June 25, 2013
At the end of last year, we moved a lot. We lived out of suit-cases and ate a lot of take-aways. Then we settled into our flat on the hill and thought, Damn it feels good not to be moving. We unpacked, settled in… bought a couch. And, well… that didn’t last long. 6 months to be exact. We’ve shifted again. And we’re about to shift again. And we’re eating a lot of take-aways again (ok, we kind of never stopped. We really like eating out.) Let me explain…

The Earthquake Commission (EQC) needs to do repairs on our old house. That is really no big deal usually, but this particular house had structural issues and we were needing to move out for at least 8 weeks. This fact, coupled with some insurance issues (apparently), made for a looming homelessness without an actual timeframe. Talk about stressful. Our lease happened to be up on June 20th though, and we decided to grasp the opportunity and just take a look at what else is out there.

Here’s the thing about Christchurch though. There are heaps of people here on a temporary basis. Construction workers for 6 months, engineers for 6 weeks, architects and designers for a month here and a month there. Many of them either get a hefty stipend to spend on housing, or they can flat out afford a fancy spot, and that drives the prices up. Then there are also heaps of people who are displaced whilst the EQC is fixing their house, and they need a temporary place to stay. Now add all of those people together, and subtract the number of houses that were destroyed by the earthquake. You’ll find a deficit. (The hotels are always full, even.) Now divide the number of landlords who are keeping their rates reasonable by the number of landlords who are seizing a huge financial opportunity from the aforementioned deficit. The result? Lots of expensive, crappy houses. In all seriousness, a 2 bed/1 bath house in a bad neighborhood is at least $325/week. A 3 bed/2 bath house with all the amenities (like a dishwasher and washing machine, not a tennis court and cabana boy) is seriously $550/week or more. I know this is unimpressive for San Francisco. But this is not San Francisco, people.

Anyways… we didn’t have a ton of requirements for the new house, but we had a few:

– Secure Garage
– 2+ Bedrooms
– Dishwasher
– Safe Neighborhood
– Bike Friendly Location
– No more than $400/week

In the end, I looked at two houses. Thats how many made the cut. And actually, we veto-ed one in the end because it was up a ridiculously steep hill, which is quite bike-unfriendly. So there was one house left. But it ticks all the boxes, and more.

Moving in was a bit of a drama: the storm of the century hit New Zealand and lasted exactly the 4 days we had to move, I apparently have bronchitis, the couch didn’t fit through the door, etc. etc. But now it’s done, and I’m ecstatic.

It turns out we’re only paying 6% more than what we were paying at the old spot, yet everything is better. Our list of nags and niggles at the old house was pretty long (from a super sticky front door key, to horrible hot water pressure, to a tiny kitchen, and on….) and pretty much every single one of them has been resolved. So anyways, here’s what you actually care about: pictures!

I decided to do a comparison of the old and new, mostly so we can look back in a few years and laugh about that first place we lived in. But it did have a great view!

Full disclosure: All photos of the old house are after we moved out and cleaned it; and so it looks dismal and empty. All photos of the new house are after we moved in and I cleaned it, so it looks homey and nice. It’s my blog and I can do what I want.


EQ damage to the front of the old house


Ok, the front door to our old house was possibly cooler. But the key stuck.
Ok, maybe not as cool. But the shiny numbers are neat. And I have plans for those dead plants…

Living Space

Freezing cold, and those sliding doors always stuck.
Low ceilings, recessed lighting, warm…
(Like our camp chairs?)


No dishwasher, average storage space, small fridge
There is no comparison…. its just all better


Was all good and fine except for the hot water pressure. Which was awful.
Not pictured: Shower that is actually warm when you use it!


Guest Room
Guest Bed, see below for view from window. I couldn’t get a good photo of the two together.
Master Bedroom
Scott chose this as the master because he said it felt like a castle!
Yeah, we’ve got some work to do in here on the EQ damage. That’s just Christchurch housing.

Bonus Room

Yep, we now have a 3rd bedroom, and it’s a dedicated bike room!


Front Yard. 32 stairs, in case you were trying to count.
Back Yard. Pretty sweet, huh?
Back Yard (Ok, we don’t have any front yard- it’s just a driveway. Whatevs.)
Backyard Planters, can’t wait to grow some summer crops!

The View

As you all know, the view from the old place was not too shabby. Especially for morning sunrise shots.
Obviously, we’ve not sacrificed my favorite thing about living up on the hill!
We have a view of the ocean (above) and down on Christchurch city
And of the southern alps
And the city lights at night. Love!

So I am one very happy girl, let me tell you!

But if you’ll recall… we’re moving again. On Friday. It’s almost like a cruel joke… but it’s not that bad. We’re house sitting for a friend for the month of July, and caring for their wonderful dog, Sally. The house is lovely, has a fireplace, and a TV (which is only exciting because our timing is perfect and the Tour de France will be on!) We’ll get a taste of what it’s like to live on the flat land (pictured above… we’ll be one of those lights), closer to work, stores, and the gym. Although I’m really looking forward to having a pup for a month, I’m pretty sure we’ll be stoked to be back up on the hill come August!

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