Im sitting at the kitchen table with Scott and my folks (and there might be a few beers involved). As we sit here and chat, Scott and I reflect on the fact that there are several questions that we get asked a lot… well, constantly. So I figured, why not answer them here… perhaps it will save us from answering the same old questions again, if even just once.
The Players: Kristen (yours truly), Scott (the bike husband), Katie (mom), Del (dad), and Everyone (the general population asking the generic questions we answer every day).
|Recent picture of us (Scott unaware he was being photographed?) – thank you Ashley|
Everyone: Why are you moving to New Zealand?
Kristen: This is the most common question, of course. We’re moving for adventure. We visited New Zealand in 2010 for our belated honeymoon, and we’ve been scheming on how to get back ever since. We loved the people and the beauty of the country. We always figured we would move out of the country, and originally we were thinking somewhere in Europe. After we visited New Zealand though, we had no doubt that that’s where we wanted to be.
Scott: The mountain biking there is bad ass. And the dirt jumps are subsidized by the city. What else do you need?
Katie: They’re going so that I have a place to stay when I visit for the 3 months that I’m allowed in the country. Isn’t that convenient?
Everyone: Are you going for a job?
Kristen: No. We had to get a job to move to New Zealand- they won’t let you into the country if you aren’t contributing something (ie: labor or monetary investment). We didn’t decide to move to NZ because of some fantastic job offer.
Everyone: So do you have a job?
Kristen: Yes, I have a job with Pegasus 24 Hour Surgery Center in Christchurch, NZ.
Scott: I don’t have a job yet, but I will. Unlike Kristen, I can get any job I want. Our work visas are contingent on her staying at her job with Pegasus, but I can work as a geologist, a teacher, or a bike mechanic… or an artisan cheese maker or microbrew master.
Everyone: You must be making more money in New Zealand.
Kristen: Not even close.
Everyone: So the cost of living must be lower then.
Scott: Not even close.
Kristen: We’re not going to make money. Money comes and goes. We’re going for the experience.
Everyone: You’re moving to Christchurch? Did you know there was an earthquake there?
Kristen & Scott: Yeah, we’re aware. We were in New Zealand in February 2010 when the earthquake happened. We were lucky to see Christchurch prior to the quake, but we saw it afterwards as well. The city center is still rebuilding, and is still a mess. But contrary to popular belief, there is still a thriving heart to the city. The shops, restaurants, and bars that were downtown and were destroyed have moved and rebuilt in nearby suburbs and are doing great. These nearby suburbs have also become desirable places to live, and are the neighborhoods we plan on exploring for our own future home.
Katie: Are you really going to live in a van?
Scott: No. We’re going to get a sweet van with a bed in the back to travel around in and see this beautiful country. But we will have a great 2 bedroom place for all of you to visit.
Del: New Zealanders drink Steinlager. Californians drink hoppy organic microbrews. I hear you have been brewing your own beer, do you plan on introducing this to your fellow Kiwis?
Scott: I hope so. We have only experimented with 2 homebrews, but they were successful enough for our tastebuds, and we hope to share that hoppy goodness with our new friends. Hopefully they’re open to new beers!
Everyone: How long do you plan to stay?
Kristen: Our plan right now is to stay for 2.5 years. This move was 14 months in the planning, so we have to give it a good run. And just like our move right now, we can’t imagine going from one hemisphere’s winter to the other, so we’ll stay two and a half years to ensure we move back from summer to summer. There is, of course, a chance we’ll stay longer!
Del: I’ve heard there’s all kind of poisonous animals there. Are you going to live in bubble wrap?
Kristen: It’s a common misconception that there’s poisonous plants, snakes, jellyfish, spiders, and other treacherous animals in New Zealand, but those actually all reside in our neighboring continent, Australia. New Zealand has barely (if any) poisonous creatures, and actually has no snakes at all.
Katie: But New Zealand and Australia are so close…
Scott: They’re not. They’re actually 1,200 miles apart, which is as far apart as California and Missouri. They actually formed in completely different ways: Australia broke off from the mega-continent of Pangea, bringing with it all of the animals and plants from the area from which it came. New Zealand, on the other hand was formed where it currently resides, from subduction of Earth’s plates and volcanoes, thus creating land masses without nasty spiders and deadly stinging nettle trees.
|Pangea… for those of you who care (anyone?)
Everyone: So that’s like a 22 hour flight right? I’m never coming to visit.
Kristen: If anyone spent as long researching their next vacation as I do (Scott can’t stand looking at all 50 hotels on Trip Advisor for wherever we’re going and I can’t understand why)…. they know that the flight from San Francisco to Auckland is only 12.5 hours. And all the personal movies you can watch and booze you can drink are included in the price… so it’s kind of a cramped mini-vacation.
Scott: Can we go to bed yet? I’ve had several tasty beers, I’ve been working non-stop on all of this, I’m falling asleep, and I have bikes to ride tomorrow!!
Kristen: I thought we were packing tomorrow and planning our finances.