I’ve Been Hijacked – Twice! Christchurch, April 10 – 17, 2006

What a week it’s been.

Last Sunday, I received an email from my pal Kat saying that my website had been hijacked and that she and my webhost provider were trying to remedy the problem. The problem being that if you logged into kathysgetaways.com, you were re-routed to a “Hookers for Iran” page. Nice. Thank god Kat, as my good pal and web designer and faithful blog reader, was the one to discover this little nasty diversion and quickly put the kabosh on it. Why would someone do such a thing? Bad, bad, person. Bad karma will come to you. Thank you KAT!

We changed plans last weekend and bailed out on the second wwoofing stint we were going to do with the Reiki person and instead made our way to Christchurch. After traveling for five weeks, I was itching to roll into town, into our house, and be on my own schedule.

The second hijacking came in waves during the week: the hijacking of my emotions. I’d been pretty much riding a wave of blissful and happy emotions, thrilled with seeing new towns and cities, meeting new people, learning new things. Feeling unencumbered and free. The wave came crashing to shore this week, pummeling my emotions into the sand, churning in the undertow, trying to bring me down.

“Why did we move 1/3rd away around the world again?”, “Why did we buy this house?”, “What the hell are we doing?”, “Who am I?”, “What is my purpose?” came to mind a dozen times throughout the week as we slowly made progress in reestablishing ourselves in a new place, new town, as new migrants. Starting anew is always trying; I know this and was expecting it. So when one of us got down, the other got more up and pulled us both through; sometimes a good nights’ sleep was all that was needed to put us back into our happy state.

I’m not one to be taken down so easily. Within a few days, we’ve started getting into our groove and I have found myself again shouting “I LOVE NEW ZEALAND” loudly and proudly to Bruce. I have a passion for this country that I’m not sure I can explain or convey to others who have not been; there is a well of goodness inside of me that wants to pour out, reach out, be part of this amazing place. New Zealand isn’t perfect – its got problems just like any other place – urban sprawl, crime, low wages, high debt ratios – but the scale of it is so much smaller – 4 million people in the whole country compared to 4 million people in the greater Bay Area. There is a passion and spirit in the people here that is so refreshing and amazing, it makes me want to be a better person.
Discussion abounds about conservation, recycling, green spaces, etc. So, when that pressing question pops into my head, “Why did we move here?”, the answer, I tell myself, “Is because I have a chance to make a difference”.

Recap of our week:

Roll into town and head straight to the Honey Pot Café for a plate of anything with their renowned hollandaise sauce. Hmm, hmmm good, just like last year. Pick up keys to house. Get to house. Empty. Cold. No fridge. Hmmm, not good. To the mall. Buy three plates, plastic utensils, some kitchen basics, and two cheap pots. Grocery store. Internet shop. Fitful nights’ sleep.


Investigate the house. Big. Three bedrooms, 1 ½ bath, big living room, dining room, library, and kitchen on ground floor; two bedrooms, family room, bathroom, & attic on upper floor. We take over the upstairs because it retains heat better. Out building big enough to be a workshop. Holy cow, what do we do with all this space? Yard not as sunny as we remembered; too many mature trees blocking sunlight. How can we garden? Bruce muses that we should not be in Christchurch. Should we divert container and head to the country? Rent a smaller space? What would we do with all our stuff? Why are we here again?

Back to the mall. Back to the internet to investigate Consumer Reports for appliances. Fire off emails to all we know in NZ. Off to another mall. Pick up portable heater, microwave, electric tea kettle (all kiwis have one), and a basic phone.

Favorite indian restaurant (Raj Mahal) for takeout. Comfort food.


To the internet café. Unpleasant news re our TIC sale in SF. Bums us out. Source organic grocery store co-op. Deal with getting car registered; stand in long lines. Buy newspaper; look at Easter special advertisements. Need to find fridge and washing machine. Spend time in yard. We have grape vine with some tasty grapes and three small apple trees, two of which have about a dozen apples on them. Yay, food from our land! Yard not as bad as first thought; start getting ideas about doing a herb garden by the kitchen window. Phone supposed to be turned on; not working; call phone company; supposed to fix on Thursday. Get first bit of mail: Easter card from the Guidi family; car insurance premium info; and course material for Christchurch Polytechnic re free weekend courses on organics/horticulture.


Coffee meeting with our realtor Maggie and her associate Chris. Beautiful, sunny day. Get some info on the real estate market; brainstorm about our options with the house. Talk about renting it out as a furnished rental while we’re in SF for the summer. Good discussions. Mood is lifted. Maggie is a bright, positive person and will be a friend. To yet another mall re more research on fridge. Back to first mall, buy fridge. Can’t deliver until next Wed/Thursday because of the big Easter holiday (Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Easter Monday). Buy crockpot (thanks in part to sister-in-law Laura who swears by hers and has made us tons of yummy dishes from it). Go for walk in Riccarton Bush, right near our house, a preserved natural area, fenced off with anti-predator fencing so that all inside is in a natural state. Lots of trees & birds. Lovely. No phone connection; more calls to telephone company; coming Saturday to fix.

(Good) Friday:

Stores are closed; no malls for us! Internet café in morning. Spend a GREAT day with american friends Scott & Anne, the Seattle ex-pats who were a few weeks ahead of us with their migration, going to settle in Dunedin, but have ended up in Christchurch instead. They’ve rented a lovely place across town near the sea. Sit out in sunny yard sipping white wine along with cheese, crackers, and fejoias; blab away on so much. Hours go by. Take walk along waterfront, see awesome full moon-rise. Wonderful home-cooked mexican meal w/ black beans, rice, fish, tortillas and more wine. Kindred souls. Unknown futures. Good bonding. Slight freakout when we got home. Not sure why. Too much to drink? Too tired? Comfort mixed with the unknown? Surreal. Sleep it off.


Phone gets turned on! Former gardener, Eddie, stops by to introduce himself and to see if we would like to continue to retain his services. We meander about the yard talking about this and that; getting his feedback on my big ideas to rip out trees and shrubs to let more sunlight in. We say we’ll call him in a week as we still need to ‘get our heads around what we need’. Offers up any assistance he can give us regarding making our stay in our empty house more comfortable. Half-hour later he returns, saying he has talked to his wife, and they wan to invite us over to Easter Sunday dinner. I am nearly moved to tears by this mere acquantaince’s generosity. Unfortunately we must decline as friend Ken is arriving then and we can’t make any plans. He smiles and says “some other time then”. Off to the town of Lyttleton to the farmers market. Get some yummies. More shopping. To the library; get library card; lots of free pamphlets on hiking, biking, classes, and more; meet fellow Californian working behind the counter. Home and relax.

(Easter) Sunday:

Bust out the crock pot; get it going. To the airport; only 5 km away. Get Ken. YAY! Friend Ken will be with us for two months. Here to check out the country, see what its all about, help take up space in our big giant house. To the Honey Pot Café for some more hollandiase sauce! Warm, balmy day. Head to Port Hills where we meander the hillsides with dozens of sheep and can see views of both Lytteton Harbor to one side and Christchurch and the Alps on the other. Evening walk on University of Canteburry campus which is across the street. Search & find the Community Garden and Recreation Center where we can become members or do drop-in yoga/pilates classes. Excellent dinner by Mrs. Crock; two bottles of wine. Hook up DSL to Ken’s laptop! Glorious sleep.


Warm day. Phone calls and internetting. Outing to Halswell Quarry reserve for a short walk around the old quarry and surrounding landscaped grounds. Grocery shopping, napping, gaming, leftovers for dinner. More emails re our SF TIC. Bruce & I in bad moods. Ken cheers us up.

There you have it. A week in the life of Kathy & Bruce. Not that exciting in the grand scheme of things. I still need to write about the most awesome time we had in Wellington and in Takaka while Wwoofing…… Coming soon…….