Settling In: Two Years On in New Zealand

They say it takes two years in a new city (or new country in this case) to begin to feel settled. As someone who has moved quite a bit, I’d have to agree. That’s so discouraging when you are only a few months into getting settled somewhere and you think this feeling of being new and not knowing anyone or your way around town will never go away. But gradually it eases up.

My first few months were about unpacking and making David’s place feel like our place. I painted the living room and study. I remember declaring that I needed ‘to splash some colour on the walls’ (we agreed on a light pale green). 

Photo of Jennifer Hammond preparing paint Photo of Jennifer Hammond painting with a roller

I also was getting my bearings around Wellington and a few months after arriving I braved driving on the left side of the road. You can read about my experiences driving in New Zealand here. At first I wouldn’t drive alone unless I had been to a certain place before, not trusting that I would stay in the correct lane when making turns and going through roundabouts. Before we got our own car, I was grateful for my friend Judy willing to take me along to places off the train or bus lines.

Photo of Judy Haw Photo of Jennifer Hammond on Wellington's South Coast

I started working part-time in October 2013 as a church secretary and coordinator of meeting rooms to rent. It’s in downtown Wellington so I got to explore the city on my lunchbreak and I still often find myself at the waterfront if the weather permits. It was really difficult in the beginning to make sense of what people were saying with both the accents and plethora of funny expressions. I still get tripped up sometimes. I started keeping track of different expressions in a little book and would get a kick out of things like “It’s my shout” and “I’m puffed.” Taking phone messages were the worst. It really threw me off when people would group the numbers differently and rattle off “triple 3” and “double 9” in the middle of the number. I think I’m finally getting it!

Photo of David and Jennifer Hammond at the Whakarewarewa Thermal Village

All this while, David and I were adjusting to marriage and living together and discovering new things about each other. Does he squeeze the toothpaste from the middle or bottom of the tube? Neither—I had my own toothpaste (Crest) from the US and somewhere several months later my stash ran out so now we both use Colgate and we don’t seem to have an issue with that. We were also trying to make some friends together and me on my own too. I’m grateful I was introduced to some really great people shortly after arriving! I also started Scottish Country Dancing (thanks to Judy for inviting me along) and am now the secretary of the club. Along with driving on the left, learning Scottish Country Dancing has been great for my brain (as well as providing great exercise).

Around our first anniversary and one year for me in New Zealand, we started up freshtake Publishers which is a full story on its own. We are both enjoying forging new ground and making something out of nothing. It’s been a good excuse to travel farther and wider around New Zealand (including the South Island) to explore and gather photos. We enjoy interacting with our customers and fans on our social media pages. It’s also good to be working on something together and to see how our skills complement each other.  

Photo of Jennifer and David Hammond spreading their arms around a Redwood tree in the Whakarewarewa Redwood Forest, Rotorua, New Zealand

 And now two years on, we are excited for another twist in the plot—I’m pregnant and we are excited to welcome a baby into the world somewhere after the new year 2016! We’ve also got our busy season ahead of us—collecting and processing photos, planning next year’s calendar, sorting out various advertisements, etc. etc. Just yesterday David and I were commenting that we are both in a good space. It’s good to stop every once in a while to see where you’ve come from and where you’re going.   

Photo of a teddy bear with a baby names book

Comments on this post (1 comment)

  • Rachel says...

    Fantastic news guys, looking forward to meeting the new addition! I agree it takes so long to get settled, only now am I starting to feel truly comfortable again after a similar transition. I’m glad you did move here Jennifer, it’s been really cool getting to know you and inspiring how you follow your dreams :)

    On August 02, 2015

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