I’ve been in New Zealand less than a week, but already I’m getting a lot of strong first impressions.

The natural beauty here is everything people say it is. I’ve been told over and over that I’d fall in love with the landscape, and being the skeptical fellow that I am, I assumed that the branding of the place was just super-effective and the scenery would be the equivalent of anywhere else I’ve been but with better brochures.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s absolutely gorgeous (and I haven’t even been to the places that are touted as the most beautiful yet).

It’s also very clean compared to most of the cities I’ve frequented recently. Walking around Christchurch you don’t exactly see the bustle of activity you’d expect in a really big city, but there is plenty of traffic, foot and car, and yet they still manage to keep things generally sparkly and new-feeling.

The people are really great here. You can go anywhere and find a really good group to hang out with, but the general vibe is such that I feel like I could walk up to a stranger and strike up a conversation. Drivers cheerily stop and wave for you to cross the street, employees behind the counter of every shop and restaurant I’ve been to have smiled warmly and been genuinely interested in my comfort and satisfaction, and the roads are paved with chocolate and gold (okay, I made that last part up…as far as I know).

I need to do more investigation into the party scene, because so far all I know is the folk here get a little rough and rowdy when the booze starts to flow. I’ll go out and collect more data and keep you in the loop (oh, the things I do for you).

What Now?

Now that I’m comfortably housed in a nice little apartment on the Southwest side of the City Centre in Christchurch, how will I spend my hours?

It’s back to work of course! I’ve got a double-handful of new features that I’ll be unfurling here at Exile Lifestyle in the very near future, I’ll be writing a post a day for the month of March, and I’ll be preparing for my next country.

That’s right: it’s time to figure out where I’ll be moving after New Zealand!

Update: December 1, 2016

I’ve snipped off some end-bits from this post and a few others from this time period, because they were addendums asking for guest posts and comments, mostly, and those aren’t things I accept anymore.

That said, having just returned from a visit to NZ for the first time since I lived there, it’s interesting to see that my initially impressions proved true, and that it’s still a lovely country (though far different than it was back then, for numerous reasons — immense and destructive earthquakes having destroyed my neighborhood after I left, for one).