I have spent the last week doing everything in my power to get an offer letter for any job so I can apply for a work-visa before the holidays. On Friday every door shut and I closed one myself. On Saturday I made the decision: it is time to go back to Sacramento and regroup. It turns out the cheapest flight for several weeks leaves on Christmas Day. Let me give a more full explanation so you can understand the dilemma. As I have mentioned before, I cannot apply for a work-visa without an offer letter from an employer with a full-time job that pays over $55,000 a year. I have a skill that is on the shortage list, but I am not under 30 or with a Kiwi-partner so the offer letter is a prerequisite. Auckland Council made a verbal offer and then backed out when they learned I did not have a work-visa. For more complicated reasons, I closed the door on Synergine. And the restaurant job does not pay $55,000 a year.
And now New Zealand is beginning to close for the Christmas holiday and summer. People were not kidding when they said everything shuts down until the end of January. It has already begun. Immigration is closed from this Friday to January 4 and with lots of other people taking some of their 6 weeks of vacation, my application would probably take longer than the month they say it will take as a minimum. That meant another 3 months without the ability to earn any income.
It was not easy to accept that the most sensible thing to do is return to the States and begin again. Yesterday I made the decision to fly home for now.
I have felt every emotion this week and used a box of tissue. Now I feel at peace and sad. Earlier in the week I felt like going back to the States was a failure and a catastrophe. I found myself bargaining with God and then threatening him (sort of), and that is when I realized I needed to get a grip. I am in a better place today. Of course I do not know what the future holds, none of us do, yet I still want to live in New Zealand. I will figure out Plan B from the States where my burn rate on the savings account is not so much and where I can legally get a job.
I already can list many things that I have learned and redesigned in the almost 5 months I have lived here. The experience continues to be extremely positive. I have treasured friends who I will really miss.
If I knew this would be happening when I left in August, I believe I would still go for it. The arc of my story is still bending so I will not assume there is no happy ending. I am likening it to when you are rafting down a river and you see a huge rock and deadly rapids and you sensibly go to the bank and portage around. I will put my boat back in the water a little further down.
This Christmas I will celebrate with friends in New Zealand and then head to the airport to catch the 7:30 p.m. flight to San Francisco. Sarah will pick me up at the airport at 10:30 a.m. Christmas morning and I will get to celebrate again! (Although I may be a little worn out). Hugs for Christmas sound really good right now. And kisses from Radar. And sleep.
My intention is to return to New Zealand. Let’s see what happens next.