Preparing to live abroad – Celebrations and Setbacks

2 months out – celebrations and setbacks!


As of yesterday, I am 2 months away from my New Zealand Adventure – 60 days until I depart to be exact. The past few weeks have been filled with exciting steps in the whole process, and I was finally feeling like I was settled and ready to go – I had a FABULOUS apartment booked, secured and ready to go, all of my paperwork was in order – had been assigned a fantastic university supervisor – who I cannot wait to collaborate with and learn from her expertise, and I had (most importantly) reached a point with my fundraising that I felt I was in good shape getting ready to leave and having everything in order.

The Apartment:

Many of you have had to look at pictures of my amazing flat – I have been so very excited about it. I really did luck out with the opportunity for this flat – I found it by “blog stalking” the other Fulbrighters – primarily Lisa ( and Sue ( This flat is where Lisa stayed, so way back in April, right after I received word I was selected for the Fulbright, I contacted Lisa and she put me in contact with her lovely landlords Ian and Jenny – this flat is amazing – it is sunny – bright and in the perfect location in Central Wellington – and the building has a cool history – it used to be an old biscuit factory – the Aulsebrook’s Building. Fantastic Location – beautiful apartment. I paid my deposit back in September, happy to have living arrangements situated – short-term furnished rentals can be difficult to find in New Zealand! (More on this later).

The Advisor

This week one of my biggest questions was answered, when I found out who my university advisor will be – and I must say – I could not be more excited. I will be working with Dr. Louise Starkey at Victoria University in Wellington. I have read many of her publications, cited her work in my academic research and am absolutely flattered to have the opportunity to collaborate with her during my time in New Zealand.


Many of you know that I was at a deficit of the funds provided by the program and the expenses I had to pay to maintain insurance and things here in the states while I am abroad. I have been blessed with generous gifts from individuals and organizations that I belong to, and I am so pleased to say that I am within 10% of my fundraising goal – and I am so humbled by the outpouring of love and support I have received. I am a lucky, lucky lady! I am confident the last bit of fundraising will come through in the next few months, and I am grateful.


But, as they say – they best laid plans often go astray. . . As many of you are undoubtedly aware, New Zealand suffered a significant earthquake a few weeks ago. At that time my landlords and I were in contact – and all appeared well. Unfortunately – after further inspection by the engineers – it was determined that the building did, indeed, have some damage that was in need of immediate repair – repairs that would require evacuation of all units in the building for part of the time that I was planning to be there. So, for at least a month, I will be in need of another housing location while repairs are completed. I just found this out last night – and there are still more things to work through – but I am so thankful that Jenny and Ian have some suggestions and ideas, and we will Skype in the next few days to chat about where we go from here.


There is much to be celebrated – and I am confident that this will all work out – and sometimes it is good for my “plan ahead” self to have to exercise some flexibility and work through a minor setback – who knows – this might just lead to an even more amazing adventure than I could have anticipated. As they said to us all multiple times at orientation – it will all be ok!