Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Down Under

Yesterday I mentioned that Mrs Koda and I talked about planning an extended vacation 'Down Under'.

Here's my thinking:

Perhaps the overarching motivation here, is history. Many of you know mine, but for those who don't... I'm African, born and raised. African blood runs in my veins and the place is and always will be my home. I would love to share part of that with my kids. Take them to places I used to go, smell the things I used to smell, tastes I tasted and things I heard.

Africa isn't the safest place right now though, and perhaps more importantly isn't great for employment either. Things are turning around, but it's still gonna take some time.

I moved to New Zealand when I was 17 and lived there until right before I turned 20 and left to go back to South Africa as a missionary.

I had a lot of really great experiences there, some of which required religious confession, which I detailed in my other blog last week... GOOD TIMES!!

Anyway, with Africa not being a viable option, I have an urge to share some of my childhood with my kids. This need seems to have increased even more as I've left Mormonism, and with it much of what I was raised with.

So with that in mind, I've been thinking a great deal about moving my family back to New Zealand.

There are other motivations as well...

I'm worried about what's going on in the US right now.

Perhaps it's just that I live and work amongst particularly violent and hateful people, but the drums of war are beating stronger each day, and the war they seem to be indicating is likely to be of the civil variety.

These are people who claim to be Christian, but possess deep hatred for opposing religions, the non-religious and people with a variety of differing opinions and lifestyles. Most are also convinced the end of the world is imminent, and I suspect will allow that thought to become increasingly self prophetic.

The US economy is also in the crapper as well, and I'm not too optimistic about it getting fixed, particularly after news on the radio recently about increasing popularity of Republicans in the upcoming elections... The very same Republicans who through a series of tax cuts, wars and financial fraud managed to cause the financial melt down in the first place. With all due respect to most of my readers, the average (and I should probably add... Conservative) American seems to lack the ability to remember events just 2 years in the past, or the ability to think past the end of their nose...

But perhaps it's just the area I live in.

I also want to give my kids the opportunity for an education in life, something far and above what they'll get in their formal schooling.

So, with all of this in mind, and likely other stuff too...

Here's what we're thinking:

We need to try and get out from under our house, although the idea to walk away and let the folks at the bank deal with it, is still veeeeery tempting. I don't think it's an entirely honest approach, but at the same time, it would appear that when we bought the house, there may have been some appraisal trickery which ultimately caused us to pay far more than we should have... No use crying over spilt milk as they say, but it seems that everyone profited off that deal, except us. Kinda pisses me off.

So, if we can overcome the house problem, then we need to build up some serious savings, which may be easier said than done, especially with 5 growing mouths to feed... Got a job interview of sorts on Thursday though!!

Next I need to seriously increase my skillset. I'm going to keep seeking out more challenging employment, and hopefully I can find some needs in New Zealand and work on teaching myself those skills to make me more marketable.

Then, I need to apply for a work permit... My current skillset has me on the short term needs list for both New Zealand and Australia. That means that I can probably get a short term permit, perhaps just for a couple of years, but that's all we're looking for right now.

And then we'll bite the bullet and do it.

In a perfect world, we'd shift over there with enough in savings to support us for a couple of years, just in case things don't go well.

After 2 years are done, we will likely come back... Unless of course we fall in love with the place and decided to try and find a way to stay.

Obviously, the chance to share some of my personal history with my kids is the primary reason, so we would be looking at moving near the Wellington area, but factoring in the other motivating factors... If that isn't possible, we may well look elsewhere in New Zealand, and perhaps over in Australia as well.

I'll post updates as and when there are developments in this 5 to 10 year plan!


  1. I think it sounds exciting. What a great experience for your kids! Dh and I have talked so much about being full-time RVers someday that our youngest is convinced we're selling the house the day Brother #3 goes off to college. ; )

    In all honesty I think the political stuff will settle down (unless Utah is planning to secede or something). We go through phases of this, and racial stuff will almost always trigger an episode. Interestingly, if the economy picks up, most of the radical position people will forget their troubles. We're Americans, show us the money, you know.

  2. Weirdest things make one stop lurking and start commenting...

    Reason I did is twofold, one, I'm in the middle of planning a similar major move - mine is to Ireland - so I had to chime in and say go for it. I am a firm believer in doing now what you will regret not doing later... if that makes sense! Two I thought I'd mention that app development is a really good field to get into - and very, very cheap. There's an entire course available online on iTunes University through Stanford (free) and since you already do software development I think you'll find the programming a breeze.

  3. Sounds like a good plan as long as you do it for the "pull" factors rather than the "push". You've already lived in New Zealand and know the country, so you know what you'd be getting there.

    But as for the US, I don't believe there's going to be a civil war. I can't remember a time when people weren't predicting something like that on one grounds or another. So far we haven't even seen violence on the scale of the riots in the sixties. The crazies are pretty bad, and I think we'll continue to see right-wing terrorist attacks and assassinations, but there aren't enough of them to start a civil war.

  4. Thanks Megan, I'll look into that.

    Infidel - You're probably right with the civil war thing... I think what frightens me is just the complete blind and irrational hatred and anger coming from people who I've always looked at as normal. It seems like most of my neighbors are stocking up on weapons and ammunition, and the 'end of the world' rhetoric is continuing to increase as well - I worry about self fulfilling prophecy.