It’s been a while since I had the time to write the blog. Michael and I have been working on multiple projects and they have been keeping us really busy.
Most of them revolves around our new adventure to New Zealand. The idea came about in 2009, but got buried due to the pregnancy, and it got on our mind again in March when we went back to the States. This time we took action, Michael and I filed EOI in April, and we scored 150 without a job offer, in two weeks, we were automatically selected to apply. So we did, and Michael had no problem finding a job either. However, our plan got delayed due to Michael’s medical examination, in mid June, his white blood cell count was really low because of the acute gastroenteritis, it took him a good few weeks to get it back to normal. So we finally submitted our application on July 13th, on July 20th, we went to the New Zealand consulate in Shanghai and was able to talk to the immigration officer Jesse, she was very kind and told us that everything should go through in a few weeks. A few weeks!!! I couldn’t believe what she said, in less than a month we would be able to get our resident visa, it takes about 7 and half years on average to get a US conditional green card through work. Even though we did have to get some extra paperwork done, Jesse was pretty good in communicating with us via phone and emails.
After receiving the good news, we started booking the flight and making hotel arrangement. Also the biggest task ahead is to make the move. We had to get three formal quotation from the moving companies in Shanghai and that took a while, then getting the furniture and items that we want since everything is much more expensive in New Zealand. Needless to say, it was a lot of work but I am glad that we are all set right now. China is the great land for shopping, and most of the shopping was done on taobao.com and Ikea (Ikea itself deserves a separate post). We decided to go with Santa Fe, we’ve heard enough horror stories about shipping containers so we went with the most professional and experienced salesperson we could find. We also had to secure a temporary housing before our container arrives, its pretty difficult to find furnished house in Palmerston North but we did find one, however, it’s not available until Sept 12th so we made plans to take the Overlander from Auckland to Hamilton, then to Rotorua to see the geysers before we get back on the train to Hamilton to Palmerston North.
I sure hope the move to New Zealand will be our final big move, while in the US, I applied for my re-entry permit. It is the same form as advanced parole but for US green card holders, which allows me to leave the US for 2 years without losing it. Even though it’s a simple form, but the average processing time is 4.5 months, and I am still waiting for it to be sent to the US consulate in Shanghai, I think it should arrive before we leave. In the meantime since Michael’s Chinese visa expired on July 31st, he had to get an extension L visa which gives him till August 31st. New Zealand only has a population of 4 million nationwide. The cost of living is very high compared with that in China or the US. The income level is lower though, it’s getting a little better since their currency is depreciating slower than US dollars. However, its undisturbed natural environment is very appealing to us to raise the kids and eventually for our retirement. Even though private insurance is still a good idea, the free public healthcare is still an option, for folks like us, who do not trust the modern medical system and do not have the intention to go to hospitals, public healthcare is sufficient. Even though no one is really talking about it much, I saw on the Shanghai news that 80% of the households tested for above normal level of radiation, I wouldn’t mind moving down under for some cleaner air, which is especially important to infants and toddlers. Plus we can enjoy seafood again!
During my visit there in 2008, I was really impressed by how beautiful New Zealand was, and being close to nature was really something we desire at heart. Michael’s job sounds very exciting, to understand and research the natural resources in New Zealand. And promote to business how important environmental protection is. The most important of all, the boys will be able to enjoy a lifestyle centered more around outdoor activities, the education system in New Zealand is supposed to be really good, however, homeschooling is still what we plan to do. Also because most items will have to be imported, we will all have to learn to lead a life with less resources, buying second-hand stuff(which seems to be what most people do), spending more time cooking at home, camping and socializing at home, we do like that though so it should be fine. I wish we could live in China for at least another year but the radiation is still too big of a concern for us, New Zealand is definitely not a place to accumulate wealth but it is the safest and cleanest place we can think of for the boys.