My decision to move to New Zealand was not as easy and exciting as that day I had my Dubai Surprise. But now, after almost 4 years of living here, in the Land of the Long White Cloud, as I look back and think of August 2007, I can’t help but smile and thank that young Tintin for making the hard but right decision of making the move and enduring the heartache. And now, I am sharing it to you….

Mid 2007 and it was the time when recession was starting to hit Dubai. A lot of workers being sent home, laid off. I know some Filipinos who were given their month’s notice. I saw the look of sadness and disappointment on their faces. I felt what they felt that time. Sad times are about to come, I thought. I was scared that soon, it will be my month’s notice being handed to me…

In the midst of all this, I received an email from a former colleague who just moved to NZ with his family. He asked me if I’m interested in working for the same engineering company he’s working for. He thought of me right away as their company is looking for someone young with my engineering skills. Also, he tried to sell me NZ’s tourism and said that NZ is a beautiful country and I’d really love it there. Haha ๐Ÿ™‚ I told him, to be honest, I don’t know where New Zealand is and the only time I’ve heard of NZ was on a milk commercial with cows and a flock of sheep running on the hills. Bwahahaha ๐Ÿ™‚

So yes, I sent him my CV. I got a reply from my to-be manager in 15 minutes. He wanted to discuss things right away and was very keen on talking about salary and visa. I didn’t reply right away, I thought I needed to talk to my then boyfriend. After our talk, I realized I just felt overwhelmed with my colleague’s email, the fast reply and the eagerness of the company to hire me. I realized I can’t leave my boyfriend. I love him and I can’t leave him. I didn’t even consider that I might be laid off anytime soon. I was so in love. I didn’t know how to reply to the email from New Zealand, but I had to tell them about my relationship. I emailed them the following day. The manager replied that he is quite sad that I can’t move but told me that if I change my mind and the position is still available he would really be keen to hire me.

A couple of months passed. Recession was starting to hit Dubai hard. A lot of stories of people sent home and a lot of us didn’t get pay rises. My boyfriend and I were trying to apply to other companies in Dubai but we we’re not lucky. Then I came across an ad on google with a link to a youtube video.

It was a video about New Zealand, the country, the people and the song was one of my favorites when I was still young. I then searched New Zealand on google. The whole afternoon until night, that’s all I did. I thought of the job offer I declined. I felt gutted. I watched the video again. At that moment, I wanted to go. I really want to. First thing the following morning, I emailed the manager in New Zealand and before lunch, I got a reply. He said that is very happy to get an email from me, the position was still available and if I am sure I want to go to New Zealand and work, he is very much willing to help me with all the paper and immigration work.

I was stunned by this email. I felt a different kind of happiness. I got excited. A new adventure in a new country somewhere in the Pacific. I thought, 2 months after declining the job, ย it’s still available and the manager still eager on hiring me – this job must really be meant for me! ๐Ÿ™‚ I emailed the manager, ‘Yes I am interested and I want to go to New Zealand and live and work there’. After that, I started thinking how to tell my boyfriend.

It was another long, emotional talk, mostly I wouldn’t mention here as they are too personal, full of drama and would probably bore you guys. But in the end, we agreed that I will go there first and he will follow me. I believed him. I loved him so much and that decision made me so happy. I am moving to New Zealand and he will follow me and we’re gonna live happily ever after. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hahaha

The processing of my papers to NZ then started. A lot of emails and calls from New Zealand to Dubai were made. A lot of trips to Immigration NZ in Dubai, medical check-up, blood test, paper work, paper work, paper work… After less than a week, I finally got a visa, and not just a simple work visa, it’s a work to residence visa! This is the visa that my would-be boss offered to help me get. (I wasn’t fully aware at that point how this type of visa would be of so much help to me.) I thought that this is too much luck for me, just too much. I felt so blessed. The following day, when I emailed the manager I already have the visa, I found out too that they will pay for my airfare and that they will refund the whole amount I spent processing the papers. Tintin is so BLESSED! ๐Ÿ™‚

Everything was set in place. I have my visa, my plane ticket, I’ve handed down my resignation… The plan was going well. My boyfriend was set to follow me in a few months. I was happy. I was very happy.

One week before my flight to New Zealand, I found a letter on my desk. I knew the writing right away. It’s from my boyfriend. I won’t mention everything that was on the letter, in summary it just said that he needed to go back home to Egypt as his family called him that his mother was sick. Tears fell and I felt in my heart that I can’t leave Dubai without seeing him. I was about to email my would-be manager that I might postpone my flight because I need to wait for my boyfriend’s return from Egypt, but he emailed me first. The email expressed his happiness that in 1 week I’ll be in New Zealand and he just wants to make sure, all that I need is in place and I won’t have problems flying and with the immigration when I arrive.

I didn’t send my email. I tried to call my boyfriend for days but there was no answer. A day before I left, I finally received a message from him, that he’s sorry he won’t be there to see me before I go. But I shouldn’t worry, he will follow me. I was quite hesitant to believe him. I had the feeling that there was something wrong. I read his email again. I didn’t want to go to the airport but I can’t turn back now. I signed a contract for a company in NZ and it’s less than 24 hours before I fly.

I ended up at the airport the following day, my eyes sore from crying the whole night, tired and sad to leave Dubai. My very close friends from work dropped me at the airport and said their goodbyes. I cried more. They told me to take care of myself and never lose hope. My bestfriend, she hugged me tight and told me, “If he follows, good. If he doesn’t stay. Stay in NZ. Be happy.” ๐Ÿ™‚

I cried the whole flight, from Dubai to New Zealand. I wanted to stop but my eyes just don’t want to stop producing tears. I arrived in New Zealand safe but with eyes very sore and red eyes.

I eventually broke up with my then boyfriend. ย He didn’t follow me. I don’t even know if he really had any intention of following me. I don’t think I am anymore interested in knowing whether he had any. ย I was so in love that time. My way to NZ was not very easy on my emotions. I learned a lot of things the hard way, mainly because of how I handled my emotions I reckon. ๐Ÿ™‚ I learned not to base decisions, specially life decisions solely on a man… Never to let my emotions overpower my whole system. There are times that what the heart feels is more important than what the mind thinks; but I also have to know when the fairytale ends and when reality begins… I learned never to turn down opportunities, maybe I won’t be lucky the next time. I learned that it may take time for me to finally be with the man that will love me and stay with me forever, he may not even come, but till then, I should enjoy my life, never hesitate to travel and experience new adventures! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve been in New Zealand almost 4 years now, and I can say I never regret anything. My life now is worth every tear and pain I felt. I am stronger and I am tougher. I love my life now.. Not everything is perfect but I am HAPPY. I feel contented. I love myself, my life… ๐Ÿ™‚

I now also recall what a friend emailed me 4 years ago…

“You cry all you want now. Cry until your eyes can’t produce tears. Feel the pain now and cry as much as you canย becauseย tomorrow, I’m not allowing you to cry anymore. You didn’t lose anything. Your heart is still there, it’s not broken, it’s just in pain. You’re a beautiful, talented young woman who’s got a lot of adventures to experience. You’re 23! He lost you and you didn’t lose him. I assure you this, without any bitterness intended, there will come a day he will regret he never followed you. He lost you!”

Now as I look at this email again, I smile and think, yeah, he did lost me. ๐Ÿ™‚ LOL ๐Ÿ™‚