So why did we move back to Auckland? A quick Q&A!

Hello! In just a few days it’ll be a month since we moved back down to Auckland – time has flown! We are feeling happy and settled in the new place (inasmuch as we can given we’re also actively renovating it while we live here!) and with school going back for the second term, we’re starting to feel like we know what our daily lives look like a bit more.

I’ve been asked a bunch of questions about the move and thought I’d round them up here…read on for a little question and answer session about the move, the house, how we’re finding it, and what’s happening with the country house!

Why did you move back to Auckland? I thought you loved living in the country!

We did love living in the country – all my earlier posts about how great life was there were true! Until Amelie started school, that is. Over the last year or so, as the pandemic became less of a threat and New Zealand started opening up again, and as Amelie settled into school life and we established our daily rhythm based on that and our work, the downsides of living full-time in the country just grew larger, until the point where life was hard – so much harder than it had to be. We were constantly driving and because country schools finish earlier in the day, every day saw one of us only able to squeeze in a few hours of work before it was time for school pickup again. We were struggling to fit in our exercise because of having to drive somewhere to run or cycle – the gravel roads around our house are not good enough quality to make cycling or running on them feasible for our aged joints! And for us, people who love doing things and trying things and having new experiences, that life wasn’t giving us what we needed. We also felt guilty about the lack of stimulation for Amelie – we had her in gymnastics for a few terms, but that meant driving an hour each way (which was utterly exhausting by the end), and the one ballet teacher in the area had a family emergency and had to stop teaching. It felt like our options – our whole world, really – was just getting smaller and smaller. I think we successfully distracted ourselves away from the fact that full-time country living wasn’t making us happy for quite a while, especially when focusing on house improvements, but realistically, it’s not a good fit for us. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad choice; I know lots of people are so happy in the country and find it incredibly fulfilling for them and their children! But moving back to Auckland is the right decision for us.

Where have you moved to? Are you near your old apartment?

The suburbs! 🙈 Hahahaha. Not near our old apartment, but not too far from where I grew up on the North Shore! I used to mock the North Shore mercilessly. How the mighty fall. I won’t say exactly where we live but I will point out that my younger self didn’t have a clue, because we are now close to a lake, multiple beaches, lovely shops, and a bus that will whisk us into the city centre in less than 20 minutes. It’s incredibly walkable, everyone is so friendly and nice and active, and we have everything we need on our doorstep. The North Shore is a wonderful place to live and we are lucky to be here – and I was very lucky to grow up here and to have this to return to!

Were you planning this for a long time?

No, we genuinely weren’t! I mean, we had always thought we’d return to Auckland one day, probably before Amelie started high school, but we were thinking years away. Every decision we made over the last three years was made with the intention of being in the country for at least five more years, maybe longer. Until the start of this year, when we very quickly decided to move, then put an offer on the house I’m sitting in right now (a matter of days between those two things…). I know it seems kind of bonkers but that’s how we roll.

How is Amelie dealing with the move?

Amazingly, amazingly well. Far better than we probably deserve, to be honest! She was mostly incredibly excited to be moving back to Auckland; she doesn’t remember living here in the first half of her life, but we’ve spent a lot of time here and she associates it with things she loves, like gallery visits, library visits, shopping (just being honest!) and generally just lots of activities. She, like us, seems to need/crave the benefits of city living. She told us that the hardest part of moving was leaving her school and her friends (same for us actually!) but that she was excited to make new friends. And that’s exactly what she’s doing! It is actually incredible to watch – she introduces herself to kids on the playground, at the library, on the street…she smiles and says hello to everyone, and asks about them (or their dog if they have a dog with them). She is so friendly, positive, confident and kind. She has settled into her new school with a minimum of fuss and angst, even though it’s much bigger than her old school. We could all stand to be more like Amelie – the world would be a better place, I’m sure of it!

How is Theo dealing with the move?

Both Theo and Cuper (our cat) have also done so well with the move! It’s funny – we felt bad bringing Theo to the city, away from the big backyard we have in the country, but we actually think he prefers it here. Even in the country, he spent most of his day just laying on his bed. He does the same thing here, but we take him for walks several times a day, which he loves – especially as we go to the beach and the park almost every time. He loves playing and attention and he’s getting more of that down here, so he’s happy! Cuper is a grumpy old cat most of the time, and now seems utterly resigned to the fact that moving seems to just be what we do (this is the sixth house he’s lived in with us!). So he’s totally fine. He likes to sit on the steps and spy on us, or sleep in the sun on Amelie’s bed, snuggled up with her soft toys.

Was it hard to leave your old house?

Nope. 🙂 see below!

Do you still have the other house in the country?

Yep! And we’re excited for it to revert to our spare time home again! It’s such a spectacular place, and a lovely, lovely retreat. We actually just spent a night up there this weekend (just one as a large amount of bad weather was forecast to come in, and we didn’t want to risk getting stuck – the right decision as it turns out!) and it felt so great. We were happy to be there again, and mostly happy to come back to Auckland – leaving is always a little poignant but that’s how it should feel when you leave your weekend place.

Are you going to AirBnB your other house again?

Probably. But it’ll be quite different from how we did it last time – much less available, and only a very few times a year, with a minimum stay. We’re still working it out but we’ll only do it if it’s really worth it, as it’s our house first and foremost, not an investment or a rental.

Are you in your forever home now?

Maybe? Honestly, who knows. I’m slowly learning that I shouldn’t commit to things publicly, haha! House-related things at least. I don’t see us moving anytime soon, I will say that. This location is pretty great, and by the end of the year, when we’ve done everything we want to with this current renovation, the house will be also.

What’s happening with the house extension you were planning?

It’s on hold. We’d still like to do it, one day, when we can afford it and when it makes sense. It was hard to make the decision not to do it now, especially when we’d spent so much money (eek, makes me feel a little sick still) on plans, consents, professionals, etc. But, as I kept muttering to Hayden, that would be the sunk cost fallacy at work! Hopefully we’ll be able to extend our consents before they expire. Hopefully hopefully building costs come down again! Wouldn’t that be amazing?!

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