It’s been a busy first week of settling into the southern hemisphere. I was warned before arriving in New Zealand that I would have to go on a business trip Tuesday after landing…so at least I was prepared. There was a significant earthquake in the north part of the south island last year which happens to be the location of several large wineries. Therefore, on 6am Tuesday morning myself and colleague drove 4 hours up the coast to Blenheim to wonder around wine tanks for two days. Although this was a fun introduction to getting back into the swing of New Zealand work, I admit, I couldn’t think about drinking wine afterwards (at least until the weekend). The best part of the trip was that on the way back we stopped at the Ohau Point seal colony—another activity I missed during my first New Zealand stint. At Ohau Point the adult seals will swim out to sea to fish throughout the day and the baby seals will climb up the river to a waterfall pool. This results in some pretty amazing seal encounters off the beaten path—
We moved into our new temporary home on Saturday—a two bedroom flat right by the park. *Nerd housing economics break* For those interested in the housing in Christchurch, a typical 1-2 bedroom flat around the “city” is roughly $1800/month. The previous place we lived in the suburbs of DC was not this much. As the housing capacity shrunk around the city, the rebuild increased employment and population. The apartment one of my colleagues lived in two years ago increased their rent by 140% after they left. I consider us fairly lucky to have found the nice & convenient place we did! This morning’s top news story was actually that the government is helping to subsidize rent costs for unemployed young Kiwis to move to Christchurch for rebuild work.
Back to the Flanders moving – moving into a furnished apartment with five suitcases may have been the easiest process ever. After a rough 2+ day move out into a Maryland storage unit, I highly recommend always moving into a place with pre-existing furniture 🙂
Sunday morning was cloudy but we decided to drive into the hills for a hike. Lucky for us once we drove high enough we ended up above the clouds…
Sunday night ended with a Cinco de Mayo / Carne Asada fiesta at a coworkers flat. A great way to kick off the start of the new & busy week!