I was on a family trip to New Zealand’s North Island last year.
I was there with my husband, two of my sons and my dad, who had just turned 67.
My father was in the process of dying of pancreatic cancer and the rest of us were taking turns to take care of him.
I hadn’t been on a farm for years, but I’d been a big fan of his for the last four or five years, and he was a good guy.
When we got to the border, we were stopped by the Border Force.
They asked us if we were sure we wanted to come, and we said yes.
I didn’t know how the agents were going to know our families, but they said we were safe and we were free to go.
As we walked into the small border town of Wairarapa, we looked around at the townspeople, and I was taken aback by the amount of smiling and laughing that surrounded me.
I’d never seen so many people smile in my life, I thought to myself.
I had been living in Australia for 20 years, so I’d seen a lot of smiles on both sides of the border.
When the agent asked my dad what his plan was, he said, “We’re going to get you a family policy from the Government.”
He then explained that they would cover all expenses for the family.
“And you’re going have a family insurance policy,” the agent said.
“No matter what, it’s a family business.”
When we asked why we were not required to pay for anything, he answered, “Because you can’t get a family policies from the [Australian Government],” which is actually correct.
When I asked him why he said it, he looked puzzled.
He didn’t really know what the Government was trying to achieve by saying we could have a policy.
I think it was the idea of having family insurance for the farm that got my dad and my family the policy he wanted.
It was a great idea, and it was a lot easier to get the policy than to pay a high-interest mortgage on the farm.
In the meantime, I was in shock.
For the last 20 years I’d worked in farming, and had been doing it full time since I was 14.
For decades, I’d tried to get into the business, but the prices were outrageous, and the work was not really rewarding.
The family farm was the only thing I had, and for many years I had to work in it for money, so when the agent told me that it was now free, I felt like I was home free.
It didn’t take long for me to think of ways to pay the mortgage, and when I did, I immediately decided that it would be a great way to pay back the farm for my children.
I decided to start the farm, and put all my savings into it.
I worked my way up the ranks, and over the next 10 years I built up my business from a small farm in New Zealand to a large, global farm with over 200 employees.
But it wasn’t easy.
The first year I was doing it, my company was losing money every year.
Every year I’d get an email from one of the farm workers who was having a bad week.
The emails always said the same thing: “Sorry, I’m really busy today and can’t pay you today, but hopefully tomorrow we can work together to pay you.”
I was also starting to struggle financially.
I lost over $20,000 in the first year, and $25,000 the following year.
The next year, I got a call from a company owner who told me his family had been killed by a car.
He was shocked and cried for days, but was desperate to pay me back.
“It’s not easy,” he told me, “but I know you’ll do it.
Just tell me how much money you have left, and then I’ll help you.”
When I told him the amount I had in my bank account, he started crying.
I could tell that he was worried, but he said he was going to take everything and do whatever it took to get me out of debt.
I did it.
After a few weeks of work, I had $150,000 left in my account, and my father was very grateful to me.
But as soon as I got my business back up and running, he wanted me to do more.
He told me he would do whatever I asked to help, and that he would make it happen, so he promised me he’d help me.
That’s when I really started to feel like I could pay back his farm.
I started paying off the mortgage.
And I did.
I paid off all the debts.
And then I began to make payments on the mortgage myself.
For five years I paid more than I ever had before, and more than the debt would ever cover.
It took a lot