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Thank God it's Friday

Monday Kia Ora. Welcome to New Zealand. I am questioned closely by customs about my recent whereabouts - have I been to any farms, near any rabid animals (does Year 7 count)? I look around for my boyfriend, then realise that I have forgotten what he looks like (it's been 10 months). I accost three strangers before I spot him loitering near the bar.

Tuesday I find three local schools in the Education Gazette looking for staff. None has any contact number, but applications are to be made to the school. I realise that I have no idea what they are looking for.

Wednesday Off to the visa office for a work permit and discover that I have to have a job to get a visa. I ring a few local schools - and discover I need a visa before a job. Back to the visa office to discover that I can claim to be a de facto partner of a Kiwi. They ask for evidence of our relationship. What do they mean exactly by evidence? There's a catch: we have to get married within nine months. I fantasise about long white dresses, but decide that's too extreme, so make dinner instead.

Thursday A new problem. I need to transfer my teaching qualifications - at a cost of $200 (pound;72). Or I can do a returner's course at the local university (a little early when I have only been teaching for three years, surely?). I think evil thoughts about the Kiwi and Aussie teachers who filled the staffroom at my old school in London - they don't get all this hassle.

Friday I'm considering suing the NZ government for misleading ads in The TES - I thought they were desperate for teachers. Everyone seems to think there is a shortage - even the shopkeeper is telling me I must be going about it the wrong way as everyone knows there is a crisis. If I can't get a job it must be my fault. My boyfriend's housemate complains about the red ink spelling corrections to the shopping list and accuses me of being a frustrated teacher. I disagree and put him in detention.

Ilona Hatcher-Greaves taught for two years at a girls' comprehensive in London before moving to the Middle East. She is about to take over as head of RE at a New Zealand secondary school

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