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♥


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


New Year, Same Zealand!

New Zealand


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


(Remember this guy, though??)


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!

Admin or what

New Zealand

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, a cute Kiwi boy has 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.

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.