Sunday, January 31, 2010


Yesterday. Saturday. A pretty "cruisy" day on the all around. Every day is pretty cruisy around these parts. For the most part I enjoy this. However, I do have moments of panic when the Project Manager in me feels like I should be accomplishing something. Checking it off the list I suppose. You see, I have made maybe one list since arrival. Making a list no less than 4 times a day is not unusual for me back home. Aside from starting my job, I don't really have things to do per say. I don't have house projects or errands to run for the most part. I don't have a social life aside from things Caitlin and Loren plan and subsequently invite us. The craziest part of this new life of no agenda is that I haven't had a cell phone since arrival. Yes, I have borrowed Tyson's phone on occasion and I definitely use Skype, but the daily text exchanges and voicemail retrieval is non-existent. Its odd going from literally 1500 minutes/month plus maniacal texting to literally zero communication via telephone. I thought I would want to kill myself and yet, I hardly had a mourning period. Why is that? How is that even possible? I'm not really sure. I am looking forward to the structure my job is going to bring me. And, AND! -Tyson now has a job also! We will both be bringing home the bacon. And I think this will be a welcome change for our relationship which has been pretty much he and I hanging out non-stop and not a lot of time for just little ole me. Andrea Time = important. We'll be meeting some new people and share the stories of our days in the evenings. On another note, we are moving tomorrow also which I think will do wonders for me. Independence. New people. Getting to town will be tangible. Another experience. This New Zealand thing strikes me as quite odd sometimes. How it all unfolded and how its still unfolding.

At any rate, getting back to Saturday. Caits, Tyson and I decided that the old fashioned run was not going to be our workout of choice. Instead we opted for a swift pace along the Moonlight Track. Alas, our workout was as good as gold. Later that evening one of Caitlin's girlfriends was celebrating a birthday and we tagged along. Fun to be out on the town and meeting people.

I will say that though I'm enjoying myself quite a lot and meeting some great people, I'm still struggling a little bit. I'm struggling to find my place here and to feel comfy just yet. And I'm struggling to find what I want to get out of this experience. I know its all part of the process and I think its why I'm able to cruise along keeping anxiety to a minimum. Week Four will prove to be pivotol I think. As mentioned, we are moving and we will both be working. Looking forward to another week here and all that New Zealand has to offer.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I've gotta say, I'm lovin some of the terms these Kiwi's use for things. Give me a couple more months and I may just take some of these phrases home with me!

Chilly Bin = A cooler. Like a cooler full of beer, except, its a chilly bin full of beer.
Mate = Friend.
Heaps = A lot.
Wee = A little.
Spot On = Well, I think this can be used for many things. For instance, it could be used to say something is either correct, or really great. Aww, that's spot on!
Jandals = Flip flops.
Good on ya = Expression of approval, friendly approval of somebody's actions.
Sweet as = Great.
Gutted = Used like, "I was gutted." Meaning, I was sad.
Flick = Used like, "Ay, just flick me a text." or "Flick me an email later."
Hire = Rent. "Hire a car for the weekend."
Zed = common pronounciation for the letter Z. So anytime you hear a web address ending in .nz, people say, "yadda, yadda, yadda dot en zed." Really messed me up for a while.

A handful of foods are also called something different.
Courgette = Zucchini
Capsicum = Bell Pepper
Rocket = Arugula

In any case, there are heaps more terms I could report, but I only have a wee bit of time at the moment. Off to start my new job at Country Road today!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Road Trip.

After nearly two weeks in New Zealand, Tyson and I decided we'd better take a wee road trip and see some of this beautiful country before starting work. We rented a car, {Sunny} loaded it up with our tent and some food, and hit the road last Friday. Our only known destination was the southern coast and Curio Bay, a place known among things, for penguins! As Queenstown faded in the rear view, we drove along Lake Wakatipu and the mountains shot up clear into the clouds.

Soon after heading out, we realized how truly remote is this part of the world. With no CDs in tow, and no radio stations coming through on the dial, we were absolutely ecstatic our ipod and speaker set made its way into the backpack. Beautiful scenery brought to life by the sounds of a great song as it flies by

Little did we know a swirling display of varying landscapes existed around every corner.Lush, grassy hills peppered with endless sheep as far as the eye can see.

As the coast drew near, we traded blue bird skies for the familiar coastal grey of Seattle. Sunny pulled into Curio Bay campground and between the breathtaking coastline and the sleepy, green waters of Porpoise Bay, trying to decide on a site made our head spin. On the one hand, Porpoise Bay was shielded by the strong winds coming off the coast, and boasted the opportunity to see dolphins and nocturnal penguins. On the other hand, the peace of the endless sea. We settled on Curio Bay, this spot specifically.

And as we unloaded the car, this little fellow crossed the road in front of us.

With little knowledge of the area and no agenda, we woke on Saturday and decided to let the adventure continue. We hopped in Sunny and headed east along the coast, stopping anywhere that caught our eye. We hiked through the forest to the McLean waterfall. Um, really great. Next up, we hiked down to the beach and to the Cathedral Caves near Papatowai. Because the weather wasn't necessarily great, I wasn't expecting to be blown away, but the closer we got to the beach, the sunnier it got. And by the time we reached the sand it was full on sublime.

After that we were pretty happy. It wasn't as easy as we'd hoped to find a camping area and we ended up grabbing a spot in a off-the-beaten-path campground that wasn't anything special. I didn't mind considering we'd had such a great trip already. It was cold and rainy though, and I was ready to sit back and relax. We set up camp and then drove up to Nugget Point just in time to see two yellow-eyed penguins returning from sea to their nests. So cute!

Sunday, we drove back north through Balclutha, the fruitlands and Alexandra. As previously mentioned, the landscape was remarkably different throughout the weekend. Though New Zealand isn't the most culturally different country I've ever been to, it is one of the most spectacularly beautiful places I've seen.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Getting out.

Heading out of town this weekend to go camping on the southern coast. I simply cannot wait. From the moment we made the decision to go and the rental car was booked, I instantly felt more alive. More normal. Freedom! We have a car. Part of this experience is working and living, and part of it is obviously travel and seeing the country. I'm gonna go do that. Back next week!

On a side note, here's another excerpt from that fantastic book continued from the other day. I'm sure variations on this type of story have been told in a million ways, but I really grabbed onto it. And I didn't feel like typing so hopefully its actually legible. Hugs!


Maybe when I'm done having an adventure, I'll dress like this. Yes, please.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Happy Two Seven!

Yesterday was Tyson's 27th birthday, and what a day! Sunny and beautiful, we decided to indulge in a cheesy tourist activity called the Luge. Located at the top of one of the mountains in town, we could either take a gondola ride, or hike it. Hike! Views from the top were worth every pound of my heart as I feel SO out of shape.

The top boasted every activity you could imagine ranging from zip lines, bungee to parachuting and LUGE! Luge, meaning you sit in a tiny go-cart-type contraption and zoooom down a track of twists, turns and drops. So dorky and yet so fun.

Happy Birthday in NZ, and now Happy Birthday again on U.S. time, Ty!

This is next on my list to check off <<<<

I've been blown away by the clouds in Queenstown since arrival. Every day its like a new art piece.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hire me, please.

Pounded the pavement yesterday. So odd after many years working "professionally" to simply walk around and ask, "Hello, do you happen to be hiring?" Humbling, really. The first few places I popped into were my first choices, one of which = Destination Organic, a natural foods store where I thought it would be fun to learn about food and cooking and possibly purchase all natural make-up and care products. Their answer, "Nope, we're not hiring (insert a teeny laugh). We're actually selling the store so you can buy and hire yourself if you'd like." Um, no thanks. Cut to me walking out of the store with my tail between my legs. By the time the fourth and fifth places told me they too were not hiring I let my standards drop, and started asking just about anyone. This method proved successful and by the end of the day I'd handed out eight resumes and generated some interest. Then there's the ever so enticing question of Do I want to do something "cool" in NZ, or just do something, and then use whatever means to do cool things thereafter? I think it may end up being the latter.

At any rate, I've since had one interview with a high-end clothing boutique of which I would NEVER buy anything inside, and have been offered the job. Twenty hours a week paying probably $18-$20/hour. I am interviewing with another clothing shop probably today or tomorrow and the draw on this particular place is that its near the lake, and views through the large windows inside yield mountains and water. Sigh, sounds relaxing to me after the stress of working in advertising for so many years.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

No need to panic.

Okay, okay...I'm already feeling better. Phew! Yesterday was that moment where the swirling darkness stops and though you're still IN the tunnel, you can actually see the light at the end of it. Yesterday after Rob and Claudia left I felt like I finally got some of my bearings, and my independence. I went to the grocery store and bought my own food, I bought my own hair dryer and 'rang' on a few different living arrangements a bit closer into town. This independence and the chance to make the experience a little bit more gritty started to make me relax. After all, I sort of expected this trip to be gritty, and I think Caitlin was right when we talked about it and she explained that they are nesting here at the house, and maybe we'd like to live closer to town where the "action" is.

You see, I was nesting before I left for New Zealand. And I love nesting. But its really hard to nest here and be in a nesting environment as I only have about 5% of my closet, none of my own things and really what's an adventure when it feels a little like home. I'm actually reading David Elliot Cohen's, One Year Off right now and I'm fascinated by his ability to put into words the exact feelings I've had and will continue to process. The book is the story of how he and his wife, with three kids under the age of nine, decided to sell the house, the cars, and the belongings and take off for a year-long journey around the world. Sounds a smidge familiar, though obviously not on such grand scale. What blows my mind from the first thirty five pages I've read is how sane they make such an insane idea sound. They've thought it through, they're aware of the consequences and their fears. But they're in search for something that doesn't come from monotony and security. And I know we all know people like this, and often times say to ourselves, "Well I could never do that. That's just not me" But they were a "normal" family living the American dream just like so many. Shit, I've had countless people say those words to ME = queen planner, home purchaser and self described ladder climber. Based on the incesant lists I make, its safe to say there's nothing about me that's super whimsical. It is possible, I think it just takes a little leap of faith, and our Crazy inside to come out. Anyway, here's a little snippet I found to be really refreshing.

Aside from my disease phobia, I also have to admit that being homeless and out of work - even by choice - is somewhat disorienting. Its odd to realize that from now on, wherever we happen to be on a given day is our home, and that there's no single safe haven to which we can return. It's also strange to suddenly relinquish all your structures and schedules - all the chores, routines, and rituals that define and organize your life. When you follow these routines, it's possible to live most of your life on autopilot. It's like driving to work without even thinking about the route. But when your routines are disrupted-especially this radically-you become very concious of your actions, your surroundings, and your relationships. Everything seems new and unsettled. But again, that's one of the goals of our trip-to disrupt our usual patterns so thoroughly that we'll be receptive to new options and possibilities. To do that fully, we have to let this transformation from conventional to nomadic life take place on its own terms. We have to observe the changes and be conscious of them, but can't limit the outcome or cling to old routines and old ways of thinking.

More on that later. I'll try and not make this post his entire book. I find it slightly telling though that in the midst of reading another book, I happened to abandon it and pick up this one yesterday. His sentiments and feelings are so dead on, and so what I needed to digest during this time.

Heading out today to try and find me a job and a source of all that green stuff. Wish me luck!

Friday, January 15, 2010


So we've been here a week and though I knew it wouldn't be an easy and seamless transition, I never anticipated it being this hard. And I'm sure some of you who read that will burst into laughter and subsequently, roll your eyes. For us, Caitlin and Loren have been incredible, gracious hosts and their help has been invaluable. But, obviously picking up and moving your life to a new country isn't simple, or more people would do it. I knew things in my life were going to change and we'd have to give up many familiar routines. To me, that was part of the fun and what makes this decision exciting. I think there are just aspects I didn't really consider like really missing my loved ones and feeling homesick for Seattle, the luxury of picking up a phone and connecting with a dear friend who knows you inside and out, or the possibility of a mental breakdown. There's been something unique to this experience where I just don't feel comfortable in my own skin. A terrible feeling, and one that lends itself to endless hours of spiraled thought. By nature I overthink things, and I'm reflective and emotional. However, to my core I know I'm an incredibly happy person. I tend to look on the bright side, and can see the positive in just about anything. Yes I like to dissect things and over analyze, but at the end of the day I can usually decipher where my feelings are coming from and move on. In this experience, I've found myself questioning everything. Why am I here? Why am I so emotional? What am I doing with my life? Who am I? Where do I want to live? Do I even want to have kids? Why am I like this? Okay, do you not see that this is exhausting!? Its killing me! And though I realize this is all part of the experience and part of what makes a giant leap so challenging and yet so rewarding, I'm fighting to make it stop and relax, and I just can't seem to pull it together.

FINALLY I spoke to Crow on Skype yesterday. She reminded me of our study abroad experiences which is something I too have often referenced in my mind while here. Apparently, when she landed in Greece she felt really alone and freaked out, and didn't eat or sleep for over a week. Yep, anxiety. I know I'll be fine. I need to give myself the patience to let these first few weeks sort themselves out and start to feel comfortable. Or maybe a therapist. Ha.

Our dear friends, Rob and Claudia, were here for our first week and are leaving today. Though I'm deeply sad to say goodbye, especially to Claudia, it will be good to get this ship off the ground. We've been in vacation mode, and its time to start looking for jobs and finding me a converter for my blow dryer. As the ever so popular art piece of the day says, Keep Calm and Carry On. Cheers to that.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Activities <<<<

Having Rob and Claudia here for this first week, its been a whirlwind of activities and seeing the town. Its a nice transition to have friends here during the first uncertain week. Familiar faces and comfortable friendships.

We decided to go river rafting on the Shotover River - an activity I've never done before and for some reason never considered it daunting. But as the moment loomed and we suited up, I must admit I was nervous. We boarded a small van with several other people from around the world and headed off on our journey through the mountains to the starting point. I've never in my life felt more unsafe in this van. We were literally on a one-lane gravel road hugging the side of a mountain. One side mountain, the other a steep and deep cliff edge leading to certain death should we somehow not make one of the many tight corner turns. One could literally look out the window and not be able to see the ground beneath the vehicle. My palms are sweaty just typing this. As we rolled along our guide started giving us a safety speech. Again, I wasn't really nervous about rafting as I know countless people who have done it, but this guy was giving us the safety instructions like we were all about to step into a raft of death. Guess that's part of the fun, eh? In any case, the rafting experience was spectacular. We rolled along through the most beautiful scenery and mountains and during the crazy rapids we held on for our lives! So fun.

We celebrated with a night out on the town. Notice how the girls and guys found themselves on opposite ends of the pub. Oh, and notice the polite and lovely girls, while the pesky boys make faces in the background. Classic.

My sweet Claude. I will miss you, dear friend!

Caitlin and Loren have this amazing house a couple of miles out of town. We played lawn games amidst amazing views and the wafts of delight coming from Caitlins cooking! One thing to note: I'm really enjoying the architecture here. Most homes are made from stone or metal and the design is typically very modern and clean.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

First days.

Rugby and brews. Hiking at Moke Lake. And some celebratory bubbly.