Here we are, we made it to (almost) 8 months in New Zealand!
I cannot believe how time flies by. It seems like yesterday when we landed in Aotearoa on a cold and rainy mid-September day.
So much has happened since. We already lived in 2 different homes, Dom’s new business took off and he has been working very hard on it, I have been teaching Italian at a language school and I have also been getting a good amount of freelance work as a writer and translator.
I have to say, it seems like life has not been too bad at all despite a very difficult start.
Adjusting to Life in New Zealand
I feel much more relaxed and even if I am not completely settled yet, I think I am definitely on the right path for the time being. Time helps with everything, as a result of such big change I probably need lots of time to adjust. I have to say that also Dom’s support and understanding have been a great help. Thank you, Dom!
First of all, summer was lovely. It had been warm enough to spend a great amount of time outdoors exploring, hiking and even lying on the beach. Have I been swimming? Nope!
The sea water is too cold for me. To be honest, the only time I went in the sea was on a drunken night celebrating my lovely sister-in-law’s hen party. The water was so cold it took my breath away, but at the same time, it was such a liberating experience.
I have not been in the sea since. Furthermore, winter is coming! In the last few days, the temperature has dropped down quite a bit and it’s started to be rather cold, especially at night and in the morning.
The sun is still rather warm, but as soon as it goes down it’s a totally different story.
Highlights of our 8 months in New Zealand
Reuniting with Dom’s Family
After over 3 years away from New Zealand, it was great to be reunited with Dom’s family and to get to spend some quality time together. While we are here we are making the most of it and trying to see them often.
Looking for a Place to Live
Finding a house to live was quite a challenge. Rents in Auckland are extremely expensive and we simply cannot afford to have a house to ourselves. We had to look for house shares and the task was a little tough. Many houses do not want couples and in addition, we are “too old” to fit in. Luckily we found a room in a really nice house with a really cool flatmate (who is actually a New Zealand Public Figure!) in Remuera, the most exclusive suburb of Auckland, at a very small price.
In March we had to move again and the three of us moved together to a lovely house on top of a hill in the same suburb. Now we can enjoy a stunning view from our living room windows and take advantage of a lovely garden which features a Feijoa Tree among other beautiful plants.
Applying for my Partnership Work Visa
This was a consuming task in itself. To be eligible to apply for a partnership visa, you need to prove that you and your partner are in an exclusive and committed long-term relationship. As evidence, you can provide a copy of joint bills, joint bank accounts, joint house tenancy agreements, marriage certificate, photos, recommendation letters, etc… Well, we lived a nomadic life together for over 5 years, therefore we almost have no evidence except for joint flight tickets, letters from friends and family and our life in pictures from when we met back in 2011 until when we arrived in New Zealand. What a headache! I cannot thank enough all our amazing friends and family that helped us. Thankfully, the visa was approved 2 and a half months later. What a relief!
My Birthday and Christmas in Russel with the Family
My birthday falls on Christmas Eve, as a result, it is a double celebration. We spent the Christmas holidays with Dom’s family in Russel a seaside town in Northland, the warmest part of New Zealand. I had a great birthday celebration. All I wanted was a Pavlova (the traditional New Zealand pudding) and Prosecco (the Italian dry sparkly bubbly). It seems like a perfect combination, Italy meets New Zealand! That is exactly what I got; a huge Pavlova (homemade with love by Annie, my Mother-in-Law) that I almost ate all by myself and litres of Prosecco. I was as happy as a pig in mud!
The weather was on our side too. We had sunshine for the whole holiday.
Camping in the Puketi Forest
On the way back from Russel, Dom and I had a little road trip stopping at several interesting spots. One of the spots was the Puketi Forest where we did a little hike and camped under the stars! Here I saw my first Kauri disease cleaning station. Unfortunately, this disease is killing a large number of Kauri Trees which are the largest (but not the tallest) trees in New Zealand and they are among the world’s mightiest trees.
Because of this, many forests have a cleaning station at the entrance and exit of the hiking tracks where people are required to clean their shoes with a specific liquid to avoid spreading the disease.
A Weekend on Waiheke Island with Very Good Friends
Waiheke Island is only a 30 minutes (or less) ferry ride from Auckland. It is famous for its beautiful beaches and vineyards. We spent a weekend at a friend’s family batch eating good food and drinking great wine. The weather was fabulous so we managed to fit in some lovely beach time in between food sessions.
Ned and Roxy’s Wedding in Mapua
Ned is Dom’s younger brother. Neither Dom or I had met Roxy until few days before the wedding. What a lovely girl she is. There was a severe weather warning for that weekend. Are you kidding me? The day we flew to Nelson was pouring down with rain. It was very cold in Nelson. The wedding was three days later and we were hoping for the weather to get better. Luck was on our side and the weather kept getting better.
On the Thursday night before the Saturday wedding, we had the Hen and Stag Parties. The boys left us to spend the night somewhere else (I had something like The Hangover movies in mind), while the girls got together for food, lots of wine, a dance party and a night dip in the sea.
The wedding itself was fantastic, it was celebrated by Dom’s mum on the beach and the Bride and Groom both looked stunning.
It was great to have all the family gathered together.
Easter Long Weekend in the Coromandel Peninsula with Great Friends
It was the Easter weekend but we did not really celebrate Easter. Instead, we had a 4-day party to celebrate Miki and Peter’s 40th Birthday in the Coromandel Peninsula totally immersed in nature. A good friend of Miki’s, Jolanda, made her beautiful home available to us for the long weekend. What a beautiful place she has. She lives off the grid, immersed in nature with chickens and ducks running around in the field she has as a back garden, three dogs and a fluffy cat. A group of us camped in the back garden, it was fantastic! The sun was shining and it was as warm as summertime. It felt like being at a festival!
In conclusion, life is not too bad at all! Only a bit cold for now. Let’s see what the next few months will bring.
Stay tuned for new posts to come soon.