We lived in three different places during the years we lived in New Zealand.

(You can read the story here of why and how we moved to New Zealand.)

Having moved 6,920 miles across land and the Pacific Ocean with nothing more than a few suitcases full of clothes and essentials, we arrived in beautiful NZ ready to start from scratch.

We knew no one. Matt had a job and we had some clothes. That was it.

We had no car. No beds. No pots or pans or utensils to cook with. No plates. No mugs for our coffee and tea. We signed the lease on our first flat and then RAN to the shops that had the basics and had to pull it all together and figure out how to get it all to our new place with the teeny tiny rental car we had. (Thankfully the mattress and couch place delivered.)

Slowly but surely, we built a new little life in New Zealand. This may sound cheezy but I’m telling ya—the easiest part of all about moving to New Zealand wasn’t finding our bed or couch or a car, but finding FRIENDS. They’re what kept us in New Zealand for so long, and what made it so hard to leave!

It was sure fun, though, kinda “starting over” after already being married for 7 years.


Because we didn’t know how long we’d be staying (1 year? 10 years?) we challenged ourselves to DIY as much in our home as we could for very little cost.

(We didn’t realize it at the time, but that’s also a good idea in New Zealand because it can be expensive! It’s the most isolated country in the world. Kind of like how Hawaii can be more expensive than the mainland U.S.)

One of my Kiwi friends said to me while shopping one day, “You know, I never understood why all these American homes were FILLED with furniture and home decor items until I visited the U.S. for the first time. All those things are much less expensive there, so you can afford it!”

Personally, I liked the Kiwi way of making do with what you could…it was so much fun!

Below, you can see links to the three different places we lived (and some of the creative projects we did in each one to make it home).