One year ago

It’s official, one year ago today we left Canada for New Caledonia. It’s been a great adventure so far! There have been bumps in the road but overall it’s been an experience that has been much more than we ever expected. It’s funny how making a leap of faith sometimes works out. You never know how such a huge life change will turn out. Our choice was one that was hard at the time but looking back (which is always so easy) it was maybe one of our best decisions.
Keith and I have discussed this many many times. Our first day on the island. Let me tell you I think some of the silence between us was not just fatigue but a lot of self doubt. What have we done? It was so hot! A heat like I had never experienced. The airport under construction, the bleakness of the buildings. I know there was a lot of questioning our decision. But there was also that moment of when we first saw Noumea with its turquoise water, beaches and restaurants. The wow factor of when we walked into the Royal Tera ( now Château Royal) and the view of the beach.
Our first weeks were a blur. Trying to adjust to the grocery shopping, buying a car, unpacking. It was tough. Added to the fact that my second pregnancy ended at 10 weeks. But through it all we had each other. And we had the expat community, who went out of their way to help us find our way. It took time, as any move would but we found our way.
Now all seems so easy. We have lots of friends, we are settled in our house, we speak the language much better, we miss home less, we know where to buy things and we have a baby on the way. There are still moments of how do we do this or find this? How do we get there? How does it work but much,much less.
So what have I learned or experienced you ask? Well after many hours of pondering this question myself I have come up with a list, here goes…
1. Expats are friendly, helpful people
2. It’s not le fin de semaine, it’s le weekend
3. I’ve learned to bake
4. We’ve made homemade donair meat and pepperoni
5. We hiked to a waterfall
6. Snorkelled with Nemo
7. Travelled to Sydney & Brisbane
8. Ate lychees
9. Drank lots of Champagne!
10. Have friends from Sweden, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Australia, Dominican Republic, Belgium and France.
11. We pet kangaroos
12. We convert between imperial and metric a lot easier
13. Spend days on uninhabited islands
14. Went to a rodeo
15. Ate way too much baguette
16. Shelled and beheaded shrimp
17. Paid $16 for strawberries
18. Celebrated many birthdays and happy times
19. Drank Dominican hot chocolate, yum!
20. Learned that fabric softener can be mistaken for laundry detergent
21. Developed a love of sparkling water
22. Got chased by a horse
23. Flown alone, overseas with Seth
24. Eaten fresh tuna
25. Lived through my first cyclone ( albeit a weak one)
26. Ate McDonalds in 3 more countries, hehe
27. Learned to trust our instincts
28. Bought a hot tub
29. Swam with a turtle
30. Read a lot of books
31. Learned that a smile is sometimes all you need
32. Said goodbye to new friends
33. Bought palm trees
34. Spent the day on a white sandy beach with no one else
35. Had supper with dolphins swimming and playing next to us
36. Spent a day in a tribe
37. Had a visit with old friends
38. Moved supper from 4:30 to 6!
39. Made sand castles on Bondi Beach
40. Counted our blessings!
It’s been quite the year. We had days that we missed home, our old life, friends and family. But overall it really has been a great adventure! I can only hope that this next year will be just as exciting!

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