It’s time for a proper catch up. I’ve spent the last few days enjoying myself, feeling at ease for the first time in a long time. Limbo is a hard place to be. Limbo without knowing what comes next is even harder, but I’ve given myself permission to just chill for a while.
So I met up with my first new friend, Michelle, a girl from Vancouver who is eight months into her working holiday. She introduced me to a world outside of Starbucks (crazy, I know), and I fell in love with all of the little independent coffee shops in the area.
I also spent some time with my hotel roommate Gabriela, a lovely girl from Switzerland who was en route to NZ to find work. We wandered around the harbour and botanical gardens and had a delightfully cheap but delicious Italian dinner at the Rocks, a quaint area near the wharf.
Friday I was set to fly to NZ to meet Reganne, but I had most of the afternoon to myself before my flight, so I headed down to Paddy’s Markets in China town. There I discovered a warehouse with row upon row of fresh fruits and vegetables and every sort of house ware or clothing item you could possibly imagine. The vendors were polite but encouraging, though I didn’t find the deals to be quite as good as I would expect for a market. Still, I found a little pocket flashlight that will serve me well in my travels.
At the Sydney airport I had issues with my luggage. I just squeaked under the baggage allowance but had to repack my carry on so it wasn’t so heavy. The flight was uneventful again; I can hardly believe my luck so far. And I fell in love with Air New Zealand. Their service was fabulous. They even managed to make the safety video entertaining.
Arrival in NZ
When I arrived in Wellington it was about 11 p.m. and I couldn’t wait to check into my room at the YHA. Unfortunately, my bed wasn’t made up when I arrived. One of the staff members said he wished he could help me but he was off duty and drunk, being that it was a Friday night and all. I had a good laugh, but honestly, I was exhausted. Thankfully the staff member who was on duty wasn’t intoxicated. He assured me the room had been made up for me, but someone else must have used it since I was such a late arrival, and he upgraded me to my own private room instead. Love it when things like that happen!
My day in Wellington was brief. I woke up at 8 a.m., which was actually 10 a.m. in NZ, so I scrambled to check out on time. Then I ventured down to the main shops on Willis Street, where I was in search of the Billabong store so I could buy a new suitcase. The suitcase and wheeled carryon I had were much more awkward than I imagined before I left, leaving me flustered whenever I needed to go anywhere, especially if anyone was watching me struggle with my bags. I kept wanting to shout, “Hey, this is my life for a year. Don’t judge me for overpacking.”
After walking up and down Willis Street a few times I finally found the Billabong store, vacant. They closed up shop but failed to update their website. Grr. But across the street I found the Rip Curl store and bought a 114 litre travel bag for about $200 Canadian. This was a steal of deal compared to the bags I’d found in Sydney that were all priced well over $300.
Heading back to the hostel to condense my two bags into one, I was happy to see everything managed to fit, though a bit more snug than I’d have liked. That taken care of, I headed to Te Papa, NZ’s famous museum. Check out my previous post to see what it’s all about.
Then, I decided to walk to the NZ central railway station where I would catch the bus to Palmerston North to meet Reganne. The map was deceptive and the station was a lot farther than I anticipated. I almost gave up, especially because I was hauling my bag along with me, but it felt good to get some exercise and my arms got a good workout.
Now for the really fun part! Seeing Reganne was so awesome. She did the slow-mo movie scene run toward me, and we had a good laugh. We stayed up late talking, and it felt so good to reconnect. Almost as if the past two years apart never happened.
The past few days have been pretty chill. Sunday Reganne and Matt toured me around Palmerston North, and I got a feel for their lives over here. The town is much bigger than I expected; about 80,000 I think she said. Their house is cute, though minimalist, a complete departure from the way we live at home in Canada. But I can tell they are happy here, and the lifestyle suits them.
Monday was much of the same, just bumming around town. We did a few wedding-related errands, and I got to see Reganne in her wedding dress. She is going to make a beautiful bride. I kept insisting she tell me what her wedding colours were and she wouldn’t have any of it. “It’s a feeling I’m going for,” she kept saying. Of course I had no clue what she meant, but when she pulled out her wedding “inspiration board,” I finally got it. The wedding venue is just right for the two of them, and so are all the details.
When Matt got home from work we had a fabulous dinner down on the esplanade, and I got to check out some of the more interesting birds of NZ. I actually had one ask me, “Polly want a cracker?” Very cool.
Reganne and I had a bit of fun on the playground too, though I think Matt was a bit embarrassed to be seen with us, and he was worried we scared all the little kids away. But there’s no age restriction for having fun! The playground was awesome even though it completely disregarded safety, much like the playgrounds I grew up with, before parents starting suing when their kids got hurt.
Tuesday Reganne had to work, so I was left to my own devices. I slept in far too late and then headed to the grocery store to pick up some ingredients for a dinner I promised to cook Matt and Reganne as a thank you for their hospitality. The rest of the day I spent in the kitchen. When Reganne left Canada I barely knew how to boil water, so I think she was a bit hesitant when I said I would cook for her. But dinner turned out quite alright if I do say so myself. Lasange, reverse chicken cordon bleu, a carrot salad, and peanut butter chocolate cookies for dessert. Matt even licked his plate.
Now it’s Wednesday and I must confess, I slept most of the day. I stayed up late surfing the internet, and I don’t think I fell asleep until close to 4 a.m. The good news is, I have a few leads on places to rent along the Gold Coast, within about 20 minutes of Surfer’s Paradise.