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Vanlifers New Zealand - Auckland 

Well, we had lots of different feeling when we arrived in New Zealand. It was almost the end of our sabbatical time and we were still unsure about our future.

This trip to New Zealand was about many things, but the mainly purpose was to visit good friends. So, we decided to do a road trip visiting the friends that we have spread around the country, from north to south. We could just flight from one place to another and stay more time with each friend, but as NZ is pretty far from Brazil and a beautiful country, we decided to get to know the country by car. To turn our lives easier we rented a van, that was our car and also our home, so we could carry all we wanted with us and didn't need to think where to sleep, right? That's what we thought. We didn't know that many places in the country don't allow you to sleep in a car, and also some don't allow you to sleep if you don't have a composting toilet with you. So, even though we had our house we still needed to find a place to park it to sleep and sometimes we needed to pay for that.

Second reason why we stopped in New Zealand was due to the need of getting back our bags that we had left that on August. Yep! We had been to New Zealand 3 months before. We stopped by to visit some friends (Marcela, Sérgio e Valentin in Tauranga and Jamie, Angela and Kora in Wellington) to leave some bags and to get to know the country on winter time, as we were still deciding if we wanted to live in New Zealand we needed to know the reality of winter and summer.

Marcela has been Duca’s friend for many years, her family lives right next to Duca’s uncle in Brazil. About Jamie… he was Duca’s flatmate when they worked in Colorado back on the ski season of 2004/2005. Jamie and his wife Angela came to Brazil to visit us in 2013 and now it was our time to visit them. Actually it was one of the excuses to visit New Zealand. hehe. We were always curious to know this country that we have heard so many things about. Another curiosity that took us to know the country better was due to the opportunity of living there for a while as engineers. We had all documentation done to apply to live there, we just needed a job offer to complete the points we needed to apply.

So, here we were again, to know the country on summer (at least we thought the country would has a real summer, but it was November and the temperature was close to 15 degrees Celsius or less, and I, Roberta, don’t really like the cold, mainly in places that there aren’t always an appropriate heating system), and to visit some friends once again.

The other feeling we had was the anxiety of didn't know what would happen next. We didn't have a strict plan for this trip, we just knew the location of our friends, but we had different ways and time of getting from one place to another.

So, the plan was to rent a van, this way we would have our house with us to go wherever we want to.

Well, we arrived at the airport and went to the place to get our van, but we needed to wait for almost 2 hours. After that we drove to Takapuna (a suburb of Auckland) and we found a really nice park. This place was our reference point in Takapuna until the next day, it was a beautiful place, easy to park the car and with toilets. It was not allowed to sleep there, so we needed to find another place to sleep in our new home. We found another park with no restriction about sleeping, in the middle of the city.

Next day we met our friend Lissandra. She is Catia’s sister (they are both Portuguese and used to live in London) and we also met her in Indonesia. It was really nice to meet her again. It’s funny how the Brazilians and Portuguese people are so similar. Not just because we both speak Portuguese (the accent is very different and some words as well), but the culture is similar. Lissandra lives with Mana, that is a native new zealander. We spent 2 great days in their house learning about Maori culture (New Zealand native culture. We went for a walk around their house with Lissandra and to the center of Auckland, the biggest city of New Zealand. When we were planning on living abroad we found an amazing course in Auckland and Duca has applied to, it was Naval Engineering, focusing on sailboats. But they had cancelled the course for the next year. So, we choose to go to Sydney for the second option, Master in Structural Engineering. As you already know by now, the plan of living in Sydney for a while didn’t work.

After the good food of Mana it was time to visit our friends again in Tauranga and also eat really good food. I guess I have already said that we are foodies. Yeah, we love to try different kinds of food and what we really miss about a trip usually is the food. As it was Marcela son’s birthday we celebrate in Brazilian style, with coxinha e brigadeiro.

It was really good to spend some time with friends, but it was time to hit the road to visit other friends. Yeah, in plural. We still needed to visit Jamie, Angela and Kora in Wellington and Tiago in Queenstown.

Roberta