As I drove down Ponsonby Road, I felt at home and glad to be back in Auckland. It seemed weird how the sight of Sky Tower and driving the familiar roads made me feel at ease but they did and I was looking forward to another summer here.
I drove straight to the Explore NZ office as all my traveling had eaten into my bank balance and I needed to arrange an earlier start date. It was good seeing all my old work mates and catching up, I also managed to push my start date forward so I was very happy. Now all was left to do was find a hostel. I did consider staying at one of the hostels in the City because I wouldn’t have to travel far to work but as I had the car Uenuku Lodge was the easy choice.
I rung the door bell and to my surprise Olivia’s friend, Karen opened the door. Olivia and I had stayed at Uenuku when we first got to Auckland and Olivia set Karen and her friend Hayley up there when they arrived in NZ - I couldn’t believe they were still living there but after staying at Uenuku a few weeks I soon realised why. There were a lot of long termers, the longest being Stacey who was staying at Uenuku before Liv and I arrived the first time round! This created a really friendly and fun environment. I stayed the first few nights in room 2 but once the owner realised I would be staying for some time he moved me into room 1 with all the log termers.
Getting back to work was easy and it felt as though I had never been away, well apart from all my awesome memories of traveling the South Island and of course snowboarding. It felt as if I didn’t need to settle back in, I was already settled. Work was going well - it was nice to have money going back into my account and I was making some great friends. As my days off changed each week staying at the hostel was great as there were always people around to have a beer with or go out and do stuff.
Christmas and New Years was fast approaching and I didn’t have anything planned. The guys from the hostel had rented a house in Waiheke for a few days either side of Christmas and were also going to Rhythms and Vines in Gisborne. As more people were going to Waiheke than the house slept, any my boss had offered me the time off for Rhythm and Vines I decided to book a ticket. For you who don’t
know, Rhythm and Vines is a three day music festival on 29th, 30th and 31st December. The party continues into the New Year and they keep the campsite open for another two days after the concert has finished. Gisborne is the first town to see the New Year in the world, so I was real excited to be amoungst the first people in the world to celebrate the New Year, raving with my hands held high. To make things even more mouth watering, the dance line up was amazing and featured the likes of Carl Cox, Justice, Boys Noize and N*E*R*D were head lining. I was so pumped for Rhythm and Vines as it had the potential of being the best New Years ever!
As I was feeling settled at Uenuku and had just brought my Rhythm and Vines ticket I was going to put the house hunting on the back burner as quite frankly I was bored of it and thought there was no point in moving until after Rhythm and Vines. Then out of the blue I got a text from a house I had viewed two or three weeks ago, offering me the room. I was torn on what to do. I knew I would enjoy my own place but at the same time I had made loads of friends at the hostel and enjoyed seeing everyone, day in day out. Then the next night out in the Viaduct made my mind up for me, I needed my privacy and not a 10 man dorm.
The next day, I text the guys back and told them I would like to take the room. The house was really nice and was situated just off Ponsonby Road so only added an extra 5 minutes to my ride to work. My new housemates were called Jen, Niamh, Eoin and Peter. They were all travelling on working holiday visa’s from Ireland. I did miss the people at the hostel but I was glad that I made the move. My new housemates were sound and we all got along really well. When I moved in all I had was my belongings so I had to borrow a mattress form the hostel and sleep on the floor. Luckily I found a bed on trade me pretty cheap and my boss let me borrow the work truck to pick it up.
My life in Auckland was great. I was enjoying work, living in my new house was going well, I was catching up with the folk from the hostel on the weekends and I was looking forward to Rhythm and Vines.