And How Things Turned Out in Christchurch
31.03.2015 - 07.05.2015
In Christchurch it would all be decided. There, where I began my adventure in Aotearoa I just had to find a job.
For my upcoming plan, to go and travel around the North Island there simply wasn't enough money in my pocket. So after the few days with some folks of my old group, I had to seriously devote all my time into making cash- asap!
The little time with my friends who were soon off to drive up north following the same way I did weeks ago, I truly enjoyed. Coco and I went on walking around town and I showed him the must-see places since I have already been there and for him it was the first time in Christchurch. In Hagley Park, we took this shot of Coco underneath the 400kg Peace Bell. If you hit it hard enough it actually makes a sound and most likely your hand will be broken too.
Later, I went with some other friends to a really sick exhibition which was presented in the YMCA and the Canterbury Museum while we were there. Spectrum - Street Art Festival, was a colorful, vibrant, mind blowing and crazy display of all kind of artistic exhibits. From graffiti, trance-like videos that trick your mind over design T-Shirts, everything was an interesting eye-catcher. Especially the trance video was fascinating me. Standing in the pitch-black room fully surrounded by the rhythmic colors and designs moving to the sounds really left me spaced out a bit. Make sure to check out the video to it on YouTube (mine turned out crap; probably because I wasn't paying attention to it^^) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2E1Zw6RRiw.
Then, it was time to say goodbye. I waited with Coco and the rest of my friends from the group until the bus arrived. The green Kiwiexperience bus was bringing them up the coast to Kaikoura and then off to the North Island via the Cook Strait ferry. I, however, was officially starting my job search in town. First, I moved hostels. I needed a new place which was cheaper so I changed to smaller, local-run hostel. The owners are a Maori family and do most of the maintenance and cleaning themselves. I was in luck when I asked them for a care-taking job. For cleaning rooms, hallways, kitchen and common area I was giving free accommodation. There we go - I just got myself more time to find a well-paying job!
During the following two weeks, I handed in my CV to all quality restaurants, bars, shops and stores. Eventually, I even got invited to a couple interviews and was promised to hear an answer soon. Of the several locations where I applied to, two even called back. Unfortunately, the job would require a minimum of two months commitment. So I was back at the beginning with my job search. Meanwhile, I was also meeting up with Japp. I thanked him again for his hospitality when I first arrived in Christchurch and we had some beers in a pub.
One day while doing my daily cleaning job at the hostel, I was noticing some guys coming back from their job. They were wearing safety helmets. I stopped to talk to them and learned about a job agency which promotes construction jobs. Next day, I was knocking at their door and before you know I was sitting in the training room to receive my safety training for the construction. My money issue was solved - I got a job!
That night I was celebrating at the hostel. The Maori family was happy for me even though they lost a hard worker. My new daily routine now involved waking up extremely early, gear up, take the bike I was borrowing half-way through town and show up on a construction site of a new office building. The agency placed me in a team which was responsible for installing huge window frames all around the building. The team I started in was made up of three Filipino workers, now all good friends of mine, one local Maori, another traveler from the Netherlands and our boss Daniel. We were a pretty cool mix of people. The Filipinos were the hardest workers and always up for some fun, Marcus the local, is a musician and sometimes sings while working. Made long days entertaining. Matt, the other traveler, was the cool kid in the round. And Daniel, our boss, was nothing like you'd imagine a superior. He was a laid-back, buddy type of guy while still authoritative. Every morning it was great to come to our container which served as our common room, kitchen and Daniel's office. We'd all have a little chat, cook some breakfast on our camping burner and then get to work.
Work consisted of different tasks. From general construction work to high-level installing of huge window frames while being strapped in a harness, we did it all. Climbing in and around the scaffold to reach a spot was one of the most fun parts. Scraping off glue from the frames which was mistakenly applied to it wasn't. We worked our way from level to level. Always preparing the lower frames to put the new ones on top, secure them and then get the next row. Each and every step involved heaps and heaps of preparation such as measuring and leveling, tightening or loosening stuff and much more. Every other day we received a shipment of a container full of new frames. Then, the majority of the day included clearing it out without giving any window frames a scratch. Precision was key. To get the window frames up to the specific levels, we hired a crane to assist us. The raised frames were then put into stacks, neatly separated by pieces of wood and cloth. Oh, I almost forgot. Winter was coming and temperatures were dropping rapidly. Rain turned to snow occasionally and the freezing wind from the open fields of Canterbury made some days pretty nasty.
After one week, I had moved places again. Via couchsurfing I found a place where I could stay for cheaper than were I was at that moment. A local had build his own "hostel" in his backyard. He actually did a pretty good job. The whole setup was made up of a room with 4 beds (this was my room), a toilet room, an outside common area with a pool table and a hot tube, a larger inside common room with a PC, TV, food compartments and 4 beds and an actual bathroom. Strangely enough, pretty much all of us were working in the construction business. And all of us were obviously travelers.
With the new place to stay, I was even able to ditch the bike and catch a lift with Marcus. That let me sleep in some more in the morning. I also joined the gym with one of the guys from the self-made hostel. He is Italian and for helping him with his workouts I got a ride to the gym. Good deal for both.
So days went by and my account was filling up more and more. I quickly developed a routine - work from early morning to late afternoon, gym, dinner and then hanging out with the other construction travelers.
Life had taken a turn for the better.