So have just finished printing INZ1175, about to apply for IRRV now known as Permanent Residence...which I already have but, there you go, the changes in terminology a couple of years bring. So now I am prevaricating, as I hate filling in forms, so thought I would do a two year update.

We left Scotland on Midsummers Day 2010, arriving Christchurch a week later.

So what have the two years been like?

1) I think, for all of us here in Christchurch, the last two years have been more different than we could ever have imagined, but the sky is still blue a lot of the time, the weather better, the scenery magnificent, the people kind and friendly.

2) We landed in a quiet period for my profession, so took me a couple of months to find a position, but when offered I started immediately. The downside to this was that I feel that I never had a real break, although had not started looking too hard in the first couple of weeks, it would have been nice to have known there was a job coming up and time to just enjoy being here. As it was my furniture showed up, I had five interviews in one week, three in the next and pyschometric testing, a job offer, a start date given on Thursday night for the following Monday, contrac t signing ...oh and a 7.1 earthquake on the Saturday before I started work.....mmmmmm....

3) took OH just under a year...and his architectural skills were more in demand by mid 2011, and it must be a family trait as he was due to start work the day after the June event...it was delayed by just a day! The good thing was though that he was at home with the boys while they settled, and was able to take care of them and spend time with them. The three of them now have a really close bond now...some times I feel a little excluded..

4) friendships were made from shared experiences, but while I know there are people there I do not yet have that really close replacement for friends I left behind. I think though that this has been more a fact of trying to balance a strange, hectic year in work, with a promotion, the events that happened, people I was getting close to moving on etc. rather than a true state of affairs. People here are friendly and I have a good mix of people I am pleased to call friends.

5) as noted above, work took off with a bang, I was asked to apply for promotion within 9 months of starting, which I did, with some trepidation. It has impacted on the work life balance we had hoped to achieve though, but it was also good to be offered the challenge, which I am not sure would have come my way had I stayed in the UK.

6) we were lucky enough to find a rental we liked within a couple of weeks, having booked furnished accommodation for our first month. It is gets the sun, has a heat pump and wood burner, is warm and has enough space to store our belongings....which are decreasing with each quake. The wedding china carefully packed by PSS is no more, but the ornaments in the boxes are still whole despite being thrown around three times or more...

7) the boys love their school. Being twins they were split for the first time when they arrived here. They were fine about it. They love the more holistic nature, boys are expected to fidget here, more emphasis on sport and movement, more things to do. They think the weather is great, enjoy being next to a beach, can now stand on a surf board, think their swimming lessons are great( they really teach technique here, for winning, from an early stage which is fantastic). They enjoy the oscar childcare programme. Life is different for them, but from possibly returning to Scotland when older, both are now at the stage where they say they will only go back for a holiday.

8) it is far from friends and family...but Skype is wonderful. The time difference less so. I have not experienced homesickness that often, once before my first summer Christmas, and some bouts of people sickness.i have problems with seasonal shift still...July is summer in my head!

9) love the food and am not really missing anything from the UK...found a replacement for most of my food vices, apart from Crunchy sticks...no plain maize snacks here...though cruskits can occasionally help. A strong cheddar would also help....especially if orange to give better color to sauce, but that's about it

10) the more I see of the country, the more I love it...travelled to some of NI in March...it is very different. SI reminds me of Scotland on steroids!

Would we do it again? Yes! Looking at the state of the UK, I doubt my OH would be working yet. Life would have changed there, but without the benefits of better weather!