Thursday, October 29, 2009

Working in Welly


So I've been in Wellington for one week and I already have a job and place to live! I had really good luck in my search. The job is doing weekend reception at a serviced apartments building (basically a really nice hotel) and it also includes accommodation. Here is the link to the website: It'll be 20 hours a week, which I'll get paid for and then I'll also do three or four nights per week on-call to "pay" for my room, which is at the tippy top of the building. There's also internet, a gym, and laundry that I can use for free. I'll be on a six month contract, but I'm not sure how airtight that is. But I really lucked out. The only thing I will have to buy is food. And I'll also have time to get some other part-time work if I want. Today was my second day, but I'm definitely already picking it up. It's weird to be doing something totally new again, but it's also really nice to be doing something that's not coffee-related. The room is cute. Tiny, but nice. It has these cool little doors on each side that lead out onto the roof so I can go sit on the roof and read! I'm really excited about that. Unfortunately I can't move in quite yet because I have to wait for the other person to move out, but it is definitely a relief to have this all worked out.

Other than that, I've just been exploring the city a little more and hanging out! Wellington is definitely really cool and there's some events here I'm really looking forward to, not to mention Eric visiting me over Christmas and New Years! Lots of fun coming up.

The other day a friend and I went for a hike to Island Bay (see picture), about 4 miles south of Wellington on the coast. It's really nice to know that it's possible to walk to the beach afterall. I even caught a glimpse of the South Island in the distance. It's a really beautiful bay and a cute town. We stopped at a fish and chips place (which are all over the country) and got a package of fried food, which included a fried hot dog. It was interesting... and delicious. And definitely helped with the 4 mile walk home. ;-)

So that's the latest news!! Not so sure I'll be reporting quite as often for the next little while since I'm kind of settling down and not so much is happening, but I will keep in touch!

Love, Laura

Monday, October 19, 2009

Wwoofing at Tauhara


So I've been wwoofing at the Tauhara Centre for almost two weeks now and they are kicking me out. :-( There are so many wwoofers that want to come here so they tend to ask the older ones to leave pretty quickly to make room. No one really gets to stay longer than two weeks contrary to what I was told when I first emailed them. I would think it would get slightly exhausting to basically be training new staff constantly, but oh well. I don't really want to leave yet. But I don't really have a choice so I'm heading back to Wellington on Wednesday!

It's been really nice here. I made a couple of German friends and generally had a lot of opportunity to relax and feel at home for a while. It's so calm up here in the hills and the centre has everything we need. It was also nice to get back into working again, at least for a little bit. I've come to realize something interesting about myself. It's really important for me to have the sense of community that comes from being in a place like this. It's similar to how working at Peaberry felt. It's different than just having friends and family and telling them about your life. It's a sense of really sharing a part of your life with other people who are doing the same thing. It's interesting. I didn't really realize before why I always loved Peaberry so much, but I feel the same sort of community here with the other wwoofers.

One day Anne, Luise, (my new German friends) and I walked to the nearby L'Arte Cafe. It was this really nice cafe with an art gallery next to it. They had all these mosaics. I'm not normally into mosaics, but these were really cool. (See picture.) It was a really nice afternoon trip.

Today I ventured out and walked from Huka Falls along the Waikato River into town. (See picture of Huka Falls.) The Waikato is the longest river in New Zealand. It flows from Lake Taupo north to the coast west of Auckland. There is also a huge hydroelectric power station north of Lake Taupo and I guess something like 15% of New Zealand's power comes from the Waikato river. So that's pretty cool.

Nothing too much to report here! It's been fun, but I have to move on I guess. I'll be back in Wellington on Wednesday night and will start the job search again this week. Hopefully I'll have more luck than before. I think the break has probably done me some good.

I'll update again soon after I get to Wellington!

Love, Laura

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

There and back again


Sorry for being so lazy on the updates lately. Lots has happened and I haven't felt like writing at all. I still don't, but I figure a few of you might wonder if I fell off the edge of the Earth or something... so here goes.

I left Waihi Beach and picked up the Stray bus again in Rotorua on the 29th of September. From there we went to Taupo. Along the way we stopped at these really cool pools of boiling mud. There's a ton of geothermal activity in the area so there's a ton of cool, free spots to stop. The weather was terrible though, so the Tongariro Crossing was canceled. From Taupo we went to National Park, which would have been really beautiful if the mountains weren't covered with clouds. I did get to see the mountains (including Mt. Doom (see picture)) on the way back up to Taupo, though (keep reading). We had beautiful weather then. But on the way to National Park we stopped and had a "picnic" lunch in a traditional Maori hangi. We got fish, kumara, sausages, pipis (little shellfish), asparagus, and mushrooms and cooked it all in this pit in the ground that's heated by the geothermal activity. It was pretty awesome. After spending the night in National Park we went to Wellington.

As I said in my earlier blogs, the original plan was to look for work in Wellington which I spent approximately one day doing before I decided that wasn't what I wanted to do. I think some combination of the gross hostel I was staying in, not having any friends, going from a tiny town to a huge foreign city, and looking for jobs being my least favorite thing to do in the world just kind of made me miserable. So I found an ad for a wwoofing place that sounded really cool and replied to that. So here I am back up in Taupo! Well, outside of Taupo, but close enough.

But before I left Wellington and after I decided not to look for a job, I actually had a pretty good time. I got to explore the city a bit and did even make some friends from the hostel. The first day there I explores the Te Papa museum. It's means "our place" and has a whole geological and cultural history of New Zealand. You could definitely spend a few days there. One day I took the cable car to the botanical gardens which were cool. I think they will be much more picturesque when things start blooming more, but it was still nice. Another day I walked up to the government buildings and a really old cathedral. The main government building is called the beehive (see picture) and is pretty interesting architecturally. Other than that I just walked around a lot and got to know the city a little bit. Enough to know that I do want to come back and try to find a job there still. It's a pretty cool place. Definitely very artsy. So hopefully I will be able to find a job when I get back.

The place where I'm wwoofing is called the Tauhara Center. It's basically like a conference center, but it's very spiritually oriented and whatnot. They have a meditation room and everyone here is very hippy. It's cool though. It has a great vibe and everyone is super nice. There's about 10 wwoofers here. We do all sorts of different jobs like working in the kitchen preparing meals, housekeeping, and gardening. Right now there is a conference group of about 60 people staying here so we've pretty much all been working in the kitchen. We work a lot actually. Either from 9-3 or 2-8ish. It's a lot of work for just accomodation and food, but it's just a really great place to be so it's worth it, at least for a little while anyway. I think after the group leaves things will calm down a lot too.

I'm not sure how long I'll be here exactly. Probably another week or so. After that I will head back down to Welly to try again with the job search!! So wish me luck!! I will try to be better about updating here too.

Love, Laura