Mindfully moving

After a 15 month break, I remembered that this blog exists. Whoops!

Andrew and I have packed so many adventures and experiences into the last 15 months that I couldn’t even begin to describe them here. We have met some wonderful people, bought a house, joined the tramping club and started new hobbies.

We shifted from Auckland to Christchurch 13 months ago. From a large, vibrant, multicultural city to a smaller, more conservative city that was shattered by two devastating earthquakes.

Moving 1000km down the road was not a decision to be made lightly, and it took months of planning and organising. I had a few ideas about what it would be like to live in Christchurch, and I can honestly say that most of them were right!

Things I have learned in the last 13 months:

– Christchurch is the biggest small town in NZ. There is no getting around this. Many people here are very concerned with suburbs, and schools, and associating with the ‘right people’. I am happy to say that I have not yet met a violent death, even though I live only minutes from Aranui, one of the lower socio-economic areas of Christchurch. Besides, Aranui has nothing on Clendon, where we used to live, and we survived quite well there as well.

– The outdoor opportunities are endless. When I gave up rockclimbing after a serious injury seven years ago, I never really saw myself getting back into it. But in Christchurch, I have two outdoor crags only minutes from home, and two climbing gyms that challenge me when the weather’s cruddy. I’ve gone from falling off 14s to nailing 19s and it’s awesome. Likewise since we arrived in Christchurch we have been tramping, mountaineering, rafting, drifting on rivers on airbeds, kayaking, climbing, gotten lost in the hills…

– Friends are priceless. I turned 25 a couple of weeks after we moved to Christchurch. At the time we were living with an acquaintance and her two children. Andrew was away working and my mum was visiting. I opened my birthday presents with mum in a dingy motel room, and I was miserable.

I turned 26 about a month ago and I had 25 friends over for dessert. The lounge was full to bursting, there was nowhere left to sit down and the last person went home at nearly midnight. There was a mound of presents (mainly chocolate and climbing gear) and I ran out of room on the shelf for the birthday cards.

Such a difference a year makes. My friends (especially those from the tramping club) mean the world to me and I’m very blessed to have them in my life.

That’s not to say that I’ve forgotten my Auckland friends. Facebook is a wonderful thing and I’ve been back to Auckland three times in 13 months, and I’m heading up again in a few weeks for my Dad’s birthday. My best friend and I still email each other constantly while at work and she’s come down to visit a few times as well.

– Rebuilding a city is a beautiful thing to watch. I don’t remember the last time I took a car journey and didn’t see any road cones. Detours are second nature and there is a constant hum of construction noise in the background. Slowly but surely this city is being rebuilt – and watching it happen makes me very happy, and stupidly emotional.

Moving cities isn’t quite the same as moving countries, but this quote sums it up pretty well anyway:

“Settling into a new country is like getting used to a new pair of shoes. At first they pinch a little, but you like the way they look, so you carry on. The longer you have them, the more comfortable they become. Until one day without realizing it you reach a glorious plateau. Wearing those shoes is like wearing no shoes at all. The more scuffed they get, the more you love them and the more you can’t imagine life without them.”
Tahir Shah, In Arabian Nights: A Caravan of Moroccan Dreams

I can’t imagine not living here… 🙂

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