So after 2 weeks of job hunting and hostel hopping, I scored the sweetest temp job EVER in Auckland. I was so happy that I actually sucked up the 69cents/minute and call my sister on my mobile, I was so happy. Now I needed a place to live until August when my job would end, about 6 months. The upside of arriving in New Zealand in February/March is that there would be more short term and temp jobs as that is when all the kids go back to school. The downside is that all the cheap housing is gone because everyone is back in school. I was currently crashing up at Princeton Apartments up by the university because it was dirt cheap for my own room. The first room I was in was right above the restaurant and bus stop and was wicked loud and smelled funky. The second room I was in was way higher and pushed back, but because I was up so high, the water pressure was nil which sucks for my thick hair. I needed something more stable, plus with a tv. I am one of those weird people, especially being a girl, I would much rather have my own tv then my own bathroom.
Anyway, the weekend before I started work was dedicated to me finding a place to live. The place I got all my working stuff dealt with suggested the newspaper and Saturday has lots of listings, so I picked it up the next day and started walking around. I called a few place, but lots were way out of my price range, thanks to students. I found a listing for a boarding house a little out of town and took the bus there and actually on my way to one place, I stumbled across Bond Street Lodge and just rang the doorbell and was immediately greeted by Vicki. Bond Street was brand new and when I said I was looking for a room, she gave me the grand tour and what her plans where for the place and told her what my plans were, she immediately started working out a deal since I was staying so long. I ended up getting a single room on the ground floor for the dirt cheap price of NZ$160/week plus a refundable 1 week bond of the same amount that I would get back when I moved out. No contract was signed, just my word that I would stay at least 3 months and give a weeks notice when I was leaving. I was to pay my rent by the week, you know, whenever. And that was it! Since I had already paid for another week at Princeton, I told her I could move in the following weekend and she said that was fine. And for the most part the place was great! Since I had just arrived and I didn’t know how much I was going to be taking home from my paycheck each week and how much I would need on day to day things, it was a great place to start. I loved that the bathrooms where like home and you got the whole room when you locked the door for shower, sink and toilet. I never had to wait for one of the 4 on my floor. All the public areas were cleaned every single day and I never had a problem there. There was a slight door slamming problem that annoyed the hell out of me, but if that is the least of my issues, then that is hardly a complaint. Also, I wasn’t aware at first, but none of the rooms came with a heater! When I asked about it, I was told that the previous owners had a problem with people stealing them, which was annoying. If I could have rented one with a refundable bond, that would have been great, but oh well. I waited it out until about the middle of June before I just couldn’t take it anymore and bought a ceramic heater that hardly worked. I mean, it worked just fine, but since the walls were cement, it was always cold. I had the thing running 24 hours a day and it wasn’t until nearly a month later that I turned it off because it was finally too hot. On the other side of it all, I was saving so much money because my rent and lack of bills was so low. Kingsland is the last stop in “zone 1” so I did take the bus to work everyday but it was cheap and I walked into town on the weekends if I was going. I loved the buses in Auckland! I almost always got a seat and since the stop was like half way down the block, if the bus was stopped at the corner the the driver saw me running late for it, he would open the door for me. So nice! Loved that everyone says thanks (ta!) all the time.
After about 5 months, I was getting tired. Tired of doors slamming, tired of sharing, little things that didn’t bug me when I first arrived were starting to get on my nerves. Plus, I had just applied for a job where I was the “preferred candidate” for another temp job at the same company I was already at for another 9 months. There was no way I could survive another 9 months in this place. I also had evened out a lot. I knew how much I was spending and saving each week. I could afford an upgrade. As soon as I signed my work contract and deposited my visa papers to stay longer (fingers crossed on approval!) I went on the hunt to find a studio. I emailed around and the only place to call me back were CitySales and I made an appointment for the following day to meet with an agent at an apartment I was interested in. She told me about 2 available units in the building. The first one was on a lower floor with a view of the parking garage across the street and had a stereo and dvd player (oh, besides being fully furnished, which I needed because I didn’t have or want anything). Plus I would get a week free to start with that place and it was listed as $290/week. The next unit was on the 15th (out of 18) floors and had a view of the harbor. I was sold, minus the extras and it was listed at $300/week. But since I was signing a lease for 9 months (plus over the holiday season, which apparently is hard to rent out, so different then Australia!) I got it for $290/week, plus a 2 week bond which was returned to me when I moved out, plus a fee to to the agency I used of one weeks rent PLUS tax, which was probably the worst part. But oh well. The place was fabulous. I loved it. I loved sitting on my awesome maroon leather couch looking out my window, reading, watching the ships come in and out. I loved my view of the Hyatt next door, on those summer weekend nights when it was filled with wedding parties to spy on. I leaned over my balcony around the side of my building and I had a perfect view of SkyTower. I had a washing machine/dryer combo that took forever and didn’t do a good job, but it was free. I had my own bathroom. Agh, even just sitting here writing about it now, I miss it! (And I love my current apartment too!). Even though I had to pay that fee for CitySales, I would use them again. My agent was awesome and every time I emailed her regarding something, no matter how small, she was very prompt about turn around. But I had to deal with toilet paper and paying my electric bill every month, which was new to me! In my other place, it was all provided, but tis the cost of having my own space. Well worth it, especially since I lived in the boarding house for so long to save. I took my heater with me when I left Bond Street, even though my new place had a heater and even though the space was probably 10 times the size of my old room, the insulation was so much better, I actually turned it off during the day and rarely at night. And if you don’t know ceramic heaters, those things give off like NO HEAT.
This is a listing to another unit in the building I lived in. Not the same unit but just on the other side of the building, to give you an idea of how awesome it was!
Moral: I liked both places I lived and I liked that I mixed it up a bit. It was nice at first to live with a bunch of people, but I am kind of a loner and like to have my own space for everything and liked that I lived in town too. The boarding house definitely mixed it up and I got to know another side of town, by living in it, but my view in my studio=LOVE. The sky changes so much in New Zealand, that I took so many pictures and have decorated my new place with them. I made two great choices when it came to living in New Zealand’s biggest city.