Returning Celestial Reflection – The Journey Home – Part 1 – Drama – Connection – Gratitude.

I was expecting the email, and its contents, after waiting several days and constantly contacting the dentist owner. It was a shock, all the same, a defining moment of my present professional journey and job search. This was a signal lesson on how fickle and tenuous the process of finding employment from overseas is, despite the fact that I was UK trained. I had been judicious about where to apply, whom to apply to and a variety of scenarios that might evolve from those applications. We continue to learn life lessons the hard way, but fortunately for us, before too much damage was done. However, the fallout of this toxic legacy still followed us for the next few months.


Long before this, the journey to professional re-registration had had its moments, constantly calculating and recalculating the number of continuing professional development points I had to have to meet the criteria. Moreover, the validation of those courses, completed worldwide, at professional body venues, local peer group meetings, or online, brought its own challenges, let alone sleepless nights. The eventual clearance for my General Dental Council certification was light relief for my eventual journey back from New Zealand to the UK during the Omicron surge in both countries. I had hoped to have had options of multiple practices competing for my experience and skill. I was overly optimistic and way off the mark. This, again, due again to naivety on my account, was to pose more personal and general stress from mid-June to the beginning of September. We had help. This has been a major revelation.


We can only surmise that our guardian angels had been working overtime during last year’s hot summer. They have in testing times gone by. The first instant was my poor wife’s back, damaged before the long flight back from New Zealand, exacerbated by an economy class seat from Singapore to London that saw her in Accident and Emergency in Guildford for 16 hours a couple of days after landing. A visit to a local Chiropractor who had a vacant slot sorted her out almost overnight. A second guardian angel moment occurred after the day I was “officially” let go by the practice mentioned in the introduction on the grounds of a contractual dispute. A practice in fact, their local competitor in the area emailed me about a practice that was looking for a hygienist in the local town. The interview was arranged, and the position was secured.


At around the same time, another position appeared on the Indeed employment website. It was from the first practice that I had had meaningful contact with during my initial online job search. The owner, again a dentist, immediately replied to my email response. They turned out to be best friends of the previous practice I had found work with after the disappointment of rejection. Who would believe it? This came at the same time I had a nightmare two-and-a-half-day clinical journey with a well-known dental corporate, which ended up with me walking out. This was because of poor management, support, equipment, and safety issues. My relief was palpable. I had two practices and work for the week. After nearly three months of trial and error, tribulation and triumph came COVID during a house move. I kid you not. We were still under their protection once again.


The new work move had to get nearer to work for both of us due to losing my initial contract. The sour taste left in our mouths made staying where we first planned untenable. The long distances to work for us both was the clincher, plus finding a rural place where jobs were on our doorsteps and our Spaniel, still abiding in New Zealand, would be welcomed by the village folk and long country walks. Our therapy, his daily exercise, he is a big part of us. The angels once again descended. We were in debt to them up to the hilt at this point and going further into the red. Farriers, our cottage was being viewed by 14 people, and we thought our chances at the time were slim. The owner, who would be our future landlord, must have been impressed by our intention to continue beekeeping. He, too, wanted to revisit it from his childhood days. The connection was forged, and the scene set for our move. The only trouble was getting credit scores, which was difficult with my self-employed status but not insurmountable. The most significant hurdle, however, would be not ending up double renting with us and the previous place being held to ransom by the owner, who wanted us to pay rent until they had an offer of sale on the rental. Stress doesn’t come close, and we were looking down the barrel of costs we couldn’t afford. Enter our angels. The sale went through within a day unbeknownst to us for two weeks, we got over COVID, and our Spaniel Oli, fly over from New Zealand after a human guardian angel, hearing of our plight, found the other half of $12,000 New Zealand Dollars. Overwhelmed by the intensity of events and our newfound good fortune, we found out our landlord was the neighbour of my late Dad and Step Mum when they lived in a nearby village in the nineties. Who would believe it?


We came back for many reasons. Utmost in our headspace was the welfare of ageing and unwell family here in the UK whilst our children, well enough and established, stayed and continue to thrive in New Zealand.  Leaving them behind is a wrench, as are left good jobs and wonderful colleagues. The lessons we have learned and re-learned in many cases, like an odyssey, or an ongoing pilgrimage, is that life is full of challenges and risks. This journey has reaffirmed our belief in our friends in England and those in New Zealand too. They know who they are if they read this. In our family, many have been supportive and loyal. What is family? This seems to be the most significant reflection in my head as I write. The answer to me is clear. Those who believe in you, who support and invest their time and energy in you, irrespective of what you have or don’t. They trust that you have their best intentions at the centre of our hearts too, and we do. Finally, I believe we all need community, a tribe, so to speak. This ultimately is what we’ve discovered to date. They include blood family and distant relatives, quiet guardian angels of the human and celestial kind, and like-minded neighbours who add richness and simple but honest quality and richness to the ether of our lives here in Dorset. Even our landlord. Thank you, all you angels, human and above.


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