Adieu Wellington!

They say all good things must come to an end, and after 10 weeks in Wellington I’ve bid my farewells.

I feel like I have a new lease on life. I came here dissatisfied and uninspired. I’ve gone home having come full circle: fresh, inspired, optimistic.

While my outlook may have changed, circumstances remain largely the same. I’ve returned home needing to find work and a new flat.

The thought of living at home temporarily “contracting” at the sprightly age of 27 is less than inspiring.

And the question that vexed me when I came to Wellington still remains. Do I continue to pursue a career in TV/Film, challenging as it may be. Do I move into Communications like I studied? Do I get a “real job?”  – what do I actually want?

Do I escape reality and go overseas? Do I move overseas in the guise of looking for work in greener pastures?

No matter where we go, and where we come back to, these same age old questions still vex us.

We may aspire to be free, have no ties, but in reality this is not possible. Wherever we are we set up roots.

But I have returned to Auckland fresh. Things are looking good, I’ve got a few cards on the table work wise and I feel better equipped to play them.

And I’ve realised it’s the simple things in life that bring happiness. Long walks on the beach, good companionship, a sense of purpose and my daily green smoothie never goes amiss.

Life

Winter Surfing 101

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On several occasions I have braved the elements and gone for a morning surf in Wellington’s icey  waters.

I venture out in the peak of winter surf fashion:  a steamer, booties and a peaked hood (warmth and sun protection!)

My steamer slightly lets me down. I’ve been doning my Irish flat mate Gavin’s spare. His is a size medium short (man) so it’s approximately 2-3 sizes too large. But  I justified it by the fact I save a whopping $10 hireage cost.

The suit was almost toasty on shorter surfs, but I felt the wrath of this decision when I stayed out for a full hour. After 45 minutes, ripples of cold water start to move through the suit. First the chest, and then the legs.

After an hour my hands were so numb they lacked the strength to unzip the wetsuit. For at least 10 minutes I attempted this in vain. Next time I quickly coughed up the cash and hired a suit in my actual size.

Despite the brisk temperature, the whole experience is completely exhilirating. I can’t help but beam as I lie on my board waiting for the next set to roll in.

I’m quite proud of the fact that I can now easily stand on my long board. I wave furiously in enthusiasm to my fellow surfers and have mastered the skill of doing so without falling off.

The time has come to learn to maneouver the board along the wave, but for now I’m still shrieking in glee as I ride the white water into the shore.

And I’m reminded once again of what a unique city Wellington is. My flatties and I walk down the road for a surf,  go home warm up and then stroll back out for brunch at the infamous cafe Maranui.

As I eat my eggs benedict I watch the other surfers frollicking in Lyall Bay’s waves. Living the Kiwi dream you could say.

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In thrall of the Bloom

Orlando

Meeting Orlando Bloom left me star struck to levels I’m embarrassed to admit.

Having worked predominantly in casting for 3 years you would think I’d be immune to actors and stardom. Particularly when my Spartacus job involved screening photos of buff bare chested men.

Unfortunately this was not the case.

My boyfriend and I went out in Wellington and who should we run into but Mr Bloom himself. They’ve worked together so he offered to buy him a drink. Upon introduction this offer was extended to me.

I looked at Orlando. He looked back at me politely. I continued to look at Orlando. The name of every single drink vanished from my memory. I looked to my boyfriend for support; he smiled back but said nothing.

“Spirit” I blurted out.

“You’ll need to say which spirit you’d like” was the reassuring answer from my boyfriend.

I looked back at Orlando. I looked at his actor friends that were also waiting intently. I started thinking what lovely eyes Orlando had, with an ever so slight twinkle.

Suddenly “rum” was the word coming from my mouth.

“Rum?” one of the actors questioned.

I too was thinking, “Rum?” (I don’t even like rum)

“I think she wants a rum” I heard Orlando telling the waiter in a lovely English accent.

Before I knew it I was drinking rum, and Orlando had dispersed into the crowd.

“I didn’t even fancy him” I proclaimed when recounting the story to a friend. She reassured me it’s okay, because he is in fact that hot. This made me feel much better.

It was the damn twinkle that got me. I guess that’s the so called “X-factor” that separates the few from the masses.

I feel confident that it would only be Orlando, Leonardo Dicaprio and Ryan Gosling that could induce this state of swoonery. So as long as I don’t encounter these men in the future my work professionalism is not at stake.

Wonderful Wednesday (& Tipsy Tuesday)

Nothing like a mid-week bender to remind you that life is wonderful.

With my time in Wellington coming to an end I’m adopting a bit of Carpe Diem – seize the day, or in this case, even Tuesday nights.

One of the perks of our flat, a sauna, was yet to be utilised. After 2 bottle of wine my flat mates and I decided to change this.

Next thing we were all in the sauna drinking honey whisky on the rocks, and it was literally going on the rocks – letting off a lovely toffee perfume into the steamy air.

The honeyed spirit has got to be good for your skin, and there must be proven benefits for drinking in the sauna? Surely you’re sweating out the toxins at a similar rate to consuming them.

In true Nordic fashion, once the sauna became unbearably hot we ran outside into the brisk air. With a severe lack of snow we instead showered outdoors beneath a carpet of stars.

Rather magical. Less magical was how I felt when I awoke this morning. I knew not even my green smoothie couldn’t save me today.

But I sit at my desk, and smile in memory of last night’s shenanigans.  Surely it’s spontaneous moments of madness like this that make life wondrous.

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A rumble in the urban jungle

As the constant rumbling is becoming a norm, I’m becoming slightly more blasé about the shakes.

I no longer go into a state of sheer panic, intending to run around haphazardly like the Office Jogger (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3aUcSiHw0A)

I now have a plan: “drop, cover, hold.” I’ve studied the safety video closely – several times.  I’ve even practiced under the dining room table.

I’ve also done intensive research on seismology, earth science and tectonic plates. I feel informed. I feel I understand the earthquakes.

And I’ve rationalised my probability of survival. It’s not as bad as I originally presumed. I’m feeling pretty good.

I’m awoken to the house rocking and rolling, I wait it out, and then I roll over and go back to sleep.

A rumble hits, I put my beer down, wait it out and then resume the beer. Life goes on.

But it seems as soon as you’ve forgotten about the earthquakes another will rumble, as a friendly reminder to keep your wits about you.

I’ve experienced more earthquakes in the last 4 days then some people will in their entire lives. It’s a strange feeling.

Earthquakes (like other natural disasters) are one of the few things that are completely out of our control. We are just a mere mortal at the fate of the elements.

They are unpredictable; we can only speculate what will happen next. No one is completely sure.

But, I think earthquakes have some benefits. They make us grateful we’re alive, and question what’s really important.

Browsing Facebook in the wake of a quake makes you realise how shallow modern society is.  And I’m just as bad as the rest of them. Maybe our urban jungle needs a bit of a shakeup.

And earthquakes are a humbling experience, because at the end of that day, who you are and what you do in society is insignificant.

They can hit anyone, anytime, anywhere. Whether you’re the homeless man on the street or the CEO on level 12 is completely irrelevant.

With that in mind, I’m back to a high-rise building in Wellington’s CBD today.  Wish me the luck of the Irish. Or whisky.

I have been enjoying the odd glass of whisky on the rocks lately to calm the earthquake nerves. It’s maybe an answer to one of the smaller questions. Whisky – a tonic for trembling tectonics?

Splash in glass of whiskey and ice isolated

When Welly shakes

I just experienced my first earthquake ever. Quite possibly one of my most terrifying ordeals to date.

Wellington had a 5.7 magnitude earthquake at 9.06 this morning rated “severe” – deeply felt. This has been followed by  around twenty light to moderate earthquakes.

Something about this all taking place while I’m on the 6th floor of an old building isn’t very reassuring.

It was almost an hour ago, but I’m still rattled.

I was happily going about my day when the building abruptly began to shake. Like actually shake. A giant 12 storey building shaking from side to side – for at least 30 seconds.

I was on the phone at the time, and I started swearing incessantly.

My mind started working overtime, I was torn between diving under my desk and running for the stairs. But no one else was moving, everyone sat frozen as if in some suspended reality.

I now understand the term paralysed by fear.

Funnily enough I waited for the earthquake to be over to escape. The Irish girl opposite me and I left promptly. Very promptly. Fright and then flight.

We stood outside shaken. She smoked, I paced. The haunting sound of activation alarm rang in the distance.

We went back inside and everyone else was working as per. Significantly more chatter than usual, but nothing out of the ordinary for the majority.

I guess the locals are used to earthquakes. I’m not sure this is a feeling I want to get used to.

I’m still mildly terrified. Maybe not so mildly. My palms are sweaty, my hand slightly shakey and I’m looking at the window in anticipation of another.

My phone vibrated in my pocket from a text and I jumped a metre in the air.

Because if there was a big earthquake and you were on the 6th floor what would be your chance of survival? It’s a sobering thought, with horrific images of Christchurch fresh in the memory.

Productivity is at an all-time low. If you’re looking for me I’ll be working remotely (from under my desk)

Wellington, home of the puffer

Wellington. Often accompanied by the term “windy.” And for good reason; it’s considered one of the windiest places in New Zealand.

Mountains funnel the wind through the infamous Cook Straight at accelerated speeds.

A craze also gathering great speed here is the Kathmandu Puffer Jacket. It’s quite possibly the regional uniform and I just never received the memo.

Virtually every man, woman and child dons a Kathmandu puffer jacket. Failing that, at the very least a Kathmandu rain jacket or fleece. Oh and don’t forgot your puffer vest for milder winds.

For a city renowned for its artistic streak, it’s bemusing how quickly this creativity ceases when it comes to winter apparel.

Having initially scoffed the Puffer jacket, when the wind started blowing I quickly got one. I now wear this every day. Every single day.

But Wellington is so much more than wind, Kathmandu and puffer jackets – and no, I’m not talking about Macpac.

Simply put, it’s a really nice place.

Wellington is easy on the eye, with rugged shorelines and old bungalows nestled on steep hills. It’s the type of place I can happily just gaze.

And I don’t mind the eclectic assortment of boutiques, tasty eateries and fine coffee.

Wellington’s the type of place you feel instantly at home, yet simultaneously like you may be in Europe.

I quite like it.


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Betwixt and between

Betwixt and between, neither one nor the other; in a middle or an unresolved position.

Such is my predicament. I’m a film professional attempting to work in an industry currently suffering because our NZ dollar is too high.

I’ve always escaped reality at such points in time by travelling, but it seems work is a prerequisite to travelling. Damn money. And damn the universe too, it’s been really letting me down this year.

But I’m not letting the door that’s forever swinging shut in my face unhinge me. Instead I’ve thoroughly grounded myself watching shows like HBO’s Girls and TVNZ’s Go Girls where the characters are “real” people, like me!

These characters epitomise the quarter life crisis. They too fear feelings of limbo, selling out and being something they’re not. I watch them and I get warm fuzzies, maybe it’s not just me perpetually in the land of in between.

In between jobs. In between travel. In between where I was, and where I want to be. Floating through this strange thing we call life, unwilling to settle, yet dissatisfied to float. Stuck in a paradox of sorts…

Having been told by countless friends and family, that I should stop wasting my “time and talents” and “get a real job” I still find myself unable to drop the bone. Whether it’s the fear of commitment to the 9-5, or merely the pursuit of the unattainable, the illusion is yet to fade.

And so, taking advantage of my perhaps too flexible lifestyle, I’ve temporarily relocated myself to our lovely capital Wellington. The dream of frolicking with Hobbits and Elves was real, yet short-lived.

I’ve now sold out and am doing a stint temping for the Government. And I’m not even in the Beehive!

But, I live in a beachfront demi-mansion with 4 men. I’ve taken up cooking, long beach walks and Instagram. I can’t remember the last time I felt so happy.

And so the eternal idealist has become optimistic again.