Saturday, November 26, 2016

Forward We Go

Week 2 has been going through the skilled migrants arrival list; find longer term housing, find a job, register for a doctor (so you get the subsidized cost), get a NZ drivers license (so you have a card with your picture on it), etc...

Warning sign: our Airbnb is at 9C !
Housing: we booked two weeks in an Airbnb to give us time to explore various neighborhoods before picking where we would live the coming months. We are now ready to move out of the Airbnb as the mildew caused by the humid winter is getting to Bill's lungs. The sign by our entry door was a clue to our discomfort. Luckily, the heavy rain has stopped so the place is more livable now. NZ houses are notoriously poorly built and we experienced that first hand. Many apartments we looked at have no AC and no heat. We read about the housing crisis in Auckland but we were not prepared for how quickly apartments are snagged. Once we figured out the neighborhoods we would consider living in (took several days of walking and busing around), securing a place was a bit of a shock. Even when you secure a visit and fill out an application, most often you are told someone beat you to it.  
Nice commute view to work
Fortuitously, the owners of the house next door just put up their newly renovated downstairs for rent. We detected their posting early enough to get ahead of the crowd and secured the place. Phew. We are told we are staying in the most-prized neighborhood of Auckland, some say posh. Downstairs of a two level house owned by a gay couple and their dog Bobby. It even has a small pool for the summer and a hot tub for the winter which are all very rare in rentals. Even better, because they can’t separate their utilities from ours, they include them in the rent! We signed the contract and are moving in next week. This morning, they invited us to watch the All Blacks - France rugby game at their place! How serendipitous! As JimH said, sometimes you look too far for things that are right there.

Jobs: while Bill is getting comfy at Vesper Marine, I accepted an offer to join Nomad8, an international family of agile consultants. I’ll get to work with an Olympian who played for the Austrian handball team in 1992, as well as consultants from NZ, UK, and Nepal. Recently, the NZ immigration reduced the number of migrant applications due to concerns about the load valuable skilled migrants place on the social system, especially later when, perhaps, their skills are not so rare. I am taking this concern to heart, launching into the consulting world to transfer my agile expertise to the NZ market. I will be going to Hamilton (2 hours South of Auckland) for my first business trip next week but I won't get busy quickly as New Zealand is hitting its summer and businesses are taking a major break until January: akin to Paris in August.

Hiking on volcano
Fun: despite trudging through the list of to-do list to establish ourselves here, we are remembering to enjoy life. That's why we came here after all! It is fun to see everyone get excited about the summer (the winter has been quite rainy so kiwis are very ready for sun this year). The New Zealand Christmas trees are turning colors (blooming red). Today, we did our first hike on Rangitoto Island, the youngest of the 48 volcanoes surrounding Auckland. While the South island has earthquakes, the North island has volcanoes (mostly extinct). Rangitoto is a 20 min ferry ride and the only thing to do there is hike!
NZ Christmas tree

Imagine this, you're a Maori living in the what-will-be-Auckland some 600 years go. The ocean starts boiling, steaming, and finally spewing ash and lava. And it does this for some 200 years - generations pass within spitting distance while this beast is belching fire. Finally, the thing settles down and, presto, you have a new island in the bay. No wonder that they never built any villages there. I wouldn't trust it either, except for a short trek.

We are typically not concert-goers but there was so much excitement for Adele's first and only concert in NZ that we decided to give it a try. While dire-hard fans were devastated with their online booking experience, Bill managed to snag tickets and boy was it traumatic to get those boogers. I guess we will be here through March :)


  1. You two look so happy! Congratulations on finding a nice place to live, and a job for Catherine so quickly. I'm pretty jealous about the Adele concert. :D

  2. I love your posts! So interesting to hear about your day-to-day. Miss you.


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