So, after the initial excitement of 'we're going to have a house' and the following thoughts of, 'I still don’t have a job' followed by, 'I'M SO COLD!' we thought being in a house would be better.
It was the place we had driven past a week earlier, I had then seen online the following day and we visited that evening. Thanks to a good reference from my old manager at work (having not rented before we had no residential references!) we had our first house together.
Having sorted out with the electricity company for the electric to be switched on the Saturday when we were to move in, when we got the keys out of the post box (Classic NZ security) and let ourselves in, to be greeted with THE coldest place in the world. It was colder inside than it was outside.
James: And it was cold outside!
With a budget of $350 and a list of everything we needed to make this cold building into a home we set off…
As predicted, James lost interest after about hmmmm, 30 seconds, so after many distractions looking at drones, we finally got everything sorted.
Helpfully, the electricity company hadn't done what they said they would and we had no electricity. After phoning and being told it would be a 4 hour wait, (which would then make it 7pm…) Cue very unimpressed Victoria and rather grumpy James.
Thankfully, after making a cuppa tea with the camp stove and tucking into a pack of biscuits and two phone calls to the electricity company later, an engineer turned up, made one phone call and 30 seconds later we had electricity!
With no money, we were still sleeping on the airbed, with the camp chairs in the living room and a $25 side table, used as a dining table, we had a frying pan and one 6-inch saucepan, 3 plastic plates and the mugs (that had been replaced about 4 times already because china mugs in a van apparently don’t cope very well with being dropped… JAMES!) – we were no longer living the van life, but living the flat life!
James was still working, and I was still being rejected from yet more jobs, in total I had applied for over 100 jobs. One particular highlight was 10 rejection emails in one day. Not even the supermarket wanted me – youch.
Finally, things were looking up, one recruitment agency contacted me to advise of a role which meant I would be working by the end of the following week. – Sadly, in classic NZ style, 'end of the following week' actually meant 5 weeks later I would still be chasing up what was going on. In the interim, I had signed up with another agency who had got me a few days’ work on a reception of an energy company. It was rather strange to say the least not to answer the phone with 'Good morning Income Tax' as I had done for 9 years previous!
My days were filled with awesome bike rides, runs around home which is on a MAHOOSIVE hill so down is fun, up, hmm, not so much and watching a gazillion episodes of 'say yes to the dress' No, don't get any ideas! I just like being judgemental (Claire, it's not the same watching it without you!)
With nothing to do all day, but a house to do nothing in, I decided to get creative and make a table with some leftover wood we had from putting the floor in the van. Well, it looked cool, but was wonky as anything, and was still not dining table sized (or height…!)
The following week we decided that I would make an actual dining sized table so picked up some MDF and some 'leg wood' like long skinny wood (I can't think of what it's called and square leg wood was James' best suggestion as to what it was called) it kept me busy for a good few days. It too was wonky and wobbly, so James made a brace which helped and we had a table.
We picked up bits and pieces for the house as we found them, collected a sofa for $51 after winning it on a local auction site, it was much better than the camp chairs!
A rainy Saturday and we utilised the sofa!
Eventually we found a bed for 100 bucks, the guy was also selling a dining table and 4 chairs which we picked up for $30 so home was feeling a bit more homely. Homely with 4 tables…! So, we turned the first, smallest table I had made into a shoe shelf, after only having 23KG of luggage when we left home, we now had 6 pairs of bike shoes and 3 pairs of trainers between the two of us…!
Jobs, were like busses. With an interview on the Tuesday morning, confirmation on the Thursday morning that I had got the job, followed by a phone call on the Thursday afternoon with 'The job I’d be in by the end of the week' with an offer for work and an interview on the Friday, I went along to see what it was all about. Eventually deciding to go with the first job which hadn’t 'left me hanging' for 5 weeks, had better pay and potentially better prospects.
Now we had an address, it was the perfect excuse to have a delivery from home… DECENT TEA BAGS!
Wellington was living up to its windy reputation, with a few storms passing through which were worse than the cyclones we experienced in Rotorua, however with a warm, and somewhat damp house, it was cosier than the van.
One thing we have learned to love/hate about houses in Wellington, and I think New Zealand as a whole is they are damp. They even have adverts on the tv on the best ways to dry out your home. With 6 'damp rid' boxes scattered about the place, cloths on each windowsill and a dehumidifier setting on the heat pump we are just about managing!
But we have a home down under, with a beautiful view across Wellington Harbour, 30 seconds away from a National Park and some amazing sunrises and sunsets, life ain’t all that bad!
The adventure continues…