Where do you start when you sit down on a cold winter evening and decide to write something after being absent for over a year? It wouldn’t be possible for my lackluster memory to accurately recall all of the adventures I have had, but the happiness I have been living in New Zealand is simple and pure.

Life has never been filled with more excitement, surprise, stress, friendship, alcohol and yoga. It’s been a whirlwind of a year that has left me exhausted but happy. I could have never predicted that a girl from Minnesota would find herself running a restaurant in New Zealand.

My new normal is working or thinking about work nearly every hour of every day. I’ve never worried so much in my life. Worried about what hundreds of customers think, what 25 staff think and what bankers, suppliers, accountants and farmers think about our business – the worrying is a relentless feeling that nags in my chest day and night. Yet, with all worrying comes an immense sense of pride when things go right. When our hard work pays off with smiles, thank you’s and an increase in revenues it starts to balance out the worrying.

Yet, with the ups and downs at work, I have a constant positive presence in my life – Joe. He calms my worries, eases my mind and fills my heart. Our days are a constant struggle to fix broken door handles, unclog pipes, correct deliveries, pay the taxman, find the freshest fish and ultimately make everyone happy. We know we can’t do it all in a day, but when we wake up in the morning, we get out of bed thinking anything is possible.

For much of the past year, Joe and I have been house hunting. And for much of the past year, we have faced failure and disappointment. The housing market has been climbing higher and higher and we find ourselves going to open houses with hundreds of people looking to buy the exact same house. To make matters worse, we don’t exactly make decisions quickly. We like to weigh all the possible scenarios and diligently decide on our next move – a strategy that didn’t work very well when competing with forty other offers.

Then one day, when we slipped away from work for two hours to try and fit in as many open houses as possible, we found our future home. It sat high on a hill and was flooded with sunshine. It was built in 1948, small and comfortable. The best part was that it was a massive 1200 square meter section, with the potential to grow huge quantities of fruits and vegetables for our restaurant. We spent so much time looking at the garden that when we got home that day we couldn’t even remember if the floors in the house were carpeted or wood – but it didn’t matter. We were ready to move quickly. We put in an offer, met with lawyers, builders and bankers and by the end of the day we had purchased a home. A wonderful home.

After a year of looking for homes, we are no longer looking. There is no reason to look when you’ve found perfection. We move in August 11th and we cannot wait to add more projects to our day – we’re ready for gardens, bees, chickens and a dog. It feels like we’ve been waiting for ages to find this house, but it was all worth the wait. Stay tuned for photos!

In 10 days we are off to Spain and Italy. I can’t believe it has been over a year since I have had more than two days off in a row. We are ready to relax in the sunshine and try not to think about work for a glorious three weeks. Cheers to this beautiful life and all the amazing people that fill my days!