Wabbit Season

Travel

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If you’ve ever been invited to a Guy Fawkes party*, only to put on your Sunday best, hair-pom the hell out of your pomade, polish your slacks and iron your shoes and look in the mirror and still feel like something is missing, I know what it is: you forgot your rabbit. No worries my friend, this is an easy mistake to make and we’ve all been there! Personally, though, I can only throw my mind into the past and try to remember those uncomfortable days out of solidarity because I HAVE A TEMPORARY RABBIT AND LIFE IS GRAVY. Officially, we are just an Airbnb for Jack the rabbit while his new home is sorted, but it took only 5 minutes alone with real-life Bugs Bunny (he’s the most perfect gray, it’s unnatural) to fully mentally adopt him as my son and soulmate–Hamlet-themes be damned. I’m already thinking up outfit ideas for our first public outing.

So now you know.

This weekend was a LEARNER, guys. I took a trip to the Auckland War Memorial Museum and it was as intense as it sounds, with full-sized ancient boats and wooden kites and so many carvings I developed carpal tunnel just looking at them and a cringe-worthy history of colonialism. If I ever sign a treaty with a native civilization and then go back on my word, YOU, MY POROUS PEERS, MUST TAR&FEATHER ME IN THE NAME OF ACCOUNTABILITY.** Nod your head if you accept.

Week five was otherwise a pretty mellow week in the City of Sails, as not a single person we here in Auckland call it. My face is burnt from an impromptu Cheltenham Beach Day due to inconsistent sunscreen application and a gaping hole in the ozone layer; my stomach is an aquarium of fish and chips. I have a semblance of a routine which I enjoyed for no more than 4 days and now I hate that I have a “normal” and am ready for something new. Is this chick a nightmare or what, Bart?!

I also cut myself and couldn’t locate the bandaids I’d packed into my luggage in Boston to ensure total preparedness. Never prepare, kids!

*I’ve not been invited to a Guy Fawkes party (I’m really not even sure if a Guy Fawkes party is a genre of party) but it was truly Guy Fawkes Day. Based on the celebration style here he was either the inventor of backyard fireworks or some kind of traitor to the English parliamentary system, but what do I know?

**Tar & feathering has always stuck with me as sounding like the worst old-timey punishment and something I’d definitely hate, which shows you how high the stakes are.

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Hold your applause

Travel

I’VE BEEN IN NEW ZEALAND FOR 1 MONTH OFFICIALLY TODAY IT’S THE TRUTH PEOPLE I’M SERIOUS!

This month honestly zooomed (scope weeks 1, 2 and 3 if you missed) and I’m sure it had to do with all the learning that was/is still taking place. For a long time, there was no such thing as “just wandering to the store to grab shoelaces” (this is an example, I’m not sure I’ve EVER purchased shoelaces that didn’t come with shoes attached) because I didn’t know my way past my front door. Or the name of a store that would sell shoelaces. Directions are given in meters, temperature is read in degrees Celsius, sprite is called lemonade. Nothing is second-nature yet.

Full disclosure, the oversaturation of unfamiliarity gave me a casual Sunday morning mental breakdown this week. (Thanks mom and Ladybug-the-Cat for handling that and then gluing the fractured shards of my brain back together!)

All the newness has forced new discoveries, and sometimes these are just the most precious and it’s fireworks for your soul! A beautiful pink sunset over the ocean on a scary Halloweve*, for instance, or finding an ivy-covered cafe or a bar that really gets what you’re trying to do on a Thursday night all count. I’m also finding that Auckland Me has much less patience for nit-picky problems and self-consciousness while I fry up the bigger fish a.k.a. remembering to look the proper direction for oncoming traffic before crossing the street. I don’t even own a mirror at present, who the HELL am I?!

Honestly, though, I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned thus far–YUS, I SAID THUS–has actually been how NOT CRAZY it is to make a big move. I’m not a natural planner *gasp heard ’round the world* but just picking a date, saving up and buying the plane ticket covers the process in a teeny-tiny nutshell. I know it’s doable, even if my emotions go from zero to 100 in the span of a day. I have a better sense of what’s worth worrying about (housing and job leads!) and what isn’t (anal-retentive suitcase-packing mindset!)

*Photo-realistic interpretation of our scary Halloweve starring  man with knife and face tattoos:

Hose Pipe

I/you/we deserve a Tim Tam.

Labor/Labour on, my wayward son

Travel

As I write this, week III next-evolution Kiwi-Emily is listening to new passion radio show on 95bFM hosted by Amelia Discrete, as mentioned in previous post. This Wednesday is a spooky Halloween special and the current song–if you can call it that–is a 21-minute recitation of something called “Pea Green Boat” by Stewart Lee and is basically journal entries from an owl about a cat he’s been watching, but it’s a real heart-wrencher, I think the owl just died.

IT’S WEEK III, GUYS!

Since I last had hold of your eyeballs, New Z. has elected a new Prime Minister! Girlfriend. is. fascinating. Good luck, Jacinda- I’m thrilled to be here. This past weekend was also labor day weekend over here and although it felt real festive it also rained like the Queen of England, by which I am blatantly ignoring syntax and making a tenuous connection between Ol’ Liz, longest reigning monarch in England’s history, and this never-endingly damp as weekend. NIICE ONE, PACHECO. I took a run with official Auckland orientation leader Annie Scheck by the water in Herne Bay and nearly got blown off a cliff, brainwashed a cat named Ladybug (as long as SHE’s fine with it…) into being my friend, and experienced Such Culture by means of the Auckland Symphony and a wander through the Auckland Art Gallery. There’s no such thing as too much beauty!

In case that sounds like sensory overload to you, mind your own business don’t fret! I spent just about the whole of Monday at Mondays, a precious ivy-covered greenhouse-vibe cafe where I both soothed AND re-energized by simultaneously (well, kind of, I only have one mouth) drinking a matcha-filled “emerald latte” and that rainy-day staple, a flat white.

It was also hero/soulmate/close personal friend Jeff Goldblum’s birthday on Sunday. Did you know his middle name is Lynn??

jeff

Admin or what

Humor, Travel

Today marks the end of my second week in the Year of the Kiwi–an international/dual-cultural phenomenon locals are calling “What?” and “That’s not real”– and what a week it has been, amiright?

This installment sees our heroine (me) nab a job at a beachfront cafe due completely to the fact that my new flatmate might be the reigning mob boss of northern New Zealand. [ED. NOTE: This claim is unsubstantiated by science at present…] Copious fish&chips™ have been eaten, the term ‘jay-walking’ has been chopped from my vocabulary, cute Kiwi boys have been smooched. I even took part in a thrilling escapade to convince the landlord a cat does not live here! MY!

Things weren’t all sheep and hobbits, though; this week has been chock-a-block with paperwork, applications and, in general, ADMIN. I also remain in a Mexican standoff with the Auckland transit system which will not allow me to be on time (or even on the right bus.) Satisfying progress on the flat’s 3rd jigsaw puzzle and the ridiculous soothing sounds of 95bFM radio’s Freak the Sheep and Amelia Discrete are the only cure.

#Live, Laugh, Louvre, my friends! Xoxo, Em-the-Phlegm

If you haven’t read Week 1, you can catch up here.

Sweet As, Bro

Humor, Travel

It’s been exactly 1 week since I landed in New Zealand; ONE. WEEK. since I walked off my third plane in 29 hours straight onto tarmac, on through to the waiting Sky Bus that took me into Auckland City. I refuse to utter a judgement yet on life below the equator– after all, the key to Kiwi living may turn out to be a devotion to 007-like secrecy (too early to say, its all very hush-hush down here)– but I CAN say that I am alive and kicking!

So far I have seen morning joggers run barefoot, eaten at a farmer’s market and a night market (one has vegetables, one has noodles), gotten caught in more rainstorms than I can count, taken the wrong bus, worked a trial shift at a hip cafe (only to spill orange juice all over a table, still waiting to hear back on that career opportunity…) and attended a 4-year-old’s dino-themed birthday party.

People are friendly as all get-out, and in fact I have developed a method of pretending I am getting a phone call which I must take outside if I’ve walked into a shop that I don’t actually want to buy anything from.

I move into my flat on Friday, which I hear has a lemon tree in the backyard, so stay tuned for chapter 2, pleebs!

Love always, your International Gal of Mystery

**Oh, they say “Sweet as, bro,” a lot.

Like a haircut, but for your closet!

Style, Travel

ep earrings

Less is hard more!

(If you hadn’t heard, I’m moving to New Zealand in October.)

I put on a laissez-faire façade in re selling off most of my worldly possessions to prepare for traveling and in honesty, I really couldn’t have laissez-faired less about downsizing, on the whole.  The thought of parting with bits of my precious and tediously culled wardrobe, though, gave me a near damn heart attack. It now seems to me that the success of such an endeavor might hinge on putting a pin in shopping for a minute or two.

This aha-moment came to me when I realized–by the aid of an extremely stringent pre-travel budget Google Doc manifesto drawn up by a dear friend, bless her, which laid out what I was and wasn’t allowed to spend money on anymore–that even infrequent shopping sprees would not do if I wanted to afford the plane ticket.

It has been six months and I have acquired precious little since agreeing to aforementioned manifesto (my, I am obnoxious today.) Without the siren call of a new garment begging to be worn, I’ve identified the items I repeatedly reach for based on a true fondness for said items. These items now form the basis of my travel wardrobe. Get out of town!

Coming in as an orgasmic surprise to all parties involved, I actually don’t miss the things I’ve tossed. The trick now is finding new and interesting ways to wear the same combination of garms, by which of course I mean “garments.” *DISCLAIMER: This is not that thing where I don’t want people to think of me as an outfit repeater. Getting dressed is my Sudoku. Without this beguiling daily challenge I will develop early-onset Alzheimer’s, I just know it.

As the resident advice giver of this, my own personal blog on which no one else is allowed to give advice, I advise that–if you find yourself in this position–you accessorize, ya freaks! I, for example, created a pair of sickeningly decadent floral earrings that double as wind chimes probably, and am in the midst a bandana extravaganza, the wearing of which make me look like I’m on vacation every day of the week! Force yourself to get creative with your possessions and you might be surprised by what your brain has waiting just around the riverbend.

It’s also enormously more eco-friendly and this planet needs all the friends it can get.

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On Travel

Travel

I’ll never really be alone.

The yen to travel is a common yen, and I’m not going to overthink why that is. (To be honest, it makes sense; we are curious little rhinos at heart, no?) I’ve had my bags mentally packed since 9th grade, and in exactly 3 months I will be getting off a plane in New Zealand for a year-long working holiday– my first overseas Trip-with-a-capital-T.

I have seen and been influenced by examples of female trepidation in my own life, and as I prepare myself for what I imagine will be the Travel Chapter of my life, I find myself wanting to clone and shrink each of them down to take them all with me!

Ulla

One of my strangest–and favorite–influences is my great-aunt Ulla. Her hairstyle of choice is a disheveled blonde bowl-cut and she is a fiend for solo travel. I’ve only met her in person a handful of times and she must be at least 75 by now, but she hasn’t slowed down and says it’s because she finds travel “most satisfying.” *At 26, I am no less terrified of her than I was at 4.

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Growing up, my siblings and I had a babysitter named Emmy Joy. She invented the best car games and made us hot chocolate and she was our absolute favorite. After high school, she moved to Hawaii and became a full-fledged flowerchild! Now she drives around the country selling handmade gypsy halos out of her brightly-painted V.W. van and calls Maui home. Adventure!

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Pat Carney is my fairy art-mother and is freedom and creativity personified. My mother met Pat while they were living wildly in Boston in the ’80s; she is patchwork-y and takes trips to Africa and finds friends wherever she goes and she can make art out of anything. She reminds me that living itself is an art!

 

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I was raised by a woman who taught me to believe in magic and adventure and the magic of adventure. A devout composter and advocate for human rights, my mother has taught inner-city kids about caving, biked to Nova Scotia, and knows the scientific name for most plants. FOR SURE she will be in my pocket on these next adventures♥