IT'S hard to believe we are already two weeks into January. In fact it is hard to believe my partner and I have been living in Masterton for six months now after 2013 saw changes for our family.

After decades living in Rotorua, a career move beckoned, albeit within the same company. I must admit it was a bit scary making the big move but it has turned out to be the correct thing for us to have done.

Slowly we are making new friends and feel well settled in our new home. It was a pleasure showing the grandchildren some of what Masterton has to offer in the way of fun during their first long break with nanny - many more in the future will be just as fun-packed.

Being a person who doesn't embrace change very easily, moving here was a huge upheaval. The hardest, leaving the grandchildren behind, and then there was the uncertainty of new work colleagues. But there haven't really been too many issues. It's like we have lived and worked here for years.


Admittedly, though, it did take me some time to pronounce Renall St correctly as colleagues overheard me on the telephone and laughed at me trying to explain to my partner how to get home from Chapel St. Well, it was early days back then. Since then we have both mastered the local road maps to get around. We feel part of Wairarapa now.

Good thing we took the plunge and gambled on a new town to live in. Rotorua isn't that far away to visit anyway. Change wasn't the terrible thing we thought it was going to be.

As for 2014, our plans are to continue on this journey of discovery and focus on continuing to develop our ties with family and maintaining those links we have already forged.

Relationships are important to us, so no matter where we are in the world our adult children and our grandchildren will always be one of our highest priorities.

This hit me as vitally important when I wrote a story about a woman who lived away from family and was feeding her kids from skips.

This community helped her with food and offers of help and her life is now on a positive track after her parents recognised her story and took her back under their wing.

Whatever 2014 holds, I hope this community continues to be just as welcoming and supportive.

I look forward to sharing your stories again this year.