakes and govt cuts to spending in schools, its likely that when push comes to shove he would probably be first in the firing line. In Canada he has strong networks and strong work and character references. Not to mention hes paid more in a dollar with a higher value than NZ. I suspect he also very much misses the personal satisfaction that came with his last job and previous church through mentoring young people.

Secondly, finding a job as an OT in NZ is awful. Out of the 2009 graduating group from the OT school in Otago, 2/3 had to move to Australia to find work, despite the fact that there is a huge need for OTs the govt just can't afford us. The govt here made cuts to ACC a while back and those who got made redundant were OTS and physios. So when a group graduates theyre not only competing with their fellow classmates for the few jobs but their also competing with very experienced OTs. Its an unfair advantage that causes the new grads to do a runner over the ditch after being turned down for a position for the 20th time. Quite frankly, Ive had enough disappointment in just completing this degree. We hope to have children in the future and though I know money doesn't buy happiness I dont want an unhappy husband who is working in a area that doesnt meet and accommodate his potential. I dont want to raise children while struggling to pay back my $20,000 debt while unable to find decent work. In Canada, occupational therapy is huge and definitely valued. The minimum pay alone made me gasp when I first saw it. In Canada we can get house and contents insurance. I have no idea what it takes to save for a house, but to save for a house in Christchurch where the majority are broken and cold and the minimally decent ones become so inflated in price you have to be a millionaire to buy. On our pitiful income? With children in the picture? I dont think so. Vancouver is incrediably expensive, but I don't ask for much, but I feel more confident over there than in Chch.

I don't feel that wanting to be in a wealthier country to NZ is selfish and materialistic. Im not expecting Canada to be some kind of free ride to get away from liquefaction and pooping in the backyard. I want to pay off my huge debt, I want to see my husband happy and fufiled in his work and our church and I want to raise our children myself instead of giving them to others while I work full time with a dinky income while they develop asthma and chest infections because we can't afford a healthy home.

This hurts more than I think anyone can understand at the moment. Its very bitter and sweet at the same time. I start sobbing at the top of a hat if I think about those I love who I will be leaving, but I am also excited and happy and hopeful in my heart for this next adventure that awaits us.