As I told you in my previous post, my partner in crime, Jesse, and I had a serious case of ‘itchy feet’ and spent the last 6 months contemplating a move overseas.
We’d looked at the short jump across the Tasman to Australia, and the very different jump across the world to Qatar or Abu Dhabi. Jesse’s lifelong dream had been to live in New York. As he was busy pursuing a career in the post-production area of the film and television industry, he was desperate to give life a try in America. To be honest, I was as well. While I had traveled all over the world in the past, we had sat in New Zealand and watched American TV shows and movies showing a similar but completely different way of life. The high school experience, the college experience, living in New York or LA or Alabama (a state which for some reason I am somewhat obsessed with and would like to go and visit….) – all of it was so foreign and so far away. Experiences many New Zealanders couldn’t begin to understand. “Is that what American high school is really like?” “Do cheerleaders actually walk around in their uniforms all day?” “Are there actually jocks?” “Are burgers and pizza slices actually that big in America?” “Do they actually have liquid cheese and eggs in cartons?”
Keep in mind, although the two countries are reasonably similar, there are a huge number of differences. We don’t really have cheerleaders, certainly not in schools but we do have one or two clubs around the country. We don’t play baseball as a main sport (we play Rugby and Cricket … therefore I am desperately looking forward to going to a baseball game). Our food is dramatically different. We don’t have the super size portions that America does. Our ‘large’ coke and fries is often the same size as America’s ‘small’. We don’t have liquid cheese or orange cheese for that matter! Our cheese is ridiculously fresh as we have a strong dairy industry. It’s a pale yellow color and is soft and delicious. We don’t have as much processed food either – we do have some, of course, but nothing like there is here. And most people cook their dinner at home each night, partly because there aren’t as many options to eat out every night, but also because it’s cheaper and healthier. In general, New Zealand is reasonably healthy. We eat healthy, have a large range of organic and free range foods – in fact it’s almost predominantly organic and free range, and we generally have an active lifestyle. I only realize this now, and I totally understand how so many people manage to put on weight when they arrive in the USA. I did… and needed to join a gym ASAP!
America has everything you could possibly want and imagine, it’s easy to go a little crazy when you first arrive!
New Zealanders typically go and live in the UK when they’re ready to move overseas. While some will visit America on their travels, there haven’t been many who have moved to the USA. This wasn’t because they didn’t want to, it’s because getting a visa to legally live and work in the USA is incredibly difficult.
I sat for hours trying to figure out a way to get us to the USA. There didn’t seem a way around it. We had only graduated from graduate school (post-grad studies in New Zealand) within the last twelve months. This meant we certainly weren’t the best in our fields and able to show why the USA ‘needed’ us. We had no American relatives or ways of obtaining a green card. During my endless search I remembered a friend of mine had recently made the move to New York. After a brief conversation with her, and another friend who had studied in Boston for a few years I discovered a secret. It was a well-kept secret, that’s for sure, and I’m about to blow it into the open!
In the last few years, Australia and New Zealand have been participating in a trial program with the United States which gives university graduates the opportunity to work and experience life in America. You have to meet a certain criteria in terms of the type of study you had pursued and the type of university you had studied at and you had to either be a current student or graduated within the last twelve months.
While I had graduated from my honors program in August of 2011, Jesse had graduated from his post graduate diploma in December 2010. This meant we had to enter the States by December 2011. To say this caused a mild panic would be an understatement. I didn’t know if it could be done. It was the middle of September 2011 and we weren’t prepared in the slightest! We knew this opportunity would not come around again and if we were going to do this we had to just hold our breath and leap.
So we did! We sold everything we owned, worked as hard as we could and became social recluses in order to save every dollar! Everyone who heard of our plans to move to America was shocked – people don’t just pack up and move to New York – well actually, we do. A lot of my friends have since told me how proud they are of us being brave enough to go on this adventure. I guess if we had time to stop and think about what we were getting into it would have been a different story.
Before we knew it, we were on the plane, waving goodbye to our friends, families and lives and literally flying into the unknown.