Thanksgiving Leftovers :: Reflections Of A Year And A Very Full Harvest

Where do I begin? This is the question I've been contemplating for the past couple days... When I last left you, Drew and I were about to enjoy some American football and delicious eggs benedict. Well, the morning progressed very nicely and Drew and I managed to have a wonderful, relaxing Thanksgiving Friday as planned... and then the phone rang. It was our Immigration Case Manager, Felicity, calling to inform us that our application for New Zealand Residency SUCCESSFULLY passed all inspections and we have been A-P-P-R-O-V-E-D ! This is the moment where I sit shaking on the couch with tears welling up in my eyes in disbelief that this lengthy and expensive process is finally over and we are now able to live freely in New Zealand as legal Residents, eligible for the same benefits and rights as New Zealand Citizens! This is incredible! And hopefully you'll forgive me for not jumping online straight away to shout the awesome news (not really my style). I've needed a few days to process. Let it sink in and reflect. Breathing deeply a sigh of relief and feeling that weight lifted... 

It also dawned on the two of us today that it is December 1st (November 30th in the States). Drew and I started our New Zealand journey exactly 365 days ago today with the hope that we had saved enough money to travel this beautiful country for at least a few months. Then hopefully find some work and set up a home-base. Our original goal was to live and work in New  Zealand on projects related to the Christchurch city rebuild for at least one year. We have accomplished all of these goals. And now as residents we have the ability to make this place home for as long as we choose.

So as I stand here in my tiny kitchen prepping a lovely chicken stock and mix up a little batch of chicken salad for tomorrow's lunches from Thanksgiving dinner party left-overs, I reflect on a year overflowing with blessings. A year of transition and uncertainty. One brimming with excitement and adventure. A year full of countless lessons learned. One of knowing my husband a little better each day. Walking together. Sharing laughter and tears, and cheering each other on through some pretty painful terrain, and persevering. 

This has been a year full of experiencing God's amazing grace and knowing how deep His commitment really is to this little family; keeping us close and holding us gently like a tiny grain of sand in His palm... I am overwhelmed by our accomplishments (and failures) this year. I am grateful for and so very proud of every risk we've taken. It is true. If you never try, you'll never know. And there's nothing but regret for lack of action.

I am thankful for my husband. I'm grateful for his spontaneous, adventurous, relaxed spirit who reminds me to not take everything so seriously all the time and pushes me to have the courage to turn my ideas into action rather than spend too much time mulling over and planning every perfect detail. He is patient and kind. And he is committed... even though this shit gets tough! 

I am thankful for another year to spend here in New Zealand. This time as a 'resident' rather than a 'visitor' (visa lingo) and look forward to new fruits bore from all of the cultivating and planting we've done over the last year. 

Wishing each of you a very Happy, Healthy, and Full Holiday Season. Xoxo

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