I can remember sitting at my kitchen table back home in Groton, NY staring at what felt like an infinite number of options of where to live here in Wellington, New Zealand. I could flat with other uni students throughout the city, I could live with a family in the Wellington area, which would provide me with food and a place to sleep, but on the other hand I would have to find transportation daily into the city, and I’d be farther from other students. I could take advantage of the flatting provided through Victoria, which upon deciding to do, was presented with even more decisions! Did I want to live right in the city? What campus did I want to live near? What halls seemed to provide the most (electricity, furniture, internet, heat, etc…) and what combination of these was the most appealing? Did I want a meal plan? or to cook for myself? what were the best prices? Yikes! Decisions decisions (not exactly my favorite thing to make!)
I eventually came to the decision to live in the flats provided by Victoria, and Stafford House sounded pretty good to me, so I put it down as my first choice, and got in!
Stafford house is on the beginning of The Terrace and not a 4 minute walk from the Parliment buildings. There is a delicious coffee shop right next door, as well as a dairy. The Terrace is parallel to Lambton Quay, one of the busiest streets in Wellington, and it provides about a 20 minute uphill walk to Uni… (You’re lucky if you’re not dripping in sweat by the time you get there- even on cooler days!)
Stafford at eyelevel looks just like the base of any apartment building. There’s a glass awning over the entrance, so many people tend miss the overwhelming feeling of dizzy verticle stripes at the simple tilt of their head, but the modernized zebra-look is what helps Stafford to stand out in Wellington (though, there is one other building in the city painted up like a big zebra).
This is my view as I leave stafford every day to wander the city of Wellington.
In the lobby of Stafford House, there is a World Map with pins for everybody to share where they’re from. There are students from everywhere here- Aside from Americans and Kiwis, there are a number of Aussies, Europeans (from Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, France, Norway, Finland…) Asians, and Pacific Islanders, Indonesians- All in Stafford House! Everybody wants to come to New Zealand! (And I honestly can’t blame them ;o) )
Moving on to my flat!
Stafford house provides each fully furnished flat with a kitchen, a table and chairs, a bathroom, washer/dryer, and a couch. (And three bedrooms…) It is so nice to cook for myself, and be able to decide just what I want to eat. The pictures on the wall just so happen to be from the gorges town of Ithaca, and with one of our chairs that has fallen apart, my flatmates and I were able to rig up a decent television stand!
There are three bedrooms in each flat, all differently shaped and sized. I have only one window, but because our flat is quite high up, I get a decent amount of sunlight through my window.
The rooms each came with a desk, bed, drawers, lamp and a wardrobe. On the wall to the left of my desk I hung a huge poster up backwards so that friends (and I) can draw on my wall! It’s been one way to make my room a bit more cozy and feel lived in (seeing as I didn’t bring anything to hang up with me).
…You’ll notice the Ginger Beer bottles on my desk. Gingerbeer here is sooo good- sweetened with honey! (Genius!) It’s one thing I think I will genuinely miss when I leave in 4 weeks.
Stafford House takes a lot of pride, I think, in housing so many international students, and to express their appreciation for living with them, Marie and Stewart (The wonderful owners of Stafford), took everybody leaving the building out to dinner just last night. It was such a brilliant way for everybody to interact, and for us to hang out with Marie and Stewart beyond the walls of our building a little.
The food, too, was wonderful! And the proportions HUGE.
Stafford has been an excellent place to live. I feel so situated in this area of the city. The grocery store is close, the Botanical Gardens a 10 minute walk up behind my building, and I know my walk to Uni by heart: the businesses, coffee shops, crosswalks, the tall buildings that reflect the rest of the cityline, and the shortcut through the woods that I take every chance that I get. Marie and Stewart are great, I have had so much fun cooking for myself, and both my flatmates and building…mates have turned out to be wonderful! Stafford has become my home and my family for my stay here- so far away from my home and family in the States…
…And though I can’t wait to return to them, I’ve got to say- it’s going to be difficult to say goodbye here. :o)