Contemplation and Reflection: Part 3
Welcome to the third and final part of my 2013 reflective blog. As mentioned in the last part, this one will be focussed on my thoughts about life in New Zealand and about branching out overseas.
For some time now, I have seriously contemplated the possibility of shifting overseas, most likely to the USA. I simply couldn't see myself living in New Zealand for the rest of my life. While I had a solid job and the possibility of furthering my Academics (which I am now doing), it was also counterbalanced by the fact that here in Auckland the cost of living is VERY high, due to the ridiculous inflation of the housing market over recent years, with little sign of slowing down.
For those of you that do not live in New Zealand, let me give you a little insight. A house in Auckland, depending on where you live, can easily cost anywhere from $700,000 to over $2 MILLION. In contrast, the minimum wage is a mere $13.50 an hour, meaning you would earn $540 a week for 40 hours work before tax or around $460 after tax and kiwisaver (compulsory superannuation) has been taken out. Working off that basis, assuming you put the full $460 a week into buying a house, it would still take a mind-boggling 1,521 weeks, or THIRTY YEARS to be able to earn enough money to afford your own house. Realistically, if you took into account other bills such as power, phone, water, etc you probably would have HALF of that available. So as you can see, owning a house is simply out of the question for a single person on minimum wage in Auckland unless they win the lottery. But I am digressing from the topic.
Knowing I have a number of connections in the USA, particularly in the California area, it was not unreasonable to consider the possibility of shifting to the United States and trying to find work over there - though again inherent risks exist in such a plan, such as the fact that the unemployment rate is quite high ever since the economy crashed, plus violence and crime is much higher than it is here in New Zealand (I mean no disrespect with the previous statement, I am simply making a point.) Needless to say, my parents were not particularly keen on the idea of me disappearing halfway around the world long term, possibly permanently. My mum was particularly vocal in her protests against it.
Then, as you know, I entered into a relationship a year ago with Natalie and in the process told her more about New Zealand and what it has in store. Knowing she loved what she had heard, I knew that she would love it even more when she saw it with her own two eyes. Needless to say, this was correct. One question that had been at the forefront of both mine and Natalies thoughts was "Where would we settle down if things DO work out and we stay together in the long term - would I shift to the USA or would Natalie shift to New Zealand?" After much time and discussion, we ended up agreeing that it may very well work out better if Natalie was to shift to New Zealand rather than my shifting to the USA. When it comes down to it, New Zealand is a lovely country, with plenty of opportunities for anyone who knows where to look for them (though there's a few areas where New Zealand is sadly falling behind these days... perhaps I'll cover that in a future blog...) and now that I have found my special someone and know that she is open to shifting here to be with me (and is in the process of working towards it), I am much more open to settling down here in New Zealand than I was originally.
When we start renting though, or look at getting our own place in the longer term, we will probably end up looking for somewhere a little out of Auckland, where prices are a BIT more reasonable. :-p
With that, I bring these contemplations and reflections to a close. I hope you have enjoyed my entries and that you have a safe and enjoyable christmas and a happy new year. If you have any comments or questions, I'd be happy to hear them, simply register an account and leave a comment for me!