Through the Looking Glass

There are loads of great things about our house in Christchurch. First, there’s the location, which is within easy walking distance of all the kids’ schools AND James’ office and lecture halls at the University of Canterbury! There are several small playgrounds and we also have easy access to buses, Hagley Park, downtown, and shopping areas.

Ahem. You know when someone starts out the positives of a piece of real estate with the location, most likely the house itself isn’t much to write home about. That’s certainly the case with our 3-bedroom, single-story home for 4 months!

The kitchen square.

I asked Calvin to accompany me on a short tour of our domicile. This is for scale; Calvin will be 5 in October, and while he’s tall for his age, I still think the proportions may be helpful for those of us who are used to suburban middle-class living in the states.

Probably the biggest convenience I miss is the dishwasher. We don’t have one here. I actually don’t mind washing dishes, not at all, and the hot water heater is set to BOIL here, so I can do a pretty good job pretty quickly. At least there’s a window over the sink! The other thing, other than the absent dishwasher, is the single sink.

When we designed our current home kitchen, James and I special ordered a red double sink. It was a bit of a splurge and a nod to our passion for bright things. Little did I know how much I really cherish that double sink until we moved here. Every morning it’s a dance in the kitchen between making coffee in the french press and running the sink for soaking dishes… at least we have a utility sink in the laundry room off the kitchen!

By far the biggest challenge in the kitchen department, though, is the OVEN. Besides its small size (see Calvin, above), it varies wildly in temperature. And none of the cookie sheets fit into its tiny maw.  IMG_6123IMG_6122

That tiny box, behind Calvin’s back? Oh, that’s the dryer. I already posted on Facebook and have entertained friends via skype withe the pitiful appliance that is our clothes washer. Let’s just say it’s a good thing I like hanging clothing on the line to dry and that we also have an indoor clothes rack. Because this little dude doesn’t earn his keep in the corner of the utility room.

We have three kids who all eat a lot, as anyone who has ever invited us over for a meal knows! (Right before bed every night, the kids request another snack–usually a banana or an apple–it’s hard to keep enough food in the house.) Above, you can see that Cal has no trouble at all reaching the shelves in the fridge and even the lowest part of the freezer. We do, happily, have lots of pantry space.IMG_6121

I can just picture my sister’s reaction to this, but we don’t have a coat closet. Like, at all. There is no logical place in the house for we all can hang our coats, hats, scarves, etc.

What DO we have? A crib.IMG_6119

Problem solved! We have a tote bag hanging on the wall for gloves and hats and then we just toss jackets and coats into the crib. Classy.


And who doesn’t love tiny chairs? Perfect for tiny people and regular-sized people putting on shoes but nothing else, these two miniscule specimens grace our hallway.

Please also note the spectacular carpet, which perfectly disguises tiny LEGO bricks.


As for the bathroom, it’s a good size and has a separate tub and shower stall, but the height of the showerhead makes me feel like an Amazon.

In all seriousness, though, the house, while outdated and under-insulated, meets our family’s needs pretty well. And really, the location couldn’t be better. 🙂


3 thoughts on “Through the Looking Glass

  1. It’s just Hobbit sized! You are in middle earth, Er, NZ anyway.😃

    Thanks for the laughs and the intriguing perspective. It brings back many memories of life in Russia and almost always renting apartments furnished complete with oddities. We Americans like things big, but half sized appliances just don’t quite measure up.


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