Sunday, September 29, 2013

Limbo land.

Since arriving in New Zealand we have been all over the place. The trip at first seemed to be following a very linear progression. We got our bank accounts set up, we applied for our IRD numbers, we applied for jobs, we bought a car, I had two promising interviews for well paid jobs related to my education and work experience and since then things have been odd. After having the two interviews (one in Wellington and one in Auckland) we have been trying to occupy ourselves the best we can. Although it sounds like that would be pretty easy it's pretty much expensive to do anything. Gas is $2.24 per litre, eating a meal at a cafe is $15 per person, accommodation in a hostel is usually $35 per person and mostly everything else is pricey and adds up quickly. 



After spending two weeks driving around the North Island and seeing some pretty amazing things (Cathedral Cove, Hot Water Beach, Mt.Mauganui, Rotarua, Lake Taupo, and more) I have only received feedback from the Wellington job and they said that I was barely edged out by someone else who was a little bit more prepared for the work at hand, apparently. It's been nearly three weeks and I'm yet to hear anything back from the position in Auckland despite my phone calls and emails to multiple contacts at this particular organization. This puts Michelle and I in a uncomfortable situation, where we are chewing through our money and having to question the implications of taking on other opportunities.

For many days we questioned whether or not we should try to find work at a hostel or holiday park in exchange for accommodation. We met with a frumpy hostel owner in Mt.Maunagani and never heard back from them and after that we decided to call up a holiday park (motel/ campsite) just outside Tongariro National Park (Mordor). They sounded very warm and we stoked to have us come work 2 hrs a day for 3-4 weeks accommodation. We thought that it would be in or near a little town or village but it’s essentially off by itself in the middle of no where. It’s a 10 km drive to the nearest town Taurangi which is underwhelming to say the least.

Yesterday we were shown how to clean the showers, bathrooms and kitchen and it was as easy as it sounds. Afterwards we went on two small hikes in the National Park which were nice, but the weather was cold, windy and the clouds shrouded all the mountain vistas. The landscape here is very different. It’s a mix of desert and volcanic mountains. Definitely way different than back home, but it’s such a vast empty landscape that really isn’t as inspiring as it sounds.

Today we did our morning cleaning in just over an hour and we are currently the only people aside from the owners who are residing at the holiday park. It feels isolated, rural, cold and lonely out here. Michelle and I have really been wondering if coming out here to work for accommodation was the best decision. Although it’s eliminated the cost of accommodation it isn’t really doing much for helping us find some kind of fun or meaningful work. Finding work hasn't been quite as easy as we thought it had been and Michelle is hesitant to look for teaching work until we find an area that we really want to live in for a good portion or the remainder of our stay here in New Zealand. We are both feeling a bit homesick as well. 

I have come face to face with the fundamentals of what matters the most, having loving friends and family that you can pass your time with and to have a sense of purpose within your community. Although Michelle and I have each other I feel like both of us are yearning for some quality social time and a sense of duty and purpose beyond cleaning a mostly empty holiday park out in the middle of no where. I know this may sound negative, but I feel like it’s just revealing how much we both have back home that we take for granted. I mentioned this sentiment in a conversation about Grande Prairie I had with Michelle yesterday as we were hiking. Grande Prairie isn’t by any means the best and more impressive place i’ve ever been to, but when I was there I had a great job/practicum that had influence on the community and I made some friends that were absolutely outstanding. With just these two attributes I was able to look past some of the short comings of Grande Prairie as a city. So far New Zealand has been in some ways been the opposite. New Zealand has some beautiful cities, amazing sights to see, plenty of activities but without having a social network and a job the experience lacks the depth that I wish it had. Hopefully within the next few weeks we have something figured out and this feeling with have past.