I’ve spent the last few weeks high on cortisol. Oh yesssss, my body’s main stress hormone has been a little elevated while I navigate myself through the New Zealand house buying process, which is quite different – and therefore strange and unfamiliar – to the UK. It’s like walking barefoot through a room full of mousetraps blindfolded, with someone occasionally shouting vague directions in words you don’t understand, hoping you won’t stand on something that will hurt you.
I’m nearly out the other side. WIthout explaining the whole process (you can read about it for yourself here if you really want to) – mainly because I still don’t really understand it – I’m a few days away from the point where it becomes legal and binding and no one can back out without losing a lot of money. This is the good point, because it when I know it’s definitely going to be my house, and I can legitimately start to dream about where I’ll put my yellow chair so I get a view of the mountains without fear of intense disappointment.
The process is normally pretty quick here (sometimes less than a month), which by itself is stressful to us Brits who are used to having months to get our heads around 1) committing to something/somewhere and 2) spending a shit ton of cash. You have mere days to sign stuff, send it back, pay things, make phone calls, move money, make decisions, all while trying to work and live at the same time. Especially hard when it’s just me who has do Everything. Single. Thing. <tired sigh>.
This purchase has been stretched out a bit (I first put the offer in at the beginning of May), because we’ve had to wait a few weeks for a valuer to be available because my mortgage company needed it. Then we had to extend the timeframes as the vendor is waiting for the council to sign off some building work. So as long as that’s done by Monday, it’s all systems go. If it’s not, the timeframes will have to be pushed out again.
I’ve broken the lease on my flat and need to move out on the 4th July, so I’m hoping they don’t get shifted back again, because then I’ll have to move all my stuff twice. But hey, can’t do much about what I can’t control, and I’ve got a Plan B so it’s all cruisy baby.
I’ve also gone and got myself a new job, not related to the move, just for shits and giggles, and the decision-making, negotiations and uncomfortable act of telling my boss I’m leaving has just kept that old friend cortisol hanging around when it’s outstayed its welcome. Joy.
But there’s light at the end of the tunnel. I’ll be having 4 months off from mid July and won’t start my new job until October, so I’ll get a well-deserved break – something I’ve desperately craved since burning out and melting down last year. I’ll get a few weeks of downtime to potter around my new house without having to work before flying to the UK and I can’t wait to just be for a little bit IN MY OWN HOUSE.
I’m wondering if having a base of my own that I don’t have to sign a lease for every year (and can put up picture hooks if I want to ), in a small community, will give me some grounding that I still don’t feel I quite have yet here in Aotearoa. My residency helped me to feel less temporary, and having a house of my own to make a home feels like the last part of a jigsaw that’ll allow me to start living my NZ life on my terms – where I want, and doing what I want.
Over the past few weeks I’ve realised I get a bit lonely here in Christchurch. I don’t feel part of a community, which is really important to me. I miss the intimacy of being in a relationship, and the connection of deep friendships with a lot of shared history. Whether it’s because it’s nearing the time I can go back to the UK and I’m thinking about what I had in the UK, or just I’m ready for a change, I don’t know, I just know I’m feeling it quite intensely right now.
I’m excited to start a new chapter, to live life a little differently, to enjoy the ride, and see where it takes me, but without going a million miles an hour. This one’s gonna be more chilled. At least, that’s the plan.
Watch this space.