After spending much-needed family time for a month in the Philippines and wandering around Eastern Europe for another month, I surely have a lot to catch up on.
I know, it’s been a while. Life happened and time has been passing like wind since we left Singapore last July. As shared on Instagram, we decided to take the leap and immigrate to New Zealand. So now I’m writing this in a totally different setting – where streets are less busy, the weather is so much nicer, spring blossoms are everywhere and there’s a view of a mountain right outside our apartment window.
It’s already been two weeks since we got here in Auckland and while we haven’t fully settled yet, it’s starting to feel like home. I have so much in my heart and mind to go through and process, and I’ll have a lot more to say about it next time. For now, I am just truly grateful for this opportunity to start anew. It’s a whole new season of adjustment and learning, but that’s exactly how we grow and improve, right?
A few thoughts on our first two weeks in New Zealand.
1. We’ve been running around apartment-hunting since we came here and just over a week ago, we finally moved to our own home. Yay! This is one thing I’ve been looking forward to since we never had our own place in Singapore in the five years that we lived there. Properties in Singapore are expensive so most people only rent a room and share the rest of the house with other tenants.
That is not to say that rental prices here in Auckland are cheaper. It’s still costly. But considering the size and condition of the house, I’d say it’s worth it.
2. We’re staying at Auckland city center and like Sydney and Melbourne, it feels like an extension of Singapore. There are a lot of Asian students and immigrants, and never-ending choices of Asian food. It doesn’t feel like we’re away from home.
3. Food tastes so much better here in New Zealand – especially the meat. For some reason, it’s more tender, juicier and flavorsome. And since we used to live in the most expensive city in the world (yes, it’s you Singapore), I don’t think there’s much difference in price either.
4. New Zealand may look remote and secluded in the world map, but not in technology and progression. Case in point, immigration doesn’t use fingerprints, but face scans. Yep, like iPhone X. Banks verify identity through voice recognition. And daily transactions are cashless.
5. Weather is very fickle. It changes every hour or so. One minute it’s raining, then as soon as we pick up an umbrella, rain stops and sun comes out. So maybe umbrellas are used to scare rain away?
6. Though the current season is transitioning from spring to summer, days are still cool and nights are chilly. As we’re more accustomed to tropical weather, this temp is already cold for us. Like the lowest temperature setting, you could set in an air conditioner! Hence, we considered getting a portable heater in Warehouse, and the Kiwi guy told us, “What are you using the heater for, it’s summer!”
7. In between errands and job hunts, we try to explore this new city we live in. Oh man, we haven’t gone far, but I am loving how easy it is to escape the urban hub, see stunning views and natural landscapes. Some gorgeous sceneries are literally just a few minutes’ bus ride away.
8. Public transport (train, bus, ferry) around the city and to the suburbs are available. They are not as frequent as big cities like Singapore and Manila, but reliable enough to get to anywhere and back even on late nights. Schedules are available so you can plan your journey, and they even have a mobile app to track the transport’s location real time.
9. People are friendly – like random strangers saying ‘Hi’ or asking “How you going” with a smile, without offering or demanding anything in return. We haven’t encountered an annoyed or bad-tempered person yet (hopefully, it stays that way) and everyone seems to be more than willing to help or chat. When you happen to be in a bad mood, having someone greet you with a big smile will certainly make your day. It’s so refreshing!
So far, I am loving my experience in New Zealand! And I can’t wait to explore and share more about this city. So many plans and dreams to make happen, I’m excited!
I also still have a lot to write about our travels in Europe, so I’m fairly certain that I will never run out of content to share.
Until next time!
Any recommendations of places to visit in Auckland? I’d love to discover more of this city!