December 15, 2011

37 months later

Last month marked the 3rd anniversary of my arrival in New Zealand. I remember the first time I set foot in Christchurch Airport, I had a feeling of excitement I'd never imagined. I didn't know what to expect of the people, the place or the NZ life, but I was so psyched to find out.

The first 365 days - Settling Down

My first impression of Christchurch was that it reminded me of the film Pleasantville. Everything looked so picture perfect, it almost felt like I was in that movie. Have you seen it?

Anyway, hubby and I decided to live in a suburb called Kaiapoi so that we could be close to Esperanza, a Sabahan whose sister was my close friend back in UPM. We'd known each other for quite some time so it was nice to have at least one Sabahan friend in Christchurch. Before getting our own shack, we crashed at Es' place for a few days. She and her husband were really kind during our stay but we didn't want to invade too much of their privacy. For this reason, our house-hunting process was done in a rush, as in, we surveyed 4 houses, saw one that we liked and immediately put a deposit on it. After getting all the paper work sorted out, we moved in right away.

3-bedroom house in Kaiapoi

Just us three
The first 9 days were nice and peachy. We settled in, bought furniture for the house and made it look like home. Things changed on the 10th day when I took a pregnancy test at home. The result said: You're knocked up! My reaction to this was: HABISLAH SIA!! I know that sounds like I'm a horrible human being but I really wasn't prepared for it. The thought of having a second child was scary because 1. I was in a new town, without any family support, 2. I had to look after a 2 year old hyper-active boy and 3. I was supposed to focus on my study. It was madness.

As usual, hubby comforted me and said that everything would be okay. I guess the brief counselling worked cos I began telling myself the same thing; that everything was going to be fine. After a couple of days, I started to embrace my pregnancy and told my family about it. What I found hard about being pregnant was not being able to fulfill my pregnancy cravings. Asian restaurants were limited in Kaiapoi, so getting authentic Malaysian food like kon-lau-men, nasi lemak or fish-head curry was an impossibilty. Because of this, and the fact that I had morning sickness throughout the second trimester, my pregancy sucked a lot.

After enduring eight months of unfulfilled pregnancy cravings, Alva was finally born. I was so thankful that she didn't show any signs of kobihis symptoms. Nasiblah! Anyway, right after I delivered, my family came for a visit and helped me out during my confinement period. Another few months went by and before we knew it, we'd spent a year in Christchurch.

The second year - Finding that Comfort Zone

The second year was definitely nicer than the first. Some of the things that made me happy were: 1. I managed to adapt to the weather and food, 2. After delivery, I could see my toes again! 3. Alva turned out to be a very settled baby and 4. Hubby and I moved to the city.

We realised that living in Kaiapoi wasn't cost effective as I needed to commute from Kaiapoi to Christchurch every single day. For that reason, we moved to the city and rented a two-bedroom house 1km from the Uni. I loved the idea of being close to the CBD cos there were more things to see and do. China Town market was only 10 minutes walk from home and most of the Chinese restaurants were close by.

As I explored more of Christchurch, I started to feel more settled too. I knew where to find Asian food supplies, get the freshest fish in town and find boutiques that had the best bargains. Another reason why I felt happier was because we had more flexibility to explore the South island after Alva was born. When she turned 4 months, we started to go on road trips during holidays and weekends. Barbecue picnic with friends at the park also became a regular thing for us.

Shanttytown, West Coast

Arthur's Pass

Wellington Zoo

Castle Hill

Fox Glacier

Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo

Limestones at Castle Hill

Barbecue at The Groynes

Months went by and before we knew it, we'd spent another year in Christchurch.

The Final Year - Shaken and Stirred

The third year was definitely the most challenging. Like other Cantabrians who were affected by the February 22 earthquake, I had to go through a lot of changes in life particularly in the areas of my study. My office was damaged, my data inaccessible and the whole campus was closed for a few weeks. It was a hard time for everyone. Things slowly picked up in June but they were never the same again. It took the uni 4 months to recuperate from the disaster and another 7 months for everything to go back to normal.

Despite all that gloomy setbacks, I do have a couple of things to be grateful for. After the big quake, mom came to stay  for 3 months to help out with the kids. She did all the cooking, babysitting, cleaning and nagging. Hehe. After she left, dad took over and came to stay with us for 2 months. Dad's a bit laidback in the babysitting area but I didn't mind it at all. Example of being laidback? He'd let the kids EAT Milo and dip their fingers in the peanut butter jar. Siok kan?

Sis and Carol also came for a short visit in September. Thanks to them, hubby and I could travel to Wellington without the kids, and get our certs from the Malaysian High Commissioner. All in all, I was pampered for 5 wonderful months.

After everyone left, it was time to focus on my thesis and spend more time with Yoda. The pressure started to pick up when Yoda told me to get two chapters done by September. Things got so very hectic, I hardly had time for anything else. Two miserable months went by and before I knew it, I'd spent three years in Christchurch. Amazing how time flies eh?

Living here has proven to be a very enlightening experience. I know from time to time, I complain a lot about what's lacking in Christchurch bla bla bla. But then, if I could do it all over again,  I'd probably take the same path.

It has definitely been an interesting journey so far and I reckon things will get even more exciting as my submission date draws near. Wish me luck! :)


Dora A. said...


Eating Milo? Sedap tu.

DoRa Priscilla said...

You complaint coz you probably miss home bah tu kan.. time flies.. makes me think of my years in ipg, 2 and a half down, 3 years to go.. the number makes it seems so long but see its the end of the year already..
Best of luck Lize ^^

Isabel said...

Good luck with ur thesis, Lizee! Enjoyed reading this.:)

Lizeewong said...

Dora A - YA! Sedap kan..hehe..tu la the kids suka..

Dora - Ya ba. It gets really hard when you're far from family and friends. So you have 3 more years to go huh? cepat tu Dora. You won't even feel it :)


Isabel- Your comments always cheer me up :) Thanks bel.

debrajill said...

How time flies kan kak..tia sangka you three years there already..hehe..cant wait for you to come back~ so my visits to KK will be more interesting~ hehehe..take care kak!

Amanda Christine Wong said...

It's the dream i study oversea, bla3...untung o ko! n u're finishing! too bad nda sempat visit u...huhu

Henry said...

Very nice New Zealand. Great shots!

Lizeewong said...

Debs- Hey there..Can't wait to get home Debs..We'll definitely have lots of fun in KK nanti :)

Manda-I have a long way to go ni Manda..Hopefully I can submit on time..Kita jumpa d KK la nanti kan :)

Henry- Thanks for dropping by! :)

Wyne @ Mouren Mauve said...

I'm enjoying reading this and you made me smiling when you were not ready for your 2nd child due to 3 reasons. Hehe...anyway, ko berjaya mengatasi segala masalah (tq to your hubby; for his comfort to you)

Enniebelle said...

Discovering half of your life in other country, you're blessed :)

chegu carol said...

We'll meet again soon!!! hahaha kasi semangat for you to finish ur thesis and come home for good pretty soon too.

JIPP said...

Ala. Tida sempat sa melawat ko sna. Hehe.

CathJ said...

So excited reading your life thru the years... And excited for my trip there by looking a the places you been.. Heard quite a numbe of weather concern from the news such as banjir lah.... Make me a little bit worried.. Hope everything is gonna be fine...

Wish you luck with everything liz.. :)

Aemy Shamy said...

time's fleeting & we dont realize it. when we reminisce everything, it seems happen just yesterday kan. :)
i enjoy reading your story, sis. someday i'll go through the same phase but with different version, & it'd teach me so many sure you're missing your hometown..that's a part of life, right. good luck with your thesis & everything. have a good day!! :D

Lizeewong said...

Wyne- Thanks. Hehe. Panic ba tu mula2 :)

Ennie-You're right. Am very grateful for that :) Thanks moi.

Kay-YUP!!! We'll see each other soon ya? Semangat ni Kay mau par-tay when I'm finally done! :) Thanks!

Cath- Hey! Excited that you're coming moi. But as you said, belum tau lagi dapat jumpa kan? Regarding weahter concerns, well, nothing to be worried about juga, as far as I know. Teda flooding sini, tu ja la weather unpredictable. But anyway, you'll find it's very beautiful here :)

Aemy- Hey sweetie..Yes, I really feel like time just whizzes by as I get older :) I'll be eager to read about your story one day; the day you get married etc hehe. Thanks for the well wishes :)