Questions and answers, vol 3

10 o'clock on a Sunday evening. I think I'll take up one more of those questions.

4. I may have missed this in earlier posts, but what made you decide to shift from Wanaka to CHCH? Did you both agree? Did one want to move more than the other? Would you shift back? Curious as I spent 2yrs in QTN before shifting out. Overall a good move for us and glad to be on the South Island again. Hubby loved living in the Wakatipu, I felt trapped: needed to be near the sea and a more balanced population mix.

If it had been an entirely our decision to make then we would've never shifted to Christchurch! (I bet this makes you go, wait, what? =D)

Long story short, we moved from Wanaka to Christchurch because we were chasing up our residency.

You see, when I first moved to New Zealand - and same goes for my husband - we were backpackers, so we were on what's called a working holiday visa. Then as I started working for a company in Wanaka I moved onto a temporary work permit, meaning, I was allowed to stay in New Zealand only as long as I kept working for this company - but I also had to re-apply for the work permit every single year, so every year I was in a limbo of not knowing whether I would have to go back to Europe or would be allowed to stay in New Zealand. I wasn't capable of getting permanent residency because my education doesn't match my work experience (and without them matching I couldn't gather up enough "points" to qualify), so I was sort of stuck in Wanaka.

But then Christchurch earthquake happened. Suddenly carpenters - and my husband is one - became so needed in New Zealand that immigration officials put them on a skill shortage list and, bingo!, me and The Man suddenly had a way of making us stay in New Zealand. We put through all the paperwork, paid all the bills, got all the necessary approvals and Immigration NZ basically said that if we were willing to come live in Christchurch where The Man could work on rebuilding the city then New Zealand would give us permanent residence permits and... well, here we are.

So we never had to go through discussions or arguments over where we are living because we, well, didn't have any options. We were living in Wanaka because that's where my job was and then we moved to Christchurch because that's where The Man's job was.

But I sort of see where you were going with this question...

As I (and The Man) have now been granted permanent residence permits, thanks to his employment, then we are now free to move wherever, whenever - so this is actually the first time in our "shared" life that we've been able to choose where we would like to live at.

And I can tell you that, it ain't Christchurch!

It's good for the moment because this is where lots of work is (whilst we're saving up for a home) and given that I am pregnant at the moment then we will be here for a wee while longer - but we have no intention of staying here permanently. It's too big, too spread out, too... I don't want to use the word "simple" because it sounds a bit confusing and demeaning, but Christchurch isn't a particularly exciting place to live at. It's exceptionally spread out, surrounded by farm land, badly traffic-managed and kind of... boring. Both me and The Man want to live in a place where we can actually walk to places, or bike to places, and where it's easy to get out of the city or a town, and Christchurch is none of those things.

And besides, looking at the house prices there is no way in hell I am buying a house here. Just no. F*cking. Way! And rents are outrageous. Like... seriously, the stuff that's happening in this city at the moment, housing wise, is simply not sustainable.

I wouldn't move back to Wanaka though, nor Queenstown.

Wanaka and Queenstown are beautiful, absolutely stunning (!) places and for young, free-spirited, adventurous people they are almost close to perfection. There are just SO many things to do there, activity-wise! It's incredible.

But they lack something I need to function and that is: brains.

If I were an artistic sort of a person who was working in a studio, or an architect or something, I'd be happy in Wanaka. If I were an adventure guide, same thing. (Or a real estate salesperson, uk-hum!) But I'm not. I want to be where the university is, and I want to get out to Antarctica, so for now it seems like the most likely place for me to go to is Dunedin.

Wanaka and Queenstown are more like... coffee shop sort of places. Relaxing places. Taking it easy places. When I get older and stiffer I might as well return there but for now I want to be somewhere where I am challenged, intellectually, and I didn't find either one particularly challenging brain-wise. They were great hiking-wise, and for snowboarding, and kayaking, and rafting - but not brain-wise.

And I agree with you on that "near the sea" thing: I also feel like I need to be near water. Wakatipu has that arid, inland air that I have always found lacking in smell and sensation, and I love, love, love being back in the salty air of Lyttelton Harbour!

But if I could just... move Christchurch away from here, then I think it would even work, potentially ;)

1 comment:

  1. I agree on the house prices and rent being unsustainable; we were lucky that we got into the market early enough for it to be approaching affordable. We still had to take out a larger mortgage than we wanted, but we managed. For us Christchurch is great, we have family here and both of us like the quiet life. I know it's not for everyone though and hope when you do move on you find what suits you best.