This week it started to hit me that I will be spending half of 2012 in the Southern Hemisphere. For those that don’t know my entire schedule, the current plan is to work in Christchurch until July 4th, fly back and spend the month wedding-hopping, working in DC, and most importantly spending time with Keith once again. THEN, I will most likely be hopping on a plane again in August & jet back here for another 3 months. At the end of all that I continually remind Keith we’re getting a nice vacation. This will probably occur in New Zealand, Australia, or somewhere in between here and DC; actually, I told him I don’t even care if it’s a stay-cation. I will gladly take off 1-2 weeks and to sit on the Maryland apartment futon and relax, as long as he’s there too!
Therefore, I prepped my apartment a bit. A coworker left this past Saturday and I was lucky to inherit her furniture, yes, additional furniture to add to our hotel room. Living in a hotel is actually quite nice. There’s maid service, it’s free (well, free for me), and in my case involves a very nice shower. However, living in this 200 square foot (oops, I meant 18.6 square meter) room for 6 total months made me realize some comfort changes might be necessary. Here it comes – Jen’s steps for making-you’re-temporary-home-in-a-hotel-10,000-miles-away-from-home.
- Stock the cabinets. Remember that olive oil comment last post? Well, due to inheriting some spices and finally deciding to utilize some more daily food allowance money I’m starting to fill the pantry. Note that Nutella is very necessary. Anytime you find yourself living in a Commonwealth country or Europe, stock up on your Nutella! Easy Mac is not necessary at all–I am throwing that box away as soon as I finish this post
- Buy a laundry basket. Luckily I inherited this as well, but now further realize how ridiculous I previously looked carrying my suitcase of dirty clothes to the washer and dryer.
- Hang up some posters
- Obtain clothes storage. This is the larger furniture swap from my coworker. This particular hotel does not include any type of drawers; therefore, I was literally living out of my suitcase. This makes life a little bit nicer. I chose a good space for it and then continued to give it a good shake for self-earthquake testing. I had the pleasure of sitting through another quake on Saturday which made me continuously aware of everything that could fall on top of me in a room.
- Learn how to bake in a microwave. I don’t actually recommend this at all after trying it. Luckily I have a stove to cook on, but baking anything in an oven will have to wait until I go back to the real home.
- Buy some travel guides to make sure you get out of your hotel room. Never stay in your room for longer than necessary, especially when you’re in a country as awesome as New Zealand.
As for what I actually did this weekend? I worked, and I relaxed (aka went window shopping and spruced up my hotel room pre-creating this post). On Saturday I volunteered to do a site visit where we were doing some destructive investigation. This means we were destroying things to see what was actually going on with the structure behind everything that covers it. In this specific case it involved digging up the ground to see what the concrete foundation looked like. Myself and another coworker spent most of the day popping our heads through ceiling tiles to check out some beams & columns and then checked in with the construction workers every hour to see how the digging was coming. This prevented me from doing too much sightseeing this weekend; however, this Friday I am flying to AUCKLAND! Therefore, I was okay with a weekend break.
Sunday I ran in the morning (I’m determined to run the Christchurch Marathon-10k race, I just need to get up and actually run 10k beforehand!), found another cafe for breakfast, and window shopped all over Christchurch. Got wrapped up in buying more merino wool clothing (so comfortable!) and then sat down with my handy travel guides to get down to business with the sightseeing I’d like to accomplish.
I’ll leave you with a last week site visit photo. I was able to jump through a lot of council hoops to gain official access to a site at the bottom on a not-so-stable cliff. The million $$ mansions at the top have been vacated, but their houses & pools remain– (note that there was previously a lot more land between the pool & the edge)
Aaaand, the coffee photo of the week. This thing involved whipped cream, obviously I needed to try it.