A while ago we were forced to unearth all of the paperwork that we’d mindlessly hauled over from the UK when we moved to New Zealand last year. We really had no choice: we’d realised that we didn’t actually have easy access to the details pertaining to most of our UK savings accounts and investments, which probably wasn’t very sensible, so we had to trawl through everything and find the relevant information. The two big benefits of this dull task were: a) we now know where our money is salted away; and b) we were able to throw away heaps of unnecessary stuff – five year old electricity bills, that kind of thing.
We were left with a pile of confidential paperwork that needed to be shredded, so I finally tackled it today. It was an enlightening trip down memory lane: most of the pile consisted of old credit card statements, and while I shredded them, two pages at a time (our home shredder is pretty low-tech), I had ample opportunity to review just how we used to spend our money and, indeed, what our lives were like during the past ten years.
Gentle reader, we’ve been so lucky. Our credit card bills told tales of long weekends in lovely places like New York, Rome and Paris. There were entire statements made up of our frivolous purchases while on delightful holidays in New Zealand and South Africa (and I was reminded about how wonderful the exchange rate used to be – even in 2007 we would get NZ$2.60 for each British Pound, whereas now the exchange rate is a dire $1.97 for each Pound, which is why our savings and investments are still in the UK…) There were so many fabulous dinners, and gorgeous afternoon teas at swanky hotels. There were lots of shopping trips to nice clothing shops for me, and great trips for Tristan and his Ducati to various motorcycle tracks around the UK and Spain. There were ski trips to the French Alps. There were concert tickets.
Now, of course, life is changing for us. Our most recent NZ credit card bill tells of a lot of money spent at The Baby Factory, buying a pram. We’ve been overseas once in the past twelve months, and that was only to Australia. Since we’re living off one income at the moment, we can’t yet afford a motorbike for Tristan, and our dinners out have largely been replaced by one brunch each weekend, if we’re lucky. And I have thanked my lucky stars that I bought so many clothes while living in the UK (and – pre-pregancy – didn’t get too fat for them), as I can’t afford to buy much here.
However, life is very good. It’s great to live in a place where we don’t really ever consider shopping as a leisure activity, as we’d rather go to the beach or something. And I certainly feel less like a regular holiday is an imperative when our daily life is conducted in such a nice part of the world. And while being at the bottom of the world, far away from everybody else, restricts our opportunities to do some things, we still get by and make it to occasional concerts and good sporting events.
With the babies a mere 15 weeks away (if we’re lucky and they stay put until the bitter end), I am suddenly aware that I should be making hay while the sun shines and enjoying the simple things in life that will almost certainly fall into the ‘too hard’ basket P.B. (post birth) – for the first few months, anyway. Without necessarily planning it, I feel like I’m lapping up my child-free experiences while I still can.
Some of these things have been slightly less common that your everyday experience – like visiting Wellington a couple of weeks ago and spending three lovely days mooching around with good friends, having coffees, lunches and dinners out and going to the movies. And going to a really exciting Silver Ferns vs Diamonds netball test match (which the Kiwis won, thankfully). And deciding a couple of hours before kick-off to go to a provincial rugby match at Eden Park and swan around in lovely corporate hospitality. Other things are much more commonplace, but no less enjoyable – like taking Tui for a walk on the beach this morning and then deciding, on a whim, to have breakfast at a nice cafe, and going to the movies last weekend.
I guess the long-winded point I’m making is that I’m trying to get my head around the fact that life is about to change beyond all recognition. And while I’m not in the slightest bit regretful of this – I hardly would be, given how long I’ve hoped to become a parent – it is still nice to enjoy a bit of child-free time while we still can!