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Thread: Three months in......our crazy journey from Colorado to Wellington.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Colorado
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    194

    Default Three months in......our crazy journey from Colorado to Wellington.

    Thought some might be interested in the tale of our move from Colorado to Wellington....so here goes...may be multiple parts.
    It’ll all work out. This should have been the motto of our move. But not until we arrived would we realize that’d we be able to make it over all the little hurdles that we were about to face.
    We’re a family of three (me a Kiwi, wife American and a then 18 month old daughter who now holds US/NZ citizenship) and a pug. We moved from Colorado to Wellington in January 2013. It was a move many years in the making. We’d lived in Phoenix for a few years, and spent the last six years in Colorado. I have a big family, and my wife had lived in NZ for a few years back in 2000, so kind of knew what she was getting into.

    We'd thought about moving home for a number of years finally decided to list the house for sale in April 2012. The day before we were to put the house on the market we had a massive leak. Took seven weeks to get repairs done and we think we missed the Spring window which would have helped sell the house. But, it would all work out. We ended up getting a contract on the house in November and closed in January 2013.

    Keeping the house clean and organized during the seven or so months was a real pain. We also lost a lot of money on the house which didn’t make it any easier. But we’re getting over that fact, slowly. Things still didn’t feel real after signing the contract. There were still a number of ways the buyer could get out. It wasn’t until we handed over our keys and were in our rental that it started to sink in. Still had a bit of work to do, like ship the pug and sell our cars.

    Paper-work
    We knew it wasn’t going to be too hard, just a matter of filling out the right forms. The hardest part of the process was getting our daughter’s photo for the NZ passport. We’d read stories of photos being returned. To make a long story short, I set the DSLR on sequence and took a couple of hundred photos one morning, and ended up with one good one. We filed for her passport and citizenship at the same time. Looking at their timeline it could have taken 6 weeks which would have made it tight for us (we always leave things to the last minute). But it would all work out. Ended up with her passport back in the mail in 10 days! Always found the NZ citizenship/passport people really helpful. Filled out a piece of paper and had my wife’s residency in a week or two.

    Moving
    We closed on our house early Jan but wouldn’t fly out for another two weeks so rented a friends house just up the street. We got quotes from two moving companies and picked one. Paid for them to do all the packing, and was glad we did. Was a pretty simple process. They came in and wrapped/packed on one day, then loaded up the truck on the second. Once the movers had gone and we were in the rental we realized we had way too much stuff. But it would all work out. We ended up shipping a few boxes through the post office. Not a big deal and wasn’t too expensive, and kind of a fact of life. We had to have a few things with us while we were in the rental. I also got given a few gifts from work (artwork) that I wasn’t expecting so they had to be shipped.

    Selling the cars:
    We had two cars to sell. We listed them on Craigslist but ended up with not enough time so the plan then changed and we were going to sell them to Carmax (dealer that buys cars). We sold my car one week out and picked up a rental, planning on selling the second a few days prior to leaving. The process is really easy which is why we left it late, and we had to have two cars. The evening before we were to drive down and sell the last car, the last big step in the process, the turbo blew. Little did we know it, it would all work out. We pretty much freaked out. We were leaving in three days and had a worthless car. We tried to come up with a plan, give it to a friend? Nothing seemed like it would work. Then my wife said, “ask the dealer (who had it to potentially do the repair) if they want to buy it”. So I did, and they did. They offered us a little more than we owed, which wasn’t great, but beat having a worthless car. The only tricky bit was getting having to drive a few hours to pay off my loan, get the title and back to the dealer, and getting the check from them, all within two days. But…it all worked out.

    to be continued......

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Colorado
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    194

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    The world’s most expensive Pug!
    We brought our pug with us. The process seemed like a lot of work, but in hindsight wasn’t that bad. Some of the timelines/deadlines require some planning and if we’d sold our house any earlier we wouldn’t have been able to bring him. We used IPT and the process was ok. Our vet was great and helped out a lot, including coming in Saturdays (to meet the timeline) when she wasn’t normally open. I did have to do a rush trip down to Denver to have some paperwork signed off and didn’t realize that we were trying to do this around the Christmas break when the NZ offices closed. Everything worked out fine, but I stressed quite a lot! But it all worked out.
    Our pug always sleeps in a crate so we knew he’d be ok with the crate, just not the shipping. We bought his crate a couple of months in advance and slept in it each night. He has some favourite toys which we packed then took up to him in quarantine.
    The pug’s flying papers arrived, and there was an audible sigh of relief. Who knew it would all work out?! Then it hit home that he was going to be stuck in his crate for 15 hours or so. We tried to ignore that. Two days before we flew out, I drove down to Denver and shipped him away. I had to start the drive at 4am, so made this trip by myself. I can still remember my wife saying good bye to him at the house, there were a few tears. I managed to find United cargo at Denver airport. Took him for his final walk (was dark and well below freezing so it wasn’t a relaxing or enjoyable walk for him) then took him inside. He was crated up, water attached, and zip-tied in. That was it! He’d be in there for a few hours out to LA, and it would be the last time I’d see him until we got to NZ. I hope everything goes well! It was a pretty sad moment, but there were a few other people there shipping their dogs domestically, so I couldn’t cry, no one else was (although no one else was flying internationally).
    The communication with IPT during the Pug’s travel was a bit lacking and I got annoyed. It was hard to find out where he was or how he was doing. Then the phones went down and I couldn’t call. I’d managed to text my sister in NZ and asked her to help out. She called IPT and the quarantine and had tracked him down. He made it safe and sound, and was happy and healthy!

    The flight:
    We’ve flown a couple of times with our daughter, including 7-8 hours out to Hawaii. We knew it was going to be brutal, and it was.
    Our last day was busy. We had a few small things to do, go to the bank, return borrowed things. I think it was too busy to be sad. Not until we were finally on the highway could be relax and say good-bye to the mountains that had been our home.
    We booked a sky-couch as it was the easiest way to guarantee three seats. After an hour and a half we were in Denver. I was glad I got the biggest rental car we could, because we filled it up! We didn’t have friends or family so it was quite the task getting checked in. We parked close by, loaded up and got to check in. United was pretty average, but its par for the course. Eventually got checked in. I returned the rental car then caught the bus to the terminal.
    That was it. We were on our way. Boarding passes in hand, we went to security. Denver airport has a really great view of the mountains (where we lived). I can still remember my wife and daughter walking down to the windows to say goodbye to the mountains. There were a few tears.
    For some reason many airlines have stopped letting families board early, which is a pain. We finally got on the plan and tried to settle. We had a lot of stuff. We also didn’t have a seat for Olive, so she was on mum’s lap for a couple of hours. The flight to LA was pretty un-eventful.
    We landed in LA and decided to walk across the terminal (rather than catching the bus) as a way to say good bye. We’ve been through LA a number of times, but this would likely be the last time for a while. After a warm and muggy walk across the airport we were in a security line again. Another un-loading of our stuff. It’s a little more time consuming with baby food/formula and stroller, and computers. Soon enough we were through and down at the AirNZ gate. Here’s where it got tiring and trying. There were hundreds of people waiting for the flight and we now had an exhausted peanut (Olive) with us. Her body was telling her she should be sleeping, but she couldn’t, so she cried (or screamed). AirNZ still lets families board early so we were able to get on and settled before the crowd arrived. The sky couch was good. Having three seats, Olivia her own, was much better than having her on our lap. I’ll para-phrase the next 11 hours. She screamed for the first two hours, slept for 7 hours, then screamed for the last two.
    We landed and were in Auckland! We declared the food we’d brought for Olive (mostly dried) and customs really didn’t care. We were through the terminal and out into the muggy Auckland air. We walked over to the domestic terminal, its tradition that we don’t ride the bus. We got some good coffee and sat down. Time to take a breath. We were getting a little tired and grumpy with each other. It had been a long trip. But we were nearly there.
    Waiting to board the flight to Wellington people were freaking out about the weight of carry on baggage. Another thing to stress over. We had a lot. But it would all work out. They didn’t even blink, and we got on board.
    The flight down to Wellington was pretty easy, and before we knew it we were walking off the jet way and saying hi to family! We’d made it.
    We relaxed with our family and got some much needed sleep. The next day we were up early to go and visit the pug in quarantine. He’s a trooper and was doing fine. He’d be home in no time.

    Our first three months have been pretty trying. Mum moved out so we could have her house. We started looking for our own house, and I for a job. We debated trying to find a house to buy, but couldn’t get approved without me having a job. So we’re now in a rental. It’s a new place, but the commute is a bit of a killer. With the pug dog we had a lack of options and there was a lot of crap out there.
    I struggled more than I thought I would looking for work. Finally ended up taking a contract position which should turn into a permanent position in the next week or so. So, it looks like it might all work out.
    We bought two used cars off trade-me pretty quickly and easily. My wife went in and got her NZ drivers license and reluctantly began driving. She now drives a lot and enjoys her mini-mini-van.

    Once I have my permanent job we’ll begin to look for a house to buy, and maybe we’ll finally be settled.

    Parting thoughts – It’ll be more work than you think, it’ll be stressful, but it’ll be worth it, and it’ll all work out.

    Things we wished we’d brought with us:
    Contact solution. Refills for the diaper genie.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    San Francisco to Auckland
    Posts
    626

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    Great summary, thanks for sharing. We've been here nearly 8 months, and I can't believe how fast the time has flown by. But we are really loving it. We just need to get the hubs (kiwi) a job and we'll be sorted. He kept his job in the States and has been commuting and that has gotten really old quickly.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Scotland to Wellington
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    Thanks for sharing your story. Your pug is in good company in Wellington, Peter Jackson of the Hobbit fame has a couple and can even be seen talking them for walks. One of those things that only happen in NZ.
    All the best.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    36,064

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    Thanks for your story. All the best for everything you're still working through.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Scotland to Wellington
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    Quote Originally Posted by girlwithanewf View Post
    Thanks for sharing your story. Your pug is in good company in Wellington, Peter Jackson of the Hobbit fame has a couple and can even be seen talking them for walks. One of those things that only happen in NZ.
    All the best.
    And I do of course mean taking them for walks. Although if anyone could make his dogs talk it would be Peter Jackson.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    NZ (Auckland; via Canada)
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    What a great story--thanks!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    NZ to US to NZ. Opua
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    Great posts Kiwi - and welcome home!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Wellington, NZ from US
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    Thanks for sharing! While I read your post, I was reminded of all that early stress; I am so glad that part is over! Kudos to you for getting though it Hope you are all settling in.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Kansas, USA
    Posts
    13

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    Thank you so much for typing up your story! This was very helpful and informative ..my boyfriend and I will be moving to NZ from Kansas next summer. Not with a pet or baby but this definitely put my mind at ease because things usually DO work out

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