The Beginning, 0 Miles

This is the story of how this Southern American family ended up on the other side of the World. I started this blog to share our experiences and pictures with all our family and friends back home. My name is Amber and I’m an ex small town Arkansan that met my wonderful husband Andrew in a college class at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. After a couple years of marriage we moved to Dallas for our careers and almost immediately started a family. Both our girls were born in Texas, Aubrey 6 and Ella 2.

I think these are the 3 biggest questions we get when we tell people our plans:
1. How did this come about?
2. Why New Zealand?
3. Why now?

The answers….

It started with a conversation over Sushi. Andrew’s boss had returned from France and wanted Andrew to meet him for lunch. He presented an expat opportunity with his company to determine if Andrew would even be interested. At this time there were a couple different locations looking to fill positions. Andrew wasn’t sure how serious they were considering his company had never sent an American to fill an expat opportunity before.

Andrew knowing how long it takes me to adjust to change, he decided to mention it to me that night after the kids went to sleep. I have always told Andrew if an opportunity presented itself then to please pursue it and I meant what I said. This was different though. This meant uprooting our family, our life and moving to the other side of the world. He was wise in giving me some time to get use to the idea.  Although it felt different this time and I was almost completely on board with the idea by morning. Andrew has told me several times now how surprised he was that I made the decision so fast.

Almost a month passed before we really heard anything else. I had been reading everything out there about being an expat and living in New Zealand and could not get enough information.  It started to feel like time stood still and each day I would wait for Andrew to call from work to see if he had news. I felt like my life was on hold while we waited for information. I really couldn’t talk about it so just had to go about my daily activities. Andrew kept telling me to stay positive that these things take time with his company.

Then it happened, an email, an email to set-up interviews the week of Thanksgiving. I felt relief and fear all at once since it was officially moving forward. The interviews started and things picked up considerably! It became very clear that Hamilton, New Zealand would be the only option since they needed him there the most. Site visits were scheduled and passports were renewed. We began telling family and friends and the word was spreading fast. The only issue is no one at Andrew’s work knew what was going on yet. We were still waiting on the contract before we could make an official decision. It came very early one morning and Andrew couldn’t wait so he woke me up immediately. I squinted as I looked at this email on his phone in the dark. I read everything twice. This was happening I thought as I drifted back to sleep.

The move, the timing just made perfect sense. The kids were at an excellent age to travel, old enough to remember their experience but young enough that school was not a big issue yet. New Zealand has an excellent school system and the girls would love all the outdoor activities. There was nothing holding us in Dallas. Please know we have wonderful friends here and a great support system.  Having our family only a few hours drive or short flight away is nice too.  We struggled with leaving all this behind but this was an opportunity we could not pass up. Luckily with Facebook and Skype it is much easier to keep up with those you love!

As Aubrey said, “I want to experience the world”. This was going to be the easiest way to travel and show the girls things they would probably never see if we stayed in Texas. A once in a lifetime opportunity…

Amber Herden

My name is Amber and I am finally tackling my bucket list all while relocating countries and raising two beautiful girls with my incredible husband.