As a family, we are a bit unusual. We left the UK in 2002 (Maddie, writing this post, was just 4 years old, and my brother James was 7) and moved to New Zealand. It was originally meant to start out as a 8ish month trip in a camper van around the country, however we fell in love with New Zealand and ended up officially moving and settling in the North Island.

We had such a great lifestyle there; our house was on a cliff overlooking a massive marine reserve and one of the top scuba diving sites in the world (the blog post image is our own picture from our balcony), and my primary school was literally on the beach by an estuary. Dolphins would swim down into the estuary and if we had a spare pair of clothes to change into, we were allowed to go swimming with them too. I know, the dream. Once we even had a tsunami warning and we had to single file march from our campus up into the hills! I was rather excited to be honest…

Before we settled in Tutukaka, we moved around to a fair few houses and lived a bit of a NZ-hippie lifestyle. I vaguely remember different family oriented mini-festivals, and my brother and I were homeschooled for a few years. When we ended up going to school in mid-late primary years, we dabbled in a Steiner school education, however we weren’t there for an extended period of time and joined regular primary/secondary schools the following school year.

It was in New Zealand that Sarah (mum) began to explore her passion into the holistic healing field which she was always drawn to. She started out by studying and initialy practicing Reiki, however never made it into a career and continued to be a school teacher. She was later introduced to Theta healing, and this is where she really realised that healing was her true calling in life and the path she was destined to go down. 

Mum and Dad were both school teachers, and New Zealand is a rather expensive place to live in. One of the reasons we had to move houses reguarly was because we couldnt afford the rent in the long run. Mum and Dad ended up buying a two bedroom property, and they still own it now, however we never moved into that house as it would have been to small for our family and not worth the stress of living on top of each other. James was becoming a teenager, and rightfully so, needed more space and did NOT want to share a room with his little sister. I didnt take it personally because I didnt want to share with my smelly older brother, anyway. 

By this point, we had lived in New Zealand for around 6 years, coming up to 7. I was around 9 or 10 years old so I wasnt competely, consciously aware of our financial struggles as a family. However, many years down the line and after MANY sessions of hypnotherapy, healings, meditations, and about any holistic practice you can imagine, I’m very aware of how even though mum and dad never expressed their concerns and worries vocally, it didn’t mean I hadn’t picked up on it energetically. 

I remember the morning very vividly; I was woken up by mum to start getting ready for the day. She asked me to come into their bedroom with James and sit on the bed, as they have something they wanted to discuss. All four of us sat on the bed, they looked at each other, and together broke the news that we were “moving to China!!!”

I remember the shock pretty well, as my immedaite thought was an image of me living in a house on the Great Wall of China. Oh yeah, and we were moving in three weeks, so it was already time to start packing and seeing our friends before we jetted off to our next destination.  

I was nervous, sad, scared, and all of the emotions you’d imagine a 10 year old to have. Little did I know that the next six years in Shanghai was going to host the most incredible, once in a lifetime experiences that I am SO lucky and thankful for having experienced. All these years later, Sarah told me that she felt awful for taking us to Shanghai/away from the UK or New Zealand, and I have reassured her many times that she honestly didnt have to feel that way.

Ill talk more about Shanghai in the next post!


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