Technology is amazing and very poor at the same time. I’m writing this from my laptop at Narita airport in Tokyo (amazing) but I can’t get any money out or make phone calls. The mobile has no coverage, I think that they said Vodafone doesn’t work here … language barrier. I can’t use the public phones as they work on a phone-card or cash. I have no Yen. My cards (Maestro and Amex) are not accepted (vry poor)!?!? I can’t phone or buy food but, I do have ample fat supplies and there is drinking water at the very basic airport (suprising I thought it would be all singing and dacing …. well bowing anway).
The 1st leg of the flight was good. New (very new) plane and a smooth ride. The entertainment system crashed so I watched “The Devil Wears Prada” and a bit of the Al Gore climate change doccumentory and that was it on an 11 hour flight! Food was great I went for the Japanese bento box whilst the smell next to me went or some western dish.
I have to wait untill early evening (Japan time) untill I fly. There is a change of airlines (Virgin Atlantic to here and the Air New Zealand) but I have been assured that I did not have to reclaim my bags (in fact you gett sheparded away from that area if you are in transit). I had to get a bus to a different terminal, the helpful people (with white gloves) would not allow me out of the building until the bus was due to go and then escorted me into the other building. Either they think I’m dodgy or they know I’m thick and could easily get lost.
Well just about 7 hungry hours to go then another long flight. Bye
Well the last day at work is here and I’m sat here before my shift (just, as Simmo has gone out on a shout leaving me without my car) wondering what I’m doing?!?!
It’s a strange feeling, a mix of scared and anxious mixed with some sadness and also joy and anticipation at the coming week. It’s just 3 days before I’m off to Narita airport in Tokyo, then onto Auckland airport, then one of these:
Maybe I’ll update this during the shift … maybe I’ll leave it as an unfinished work (like those great composers) or just waffle on about stuff …….
Time is slipping away at an incredible speed. The leaving ‘do’ was on Friday …. thanks to all ….. when I have worked out how, I’ll post some pics on here for just us mad medics to access ….. thanks to Richard H for stealing my camera.
Things are all on track to leave on Tuesday. Scary but good scary ….. oh that post from NZ was returned to them. I don’t know why, anyway I have recieved some of the info via email, driving course material …. not very exciting. It tells me that I’ll have to slow down! 30kph (18mph) over the stated speed limit is their excemption. You MUST stop at red traffic lights etc and no excemption when there is a temporary speed limit. Now that means that road works which are 30kph (18mph) will be just that even in an emergency!
Well today we got 5 bits of paper in 5 passports. The worry and heartache that those 5 very important visas have caused is immence (?spelling). The odd thing is that Lisa can work anywhere and for anyone and I must only work for St John (ambulance ….. works as the main / only emergency ambulance service throughout about 95% of NZ). The other thing is that I can’t send the kids to work!?!? It looks a bit like this (I couldn’t be bothered to scan ours so here’s a random German one found courtesy of Google):
Well some things are slow …. some are fast and the flight tickets were amazingly fast. I had a phone call today saying that the tickets were in! We only went in there yesterday!
The passports with the visas are in the slow post (snail mail) obviously. Dom (remember him?) said Thursday at the latest …. well tomorrow is Thursday and as of now the passports are not here …. roll on tomorrow or it’s the phone calls again!
Post from NZ is slow. ‘Important information that needs to be read’ , has been sent. Sounds very important but it’s not here yet …. posted on the 28th September! That’s 13 days so far ….. What can it be and is it coming by boat?
Drinks at Ye Olde Charles on Friday night ….. if you know it, come along!
I’ve had lots of well wishers at work
Well today whilst Lisa was at work, I took the kids to the town. Connor (4) asked the lady in the travel agents, “I want a ticket for Daddy to go an an aeroplane to New Zealand. Connor and Aidan and Liam and Mummy and Connor and Aidan and Mummy and Connor (he gets excited and repeats things) and we will go after Christmas. Scuze me lady can I have a ticket for Daddy?”. Now I’m thinking that although this is very ‘sweet’, that he really does want to get rid of me!
I had a simple criteria for my flight itinery ….. JUST NOT VIA AMERICA (previous experience of being cattle prodded into a holding pen …. ish)! Well the internet price for the ticket could be found at £588.40 inc. taxes. So off to the travel agent it was to see about thier fares (also from previous experience that the internet is noalways the cheapest deal however long you gaze at the words in the ether. Armed with the America information she duly set to task (she’s off in January too …. strange but true). “That is a very god price for such a late booking …. prices for flights do rise and not fall as the date aproaches.” £670, £692, £578 and then £509. All I hope is that it’s not in the hold and I get a drink and some grub. Singapore Airlines (very highly recommended and used before) get booked up quite early so I was unable to use them this time (Note to self ….. book earlier for Lisa and the kidlets).
There is a down side but saving £70 is worth it …. maybe. I will fly Virgin Atlantic (not across the Atlantic?!?) but to Tokyo where I will wait about 9 hours (say it quickly and it’s ok) before flying Air New Zealand to Auckland. Air NZ was not ontop of my list …. it’s functional. I have no experience of a Virgin (flight) so that’s unknown. All I know is that we are getting things sorted out.
The house rental person (they must have a propper name) came round today. This is our safety net. Rent the house if it doesn’t sell and keep it on the market hoping that it does sell. Still the rental should cover the majority of our expences here. Anyone want to buy or rent our house? Click below to add our house to your basket:
Well, today I made a phone call to NZ House. Dom was not available to talk (he apparently is our case office …. makes me feel like a psychiatric patient or criminal) and will phone me back. I phoned back this afternoon … everyone busy message ….. I phoned again and had the same ‘we’re all working hard’ message’. Then out of the blue (or smog as it’s in London) there was a cheary voice saying that all is ok and sorry it took longer than I had first been told. Your visas will be with you at the latest on Thursday.
After much silly dancing and offering to buy Dom a drink the thoughts settled to that ‘oh shit’ this really IS happening sensation.
“For those about to rock, we salute you” ……. random quote (ACDC) sounds good in my psyciatric mind!
Roll on booking flights.
Today I should have got the visas. This would have been the 5 days max that I was told last Friday at NZ House.
I phoned them today …… they answered straight away. They conversation went along the lines of ……
“Hi, I’m phoning to check the progress of the WTR visas that were lodged last Friday.”
“Last Friday? …. That’s not a long time ago, they normally take 1 – 2 weeks. I can’t speed them up until it’s the week that you travel.”
“Well I do travel on or abou the 22nd of this month! I’m getting … er …. tetchy.”
“Call on Monday or Tuesday and I’ll see.”
Well it’s simple the panic is setting in a little more, just in-case there wasn’t enough stress already. I’ll post more details when I know anything …. this will be on Monday or Tuesday and if I don’t hear anything then I’ll panic big time! This is getting silly as it’s only about 2 weeks before I’m off (if I get the visa).
We had an offer on the house …. we said no. £25,000 less than the asking price was just too much of a discount!
Well, the medicals came (after the postie had been, making me think that there were more delays) in their sealed envelope …. “You mustn’t open this!” the Dr said. What would happen if I had of done? My Police check came the same day (Thursday 28th September), our wedding photographer called to say that the ‘proofs’ were ready and most importantly Lisa was booted out of hospital.
Yesterday (Friday) I took a trip to London to visit the nice people at NZ House. I had to wait for ages! This was no problem really as when it was my turn, I was given as much or more time than the others. The girl I saw was polite, friendly and helpful. She needed to go through the application for my WTR visa, Lisa’s family visa (this is a work visa linked to mine) and the visitors visas for the kids. We will have to get a student visa for Connor soon as he will be nearing school age when we are there. No doubt that this will be additional expense but then we are not surprised by this expensive ‘hobby’ we’ve got.
I explained about the VERY short time that I have before I am due to start in NZ. “No problem,” she replied “our processing times for applications with a job offer and are the WTR visa, take just 2 -5 days.” Can I imagine the UK doing things this quickly ….. I don’t think so.
Now all we need to do is wait for the little piece of paper to be stuck into our passports, assuming that all is well.
I’ll go out first and Lisa and the kids will follow. It will be very hard to leave them behind. I will be very busy at the start as with any new employment, Lisa will be VERY busy just trying to hold everything together by herself (we struggle at times with the two of us) and selling / renting the house out. They will all come out to NZ in January. I’ll try to get some accommodation set up, when and where I don’t know.
Being the new boy I will be working Christmas, that’s a certainty.
They said 40 days (43 days now) ….. thats the police. The Police checks take upto 40 days. Yesterday I called them from the phone number on Lisa’s Police check letter. “You must phone your local Police authority” they said, so I did. They were helpful and explained that was the correct way to do things. What they do now is phone Scotland Yard, then they call the people I called to start with; the Data Protection Agency or something like that. Who knows what will happen now but, it needs to happen fast. We need this soon!
On the plus side, today I got a parcel in the post from New Zealand House. It was the the Visitor Visa applications that I requested for the kids. There was a group of paperwork inclduing a guide on how to fill in the forms and a free newspaper. The problem …. only one application form! I downloaded and completed the forms courtesy or SECAMB (work).
I was promised the medicals too and they have not arrived …. still we only paid almost a grand so being on-time couldn’t be expected, could it? Well I hope it all sorts out soon …… Lisa being in hospital but thankfully getting much better is not helping with the her wellbeing, our stress levels or the confusion and stress of the kids.
The moral being that sometimes when everyting seems to be going badly, great things can happen (Lisa was very (no VERY) poorl, and now she is much better).
Roll on tomorrow …. Lisa home ….maybe ….. the right stuff in the post and a nice day at work.