So, 24 years and 343 days behind me. New Year's Eve December 2004.
I gaze upon the life that has become me. The successes and failures that have passed.
I had all the whiteware once you know - fridge, washing machine, dryer, 29" screen tv, dvd player, stereo.
I had a job that paid 29 dollars an hour. Much less that some I know. Much more than most.
I had a boyfriend that loved me, brought me flowers, called on New Year's no matter where he was, and snuggled up to me at night.
I had so many DVDs and Books and Clothes that one would think shopping is an addiction. Where else do you spend your money when you don't need it to pay bills?
Now, I am a student, working part time in Woolworths, getting student allowance from the government. I own a handful of DVDs I never watch, 3 Music CDs, a hand me down bed (it is a very nice soft bed though!) and 3 fluffy toys. I do have the entire Patricia Cornwell book collection, this dick smiths laptop and a four hundred dollar computer to play World of Warcraft on. The PC has a $500 network card in it and a gig of ram, both of which I got for free (thanks boys!)
So see, no matter how you look on life, there is always good and the bad. Mum says but think of the people in Africa, bet they have it even worse than you. Of course they do, but what effect does that have on my universe? When people say "the world revolves around you", if you throw away the narcissistic connotation, it's pretty much true. A person is the focal point of their universe. Cheers to you, Mr Einstein!
And as I enter this New Year with nothing to my name but a kind heart and good intentions, I think to myself, is that really worth it?
Perhaps Angel's curse has it right: he's evil - he's happy; he's nice - he's brooding. Maybe being nice isn't all it's cracked up to be. Perhaps selfishness is the new black.
Nasty has never been me, and I'm not blowing my own trumpet here, I speak of it as a personal flaw. Kindness and giving gets you in the manure. You get kicked by the very horse you're riding with. Insert some other mixed metaphor here.
The last 25 years have become Groundhog Life. I have a job, I lose a job, I have a job, I lose a job. I have a man, I lose a man, I have a man, I lose a man. I have lived in New Zealand 10 years in June, I have moved house 10 times. I have never celebrated an anniversary of anything besides being alive. I've never been with a man for a year (on and off kinda resets the anniversary counter unfortunately), I've never held a job for longer than a year, I've never lived in the same place for long... Dido's song comes to mind.
And it's not like I've been doing it on purpose, but I do feel that perhaps I somehow sabotage my success when the year approaches. I do things to get me fired, dumped, or evicted. Probably just so I can mope about it on an internet diary afterwards.
The point of this entry? - I hear you cry plaintively.
No point, just a milestone to a fresh start. Put a steak in the ground.
I was going to write how perhaps I should duck out of this race since I'm coming last in several events anyways, but how can one quit the race of life?
There are a lot of question marks in this entry for some reason. Like religion - all questions, no answers.
New Year, all bare, alone and free, I embrace thee.
Friday, December 31, 2004
So, 24 years and 343 days behind me. New Year's Eve December 2004.
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
stop wearing heart on a sleeve
care less about people and more about things
show not emotions when they surface
depend not on opinions of others
pass all the uni papers even when disullusion and laziness eventually kick in
brush teeth day and night even when laziness and drunkeness interfere
initiate not contact with people - if they want to communicate, they will get in touch
concentrate on enjoyment of life and not its meaning - spread shallow and thin, not deep and meaningful
jump not into things with full abandon
: 12:12 am
Sunday, December 26, 2004
Surprisingly not hungover today. Ended up going to bed around 20:30, read till about 10pm. Just when I had given up on xmas, my mum rang. Funny actually, because I thought she didn't really do xmas, but turns out she had been out all day at Long Bay beach with friends, drinking and celebrating and had just got home. Well well.
It was good to talk to her. We did have the obligatory arguments and screaming, but she did have some good advice and stories to go with it. All in all, the two hour phone call turned out to be good.
Kitty cuddled up to me most of the night and that was choice.
This morning I cooked myself scrambled eggs and salmon (being my Sunday tradition), drank some more red wine, followed by coffee and shortbread biscuits that Andrea baked. Very tasty. Watched some City of Angels, but it was lame, so switched to Nancy Drew on TV2. Maybe I should become a reporter for some Uni publication like her. I wonder how one goes about that. Couldn't find any answers on google.
Fed the cat, fed the dog, cleaned up the poos off the deck. Lovely day really, having spent christmas alone, nothing seems to matter anymore. Not in a depressing way, woe is me way, no no, I just don't mind anymore, it should be a good thing.
Ocean's Twelve and The Incredibles are out in the movies today. I forgot to bring cash with me, so if I want to catch the train into town, I'd have to walk to the dairy first, and I'm not sure if it's open. Might just wait till tomorrow.
God I can't wait till Uni starts. I have all this worked out, big goal of finishing Uni, moving to New York or Virginia or Tennessee to get a career, visiting Italy for summer holidays. I am a dreamer you could say. Not even two months ago, I had a goal of moving to Germany, becoming the best housewife in the northern hemisphere, and an excellent cook. What separates a dreamer from a loser?
A few days ago I got told that I have the kindest heart and bluest eyes. What more could a person ask for really.
: 3:30 pm
Saturday, December 25, 2004
The day has come. The day one is supposed to spend with people that love them.
Andrea's presents were most delightful - they were exactly what I had planned to get myself, and now I don't have to :)
She got me an Angel Calendar, three lovely candles that smell delicious and fit perfectly into my empty candle holder, two nice smelling pouches of lavender, and a bird feeder.
Geoff got me a big eyed soft cuddly floppy puppy (a soft toy). So very sweet of him.
I am drinking a nice Pinot Noir as I am writing this, the dog is asleep, the cat has gone somewhere awandering. Black Adder is on TV. I've had a hot shower.
I watched When Harry met Sally just before. I'd never seen the movie. It was probably quite a silly thing to do watching it on xmas day while being alone. Yes, the festivities pretty much were over after I opened the presents and a few minutes later found out that the friends I was hoping would visit me today are either too busy, lazy or tired.
On the upside, I have about 6 channels of TV to watch movies about love and christmas cheer on, and two and a half bottles of wine to get through. Also, Andrea made me a nice quiche to eat. And there is christmas cake in the pantry. I brought over my book, my laptop, Psycho and Alice on DVD. And hey, I get to spend the weekend with the two people that love me unconditionally as long as I feed them - Martini the cat and Aslan the dog.
I will probably go and make the molted wine sometime soon, and warm up the quiche to eat - haven't had breakfast today.
I miss the idea of having someone. Not necessarily the person I was with last, just someone to care for.
Ah well, the point is to enjoy life. I am glad I am not playing World of Warcraft this weekend, that'd be the bottom of the barrel. Black Adder is much funnier when you're cynical and bitter. It's strange that a lot of jokes are about Germany.
I hope the people I care about are having a good one.
Over and out.
: 3:02 pm
Friday, December 24, 2004
"So this is Christmas And what have we done. Another year over. And a new one just begun."
Here's a friendly message from your supermarket staff: Buy your shopping in advance, don't bloody leave it till the last minute. Geez people, think of the little elves!
Anyhow, no interesting updates today, same old same old.
Here's a poem I found in the staff cafeteria today:
CHRISTMAS IS CANCELLED !!
T'was the night before Christmas - Old Santa was pissed.
He cussed out the elves and threw down his list.
Miserable little brats, ungrateful little jerks.
I have a good mind to scrap the whole works!
I've busted my ass for damn near a year.
Instead of "Thanks Santa" - what do I hear?
The old lady bitches cause I work late at night...
The elves want more money - The reindeer all fight.
Rudolph got drunk and goosed all the maids.
Donner is pregnant and Vixen has AIDS.
And just when I thought that things would get better,
Those assholes from IRS sent me a letter.
They say I owe taxes - if that ain't damn funny.
Who the hell ever sent Santa Claus any money?!
And the kids these days, they all are the pits.
They want the impossible ...Those mean little shits.
I spent a whole year making wagons and sleds,
Assembling dolls...their arms, legs and heads,
I made a ton of yoyo's - No requests for them...
They want computers and robots..they think I'm IBM.
Flying through the air...dodging the trees,
Falling down chimneys and skinning my knees.
I'm quitting this job...there's just no enjoyment.
I'll sit on my fat ass and draw unemployment.
There's no Christmas this year...now you know the reason...
I found me a blonde. I'm going SOUTH for the season!
: 12:56 am
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Guess what, I don't have to work on Christmas Day and they have to pay me because I would normally work on a Saturday. Score!
Work at the Deli last night was most amusing. There were four of us for some reason. Me and Amy (I'm replacing Amy as it was her last shift), Leonie the 50 year old lady, and Toria the 16 year old girl. Needless to say, Amy and I had to play the babysitter and the peacekeeper to keep the other two at bay.
Questions one asks when they're 16: How long do you have to go out with your boyfriend before you can call him your partner?
Problems one has when they're 16: I died my hair black last night and I'm really worried my mum will come in the shop and see it. (she lives with her dad, you see).
Questions one asks when they're 50: Have you done the chickens Lana? Have you done them? Should I do them? Did you do the chickens?
Problems one has when they're 50: Toria, you didn't wrap the cheese properly, can you please do it again! No that's not good enough!
Speaking of cheese - we had to cut giant blocks of it into smaller portions, gladwrap it and price it. There were many a joke about cutting cheese last night. I will probably never look the same at cheese again. Toria and I gave a cheese block a wedgie - using a cheese slicer without taking the plastic off, it rammed the plastic right into the middle of the cheese block. There was much amusement and laughter. Oh, to be sixteen again!
I love the gladwrapping machine, I'd wrap everything in it if I could. We also get gloves, last week they were your stock standard latex ones, but this week we got boxes of vinyl blue gloves! They're amazing! I might have to take some home.
We have to wear gloves for everything (and one would be a fool not to). I had to tray chickens last night - putting raw chickens in a tray for the next day to go into the oven.
Blue gloves, squishy cold bloody raw chickens, cheese cutters, fish heads, and a lot of glad wrap. There is a horror movie script right there, I tell you! Speaking of horrors, I heard a rumour the other day that some men can last in bed longer than 40 seconds. Note to self: must investigate further.
I bought a packet of mulled wine spices and a bottle of red wine. Nothing can stop me from having the Christmas I anticipated in Germany - mulled wine will save the day.
Had a lovely visitor yesterday morning, tim tams for breakfast - nothing wrong with that :)
Got DVDs from Nick as Christmas prezzie - how sweet! The Scream collection and Psycho, is he trying to tell me something?! :)
Met up with Andrea today for lunch. So nice to see her - she always brings so much joy and lots of smiles. She gave me xmas presents but I'm not allowed to open them till Christmas day.
Bought a Nora Jones CD. Wonder if it's any good. Off to listen to it. Ta ta.
: 2:33 pm
Sunday, December 19, 2004
Yesterday went to Uni to enrol properly. Had to drop German because I have so many other papers to do. One of the biomed papers clashed with chemistry paper, and the professor let me take the next 3rd year paper instead. I feel "thpethial".
Went to the movies with the boys. Watched Saw. Pretty good.
Today is a month since I've come back from Germany. Been feeling a bit flat and uninspired.
Annoys me to write about feelings. When I browse random blogs, there are so many whiney writers that go on about their hurt feelings and nobody loves them and woe is them. I mean, really! - so shit happens, get over it.
Easier said than done I suppose - your biggest enemy is your own mind. I could convince myself of any crazy odd thing in the matter of minutes. Unconvincing is harder.
Not caring is the hardest. I can do hating, I can do loving, I can even sometimes manage both at the same time with polka dots on the side. But not caring is a bitch. I am very good at showing the not caring now. But when the darkness comes and all the entertainment options have exhausted themselves for the night, all I want is that person to hold.
I've perfected the not talking, not emailing, not icqing, not sobbing. I show perfect nothing. I have a constant metallic taste in my mouth. The taste of lying to myself.
But what can you do. You can't make someone else change their mind. I was never good at sales. Especially outbound.
Meh, I've become the whiney writer I so dispise. I want to be funny and sarcastic, a bit cynical and comical. Instead I sound bitter and empty.
Got my copy of WoW today, the fun won't stop now.
In the 14th episode of Angel season 5, Angel gets turned into a puppet. Who am I to complain about anything? Incidentally, he also gets a date in the same episode. Go figure.
: 1:56 am
Thursday, December 16, 2004
I had real shifts on the check out the last couple of days. Serving customers, scanning products, packing bags, the works.
Did I mention that check out is EXACTLY like monopoly? Everyone has their own cash drawer. At the start of the week you get 200 dollars, broken down nicely into twenties, tens, fivers and coins. Whatever money you get during the week you get to keep (except you don't want to keep too much so you send off excess float at the end of every shift back to the vault), and at the end of the week you cash in all the money in your drawer. First shift next week, you pass go and get two hundred dollars. Fantastic! Nothing like manhandling thousands of dollars to discredit the value of cash.
Worked in the morning today, and night yesterday. Mornings are better - you get lots of grandmas shopping and they're nice and slow and chatty and no one is in a hurry or stressed out. Except you also get adults with kids and kids are sneaky little buggars, they try to sneak in sweets onto the conveyor belt while their parents aren't watching. Like a good checkout chick, I scan everything that comes my way, only to be greeted with screams of the angered parents that want "THAT CANCELLED RIGHT THIS MINUTE, YOU'RE NOT ALLOWED SWEETS, SON!"
If I void something more than once or the void exceeds five dollars, I have to get the manager to put in their magic key. It's great.
I had a screaming match with one of the flatmates tonight. My topic ranged from things like "do your fucking dishes" and "you smell" to "don't make toll calls if you don't have the money to pay your last bill" and "stop stealing my bread". His retorts varied from "I've let you play WoW" and "Internet is your only friend" to "you are a bludger off the government and I have to work for a living". It was better than Viviana's arguments on Next Action Star. I do so love that show.
I made a pizza again tonight. This one wasn't much of a success. I used Havarti instead of Camembert, and let me tell you - it's not a pizza type of cheese.
WoW is down tonight, and he's right - Internet is my only friend. I had to look up everyone's addresses on whitepages.co.nz to send them christmas cards. What's worse is I didn't even know half the peoples' real names.
Chris' latest blog cut a bit. Well, no, it cut like an AIDS infected knife plunged into the left ventricle.
On the upside I received a letter from the School of Physical and Chemical Sciences congratulating me on my excellent chemistry grades and suggesting I do more chemistry because I showed flair for it.
Universe is an ever constant balancing act. The scales of life seem to always even out. What a bitch, eh.
: 8:53 pm
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
... and it's not from working on an adult movie set.
It's amazing how painful standing up for 7 hours can be. Guess I've gotta work those popliteus muscles! Walking up the stupid hill afterwards is not much fun either. I come up with these crazy motivational ideas such as if I stop on the hill stairs, I will get cancer of the little toe, and so I keep walking up the stairs :)
Worked in the Deli today. Managed to stab my thumb with the meat slicer, set off the alarm on the outside door, and drop the chiller door into the salads. It was great! They tell me I will be sole charge the Tuesday after next.
Training on the check out tomorrow. Apparently I'll even get to handle the money. Mmm money, mmm handle...
I baked muffins on Sunday. Banana and mandarin (was just using up what crusty fruit we had around the house). Surprisingly they turned out very tasty, and the boys chowed them down within the day.
On Sunday night I made a pizza. Tomato puree, pine nuts, camembert and basil flakes. I call it less is more pizza. It was actually very tasty and Geoff agreed. It even doubled as my lunch the next day. I love cold next day pizza. Yum yum!
With all the warcraft playing and cooking on the weekend, I actually felt like I was levelling up. The other night I was coughing in my sleep and I dreamt that I levelled my cough. Who said I am playing too much? I am on a 10 day trial and the game is still out of stock in stores, and so I feel I should really be using my 10 days to the fullest just in case it doesn't arrive.
Not much else to say today, been pretty worn out with all the supermarket work. They want me to do training shifts in between my rostered shifts, and even though it's not 40 hours a week, going there every day is a bit annoying. Mostly because of Mr. Steep Hill and his merry band of bush trees.
Having not worked in many months, it's a bit of a shock to the system. Although, I must say, the hard physical stand on your feet all day work is much better than the mind numbing brain oozing out of your ears office work. It just feels more satisfying.
: 12:16 am
Thursday, December 09, 2004
Friends, Romans, countrymen, I include the link to my gallery of photos. Some of it is a test of photography skills, some are just snapshots. In theme with the blog, you might find interesting directory titled Paris.
New additions of Frankfurt am Main, and Karori Flat will have to wait as it appears I left my camera USB cable in Frankfurt.
Also, while we're on the subject of everyday monotony, do check out the google links on the left. Apparently I might get paid if someone clicks on them.
I've put more info into my profile and added a wishlist. Just in case someone's money is burning a hole in their pocket.
Ta ta for now.
: 11:00 pm
Well well well, no world of warcraft for me today, so I might as well write a little blog, do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonight... ahem.. got carried away there.
Right. I couldn't sleep last night and thought up this little piece of philosophical fiction. It sounded better in my head at four in the morning. Proceed at your own risk.
Romantic Love. Yes, the touchy heartfelt subject of the moment. What's with it?!
It irritates me that love is so dramatic yet it's the most trivial thing about. You never expect love, it just happens; once it happens, you think it will never go away and it does.
Common Cold. It's so dramatic, it knocks you out for a few days, you think you'll never walk again, then a few days later it's gone as if it's never been.
Both have been around for centuries. Everyone's had both at some time or another. Often at the same time.
People have written books above love. The heartwrenching literary works of prose and poetry. Romeo and Juliet. Desdemona and Othello. Dharma and Greg. People putting themselves through happiness and desire, misery and heartbreak, often not realising the motions they're going through. Flirt a little, get to know the person, go out, make out, get closer, get comfortable, make a commitment, get tired, break up, take time off, chill, feel the longing, get back together, cheat, lie, cry, the list goes on, doesn't it? We all dance this waltz of love, knowing the pas off by heart and following the rhythm with perfect precision.
A common cold. Centuries of medical advancement, we can beat small pox and bubonic plague, implant silicone and collagen into various human parts without leaving a scar, make semi-cyborgs of people, and we still cannot get rid of the stupid cold!
Goddam, get off your whitie ass and invent a cure!
But the most tragic thing of all is how trivial these both things are.
You get inflicted with a cold, you're out of action, you feel like crap, you stay awake all night coughing up a lung or two (actually that's exactly what brought on this lyrical waxing), you don't want to leave the bed, but it's better during the day when you've got something to do or someone to chat with.
A few days later you realise you're feeling fine and it's like the cold has never visited you at all, you forget how much of a pain it was, and act all surprised when, in a few months time, you catch a new one.
You get a healthy doze of a heartbreak, you're out of action, you feel like crap, you stay awake all night thinking up all the various possibilities and could have beens, you don't want to leave the bed, but it's easier during the day when you've got something to do or someone to chat with.
After some period of time, you realise you're feeling fine and it's like you were not ever in pain to start with, you meet someone new, get swept off your feet, and forget all the misery you went through not that long ago.
Hang on, stop right there, I'm repeating myself! You don't say.
You'd think all the clever people of the world would invent something more useful than electricity and eradicate these two evils of civilisation. The world would be a newly invented ray of sunshine. Ok, maybe not.
But you know, apparently sometimes people do break out of the waltz and dance a jig instead. I hear it's good.
This simile was brought to you by the words Dimetapp and Rhinovirus.
: 9:42 pm
So I got a job. Nothing flash. Understatement of the year. It's a job at the supermarket. Practically 25 years old, working in a supermarket. Yep, it's great.
Speaking of irony, I am working at Deli. I am vegetarian. Don't laugh yet, there is more.
The government pays me poor student summer benefit. If I earn 80 dollars before tax, they reduce this benefit by 70 cents for every dollar over.
I did some Maths 101, and with the hours that I have, payrate and the reduced-if-you-earn benefit that I am getting, for 15 hours of work I will get 7 dollars a week more than for 8 hours of work. That's right, my faithful readers, I will get 1 dollar an hour overall. Send no money now! Well, actually, do send money.
You can laugh now if you want.
Had my first day at work today. Got the uniform, oh how lovely it is! The hat and apron, the works!
It was Christmas Club night tonight at the supermarket. It was insanely busy, so I learned rather quick. We had a lot of giveaways in the store. So much, that we got heaps of free stuff to take home. I don't mind!
Standing on your feet for 5 hours is hard work when you haven't done that sort of thing in 6 years, that's for sure.
I bought a computer desk from the Salvation Army the other day. For ten bucks, it's a steal! (probably literally) They're delivering it this Friday.
I'm hoping World of Warcraft is in stores on Friday. It'd better be, or else. What? nah just messing with ya. Will probably end up going out to a pub to test out the new no smoking law. Can't wait!
Anyhoo, the bed calls. Well, hang on, I am in bed.
Cheerio (that's a sausage)
: 1:36 am
Saturday, December 04, 2004
blogs are funny things. Well, not haha funny, but sort of reflect on life funny. Odd.
You'd be sitting there, enjoying the most beautiful sunrise, looking over the hills of wellington from your floor to ceiling windows, having your scrambled eggs and salmon, or viewing the sunset while sipping a glass of desert wine; and you'd think to yourself - "I could write a really good blog entry right now". And you don't, seeing how you're busy enjoying whatever it is you're doing.
A few hours or days pass and you think, I really should write that down, but then you realise the moment has passed and the lyrical wax has crusted over and is no longer waxing.
a pity really, my dear viewers, because there were a lot of beautiful things to say.
A bit broke this week - paying bond, rent in advance, stocking up the pantry. Back into negatives. Hopefully the much awaited money should be transferred soon and I will be back to normal.
Hey, at least I got the internet back. And if all goes well, I might even see some of you on World of Warcraft soon.
: 11:32 pm
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
So Monday came. I knew I should go out and sort out some things. Phone, money, job.
First time I set a foot outside in four days.
Andrea and Paul went to Martinborough on Sunday, came back early Monday morning, sunburned to hell. They dropped me off in town as they went to work.
First things first, I was feeling quite quesy so headed to Sardines to get some breakfast. Little did I know that my stomach wouldn't accept even delicious hot way too expensive scrambled eggs on toast. Ah well, I tried.
Onto Vodafone shop, enquired about getting my phone unlocked. No such luck they say. Buggar.
Went to another Vodafone shop in Manners Mall, the asian guy there suggested I try the phone place at the top of James Smiths. Headed there, they don't open till midday.
Walked up to Studylink, asked to be signed up for Unemployment Benefit Student Hardship. You have to be registered with Student Job Search. I was, but over summer everyone has to re-register.
Walked back down Willis St to Manners. Just as I turn around the corner, my bus is at the lights. I knock on the door in hopes to still catch it. The lady opened. I thought it was a mighty nice gesture.
For some reason, the trip on the bus was like a tour. Everyone chatted as if they knew each other. Then at Lambton Quay, this guy gets in. At first I thought he was retarded but now I think he was just mangled a bit. He sits down opposite me and starts a conversation. Turns out 5 years and 9 days ago (!!), he got too drunk in 7th form and fell down from a second story of a building, landed on his right hand side, now he's lucky to walk.
This old lady across the aisle kept looking at us, obviously concerned at his chatty manner. Then she goes to him "Do you know where you are going? Do you know where you have to get off?". He says "Of course I do". Then turns to me and starts telling me how some people in Wellington are just looney.
On the Terrace, this Pacific Islander woman gets off, sits next to me. I didn't really look at her. Then I glanced over and her arms were shaved, some stubble showing. I was like, fair enough, lots of people shave for the summer, might be easier than waxing or whatever. Then I look up to her neck and it's got a stubble too. Five o'clock shadow you might say. Yeah, it was a dude.
My newly found friend, Anthony, also tried chatting to her. She got all freaked out and moved up to another seat.
At this point the old lady is chatting some indian woman with a child.
It was so surreal, all these people coming together for one bus trip, all so weird and strange, all becoming friendly for that fleeting moment.
New Zealand, Wellington, the land of happiness and sunshine. Felt like I was watching a TV program, not there.
Anyways I went and registered with SJS, got some job referral that never answered my calls, never mind. Headed down to Hunter building and gave my details to Studylink. Hopefully the dosh will be good. They can't tell you how much it'll be, not like Student Allowance, here they decide individually. One would hope it covers my rent.
So then I caught a bus back to James Smiths. How gutted was I when I looked at the opening hours of that shop once again and realised it's not even open on Mondays!
Walked down to Dymocks, couldn't resist and bought Trace by Patricia Cornwell. Damn, hardbacks are expensive.
Walked some more, grabbed a potato gratin from Wishbone, got a train home.
The gratin managed to last me two meals as I almost threw up the first time. Tasty.
Came home, went to sleep. I've completely screwed up my bodyclock this time around. I stay up all night, reading, watching tv, talking to Chris. Sleep all day. Sleep just seems so much sweeter in daylight. No idea why.
I've gotta get back to normal hours today though - Amanda is coming back tomorrow. She'll be ringing me, and I'd better answer.
The wonderful sun didn't last long. Today it's full on torrential rains. Suits me just fine though - still have about 8 episodes of various stuff to watch and 2 books to read. Probably should find a job though, hmm.
: 1:05 am
Saturday, November 20, 2004
When something goes wrong in your life, do you think it's something you've done or something has been done to you? Did you make a mistake or did you fail completely? Is it karma or is it destiny?
Destiny seems so fatalistic. Why do anything if everything is already predestined? But then again Karma would mean something really went wrong in the previous life. Or maybe it's saving up for the next one?
I find it a bit sad that so many times in my life I could only come up with the right answers after the voting booths had closed, so to speak. I realised I shouldn't have got shitty with the manager only after he fired me. I realised I should have punched back after the kids at school beat me up. I realised I should have brought up an issue and discussed it in detail and without fear only after the issue had reached its flash point and exploded in my face.
Ah, the beauty of hindsight.
So do I really learn from my mistakes though? Or do I vow to never repeat them only to repeat them again once things get comfortable. You've practiced the model answers so many times, you've revised for the exam hour after hour. Only to come to the exam and get all the answers wrong. Not because you don't know something, but because you're scared. Because you think someone else will take the fall for you, because you rely on everyone else in life.
So easy it is to know what to say when no one is listening. So hard it is to make someone else hear you.
It's so hard to make someone else happy. It is so hard to be happy yourself without having someone. So hard to give your heart away, your life away, all your belongings, only to be stomped on and thrown out with the garbage.
I cry now the same tears I've cried so many times before. Do I really learn?
At Uni, if you fail the same paper more than twice, or if you fail more than half of your course in a year, you're not allowed to study anymore. Guess I should take a leaf out of that book of "harsh/true". I will be 25 soon. One can no longer call this a growing up experience. I'd say it's pretty much a screwed up life.
: 7:15 am
The flight back was quite good. Didn't feel as long, and I am sure Qantas in flight entertainment has a lot to answer for that. For my lack of sleep also, I imagine.
The planes are fitted with personal screens and handsets for all passengers. There is a choice of about 5 movies and 5 other video channels, 13 radio channels and 10 games. One can also call and send SMS from their seat if one is so inclined.
Needless to say, I played a lot of tetris. I also watched in full Dodgeball, Envy, and I, Robot. I must say dodgeball exceeded my expectations. When I watched the previews a while back, I thought it was going to be a shitty retard-o movie, but it was actually quite funny and sweet. Envy wasn't too bad either. I, Robot's ending sucked and I wasn't overly impressed with the cheesy CGI.
There was this amazing Australian comedy (a TV series) that was just like The Castle. I have no idea what it was called, but it was brilliant. So bloody funny. Just like The Castle, it had a narrative voice over. And the same over the top accent. I must find out what it was and get it on dvix or dvd.
Food and in flight speef were impressive also. I didn't order a vegetarian meal but still managed to get away with it as for dinner there was a salmon lasagna, and for breakfast scrambled eggs.
I also got given socks and a toothbrush. And during the "night", we got given a snack pack in case someone got hungry or thirsty until breakfast.
In fact, I was so impressed with Qantas over all the other airlines I've flown with this month, that I have joined their frequent flyer programme and am hoping to clock up more points soon. Hell, maybe I should become a flight attendant :)
Oh, on the plane from Auckland to Wellington, I got to sit next to Raybon Kan, my hero. I guess the trip wasn't a complete waste of time and money now :D
The day I arrived, I was completely wasted. Fell asleep on the train, dreamt of flight attendants bringing me coffee. Tragic really. I came home about 8 pm and slept till 6 pm the next day. Everyone needs a good sleep I say.
Finally I get to use my own computer. Seemed just like an extra use of space taking to europe and not ever needing it really.
: 7:04 am
Saturday, November 13, 2004
so, now that I am staying in the same city for a while, how should I title my entries? Will have to think about it. Any suggestions? I really like Chris' ones - he comes up with all sorts of smart comments. Wenn du willst.
Today is the second day of the german course. Four hours of German a day. I don't think my head is designed for more than one language at a time. I think in German on the way from the course and have difficulty saying anything in English for about an hour afterwards. Last night I fell asleep waiting for Chris, and when he got home and woke me up I couldn't understand what he was saying. He got annoyed because he thought I was being moody. Oops.
The pronounciation of Turkish girls in the class is quite undecipherable, and the asian girls have trouble with sch sounds, but the one from Bosnia is really good, also the girls from Iran, Poland, and Russia.
Every class begins with a new topic which I really like. Yesterday we did everything to do with cars and driving licenses, today everything to do with planes and trains. Learned about Orient Express, I didn't even realise there is one in Australia.
A lot of English leaks through when talking about travel and transport which I find quite amusing.
Other language speaking is not allowed in the class. Verboten!
So even in the breaks I speak german with the russian girl. It's quite strange, but I think my german is a bit better than my russian at the moment. In fact, when one learns the language, it's quite hard to think in another language at the same time. I don't know how interpreters do it.
While buying the internet credit just then, I had yet another encounter with my arabic "friend". He speaks English as badly as he does German.
"Hello, you forget me?"
"where is your girlfriend?"
"oh you speak french?!"
"no, that is english. I mean what did you say?"
"where is your girlfriend?"
"I don't have a girlfriend here"
"You are here alone?!"
"Nope, my friend is here"
"Where is your friend? Is he your boyfriend?"
"He's at work"
"Ah but I am here, I can help you out"
Chris finds it all amusing.. Ah well, I haven't come to any harm yet, so all is well that ends well.
Today we have secured an apartment. Chris texted me that he's got it sorted and DSL connected. Can't wait to have my own internet in a non-smoking room. All the smoking is really getting to me. Smoking is allowed absolutely anywhere. I am not sure how their smoke detectors work, they must only detect when something is completely burning down.
I think today we're getting the keys and tomorrow can move in. The apartment is in the most desirable part of Frankfurt - Bornheim. All the maps are quite misleading, especially the subway stations map. One would think it's miles away, but yesterday we walked from Bornheim to Hauptbahnhof in just under half an hour. Yet there are like 2 trains and 7 stations between these two parts. Bornheim is also close to the Zoo, so looking forward to that.
The tour I was planning to go on yesterday was cancelled due to lack of interest. I'll try again today.
I really like the way bikes work here... I New Zealand a bike is a method of fitness and whatnot. Here it's just a simple means of transportation. People in Cashmere coats ride bikes to work. No helmets, no spandex, no fancy mountainbikes. Just simple bikes and simple people. Bikes can go on the footpath, which is also good as I was normally scared to ride on the roads.
Not much else to say today, simple day. Chris and I had a bit of a fight last night, I guess it's a bit hard getting used to each other after a couple of months apart. Hopefully, we understand each other better soon.
Might go see if this tour is still on. Bis später.
: 2:07 am
Thursday, November 11, 2004
Staying at Learn and Stay Hostel on Kairsetstrasse, right next to the main train station. There are only two hostels in Frankfurt and this one is the only one in the centre. Little did I know that Kaiserstrasse is the red-light district that can be rivalled only by Amsterdam itself. There are no prosties on the street or anything, but there are sex shops bigger than The Warehouse. Three floors of dirty shopping, every second door along the street. Really something.
The room is quite nice and big, although instead of a double bed, we got two single ones. Everything in the room squeaks - the beds, the floor, the doors. Quite amusing really. The shower is really nice and I am happy with that. Although, for the last two mornings some neighbouring flats must have insisted on extra showering and we ended up with cold water.
I am not planning to do any sight seeing until we've settled in and I have become a real Hausfrau. Every single night we go looking at flats. Some really nice ones, but we want to make sure we get something close to a U-Bahn, S-Bahn or whatever station.
Today I signed up for a german course at Inlingua, yet another international language school. The New Zealand branch is in Tauranga. It's not cheap, €490 a month, but it's full time and would give me something to do during the day. It goes from 9.10 to 13.25, Monday to Friday. Had my first class today, was quite impressed. It's not too easy which is always a good thing, I like a challenge. In the class, there are 9 women (no men for some reason). One from Poland, one from Russia, two from Turkey, a couple of asians and some other ones I didn't find out.
There is a walking tour leaving here at 3pm, so might go do that today. Tomorrow, I was thinking of maybe checking out the University and whatnot.
Yesterday, I went to a doctor. Needed to get my Depo Provera injection and was quite scared how it would go in Germany. But they much obliged, and it was quite painless. They said that in Germany, women must get pap smear twice a year. And I thought NZ was bad! I really like how doctors are set up here - like a small hospital - cubicles, nurses, own lab, everyone is wearing white, the doctor looked like a ship captain :)
I have also discovered the shopping area. Three buildings with 10 floors of shopping each. No kidding. I've bought a cellphone, and a different luggage bag because the one I brought from New Zealand isn't very manouverable.
If anyone wants to txt me, my phone is 0163-3558612. This is in Germany, so I think you'd have to add +49 and drop the leading zero.
I've tried Gluehwein which turns out to be just really warm red wine they sell on the street. No idea what made me think it'd be like eggnog or hot chocolate. The wine is really strong and I got pissed from one cup. When you try to sip it as it's hot, you inhale the fumes and cough.. Yeah amusing.
What else has happened in Frankfurt? Not much. Very many turkish/arabish/whatever people here. The men of that sort are very strange and come on really strong even when saying hello. They all stare at me and say odd things. Maybe there are no women in their countries?
Food here is delicious. All meals in restaurants are large and filling. Coffee is amazing. I don't know if it's because of the coffee itself or the milk they use, but I haven't had a bad coffee experience since San Francisco airport. All those people that warned me against the lack of lattes can remove their feet from their mouths now because they make the most amazing lattes here, they just call them Latte Macchiato.
Nothing is cheap. Everything costs exactly the same but in Euro, so double NZ dollars!
All ATMs accept our Eftpos cards. I can get euros out with my ASB Card as well as my ASB Visa. Unfortunately, I get charged $5 for every withdrawal.
They're not big on Visa here, in fact, it's not accepted anywhere. Either cash or EC card which I think is their equivalent of Eftpos. So it's been cash for me.
There is some deal here with their post office. Some dude said they've been closing down most post offices as they're no longer needed. So I haven't found anywhere to send post cards from. Big sorry.
TV here is quite amusing. Apparently it costs 28 euro a month to have TV. Much like the broadcasting fee we used to pay in NZ a few years ago I imagine.
I am a big fan of their KinderKanal - KiKa. Watch sesame street daily and various other shows. The best way to learn the language I reckon. In fact, that's how I originally practiced English way back when.
Also, there is this crazy evening program where people ring up to win money. A guy sits on the screen and waits for people to call up. A question is displayed on the screen and it's usually something complicated yet stupidly simple. Often, it's one of those logic puzzles, etc. So if someone rings up and gets it right, they win money. If not, the guy sits and waits and waits and waits. Fun to watch. I tried ringing but the lines are always engaged - they service germany, austria and switzerland. Last month this channel paid out just over 800 thousand euro.
I think I've just about caught up with the getting here, and will be able to describe daily adventures from now on.
Bis zum Nächsten Mal,
: 5:35 am
Two days in Paris. Who would've thought I wouldn't get impressed. I expected Paris to be the world of marvel and high culture. Of course, it didn't help that I was tired as hell, having not slept properly for about 3 days. Did I mention I had two Fridays that week? It still amuses me.
Stays at some hostel in the Monmartre area, metres away from Sacre Coeur.
Settled in at the room and walked up the steps to see the highest point of Paris. It was a Friday afternoon, and by golly, there are a lot of people in Paris. When I had expected Courtney Place on Saturday night, I hadn't even come close. That many people is really quite irritating, scary and mind boggling.
A lot of black people too. African, black as night, but speak French. Funny, and totally unexpected. Chris said it's something to do with some war or revolution in the past, when France lost a lot of its population and had to open its borders to lots of immigrants to boost the economy. French language is the most impossible to understand (maybe after chinese and arabic). One cannot tell when one word/sentence finishes and another begins.
We got some crepes and tea at the touristy area near the Sacre Coeur, then went in search of an internet place as I had promised everyone an email when I arrived and wireless wasn't happening.
Apparently Montmartre is an arty place where residents don't really care about the rest of Paris or France. Probably all BA students :P
There was not a single ATM in sight, no Internet cafes, no Banks, not much in the way of shops. Just little kiosks and a whole pile of Creperies. French keyboards are a nightmare to use if you don't switch to English locale.
Croissants in France are amazing. I never liked them in New Zealand because they're flaky and kind of chewy/hard. In Paris, they were divine, and I'd eat five in one go given the chance.
Finally, made it to bed and was happy as to stretch out on a bed and get a real night's sleep. That didn't last long, as at 7 am, I was awake and rearing to go again.
The Sunday was quite full on. We got some breakfast at the hostel - cereal, bread, croissants, jam, coffee, etc, and set off on our foot voyage around Paris. The only things I really wanted to see were the Catacombs and the Eiffel Tower. When one has only one day to spend, one must get choosy.
Set off in the direction of the catacombs, but kept getting stopped by various other touristy sights. The Opera building was mighty impressive. The Louvre wasn't too pretty from outside, but the glass pyramid is really cool. Lots of people everywhere as expected. Got a coffee outside Louvre. Lots of little bridges across the Seine, and a million of artists trying to sell their wares. I am starting to think they all paint by numbers or from a stencil as a lot of painting are exactly the same.
Checked out the Pantheon, and le Pendule de Foucault was quite interesting, although the area around it was all blocked off - apparently the building is falling apart. Went down to the crypts, but it was just a bunch of caskets and I left.
Had a look at the Luxembourg Garden, but didn't go in. Took some photos outside the Notre Dame. Then grabbed some food at a cafe. At this point, we realised that the Catacombs would be closing in 20 minutes and we were still quite far away. So no skeletons for me. Another time!
Walked along some more, saw the Invalides Hospital, The Military school, and even wanted to visit the Rodin Museum/residence but it was also closed when we got there. Sundays aren't big on long opening hours.
Finally made it to the Eiffel tower and stood in the queue for just about ever. It was all worth it though as the view is amazing. Still, way too many people. I took some photos, will see how they've turned out once I am using my own computer.
Then we walked back to the hostel and got our bags. As I completely screwed up my packing, the bags were massive and heavy, I'm sure Chris got a hernea. We finally made it to the Gare Est and sat around for about an hour waiting for the train to Frankfurt. The trip took 8 hours and it was all sitting down. That didn't fare well with my already sleep starved body, but I guess I made it! Frankfurt was freezing when we arrived at 7am on Monday morning.
The train went through Paris - Reims - Nancy - Strassbourg - Kehl - Karlsruhe - Heidelberg - Darmstadt - Frankfurt.
: 4:55 am
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
So, the trip took 36 hours. Twenty six hours on the plane, and about 10 in various airports.
I took off from Wellington. Amanda was very nice to take care of me on Friday, she organised me, pacified me, reassured me, drove me to the airport and made sure I got on the right plane. Really, I was quite a mess.
The airport dude was really helpful, explained to me how all the check ins work and checked my bags right through to Paris. I had some hot chocolate and a bagel with salmon and cream cheese before I boarded the plane.
The 40 minute flight from WLG to AKL was non-eventful. Got two cups of water as people suggested I don't drink too much coffee while flying. Apparently it doesn't help with the jet lag and what not.
My mum met me at AKL. Alex gave me a rose from their garden. Mum made some pancakes and brought them in a thermos, as well as jam, butter, and forks. So we had an impromptu picknick at the Auckland airport. It was quite amusing.
Of course, as expected, mum shed a tear or two about her daughter flying off to the other hemisphere. I find it quite coincidental that when she was 25, she was in Europe too.
I spent about half an hour in the queue through customs and bag check before I made it to the boarding lounge for my flight. I was amazed at the number of people there, but that soon made sense when I actually saw the plane. My god, it was huge!
The flight to San Francisco was 11 hours 45 minutes or something like that. First they board all the people in wheel chairs, followed by people with small children, then first and business class, and then the cattle class which I was in. Turns out the cattle class was far from full so the couple that sat next to me moved to another row and I managed to have all three seats to myself for the duration of the flight.
The in-flight entertainment was piss poor. First we had I, Robot, followed by The Terminal, then some Agatha Christi drama, an hour of american comedy, The Merchurian Candidate and Mean Girls. Mean Girls is actually quite a good movie but I've seen it before. Everything else didn't grab my interest and I couldn't get past 20 minutes of each movie. Ended up lying down a lot and reading my book.
Even though I was hell tired, the sleep wasn't really happening. I think I managed to get a couple of hours somewhere though. The blanket they give you on Air New Zealand flight is extremely staticky, and I kept zapping myself every time I tried to turn or move or get up.
The food was quite good. Coffee, tea, wine, even spirits (the guy in front of me downed three whiskys in a quick succession). I had half a glass of red wine and felt like I'd had a bottle. I think for dinner, I had some pasta with roast vegetables and for breakfast they decided that I don't eat eggs and gave me a tomato pasta while everyone else had scrambled eggs. Never mind.
I don't know what people say about deep vein thrombosis or any other high mile afflictions, but I certainly think that one would die from boredom sooner than any physical disease. It's really quite painful to realise you're up in the air and you're not going anywhere for the next twelve hours.
Landed in SFO without an incident. Those big jets certainly land and take off without a hitch. If you're not looking at the window, it's hard to know whether you're on land or not.
Took about 20 minutes to disembark the plane, and then the real fun began. I stood in the queue for passport control for a good hour and a half. It sure is fun. Not. Then it was a quick smile to the passport officer, fingerprinting of right index finger, followed by the left, and a photo for their records. The fingerprinting is digital so no ink on the hands, which is good. Then they put a stamp in my passport and attached a green little piece of paper that gets removed when I leave the country.
So suddenly my 4 hour stop over in SFO has become a mere two hours. Walking out of the customs area, I realised that I had to pick up my bags. Never mind that I was checked through all the way to Paris. They're paranoid enough to take all the bags off, make you drive them through a check area, and upload them back to the plane again. Ridiculous and unnecessary in my opinion. When I walked up to the check area with my bags, they saw that I was travelling to France and let me through without another glance. Waste of time. I had to declare the jar of marmite though, so that was amusing. "Is it like Vegemite?" - the officer said. Grr, don't make me hurt you!
Walking through SFO was like being on an empty movie set. It's quite a big airport but there was hardly anyone there, almost no shops or cafes or anything. So I headed straight for the international departures. This was a nightmare. Another massive queue, but moving at the speed of lightning. In this rush, one has to remove their jacket, shoes, belt. Take out laptop of the laptop bag and place it in another tray. I don't know why they do that because the laptop and the bag both still go through the same xray machine. At the other end, you have to try and catch all your belongings and quickly make room for people behind you. It was quite an exercise.
After that, I got a cup of coffee - the most disgusting thing I've ever tasted. Discovered that the sales tax is added onto after you've seen the price (tricky dicky!). And tried to access a wifi hotspot to no avail.
So then I sat at the boarding lounge for a while until they called my name - they needed to scan my passport and remove that green card thingy. Then we boarded.
I was quite excited to be on a Lufthansa plane. First time hearing people speak German in a non-class situation. The flight was chocka full. Felt like sardines in a can.
They had in-flight shopping. How could I resist! I bought a little chess computer which is basically a PDA with a stylus and you can play chess on it. It has various levels, openings, and even a Hint button. Awesome.
The blanket on the Lufthansa was not zappy and the pillow much softer. With that I was pleased. The food was absolute crap though and I didn't finish my breakfast. It's like instead of sending the request for vegetarian food, it got muddled up with hippy crazy food. I got deep fried tofu and mushrooms. Ugh. The guy next to me, also vegetarian, said they always mix up his order and deliver vegan stuff instead of vegetarian. He didn't even get milk for his coffee.
The flight from SFO to FRA was 10 hours 25 minutes. By that time I was so tired, any coffee was greatly welcomed. Unfortunately, I was sitting by the window and the idea of waking up everyone in my row every time I needed to go the bathroom was unbearable.
The in-flight entertainment was even worse than the ANZ flight - First it was Spider Man 2 but something went wrong and it was only in German. Some people complained and it got switched off. Then came The Bourne Supremacy, followed by the same fiasco. Then they put on The Anchorman - The Legend of Ron Burgundy, and while it worked in both languages, it was absolute shit of a movie. Then they had The Two Brothers, which is a great movie about tigers (real ones, not CGI or anything) but I was too tired to watch it properly. For the tiger lovers, I highly recommend it.
Arrived at Frankfurt airport, and it was also pretty quiet. It's such a bit airport though, apparently the busiest in Europe after Heathrow. Got a stamp in my passport that is just a box, with nothing in it. I am guessing their stamp ran out of ink.
Sat around for a couple of hours at the boarding lounge and then got on a small plane to go to Paris. Well not too small, the size of domestic New Zealand ones, but after the 747 anything is small.
Lots of frenchies on that flight, all the announcements in three languages. I was so over flying by this point, I didn't know whether I was awake or asleep or where I was.
The lunch was a nice piece of bread with cheese and lettuce, and I had 2 cups of tomato juice.
The flight from FRA to CDG is only 50 minutes. It was practically empty and the flight attendant suggested I could move to another row where I'd sit alone, but really at this point I stopped caring.
There was no one at the Paris Airport to even glance at my passport, no one to check my expensive French Visa, no one to acknowledge my arrival into their fair country. I was quite dismayed. Got my luggage and trundled up to the exit, where Chris met me and gave me a great big hug. Can't believe it'd been 2 months since we saw each other last.
He helped me with the bags and we caught a bus to the train stations, then 2 or three subway trains to the hotel in Monmartre Area near Sacre Coeur.
: 9:08 pm