The New Life

When I moved to New Zealand in 2012, I moved with no job, no leads, and basically no friends. I took a leap of faith. A month before deportation I finally released the reigns that I was afraid to let go of. I was trying to do everything on my own. I made space for my faith and trust to take a place in my life. Two weeks before I was to be kicked out of the country, I landed a job…after 8 months of searching. Fast forward to now, when I moved to Colorado, I saw some striking similarities. With no job, no decent leads, and only a few friends in the state, I packed up everything I owned. I am happy to say that after spending three and a half months in this state, I have landed a job. And not just any job, but the job that I was hoping to always get!

I told myself months ago that if I hadn’t found a job after tireless searching by the May deadline, I needed to apply to a job that would more than likely hire me. It was a job I’ll allow to be nameless, but it wasn’t entirely exciting work. I would be pushed, stretched, and challenged at this job, but ultimately I didn’t think I would be happy there. May came around, and so did my promise to do what needed to be done. That’s really what it came down to; doing what needed to be done. At the same time that I was applying to said job, another opportunity appeared in the form of my dream job. The Family Center. I have a man by the name of Will Walls to be eternally grateful to for talking me up to his boss. He’s basically the reason I got in the room. These were experienced, funny, devoted, caring people that have worked in this field for years. They enjoyed my resume and wanted to meet up and talk.

Naturally, I set up the meeting but didn’t put too much weight on it due its nature of being a meeting. It wasn’t an interview after all. No pressure. This assumption turned out to be wrong. I drive to The Family Center and wait to be seen. They bring me in and I begin telling them my story. How I came to be in this field, why I do what I do, and my history with youth work. We laughed many times, poking fun at the intricacies of our field. We agreed on the importance of humor in the workplace and stressed the significance of self-care every day after our work was finished. Then…the strangest thing happened at the end of the “meeting,”…..they asked me if I wanted to come work for them because they liked me and thought I’d be a better fit here than at that other place I applied to.

I couldn’t believe it. My brother in law Randy told me that no meeting is ever just “a meeting.” Go in prepared like it’s an interview. They’re always interviewing you. AND HE WAS RIGHT!! Haha. Taken a little aback, I clarified what they meant, and if they were actually hiring me. They laughed and confirmed this was the case. I left The Family Center ten feet tall but stunned at what just happened. If you’re not the praying kind, I’m sorry, but that’s just what I had done a few weeks prior. I asked God to send me someone who would just give me a chance. Someone who would see me for me and not just a resume. Someone that would see that I was worth it. Now I don’t believe God is an all powerful genie, granting our every wish, but I do think that he cares about our happiness while at the same time caring for what is good for us.

As of now, I am training to be a Therapist on staff with The Family Center where they will teach me to become a better professional in my field. I hope to help the people of Colorado, and I know my experiences at The Family Center are going to help with that. There is a lot of hurting here, and this is what I signed up for when I chose to be a Social Worker. Is it easy? Hell no. Is it rewarding? Sometimes. Is it worth it? Always.

With my sister and brother in law moved in, the new job, the new church, and eventually the new apartment, things are looking pretty settled. Colorado has felt like home more and more over the past few weeks, and it doesn’t look like that’s going away anytime soon. It’s time to stop bouncing around. It’s time to take those first steps into the new journey. It’s time.

My Profession: The Reality Behind Social Work vs. What People Think I Do.

As I sit here, killing a sinus infection, there is not much to do besides knock off some Netflix, rest, drink water, and sleep again. Needless to say, I’ve been getting some writing done and this post has been sitting around for years. I decided to finish it up.

I can spot it right away. I’m at a social gathering and I’m telling someone I’ve never met what I do for a living. I tell them I’m a social worker. “Oh..” is their response. When you’re as good at reading people as I am, you try not to laugh at how blunt their reaction comes off. “Oh..” translates into, “Right, so you take people’s kids from them. You make almost no money. You’re a male in a female dominated profession. Wait…why are you a social worker?? You could do anything??” Continue reading “My Profession: The Reality Behind Social Work vs. What People Think I Do.”

How Moving my Life to New Zealand for 3 years Changed Me

I came to change New Zealand. After 3 years, New Zealand changed me. Cliche I know, but this ended up being the truth.

This post has been written over the past 18 months. My thoughts, my observations, and my feelings have obviously morphed along the way, but let’s just start at the beginning.

With 50lbs of luggage, a working knowledge of left hand driving, and one solid contact, I packed up what I owned and moved my life to New Zealand. I kissed my parents, hugged my niece, wished my siblings well, and flew. In my luggage was an optimistic, slightly naive, monstrously unrealistic idea that I was going to get a job, in my field, in the first few months. With…one…solid…contact. Yeah. Right. Continue reading “How Moving my Life to New Zealand for 3 years Changed Me”

Rumors and Here-say

So there’s a lot of rumor going around on whether I am sticking around America, or if I’ll return back to NZ after my trip home. Whether it’s friends hoping, or extended family inquisitively questioning, I decided it was time to bring everyone up to speed and on the same page. Finally.

I am moving back to the United States late January 2016.

There.

Any additional questions about where I will be living, where I will be working, if I’ve met someone, am I sick in the head, what’s wrong with NZ?, does my flat now have a spare room?……will not be answered. Partially because some of the questions are ridiculous, but mainly, because I don’t have answers for anything right now. Except my room. My flatmates will need another tenant. Message me if you’re keen. 🙂

Alright.

Cool.

Yeah.

See you in the New Year!

Are you…?

Alright people, [deep breath]. I really appreciate your interest in my life and I can’t really thank you all enough for those who helped me get where I need to be in my journey to New Zealand. STILL, I think this post is very necessary considering how out of the loop everyone seems to be. I am sorry for that. I had no idea.

Are you in New Zealand?

No, I am not…yet. I know this can seem pretty confusing considering I had a party to raise money to get me into the country, and then I dropped off the face of the earth months later.

So, you’re not going to live in New Zealand?

Not yet. The reason for this is because I moved to Grand Rapids to find a job, pay off loans and live with my best friends. That plan went south after about 4 months. I wasn’t making enough money and my loan payments started to come in fast.

So, you’re not going to New Zealand?

No. I AM going. The plan was always to eventually go, but I need the paperwork to go through FIRST. I need a visa to move into New Zealand and work there as a resident. I have been working on the paperwork since the beginning of graduate school, so it’s been over a year now, and still counting. It’s a long process, and I think I am very close to getting the visa. The plan to move is sometime in January.

I am only getting a job here to pay off loans until the paperwork goes through, which is going very well. In this down economy, I chose to go with the fast option and try to get a job in a job field I only recently came out of. Needless to say, they loved me and gave me a job. I will be delivering pizza for Sarpinos Pizza off N. Aurora St. in Naperville. The pay is very good, and the hours are likewise good.

Are you using the money you raised? What happened to that?

Well, I raised that money because the flights over to New Zealand are really quite expensive and the visa paperwork is equally expensive. The money has been set aside and will not be used until I need to use it to pay for the paperwork expenses and document verification. Again, I can’t thank you all enough for the generosity you displayed in helping me get to where I needed to go. Thank You.

Are you living back home?

Yes. I moved back in with my parents in Montgomery, IL to get a part time position that pays more and doesn’t hace the added variable of ‘rent.’ I love my family, and No, this is not a painful mistake that I made. It was the right one.

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I hope that I have answered your questions, and yes…these were real questions that I would get very frequently in conversation. Sometimes I was lucky and received ALL of them at the same time, or most of them at least.

Yours Always,