It’s Been a Real Slice, New Zealand!

New Zealand, Travel

AND JUST LIKE THAT, THE YEAR OF THE KIWI IS OVER! Fast year, eh? One of those mini-years; a year-lette if you will.

I’m writing this from Australia–where I am staying for 8 days and LOVING IT–and I’ve yet to grasp a single wisp of inspiration as to how to properly summarize my end-of-days in New Zealand. Rest assured, I wasn’t forced out legally.

Let me instead hurl some of my revelations at you:

  1. I was brave. Emily J. Poprocks is, for better or worse, a dreamer and not so much a doer. ‘Doing’ wrinkles your clothes so you have to do laundry; it makes you hungry and then you have to go grocery shopping again; it makes failure a possibility.

    But I DID move across the world! I figured out how to make a phone plan work, opened a foreign bank account, and found a home and a job and ukulele. I started an inconsequential drawing club that I loved. I made plans and kept some of them and missed a flight and jumped off a waterfall and drank different coffee and got lost and I can’t wait to do it again somewhere new.

  2. I made the sweetest, strangest friends.

    This is not to say that my pre-New Zealand friends were not sweet or strange because of course I only associate myself with borderline mythical creatures whose epidermises are covered in powdered sugar. I was just surprised that I made real, actual friends that I genuinely want to–and know I will–see again! #Europe2019

  3. I have a weirdly rigid work ethic, but not in a good way. Once I found a job it was all over for spontaneity. Must work on this (but not like work work.)
  4. I HATE A ROUTINE. It was nice to feel like I knew what was coming at me on the cosmic freeway, but having a schedule and bills with my name on them made me want to climb up a tree and never come down. So instead of staying put another 6 months, I’m moving to Hawaii.

Maybe I’ll go back one day and maybe I won’t, but New Zealand will always be part of me, like an extra kidney or maybe an important vertebra♥

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Stay tuned for a forthcoming anthology on the virtues of Melbourne, land of graffiti!

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New Year, Same Zealand!

New Zealand

I HAVEN’T TALKED TO YOU BUGS SINCE LITERAL LAST YEAR, HOW THE HELL ARE YA? How’re the kids?

Can I tell you about my Christmas? Because it was kind of precious and here’s why: although I had to work on the 24th, I took a holly, jolly stroll down to the city center at midnight for a Christmas Eve service. There weren’t enough chairs and I had to sit on the side of a pillar, and they sang a version of Oh Little Town of Bethlehem that was unfamiliar and it was just nice and strange and festive and reminded me I am living in a foreign country. In the morning, I made cinnamon chocolate chip pancakes like my mom always does on Christmas (except Susan makes them from scratch and not from the weird little pancake mix jar I found at the grocery store–c’est la vie.) New Years was a blur and we’ll leave it at that, but trust that there was a beach and fireworks and a very respectable meat pie at the end!

In fun-news-bulletins-to-top-all-previous-news-bulletins, I just spent 7 days at an arts center on Auckland’s North Shore with 4 other artists and our mentor, a graffiti artist named Otis, learning about/conceptualizing/producing mural panels and drinking hella mochas. I painted 3 murals in that caffeineadrenaline-fueled week, which have since been installed in a lakeside ampitheater as part of the set for a street-art themed production of Shakespeare. It would be accurate to say this year has gone off with a real bang in the weird opportunities category.

Auckland has recently been hit by moderate tropical storms (imagine living inside a dishwasher and you have a good picture–REAL wet and REAL windy. Less suds though.) On one of these morns, after plans for a beach day&picnic had been metaphorically washed down Queen Street, the day took a turn any 10-year-old might dream of.  Stage 1 consisted of eating deep fried Mars bars and was followed immediately by Stage 2: speeding around an insane playground (complete with a human-child-sized hamster wheel, whoever added that was an evil genius) while occasionally being antagonized by a small boy who was not afraid of the big slide I can tell you that, sir. In Stage 3, we ran down the beach in the rain to FREAKING HUMONGOUS hot chocolates. Life was good (and soggy) that day.

By this point in 2018, I’ve also been to a horrible bar that thought they could play the YMCA as a legitimate song and get away with it. (Don’t worry though! I’ve also been to a SO TRES COOL bar with a gin cocktail that is served in a bronze kettle with dry ice.) I went on a crab hunt with a fancy English princess work colleague, swam in 2 different waters on the same day, and walked through a semi-fried rose garden (IT’S HOT.)

Just on a more personal shelf in the armoire that is this blog, I’m looking for this to be a year of proper hydration and the destruction of habits that are holding me back. First up, fear masquerading as perfectionism; you can work on something for years saying, “It’s not exactly right yet, I can’t release this into the world,” but maybe DONE is better than PERFECT. You guys get it.

Inconsistently yours,

Emil Hatchew

emil

(Remember this guy, though??)

HEY SANTA! I’M DOWN HERE!

New Zealand

While you were experiencing the blog-version of radio silence, I was meeting cult-radio DJ/secret musician/lifestyle influencer Amelia Discrete (of previously-raved-about radio station 95bFM fame) at a pre-work live jam that took place outside of a record store on Queen Street last Friday!! There was heaps o’ filter coffee and an ill-advised introduction that went: “Hi Amelia!Big fan!Starstruck!Byeee.” #Friendshup

Additionally, I met a charismatic beach dog (did he love me or my sandwich??) and then trudged through literal mud for the sake of an ocean dunk. (I was too close to the marina, it turns out. Not ideal on the foot-feel.) I developed a quick bout of e.coli poisoning–I’m better now!– and facilitated an employee-wide Tim Tam slam event during a shift at work right beneath my manager’s nose and lived to speak of the tale! I took a classic holiday stroll in 70 degree weather and saw one house standing among the effortfully (surely that’s a word) lighted yards/ porches/ shrubbery with a sign that said “Ditto” and an arrow pointing next door, which deserves something like a fruit basket. Then, in my most charitable act of 2017, I painted a 6-foot wooden panel in the center of St. Kevin’s Arcade; the panels are part of an artist collaboration which fit together to form a Christmas tree and are about to be auctioned off to support a cool organization that feeds people, so that’s that!

This brings me to the strange fact that it’s basically Christmas but it’s also summer here in Auckland and I correspondingly feel like a weird little puppet whose internal clock is telling her to wear flannel, bobbing along in front of sunny-as scenery and time is a sham and everyone is just pretending to be on the same page of the calendar BUT WE MIGHT AS WELL BE IN A FESTIVE BOTTLE OF GLITTER-WATER THAT WE MADE IN ART CLASS. (Did you ever do that? I remember my bottle leaking.)

People are working on their holiday tans while wearing snowflake earrings; there’s an 8 foot Christmas tree on the beachfront; yesterday my roommate turned on the air-con. It’s a real hullabaloo! I’ve enacted a practice of late where I sit down for 20 minutes a day and do nothing but listen to Christmas carols to force that damn holiday spirit. It’s like a warped, jazzy form of meditation and I think it’s working! Although it may or may not be 10PM on December 24th as I write this from my bed eating a taco; you can infer what you want about the height of my spirit this holiday season.

If you came for updates on the mobile, I have the following news to report: there is very little news to report, except that I made a clay bit (from clay I found) and a stripey bit (from the sleeves of a t-shirt I Edward Scissorhands’d aka cut.) Guys! It’s called follow-through and I AM GAINING IT.

Experimentally yours,

Emily Johannesburg Pacheco (HAHA WHAT IF THAT WERE MY REAL NAME?!)

P.S. for any northern-Massachusetts-based garden elves and their lazy dogs who are reading this right now, I am sending several rays of sun your way with my mental might. ENJOY!

6 & 7, CATCH UP

New Zealand

You know those times in life when you’ve been doing a good amount of activities but they’re all kind of at the same level of interesting so nothing particularly stands out from the pack so you can’t decide which things to write about in your weekly blog and which to keep to yourself hence you just avoid yonder blog for 10 days until you get invited to a Stevie Nicks concert? If so, TALK IT OUT WITH YOUR CO-WORKER DEANNA CUZ I DON’T WANNA HEAR A PEEP OF IT; this is my space.

Back from a short hiatus that had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with ridiculous problems mentioned in paragraph 1, I give you Year of the Kiwi Installment No. 6 AND 7–HIT IT, MARLON! *Cue the beginning bars to Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock’s “It Tales Two”*

This week I gained a garment rack, a.k.a. the one piece of bedroom furniture I really needed and wanted and craved and yearned at, for free via my people-skills (I wrote a note to my neighbors who had the afforementioned garment rack on their porch, confirming, once and for all, all excellent communicator claims made on my CV!) Then I ate $4 lunch pizzas–of the chicken and brie and chili sauce variety, massive yum we could say–with the Frenchie, Garance, who is from literal Paris and knows I call her the Frenchie so it’s cool I swear.

All has been mellow on every other front, EXCEPT, OH YAH! LAST TIME WE SPOKE I WAS A GIRL WHO HAD NEVER BEEN IN THE SAME ROOM AS STEVIE NICKS AND NOW THAT FACT CAN BE SCRIBBLED RIGHT OFF THE LIST OF KNOWN FACTS ABOUT EMILY PACHECO.

GUYSSSS. I love Fleetwood Mac as much as the next person but I was unprepared for how. damn. cool Stevie Nicks the Person is. Killer friend and flower Annie Marie Scheck (don’t call her that) managed free tickets by barbecuing her own spleen, I believe? Stephanie told us about her friendship with Tom Petty and the time she wrote a poem to Prince and then looked right into my eyeballs and encouraged me everyone to hold their dreams in their hands and pray for it every single night until it comes true. OK WILL DO THANKS STEVIE<3

Also I got this dress (and a double chin!) for $14 NZD:

Dress

Take care of yourselves out there, chicken tenderloins!

Wabbit Season

New Zealand

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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.

Hold your applause

New Zealand

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

New Zealand

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

Sweet As, Bro

New Zealand

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 circus-themed restaurant (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 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.