When Emilija and I first arrived in Wellington we were immediately met with a whole host of problems. Firstly we had no where to live; as usual we were winging it to the extreme. Wellington isn’t just a place where we are merely passing through and could therefore rely on finding a hostel for a few nights or staying with a host off Couch Surfing – no, we are here to undertake our internships which are a compulsory component of our study arrangement at Fontys International Business School – the work placement is also a fantastic opportunity to gain some much needed practical experience, but it turns out it’s also a little more stressful when choosing to do your internship at the opposite side of the planet and you decide to rock up with no where to stay.
Then there was also the issue of Emilija not having an actual internship. For all intensive purposes she was at the stage where she’d almost admitted defeat and was figuring out what she could do to make the most of her spare time as she toyed with the idea of taking a semester’s break.
After arriving, we spent our first few nights up in Lower Hutt where we stayed with a guy off Couch Surfing who had a beautiful home up in the mountains. We were reminded yet again as to why we both love using Couch Surfing so much as the guy (whose name was Michael) not only took us in and offered us a warm bed and delicious food, but he also placed his trust in us and allowed us to stay there alone whilst he was away at a Canoe Polo competition. The beautiful generosity of people really leaves me flabbergasted at times.
Efforts to find a more permanent room weren’t going well for us in the beginning. We did view one place which was in the brilliant location, but Emilija was politely told that we featured low on the list of candidates given our request to have a short lease agreement.
Just as we were beginning to contemplate the possibility of having to live in a tent for three months, we suddenly struck gold and had the most triumphant 24 hours in our history of travelling together. Not only had Emilija successfully completed an interview and managed to secure herself an excellent internship with a company that we’d randomly found on Twitter some weeks previous, but I had also had an epiphany and found some homestay options in Wellington, after a simply searching on Google to see if it were possible. Later that same day we headed to Kandallah where we met a lady who was willing to take us both in for only $250 per week – we somehow also managed to bag ourselves meals as well, included in the price!
The house which we moved into not only had amazing views but it also had great transport links into the city which was handy for me as we were an hours walk away with some pretty steep hills to negotiate. The only drawback to the place we were staying was that once you got to the front garden, there was a horrendous incline up to the front door which included over twenty steps and a sharp windy ramp which was impossible to use in a wheelchair. I found myself crawling up and down every day which hurt like hell at first as my hands have softened slightly after years of just whipping around in my wheelchair. They soon hardened again and it became easier and easier after that.
Since moving into the house in Kandallah we’ve actually been forced to relocate. I won’t go too far into the details but basically the lady sort of reneged on all her promises and told us we should look for alternative accommodation sharpish. At first we feared we’d be back to square one of not knowing where on earth to go, but fortunately a lady who lived twenty minutes further up the hill said she had a spare room in which we could stay.
The monstrous hills have been a challenge to get used to, especially after a full day of work in the office, but as each day passes I can feel myself getting stronger and stronger as my body thanks me for exercising regularly. Already my resting heartbeat is down to about 55-60 beats per minute. The fresh sea air is also healing my lungs after the pollution filled battering they received in Taiwan.
Who knows how long we’ll be able to stay in our new place, but for now I’m loving life and really getting stuck in with my internship. I’ll fill you guys in on what I’m actually doing at WWF in a separate post, so until then, ciao for now!