This morning I woke up in a small blank room. It’s in need of a decent clean – dirt and dust are still caked on the windowsill and a grit on the hardwood floor has been left behind by the previous tenant. I haven’t put any of my clothes in the drawers yet because they also need a good wipe out and while moving my bedside table I found the remnants of someone’s marijuana habit – dropped and forgotten papers and a nugget of weed that was riddled through with dust and hair. It’ll feel a lot more comfortable once I pick up some cleaning products and put up some artwork. But the space is big enough for my things, and a computer desk when I get around to it, which suits me just fine for now.
The flatting situation here is very different from my experiences back home. Houses are run more like casual hotels. In New Zealand, a head tenant would rent an entire house from a landlord and then populate that house with flatmates to cover their rent and bills. Here, it seems that landlords tend to rent out individual rooms, with bills and amenities included. There was no ‘meeting the flatmates’ portion of the room viewing, I’ve had to try and catch them in the one communal space, the kitchen, to make my own introductions. But I’m lucky enough that everyone I’ve met seems friendly and respectful. They’re a very international bunch too, Mexico, Jamaica, Russia, Montreal, and me, New Zealand. The upside to all of this is that I can freely leave when I find something better.
For the last few days I’ve been enacting my integration into this new country. First a new phone, then a local bank account, and now a place to live. Next on the agenda is to find a job. I’m hoping that having those other things sorted will make that part a little easier.
I’ve also been getting acquainted with the public transit system, which is a dream compared to Auckland. Even the (very american) grid layout of streets and avenues, named and numbered respectively, has made it very easy to navigate. Where’s that flat viewing? 49th and Main.
I’ve barely scratched the surface of the gaming community here, having visited a couple of gaming stores and chatted with the staff, but it’s looking promising. I’ve already heard about one Dungeon Master who makes a decent bit of income from running various store games and I’ve visited the marvelous Storm Crow Alehouse, a geeky themed bar that was more popular than I could’ve imagined. At least not back home.
I’ve been in the country for almost exactly a week now, but waking up in my own room sets this day apart for me. It feels like this is the first of many days, although I’m not sure how they’ll evolve from here.