It is my birthday. Fifty-one spins around the sun and who knows how may more I get to take. The journey is still interesting. Slowly I am getting to be more comfortable with who I am as I begin to unravel that who I am is not at all what I thought it might have been and yet everything I have always been. Makes no sense at all, does it? My mantra: I don’t know.
In computer code,
alert( 'Hello World!' ) creates a pop-up window on the screen that says “Hello World!” Consider this post me as that pop-up box. Back in May and early June, I wrote a post a day about moving to New Zealand. And then…
Cue the crickets.
So what happened? Maybe you’re wondering if we have the internet in New Zealand? The answer, of course, is yes. We have the internet and it has been the focus of most of my attention for the past four months. I recently completed an intensive 15-week long, coding boot camp at Enspiral Dev Academy in Wellington and have now begun working there.
In one of my previous lives, I was a computer coder. In between stints working for North Carolina Outward Bound and guiding bicycle tours, I obtained an Associates Degree in Web Technologies. I then worked full-time as a software developer for a year before deciding to sell the house and go nomad. That was five years ago.
In that time, my wife and I have lived in six different locations in the United States, have had two extended stays in Spain, and moved to New Zealand, back to the States, and now back again to New Zealand. Whew!
During all that movement, the idea of being a full-time software developer has travelled with me. Along the way, I’ve built a few websites for friends and pottered away on various learning platforms like Udemy, freecodecamp, and Codecademy. I was interested in working in technology but had not fully committed myself to it.
That started to change in 2018. When we first decided to move to New Zealand, I intended to enroll at Enspiral Dev Academy. I went there to watch a graduation ceremony and the space and atmosphere instantly felt like home.
It seemed perfect: a fresh start for my life in a new country. One problem: they could only accept New Zealand citizens and residents, and I did not fit into this category. So I spent that first year in New Zealand wondering who I was and working as a cook.
But the idea of a coding boot camp was ever-present, and I started to research doing one online. I was close to signing up for one when we rather abruptly decided to return to the United States in 2019.
When we arrived back in New Zealand this past June, I again was unsure what I would be doing for work. About a week into our quarantine period at an Auckland hotel, we received the news that our application for a Skilled Migrant Visa had been accepted. We are now officially residents of New Zealand, meaning I was eligible to enroll in the coding boot camp. I did so immediately.
It was a great decision. I learned so much about software development, but more importantly, I got to build strong connections with a small group of participants and staff during an intense period of learning. It was an experience similar to being on an Outward Bound course.
My days were full: up by 5 a.m. at the latest to go for a run, at Dev Academy around 6:30 to study before class started at 8:45, and home around 6 p.m. to eat and relax a bit before an early bedtime to do it all again the next day. Dev Academy emphasizes personal growth alongside the technical skills required to get a job as a software developer. We would begin each day with a few minutes of mindfulness and twice a week participated in yoga sessions. My first impressions were correct. This place felt like home. Fortunately, even with boot camp over, this is a home I won’t have to leave for a while.
This week I am transitioning from the role of a Dev Academy student to that of being a boot camp Facilitator. This means that I’ll be aiding the Lead Teachers with delivering the program to students. It’s an incredible opportunity for me to be able to keep learning while helping others.
It has been a whirlwind since we landed in Auckland. I have not been this busy in years and it feels great. It is a reminder to me that having the courage to try something I’m not sure I can succeed at usually leads to unimaginable positive outcomes.
Today we left the biggest house we’ve ever lived in to begin our move back into a tiny apartment. I fear that the downsizing will come as quite a shock, even though we’ve lived there before and should know what we’re getting ourselves into. But after spending two weeks quarantined in a hotel room, perhaps our two room flat with its big views and access to hills and beaches only minutes away won’t feel so small after all.
The moving boxes left yesterday. All eight of them. I have no idea where their contents will go once we see them three or four months from now. Fortunately, that’s a problem for another day.
During the past few days as we’ve been squeezing items into boxes and duffle bags, we’ve also been trying to squeeze in time with the people we love. But there is never enough of it. It is such a waste to have to spend so much time dealing with stuff that there is not enough left over for people. This is another one of those repeating patterns in my life, one that I’d like to break.