The Day the Music Died

The Bombshell

Well it has been a while since my last post, but unfortunately about 14 months ago my life took an unexpected and heartbreaking turn when Angela decided that after 13 years of marriage she no longer wanted to be a part of our family, no reason, no discussion, no counselling, just pack your bags and leave.   Admittedly we had been through some pretty tough times after she made some pretty bad business decisions (against my advice), that coupled with being caught out in the Global Financial Crisis of 2007 / 08 put us in a very difficult financial position for the last 7 years.   However with a lot of hard work and sacrifice we were finally back on track, our debts were finally covered by our assets, the business which we had been committed to keeping alive until it was financially viable and saleable (which ironically was finally achieved the week it was put into liquidation) had been sold, we had two very good incomes, free accommodation, a great family and the future at our feet once again.  To say that the news was devastating is probably an understatement and consequently it has been a very difficult last 14 months in which I haven’t really felt the motivation to keep blogging.As all my income was generated in New Zealand and at the mercy of our bank it was used to meet our debt repayments each month, which made it difficult if not impossible for me to leave our apartment in Tokyo, which I wasn’t going to do anyway considering there was no reason for me to leave, I was stuck still living in the same house till I could find a new job which would provide me an income outside of New Zealand.

It was an interesting 11 months to say the least as I got to witness first hand just how powerful the brain is to affect one’s life and perception of reality.  While I was working long hours, generating an income in excess of Angela’s, doing all the housework (or paying a cleaner to do some of it…), grocery shopping, cooking all the meals and looking after the kids on a day to day basis, Angela would return from work, sit on the sofa, while she waited for me to prepare dinner and message her friends and acquaintences about how awful I made her life, about how she feared coming home because I was there, telling her lawyer I didn’t do anything, that I had no income and all sorts of other utter bulls*%t.  To actually watch someone you have loved for over 18 years slowly turn into a stranger you could no longer trust before your eyes was like watching your partner die.

There was nothing I could do but to agree to Angela’s demands and split everything 50 / 50 and give the kids the option of which parent they lived with and wait for her lawyer to get everything sorted as I was told they were going to do.  Well as I sit here 14 months later I have seen nothing from her lawyers despite at least 8 emails over the past 8 months outlining my agreement to all her demands, foregoing my right to assign her a greater proportion of our debts due to the fact that she had caused them and asking that for the sake of us all they tidy up the paperwork and we can all move on.  Ironically, while they haven’t responded to a single request to find out what is actually happening they have encouraged her to take a number of unlawful acts in my absence including a planned child abduction as a way of resolving the custody (non) dispute…..(which luckily I twigged on to early enough), breaking & entry, theft and theft by deception.

There are times I sit here and just shake my head at the bizarre situation I have found myself in, how after cleaning up a mess which Angela played a huge part in creating, how after dragging us from the edge of the financial abyss, after years of worrying about how I was going to afford the groceries that week, while Angela chose to stay at home and indulge in her hobby of horse riding, I was now responsible for some huge financial crisis which actually didn’t even exist, was a lazy bum with no job, living solely off my wife’s generosity (even though she could see me working most nights well after she went to bed) and was a threat to my wife’s safety…., so I guess at least I have the honour of being if not the first, at least one of only a few husbands who have been rolled for actually standing by their wife through good times and in bad and improving their families financial situation, I guess for some people everything is never enough.   The only other time I have witnessed such paranoia from anyone was Angela’s boss during our time in Moscow with the saga at the pre-school there. Ironically after finally getting our lives sorted again, we are now a broken family with Jimmy unlikely to see his mother for many years, Molly is back in New Zealand and only has access to both of us via Skype, our debts have started getting out of control as Angela refuses to pay her share of debt repayments (or even any child support for Jimmy), and we are no further along than we were 14 months ago with regards to settling anything.

I guess I will never understand how someone goes from one day being your wife to the next day never wanting to speak to you again, but there were times during the ensuing 11 months that I saw deep inside the new Angela the occasional spark of hope as we would be enjoying socialising with our friends and maybe talking about our travels and we would be laughing about something and catch a glance of each others eyes and I would see that genuine sparkle of the Angela I fell in love with, which had pretty much disappeared by now.   It seems unfortunate and such a waste that not once did anyone suggest to her that maybe she should investigate her claims and find if there was any truth to any of them, but no, it seems families no longer matter, and as long as you can put yourself in the most favourable position just go for it.

The Sun Always Comes Up in the Morning……

As the saying goes “the sun always comes up in the morning”, and for me it has.  I am now back in Helsinki with a job in an architects office where we specialise in large hospital projects.  This is like the realisation of a dream, as from when I was about 10 years old I have dreamed of being an architect and designing large scale buildings and had all but given up on that dream, accepting that maybe I was destined to spend the rest of my days designing houses (or more like draughting in the DIY NZ economy where everyone is a designer…), although that little spark did still lay there smouldering away waiting for the right breeze to reignite it.  Well it would seem Angela provided just the right breeze and I ended up being offered a job back in the same company in Helsinki, Finland I worked for when we transitioned from Russia to Japan.  Although taking on a job after 24 years of self employment meant an income cut at least it was offset by the fact that I could guarantee there would be money in the bank every month, which would be required to be able to support Jimmy on my own.  So now we have been here for 3 months, Jimmy is in a Finnish preparatory school concentrating on language for a year before being allowed into the normal school system, we live on an island about 15 minutes commute from the central city (and my office), with a beach and parks and forests within a 5 minute walk in all directions and we have Europe on our doorstep.   We don’t know how long we will stay here, but the lifestyle here is very enticing so it could be a while.   While it is good to be free of the stress of tidying up after Angela all the time and to be living the dream, it is unfortunate that it has had to take the destruction of a great little family and essentially the loss of a daughter I love very much to realise that.  But life goes on and we just have to make do with the cards we are dealt, there is still plenty of fight left in this old dog yet and there are so many opportunities out there to be taken advantage of.  I have with me the best travelling mate one could ask for in Jimmy and I am sure we will have many more adventures in the years ahead.

Helsinki is an architect’s wet dream with its mix of classical and modern style architecture, sea, beaches, forests and parks everywhere and once we have seen everything there is to see here the rest of Europe with its ancient capitals is a cheap flight or ferry ride away.

So that my loyal readers is why I haven’t posted for a while, but rest assured, I have still been making the most of this great adventure we are on and will get back into a regular blogging schedule again now that my life is settled down again and I know where I am.

InstagramIf you are interested in getting more regular updates of what we are up to, check out my Instagram project where I try and post on a daily basis an interesting image from where I am, I started this in Tokyo and am now slowly documenting Helsinki and further afield.

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Tony Fitzpatrick
Architect, Dad, Traveller & Head Rover at Around Rock 3
After a brief flirtation with Japan in the early '90's, and some occasional trips to Australia since, I have had an unrequited love affair with Japan and general desire to explore the world for the next 20 years while reality prevailed and I found myself pretty much stuck in my home country of New Zealand (not that is an entirely bad thing...).After a chance opportunity arose in mid 2012 to relocate our family to Moscow, Russian Federation I finally set off on my OE with my family in tow. It has been an amazing journey that has seen us experience life in Russia, Japan and now Finland, as well as visiting around a dozen countries so far in our adventure to date.While my family situation has changed along the way, I am continuing to explore the world with my tri-lingual son and enjoy sharing the adventures we have had with my followers.


  1. Through all your trials and tribulations Tony, Jimmy has 'learned' from from his dad a resilience and strength that will serve him well in life. It resultantly appeared aye my friend that while many can leave Blenheim …….'the narrow lens of life' the place predicates, remains ingrained in some.

    Onwards and upwards bro. We travel for a month each year with the boys seeing it as an investment in their life-ed. China snd Vietnam for all of Jan. Whanau Stafford could do Scandinavia for 2016 and we'll come visit.

  2. Tony hi!
    I read your story with a lot of sadness for you and yours. However I also want to say I admire you tremendously for the pick me up dust me off and get on with it that you have done for you and Jimmy. I am sure your wee girl will find you again too, in the future. You know what doesn't kill us makes us stronger. All the best, cherry

  3. Hi Jo, thanks, hopefully he has learned resilience although he's been there a few times to put his arm around my shoulder and say "it will be alright Dad…"
    I cant say I miss that narrow lens focus on life, it is so much better through the wide angle lens….. Would love to see you guys up here it is a magical part of the world and Helsinki while it had the population of Auckland feels more like living in Picton…..
    Keep up the good work with your boys I am sure you will mould them into great men like I hope I can do with Jimmy.

  4. While I don't really know what you are getting at there, if you read the blog I did mention the tough times we had been through and how we had worked our way out of the difficult position we found ourselves in. What I didn't mention was the fact that after years of worrying about the position we were in and how we were going to pay all our bills including saving your house (which was solely my decision….), while Angela was out riding her horse most days, I had actually forgiven Angela for the stress she put us under and apologised for having let it affect me while I was sorting the problem out….. This isn't really the forum to debate personal issues, especially if you have no understanding of the truth. This is a blog about our travels and the things we have experienced along the way that have shaped our family, and unfortunately this was one of those which has had a huge impact.

    If I have written anything that is incorrect, I am sure Angela's lawyers will be in touch (but I won't hold my breath based on past performance…) and I would expect nothing less. There is much more that I could have written that would have provided a lot of laughs but unfortunately at this stage it is still a bit raw to really laugh at even though it is genuinely funny, I think I will save that for one day when I write a book about our experiences.

  5. Hi Tony, just now i read this…very sorry.
    Next week I am going to come over in Europe for 6 months, I want to take the family back home in Italy to spend some time with my parents and learn a bit of Italian. Was planning to spend some time in Norway where my brother lives, would be good to catch up with you and Karl if you guys still there. What`s your email address?
    All the best
    Marco Romagnoli

  6. Hi Marco,
    Thanks, It has been a difficult time, but I guess you just have to play with the cards you are dealt and move on from there.
    We would love to see you when you are up here. We have spare space (depending on when) in our apartments so if you want somewhere to stay while here you would be most welcome. Email me on tonyfitz69(at) We are looking for super talented architects like yourself in our office too…… Looking forward to catching up, did Pascal track you down recently ?

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