Persist

I’ve been in The New Zealand for one month and have had one job interview, two explicit job rejections and many, many silent job rejections.

I’ve been reduced to baking, turning out flat scones made with wholemeal flour. At least it gives the smoke alarm a workout!

It’s quite tough. Not having a job is confidence-undermining and dishearteningly dull. Your days are formless. You sleep late, having nothing in particular to get up for. Your schedule consists of empty pages, and the lack of structure makes you a little lazy – why exercise now when I could do it later, tomorrow, the day after, next week, never?

I attempted to build new habits, but only got as far as drinking water every morning. I bought a yoga mat so I could build a daily yoga habit, but it’s still in the boot of the car. The mat, I mean. But also the habit.

It’s cold. After 3 weeks of chilly sunshine, we’re having chilly grey skies and intermittent rain. The washing has been on the line for four days and it’s wetter now then when we hung it out, despite the wind.

But! There have also been adventures.

We went on a daytrip to Waitākere Ranges Regional Park, drove up and down roads twisting across and between forest-covered mountinis. We parked up at Whatipu campground and walked on glittering black sands through a sunny gorse meadow, then came out onto grassy dunes, vast rolling sands and the open ocean crashing onto the shore. Many natures were there. I befriended a bumble bee, saw a dead seagull and handsome blue but dead Portugese-Man-Of-Wars. Or dead Portugese-Men-Of-War. Plurals.

Walk east and then north, following the shore. The wind kicks up sea spray on a desert-like beach that spools out as far as the eye can see. There are scattered shells, sculptures of white, smooth driftwood and when you turn your back to the ocean, all you can see is sand, glinting or kicked up by the wind, and dunes in the distance backed by dark green mountinis. It could be a dream or another world – the same thing?

I won’t be able to stay here too long without a job. We’re already looking into moving to save money, trying to figure out what the breaking point will be. But I’m not done yet. I persist; keep throwing out those job applications and surely one will bring something back.

In the meantime, though, I think I’ll get some baking powder and see if I can’t get these scones to rise!

[Bertha the bumble bee chilling out on my jeans]dav

[Looking inland before the walk east and north to the desert beach]sdr

Lifeventures: Chapter Two

You’re right – chapter one was a little overlong. It jumped across settings and time periods, lacked any tangible plot, showcased a boringly self-obsessed narrator and suffered a dreadful inconsistency of voice.

Chapter two will be different. In a world where different means exactly the same.

I’ve been living in The New Zealand for eight days. I am unemployed and it is profoundly disheartening. I have been to two roller derby training sessions (fantastic) and walked the Auckland Coast to Coast (spectacular) on a gloriously sunny day with a bunch of women who like drinking wine. Pretty good stuff.

I have made the following observations:

The New Zealand is exceptionally pretty. It’s like somebody put together a Pinterest collection of the prettiest houses and the prettiest landscapes they could find, and then hit CTRL+V+R (Paste to Reality).

The New Zealand is exceptionally cold. It has that weird kind of air we don’t get in Thailand; you know, the kind that moves around. Wind. That’s the stuff. They have all this WIND in the air, which makes things chilly. But also the air just comes out cold. In the sunshine, everything is glorious. A smidgen of shade and the shivers start. I regularly lose feeling in my toes when I’m at home at night. And it isn’t even winter yet, only autumn. Save me.

Despite the above, The New Zealand homes are famously and staggeringly cold, built from handsome wooden planks and useless single glazing (for any Brits out there, that’s double glazing but with 75% less heat-retention). The The New Zealand attitude is to don another sweater and hunker down. It makes me sad into my heart. I cannot abide the cold, the dark, the damp. Alas, each of these adjectives is a good description of my new home. Heaters and dehumidifiers will abound if I am to survive the long winter.

And I would like to debunk one myth: The New Zealand is NOT full of sheep. I have been here eight days and I have only seen around 30.

So, I leave you with my knowledges and fascinating insightmentals. I look forward to leveling up my awks in Auckland, to settling in, exploring the funs, making friends and – fingers firmly and unnaturally crossed – finding gainful employment.

Any advice for things to see, do, watch, try, eat, drink, visit or traverse while I’m here? Let me know.

 

The New Zealand: A Review

(Life update: I am a Copywriter now. Don’t act so surprised. And ignore all previous bad writing, misplaced commas and general imperfections of previous posts. They don’t matter, BECAUSE NOW I AM A COPYWRITER.)

The New Zealand was new and extremely Zealandy. It had approximately 33.3% more zeal than I had expected. And 1110% less people.

Just kidding. FEWER people. I’m a Copywriter, yo.

It gave me the heebiejeebies. The New Zealand, not being a Copywriter. It (The New Zealand) is so far away from the rest of the world. Tiny, deserted, prone to terrifying earthquakes. I’ve always lived in towns or cities surrounded by other towns and cities, themselves surrounded by cities and towns and still more cities. Sure, in Leeds Beloved Leeds we were close to hills, to countryside, to long walks and fresh air… but also to people and action and movement.

In The New Zealand, not so much. It’s all space. Mountains. Rivers. Grass(es). Birds that sound like prehistoric creatures. The towns are binary: you’re in them, and then you aren’t. The in-between spaces are enormous. To get from one populated area to another, you have to drive. No people (action, movement, buildings, events, life) for miles. Nothing.

The New Zealand is unsettlingly empty.

Let’s have some context. Numbers don’t lie (Copywriters do). The New Zealand, at 267,710 sq km, is slightly bigger than the UK (243,610 sq km). It has a population of around 4.5 million people. The UK, slightly smaller, has a population of around 64 million. Sixty four (64). MILLION (million). It is 59.5 million people empty.

Astound.

 

 

 

On the road again

I am still in Bangkok. Honestly, it’s amazing how quickly adventures can morph into mundane daily life when you’re not looking. One minutes you’re all goggle-eyed gazing around like a newborn and taking every opportunity to expose your miserable, cave-dweller skin to the sunlight, and the next it’s just another Monday morning and you’re grizzling over the 14.54 minutes you have to spend outside sans aircon. And you don’t even notice that the moon is the wrong way around any more. Welcome to Taking Things For Granted 101.

BUT! Guess what! After many months – too many months – of being stationary, Enid’s Adventure Blog is going back on the road again. This time we’re off to that most recent of Zealands, The New Zealand (famously explored in gripping 3-part documentary series, The Lord Of The Rings). We’ll hang out with The Beard’s friends and family, hit up the north and south islands for beaches and shit, skate with NZ roller derby teams and checkout NZ skateparks, have goodfuntimes with adored lifepals and fellow adventurers, NicandRob, eat “fush und chups”, head out for long walks and generally be Going Around. It’s going to be good, people.

Yes, it will mean leaving beloved cat-bastard Mr Miaowgi with a friend for 2 months, but I count it as payback for all the times he’s bitten me in the face in the past. Little angel.

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So! Help a sister out, gang. What should we see, do, eat, stay or avoid? Any and all pro-tips welcome!

Today is a different day

Right then. January is underway. Quick, let’s CHANGE EVERYTHING. The way we eat, exercise, feel, think, be. CHANGE IT ALL! Immediately! From this moment forth, I shall have only positive thoughts and sunbeams shall shine from my face like an overweight white female Jesus. My CHANGEs shall be so complete that when thou lookest at me, there shall, from mine visage, emanate a soundtrack of sweet cherubs wordlessly ahhhhhhhhh-ing and butterflies shall flitter around me like a cliched simile.

What. The. Fuck?

We wait for January like Usain Bolt waits for the starter’s gun. IT’S OFF AND HERE WE GO SPEEDING ALONG CHANGING EVERYTHING ABOUT OUTSELVES, CH- CH- CH- CHAAA… Aaaaand I’m spent. Finished. Done.

Actually, it’s magnificently less dramatic than that. More like Usain Bolt cracking off the starting line, eyes on the prize, powering strides lengthy and strong and sure… only to get distracted by somebody in the crowd, a passing javelin, a speck of dust on the ground. Wouldn’t a smore be good right about now? He slows. Realises he has an itch. Wonders if he left anything back at the starting line. A jog now. Barely. Distracted by other things. Sees everyone else at the finish line. Now a stroll, casual-like. Not quite within the lines. Everyone else is done already, no point in killing ourselves. We’ve got as long as we like. Wonder what’s going on in that sandpit over there? Haphazard meandering, grass under feet, now, strayed way off-course. Where were we going, again? Stop still. Look around, spy the track in the distance – it’s a long way off. Blink. An unsteady step forwards. Hesitant. Does it matter? It’s fine here. Slowly sit down, eyeing the track, bemused. How did it get so far away? Shoulder meets soil, the smell of cut grass like a sleep potion. Eyelids lower. Next time, we think, Maybe next time.

That’s how we end up – asleep in the grass, far from the track, putting it off until the next time the gun fires. Not exactly full of that New Year cheer, is it?

We’re delusional. For most of us, change does not happen at the crack of the starter’s gun. There are no sudden revelations or immediate cessations of all our bad habits. True and lasting change is the work of a lifetime. Slow, repetitive, dull, largely immeasurable. It is a choice we make every day, and easier if every day we remind ourselves of the new choices we want to make. There is no real reason to wait until January. Unlearning racism and sexism takes self-awareness, personal responsibility, time and many failures. Want to do a photo-a-day project? Start now or start mid-May, it makes no difference. Missed a week in your new exercise regime? That’s OK. What about today?

Change happens one day at a time. Little by little. Choice by choice. Year by year. Sure, New Year is a great time to reaffirm the changes you’re making, or to check in and assess whether or not you’re going in the right direction. But, then again, so is EVERY day. And the individual days are really what matter. The habits you try to build on an individual day are important. It doesn’t matter if you spent the past 2 weeks stuffing yourself full of deep friend Mars bars and marshmallows, today is a different day. Today you can choose something different, and that’s one day you’ve succeeded. Mark it. Mark every success and discount the other days: they’re in the past; they can’t be changed; they do not affect your choices today. It’s like roulette*. The ball falls red twelve times in a row. What’s the liklihood that on throw 13, the ball falls red? It’s 50-50, baby. Having fallen red 12 times makes it neither more nor less likely that on throw 13 the ball will fall red. Every throw is 50-50 and every day is a new throw. Sure, the odds of 13 reds in a row are pretty damn high, but who’d place a bet on that unless the table were rigged? You place your bets one throw at a time; take your days that way too.

Today is a different day. My future is trying to remember this fact and trying to build better habits accordingly. Oh, I can assure you that I’ll forget all this or just straight-up neglect it many times, and I’ll feel guilty and I’ll feel like schlumping down on that grass and closing my eyes, just a bit, it’s so warm and comfy and I’m so tired… Hell yes. It will happen.

But that’s OK. The times I’m mindful of it, my successful days, they’re the ones that count. They are the days I help myself change.

And that’s all I’ve got to say about that. Happy New Year, humans.

*Gambling is for chumps or pros only. Often both.