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Published: March 24th 2009
NZ certainly does look beautiful form the air
New Zealand is not close to South Africa. It’s not even far from South Africa. It’s quite literally the opposite side of the world.
In order for us to get from Cape Town to Christchurch , we had to change planes in 3 cities, cross 10 time zones, and go through an incredible amount of toothpaste-confiscating checkpoints.
By the time we’d arrived in the Land-Under-the-Downunder, we had no idea what time it was (the 7hr layover in Perth saw to that) and we’d completely skipped Wednesday.
Travelling to another country is a big deal, especially when you’re moving in and not just passing through. There’s all the stress of customs checks, passport checks, and the frequent passport, ticket, wife checks. But you know that you can finally relax when you walk through the doors into the arrivals lounge, and there’s a familiar face smiling and waving
And my best friend from school, David, would have been that person, except that he had though we were arriving at 8pm
Fortunately for us, Christchurch is one of the few cities where the airport is not built in the next door province (or on an offshore island!) so within
Dave and Eriko
Feeding us ice-cream, something they seem to have made a habit of
ten minutes of us calling him, David and his girlfriend Eriko arrived in two cars, enough space for our bags, Cathy’s bike and the kiteboards.
Not only did they give us a lift back, but David leant us his bed and his car for the first few days. Without them it would have been very difficult to hunt for our own place! They even cooked us meals and took us to the beach on the weekend.
After our first week, Cathy and I were both exhausted. But looking back on it, we were justified. Within seven days we’d found and moved into a new house, bought a car, started our postgraduate courses at the nearby Lincoln University and all of that on the most hectic jetlag money can buy.
We’re now almost three weeks into our time in NZ, and the pace hasn’t dropped off. We’ve bought a few essentials, like plates and a bed, for our house which was completely unfurnished when we moved in. We actually rent the separate downstairs section of a house owned by a retired couple in a Southern suburb of the city called Cashmere.
The singe room is what they
Well, a shell for us to claim at least
call a bedsit here, a large room that is bedroom and sitting room all in one. It also has a small open plan kitchen on the one end separated by a counter. We are incredibly fortunate to have the place to ourselves (most of the rooms in our budget are in a shared house) and we even have a small garden outside with a picnic table. Also, one of the long walls is completely glass with two sliding doors, so we get a lot of light.
Christchurch itself is probably the flattest city I have ever been in. It’s actually strange to drive around in a place that has no ups and downs. The city is not big, but it has a vibrant centre and there are lots of rivers running through it. They call it the garden city because of all the green parks open spaces around city. It’s fantastic to go for a jog along one of the rivers and watch the ducks after we get back in the evenings.
The one place where we do get a hill is as we arrive at the bottom of our street. Cashmere is on the side of a
Note the awesome picnic table
range of hills that border the city, so as we drive up to the house, suddenly we pop out above the city and get a
After finding such a great house in Christchurch (and only one real dump near Lincoln), we chose rather to rather live in Christchurch, closer to the beach and everything else. The drive through to Lincoln is only about 25mins, and it’s thorough beautiful green fields with horses, cows and, you guessed it, lots of sheep.
It very soon became clear that unlike in Korea, here we were going to need a car. After a few days of browsing newspapers and calling around, we drove around to a guy who was selling a ’91 Honda Civic. With our tiny budget we were going to be buying something old, so the most important thing to go for was reliability.
The car turned out to be a winner. What they call a Civic here is what we call a Ballade in SA, the same model (but older shape) as my last car, Sandy. The car sounded good and drove well, so that afternoon we drove away with our newest addition to the family.
She’s a purplish-brown colour, and was christened Beetroot.
Our first weekend here the wind started to blow, and since we'd sent most of our clothes surface mail so that our kites could come airmail, there only thing to do was to drive down to the estuary and make the most of the wind. The Ferymead estuary is a fantastic place for kitesurfing. It's a huge body of water that never gets much deeper than about a metre and has just about no waves. Excellent for practicing tricks or learning to kite. This day the wind was pretty light, but I still managed to get a few runs in before it dropped away completely.
It's incredible for us to think how much things have changed in our lives over the past few weeks. We've gone from being nomads, living out of our backpacks and being on the move every day, to re-enrolling in university and finding a place where we expect to live for the next 3 years.
So far, Christchurch certainly looks like the kind of place we can imagine living in. It's a beautiful place, with a relaxed atmosphere and close to mountains and the sea.
The legend itself
While we regret having to leave the great SA and our families and friends again so soon, it's going to be exciting and liberating setting up our own house and starting from the beginning again here.
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