the drive from Queenstown to Christchurch was amazing! I was completely alone, doing whatever I wanted (speeding, obviously), with no worries about having another life in the car to look after…
the weather, on the other hand, was not as pleasant… the closer I got to Christchurch, the worse the weather turned (Mother Nature seemed to be reading my mood change and putting it right on my face)… gloomy, rainy, windy…
I wanted to stay with Mark and Kristo, but unfortunately they were hosting a German guy… I tried to get a couch with some of the couch surfers I met at the weekly meetings, no success… since I had to pay one more day for the car (because even by speeding I didn’t get on time to return it) I decided to call the YHA to see if they had parking and a bed for the night… they did, and so I drove there…
in the common room I met a very nice guy called Sam (UK/Australia), we were talking about the shitty movies they were playing on TV, then another guy called Scott (USA) and his friend Niklas (Germany) joined our sarcastic little talk… the four of us were making fun of everything on TV, so it was nice.
next morning I payed for another night in the hostel. I felt alone in Chch, I was supposed to have a lot of friends there, but I felt completely alone… I didn’t want to bother Mark and Lizzie again, I was going to see them one of this nights to catch up and pick up the stuff I left behind, and maybe that was enough for them… I didn’t want to push it. I had already contacted Mark and Kristo, and I didn’t want to be a pain. I didn’t feel like calling Claudio either because I thought that if he knew about my hostel and loneliness situation, he would have offered his house and all his attentions in order for me to feel better, and I think that would have made me feel like I’m using him or something. my friend Didier was not helping at all either, I didn’t feel any signs of a welcoming person towards me. and the other people I knew, I felt as if I didn’t know them THAT well as to call them and see if they wanted to have a coffee with me…
so, alone I was…
I saw Sam again during breakfast, and we took the car to go buy some groceries… drove back to the hostel to leave them… then I drove to return the car to the agency, and walked back to the hostel… there, while skyping with Citlalli, one of my friends from home, Scott appeared behind me with just a towel around his waist… he had left his key inside his room… so, my friend saw him, he got closer to chat and explain why he was almost naked, and, well… long story short… the three of us skyped all afternoon (Scott dressed of course), and we became: a family!
we skyped every day with Citlalli from that moment on. I got so attached to Scotty that I stayed in the hostel for two more nights. he became my Little Brother – as I called him.
and we would hang every night until late with Nik and Phillip (another German) too.
I caught up with Mark, Lizzie, and Didier on Tuesday night. after having dinner in the hostel, Didier picked me up to go visit our friends, and then he and I went to a bar to have a beer and talk about my travels.
I sent a couch surfing request to Julia, one of the kiwi girls that go to the weekly meetings at Smash Palace. she usually doesn’t host during weekdays and not more than two or three nights, but since I’ve met her before, and she hosted Jon, she made an exception, and we settled that she would pick me up on Thursday night.
so Wednesday was my last night at the YHA… in the morning I went to deliver some CV’s and introduce myself in different architecture firms. no success, I couldn’t talk to any of the CEO’s in any of the three firms I visited. so I went back to the hostel. unfortunately, Scotty was working that night until late. so Phillip, Sandra (a German girl we met that morning) and I went to buy some beers to be prepared when Scott came home. when he did, we started playing happy king… when we were beyond soberness, we decided to call Citlalli via Skype…
next morning I went to the other two firms I had yet to visit. the second one was my favourite of them all, and, lucky me, one of the CEO’s was actually the one to greet me the moment I entered. we then had a little chat about my background and why I was there. he told me they were not looking for anyone at the moment, but that I should give him a call when I come back from Australia to see how things are going!
I went back to the hostel with a great grin on my face!
I didn’t see Scott that evening, so sadly I couldn’t say goodbye to him properly, and at night Julia picked me up to take me to her house where she lives with her flatmate Jacek, from Poland.
after a little chat, a couple of cigarettes, and some wine, we went to a couch surfing meeting that she organises at Revival. there I met some of her expat friends, among them, a Spanish girl called Lucia.
her story and mine are very similar. we come from spanish speaking countries, we are around the same age, we both came to NZ to apply for the working holiday visa, both our countries only have 200 places and release them once a year, we both didn’t get it for the same reasons, we are both architects, and we are trying to apply for architecture jobs in Chch… the only thing I’m missing is a German boyfriend and then we would be identical.
Julia and I organised a Mexican night at her house for Friday night, so she invited some of this friends I met.
so next day I woke up, cleaned the house (here comes the Mexican maid again…), Julia then picked me up in the afternoon and we went to the supermarket to buy all we needed for the reunion that night. got back home and started cooking.
Julia’s friends started arriving. Lucia with Björn (her boyfriend), a girl from The States, Arjan from Holland, another guy from Iran, a French girl named Fleur (I think), and of course Jacek and Julia.
the night went smoothly and the food was a success – in case you are wondering, I prepared tinga de pollo and molletes! yum!
next day I went to the library to have some free wifi. I then ate at a place called Samurai Bowl (which btw is pretty good). I received a call from Yin telling me that she was in Chch, so we decided to see each other on Sunday and go to the beach.
I met with Arjan at the restart mall that evening. we went to the Earthquake City, an exhibition where they have some of the region’s history on earth tremors. we then walked to a bar to have a couple of beers. there we met two of his ex-coworkers, one from South Africa and the other one from The States called Albert.
Albert was born in The States, but his mom is Kiwi and his dad Mexican, so therefore he is a “chikiwi” (as in Chicano and Kiwi)… we were laughing all night! he’s such a FUN person. in the end he and his mate left to go to another bar near their hostel, but we exchanged numbers because he lives in Napier, and when I come back from Australia I will go there and I surely want to hang with him.
after that, Arjan and I went to Revival to meet up with Julia and some other friends. I then took Julia’s car back home because I was tired and she was taking a cab.
next morning I met with Yin at the library and we took the bus to Sumner. from there we hitchhiked (for the first time in our travels) to get to Taylor’s Mistake.
this is a very beautiful beach, Mark and Lizzie’s favourite. we sat there for a moment, had our little picnic, and then walked up the hill following the trail… but we didn’t do the whole thing… we were to lazy so we just sat off the trail, near a cliff.
we then walked down and started our way back to Sumner.
back in the CBD we went to have something at the Samurai Bowl… and, like it always happens with Yin, we had food comma.
at night I received a message from Didier asking me if I want to have lunch with him on Monday.
so on Monday I took it easy, doing nothing really, and I went to meet him at a deli place 5 blocks from where I was staying.
we talked a little bit about my plans and what he was going to do next weekend. it was going to be Queen’s Birthday Weekend and we had said before my road trip that we might do something together, but in the end he was going with some friends to do some mountain biking, which was perfect because I really wanted to stay in Chch to sort everything for my departure to Wellington and then to Australia.
he offered me a ride to the CBD, and when we said goodbye he said “safe travels” when I still had a week or so in Chch… “fine!” I thought, and I just had to laugh inside my head… after all the time we spent together he says goodbye with a “safe travels” and almost putting his two thumbs up.
so, after that I went to the library… again (I know, I sound like a bookworm), and there I saw Yin, which was a very nice surprise. we talked a little bit, and said goodbye… she is travelling a bit more and then she goes to The States, so I was not going to see her again.
on Tuesday Joel told me that he was coming to Chch for the weekend.
at night I had planned to have dinner with the Latin American community. I had a few days left now that Joel was coming, so I had to say my goodbyes to my friends… so we went to this fantastic place where we had been before when I was staying with Claudio, Chopsticks!
some friends of this group were out of NZ, so only Javier (Mexico) and his brother Rodrigo, along with Claudio were able to come… still it was very nice to hang with them and speak some proper Spanish (with the Mexicans)!
on Wednesday I did nothing interesting… at night I went to Mark and Kristo’s house to have dinner… Kristo made this BEAUTIFUL pizzas, with salmon and sweet chilli sauce… they were just amazing! we talked about what’s been happening in our lives, their jobs, my travels… they offered me to stay with them my last night in Chch, and Mark even offered me a ride to the airport! so I happily said yes!
the next day I stayed home all day reading The Alchemist, a book recommended by Jon, and that I borrowed from Lizzie… and honestly, I highly recommend it as well! it’s interesting, entertaining, easy to read… I finished it in one day…
later that day I said goodbye to my beautiful hosts… I will be moving to a hostel for the next three nights.
Friday came, and with it laundry and Joel…
Saturday morning we had breakfast and went to the Farmers Market in Riccarton, went to the supermarket, and then we had lunch at a noodle place near by.
at night I took him to CBD Bar and Pizzeria (to not break the tradition), and after that we went to Revival to meet up with Julia, Jacek, and the rest of the gang… there I said goodbye to all, I will no longer see them unless I get a job offer in Chch and need to fly back after Australia…
next day we went to a town called Lyttelton, which is the port town of Chch and where the English disembarked when they started moving to NZ. it’s a cute little town, and there are several ways of getting there, one through the tunnel built under the mountain; the other is up the mountain (my favourite), where you can see Christchurch from above on one side, and the peninsula on the other.
we got there, walked around and then stopped at a little caffe shop to have some dessert and coffee.
then we headed back home through the tunnel, and we cooked a beautiful dinner!
next morning we packed our stuff. Joel gave me a ride to Mark and Kristo’s house and we said goodbye for good… I honestly don’t think I will see him again, at least in NZ… but who knows, really.
I spent all day with Kristo, talking and watching TV. then in the evening Claudio picked me up and we went to have a cup of coffee to talk and say goodbye for good as well.
next day Mark took me to the airport at noon, where my flight was delayed almost two hours… and I was off to Wellington…