I was born and raised Whangarei, New Zealand. I grew up the middle child, with an older brother, who is a paraplegic, and younger sister. My brother was born with spina bifida so both him, my sister and I never experienced any other way to grow up. To us, we were like any other family.
I guess you could say we were middle class when it came to monetary wealth, on the lower end. Both Mum and Dad worked and they made ends meet, most of our clothes were hand-me-downs with new stuff really only coming at birthdays and Christmas. I remember as a kid getting a ‘new’ bike for Christmas one year but I also remember seeing the parts of it up in the garage drying from the new coat of paint Dad had applied. Still luckier than a lot of kids, we had three good meals a day, a cosy home, the love of both our parents and extended family.
Primary (Elementary) school, Intermediate (Middle) school and High school all went by relatively uneventfully. First kiss at 11, first steady boyfriend at 15. I was an above average student but unlike a lot of the girls at my all girls school, I didn’t really form strong friendships that lasted. In the last couple of years of high school, I caught glandular fever and suffered from a bout of depression. Mum and I didn’t see eye to eye and I really had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. As result of all that, we decided that I should skip university for now, even though I had been accepted, and move to Australia. I’ve said it umpteen thousand times but it was the best decision I ever made.
I moved to Melbourne, Australia in March of 1997. I was 18 and shared a room with my cousin’s 2 year old daughter. It’s bizarre to watch Melissa now playing with our daughter when I remember living with her when she was the same age.
I secured a job with a truck and car parts manufacturer, packing parts in boxes for shipping. I ended up working there for 9 years. They assisted in putting me through university by paying for a large percentage of my tuition, they trained me to be a six sigma black belt but most of all, they became a surrogate family where I grew from a self conscious teen desperate to prove myself, to a know it all 20 something, still trying to prove myself, to an adult that realized there is so much that I don’t and will never know.
I met Eliot when I was in my mid 30s and we married in 2014. Grace arrived 9 months after our honeymoon and then Monty 23 months later. Right now we are planning our move to the other side of the world so that we can raise the kids in the mountains in Colorado in a beautiful town called Crested Butte. Fun times ahead…