Everyday life

Kiwi Housing

I’m spoiled. Terribly spoiled. Spoiled from double glazed windows and walls with proper insulation. I had no idea how bad it is with me until I came here.
I grew up in apartment. Yeah, that’s like a box divided into few sections. No garden, no private outside area. We had balcony at least. When I spread my wings and left the nest, I moved into another apartment. I went on like that for a while, mostly living in apartments. After many years I ended up in NZ again, this time not living in a tent/car/hostel, but in a proper house. A Kiwi house.
What is so special about average Kiwi house? Nothing at all. If you grew up in New Zealand, you’ll be perfectly fine. If you grew up somewhere else, you might be not so fine.
I have to start with the climate. Where I come from, I remember lot of snow and temperatures below zero in the winter and warm summer. If it’s minus fifteen outside, insulated walls and double glazing is the minimum for comfortable staying inside. In the winter it keeps the house warm, in the summer it prevents the place from getting too hot. Where I am now, they have mild winter and mild summer, no snow, no tropical heat. Ideal weather. How does the average Kiwi house cope with that?
As I said winters here aren’t cold. Outside. They’re cold inside. Most of the Kiwi houses has kinda thin walls that never heard about insulation. It looks like they made of cardboard or something similar, they probably are. Winter morning. You wake up and you’re cold. Not cold, you’re freezing. You don’t want to leave the bed not even if someone pay you for that. It gets better during the day, if it’s still sunny, house warms up a bit in the afternoon. You don’t want sunset to come but it has to happen. Some houses have fireplace and heatpump. Those things should keep the house warm. I tried both and I don’t trust neither. Fireplace is great as long as you sit in front of that. Heatpump? Let’s not talk about it. Central heating? Dream on. Time to go to bed again. Don’t forget to put your warm long johns on, wooly socks, pyjamas and sweater. Good night!
As I said summers here aren’t too hot. Outside. If you have more then one story house, you get a free sauna on the top floor. Summer no matter what time of the day it’s just hot inside. Simply open your windows at the end of spring and shut them in autumn again. I didn’t mention the windows. They’re made of single pane of glass, therefore they’re called single glazed windows. Don’t worry though, it’s getting better. Nowadays most of new houses built in New Zealand must have a double glazed windows. It’s compulsory, what a glory!
It’s spring now. At least they say so. I still sleep in sweater and wooly socks and I don’t plan to get rid of them any time soon. But guess what. After we came here, it wasn’t me who was sleeping in a wooly hat and winter jacket. It was HIM, the KIWI guy. I’m afraid he was gone too long and there’s no way to help him now. He might have been born here, but he met double glazing once and there’s no way back, he’s lost for good.
Once I read one of those lifestyle magazines about homes in New Zealand. The editorial started: Let’s be honest, houses we live in are crap… The author was a woman. A Kiwi woman, it said. She must have met double glazing in the past and she’s lost too. I have no other explanation for that.