It has been 6 months since I moved to Portland, Oregon and I thought I could share a bit of an update.
It was not a good transition from summer to winter in less than 24 hours, but I enjoyed my first snowfall. Portland is a wet place to be in winter time. I got lucky to land a job in a month's time. I'm contracting at the moment, which started as a 3-month stint that got extended to the end of the year with possibility of extending further into 2012. I'm ok with that because our benefits, like medical, are through my husband's employer. I get paid a lot here and it is so enjoyable! Such a big difference from what I got in NZ, despite the fact that I was in the highest tax bracket. We just feel much better here financially.
Happy to report that our NZ debt is being paid more and steadily. We received tax refunds over $3k combined that we decided not to use to pay off a NZ card because our primary focus right now is to replenish funds that got depleted for the move. With our improved financial situation, we've managed to save $8k in just 3 months. We'll keep saving until the end of the year, then move to paying off our NZ debts.
Shopping here is great! No sales tax in Oregon!
Our life here is lived as minimalists. We have plenty of space in our rented house because we only bought essential furniture pieces. We made the decision in NZ not to buy a car in our first 6 months here. We still don't have a car and we don't know when we'd get one. I met someone who's sort of friends with my husband who ALWAYS asks us when will we buy a car every time she sees us. I'm not exaggerating. She also introduces me to new people with the by-line: they don't have a car. WTF? At first it was annoying, but now I just laugh at her because I didn't know that was an interesting subject.
We have bikes now though and we use them to get to work. Who knew that biking could lose me some fat?
Also, I had to contact my Kiwisaver provider and IRD for not crediting me my Member Tax Credit as scheduled in July. I was in NZ until February, a month short of the 2011 tax year, and yet I only got credited half of the MTC. I'm still waiting for IRD's response to that because why would I not get at least $1k right? I don't expect to get anymore this year and the next while we live overseas, but last tax year's MTC is something I believe that I deserve. My husband, who left in December, received $300 more than I did. WTH?
Summer is awesome here. I never expected American summer to be VERY BUSY and FULL OF HAPPENINGS. I found myself declining a few invites already.
Til next. Cheers!