Huh. I was honestly expecting more responses to that last post. Maybe somebody didn’t take kindly to my non-passive aggressive behavior? Doh ho ho.
Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas!
Yes, I will be in America for the holidays. I do know that much, but the real problem is more where I am going to be for the holidays. America is a big country, and I have friends and family all over it. Opa apparently has a standing offer for me to be his ‘man servant’ (my father’s words, albeit joking I am sure) in New Mexico. This has the upshot of solving a lot of problems for both Opa and I, I would be gainfully employed, and Opa wouldn’t have to worry about moving somewhere else and living in a home (for a while anyway.) Of course, it also has some quite obvious downsides that I need not really go into. Then there’s the option of simply returning to Arkansas and living with the parentals, again, until I get a job and a place of my own, again. That’s a fine option, but not one I am particularly fond of at the moment. One thing about living in New Zealand is that I have come to appreciate the ability to find private housing at an affordable rate back home. Mom, dad, if you read this I do love you but I don’t really want to move back home. (Nor do I think you’d really want me to.)
Now, that leaves me with a couple of (slightly) more viable options. Patrick has extended me an offer to at least come crash with him for a while, until I can get a place of my own and hopefully a job. Washington DC does sound quite neat, and it falls in line quite well with my desire to not use a car as much and move under public transit or (preferably) my own power, be it bike or foot. Plus, I’d be in DC which means all the political idiocy I could stand! Wait. That’s not a positive at all. (Though Pat promised to introduce me to an insane girl he dated, I really want to troll her.)
Then there’s the option of living in Dallas. Jacqueline, Melanie, and Tory all live there so I would have a decent support network and some friends, and as much as I rag on Texas I have nothing in particular against Dallas. I quite enjoyed my time there during comic-con, and I can’t see why I wouldn’t enjoy it at large. Except for the mind-numbingly horrible traffic, that is. Really, I can forgive Dallas a lot of other things but hour long commutes, gridlock, and generally douchey drivers are something I almost completely refuse to deal with. If I did move there I would have to find a job close to where I lived, and I would only visit friends during off peak hours. Sorry guys, don’t expect to find me in a bar right after work. I won’t fucking be there. The real upswing to Dallas is that it is close to a lot of major video game companies, and I might be able to swing my foot in the door there and get something going. (In fact, I already applied to one of them!)
Then, off in the realm of nigh absurdity, there’s moving to Seattle with Max. Laff.
Of course, there’s always moving to Saint Louis. Kelly has extended an invite and I think, maybe?, Scott has too. And I’m sure Jason and/or Kurtis and Cathy would put me up for a bit. But I don’t know, it feels a lot like going back to Arkansas to me. Of course, I’d love to spend more time with April but she isn’t thrilled with Saint Louis either, plus she’ll be in Europe when I get back anyway. Just… I don’t know. It feels too easy to go right back to where I basically came from, even though I lived in Jefferson City, my heart (LOLOLOLOL) was really in Saint Louis. Which isn’t a bad thing, of course, but well, you all know what I’m like and living in the same place for extended periods of time really gets my goad, so to speak. It’s funny that it feels like I’ve lived in Saint Louis, when in all actuality I haven’t. But hey, what can you do?
Oh. Right. I’m coming back to America on August 26th, flying in to Dallas and spending a week there with Jacqueline and Melanie (and hopefully Tory.) So, you see why this becomes pertinent.
But, enough of that. You probably care more about what I have been doing, not what I plan on doing.
Well. It hasn’t been too much.
See, after Michelle and I got back from our trip to Auckland we both hit a “oh shit, we have no jobs and we’re just bleeding money and we hate where we live, ohgodohgodohgod” period. For about a month we just looked for jobs, hung out around Wellington, and tried to avoid Garth as much as possible. (We also hoped that we would have a functional bathroom, but, alas, going on two months now and the renovations still are ongoing.) It was… a bleak period. Eventually I realized that instead of worrying about a job, since I did have money to cover my whole stay here, I should spend my free time working at self improvement. Since then I’ve been studying maths, cryptography, programming (Python, but hey, gotta start somewhere) and been reading like a fiend. I’ve also started writing a lot more, though most of it is of a nature that I… probably shouldn’t share with you. (What with the breasts and all.) So that was how I spent most of my days, hanging out in the library, learning, and being generally okay with life. I went on a date or two, but, well, let’s just say that things got complicated. Yeah? Yeah.
Michelle’s parents finally showed up, so things got kicked into high gear around then. Michelle abruptly invited me on a road trip through the North Island, and I had no real reason to say no, so with 24 hours notice away I went! We rented a car and the four of us packed our shit in and took off (of course, Garth neglected to mention I needed to have all my shit out of ‘my room’, so someone else could come and use it) to a city called Taupo. And by took off, I mean we took our dear sweet time. Which was fine, actually. We stopped in some places and got some veggies for the hostels, and we came across this town called Foxton (I believe) that had an authentically built Dutch windmill in it. I got some pretty intense nostalgia from our trip to the Netherlands, which was pretty neat. They also have their own soda brewery there, and I grabbed a bottle and it was pretty okay. Granted, most sodas here taste way better than their American counter-parts because real sugar tastes way better than high fructose corn syrup. Mmm.
Right before we made it Taupo we stopped and looked at the stars, and holy shit were there stars. New Zealand is wonderful for star gazing, so little pollution (both chemical and light) that we could see entire spiral arms of the Milky Way. Intense. We got in to Taupo around nine that evening, so we couldn’t really see the MASSIVE lake that it was settled next to, but it is the largest lake in New Zealand. (Go look at a map of the North Island, and look for a big lake in the middle. That’s it.) Our Hostel was quite nice, with a private bathroom and a really large and smexy kitchen. It was also the first time I had been able to shower in three days and the first time I wasn’t on a fifteen minute timer in weeks. Life was sweet.
The next day we went and saw some of the sights around Taupo, starting with the Huka Falls. It’s a waterfall, but I was wholly unprepared for it. (You should look up pictures.) It’s a river that runs into a really narrow and shallow canyon, so the water speeds way up from all the pressure. On the both sides of the falls the water is a very dark blue, nearly black, but as it goes through the rapids its a very pale blue and white. (Think of the color of your standard swimming pool. That color, but moving like 40mph.) It was amazing, and loud, and beautiful. From there we went to the Manuka honey factory, where we sampled some honey boozes and food. I came away with a honey beer and a clover based Irish cream, and it goes in my coffee and my tummy thanks me for it. Then we went to a place called Craters of the Moon, which is a very large and open field that is pock-marked with natural geothermal steam vents. It often looked like a war zone, with giant craters and ‘smoke’ everywhere. Michelle and I bravely, and stupidly, went up to the edges of some of the craters only to learn a little later that the ground was around 120 degrees Celsius in places and we could have easily melted our shoes off. Whoops! Then it was off to see more Geothermal awesomeness, but this time we saw geysers and pretty rock formations, and caves! But I grow tired of talking about Taupo, SO AWAY I GO.
We drove up to Rotorua from there, another geothermal hotspot, and quickly came to realize that the whole damn town smelled like sulphur. Awesome. But, again, our hostel was quite nice, though the room was a tad small. But, hey, cute girls were in the Hostel itself so I can’t much argue with that. Our first activity in Rotorua was the local bath house museum, which was a massive disappointment. Almost half (not exaggerating) of the museum was closed for renovations, and what was open wasn’t terribly compelling. I spent more time solving a block puzzle than I did in the rest of the museum. (And the movie’s horrible special effects were kinda awesome too.) We dicked around for a while, then we went to a local… theme park would be the right name, I suppose. Anyway, all we did while we were there was the luge, which is getting in a plastic kart, and using gravity to fling yourself down a mountain, and it was absolutely wonderful. Michelle’s parents even joined us, and they had a grand time. There was one track where you could stop and go to a convention center, which conjoured hilarious images of business execs karting down to the convention center. Glorious. That evening we went to the Polynesian Spa which was, well, a spa. 10 geothermal pools. Mmm. And it was right on the lakefront, so we could watch the water and the city lights.
In the morning we decided to skip a geyser eruption, because paying 35 dollars to see water shoot up into the sky is kind of lame. Michelle and her mom went on an Ogo, which is basically a giant plastic ball with some water in it, which you get in, then is pushed down a hill. It looked fun, but way too cold. We found the redwood forest on the edge of town, and Michelle’s mom managed to find an uphill climb much akin to our original tramp through the woods when I first arrived. Michelle and I found this despressingly hilarious. After that we went to the Buried Village, which is where the pink and white terraces used to be but it all got blown up during an eruption. It was fine, historically, but the best part was the 100 foot tall waterfall. It was tall, and pretty, and cold. But awesome. Oh! And we saw trout swimming upstream. That was neat.
We decided to drive on through the night to get to Napier, which is on the east coast, and we almost made a big tactical error. Well, we did make it. Well. Michelle made it. From Taupo, we had to back track some, to Napier was about 80 miles, and we had around 1/4 tank of gas. Between Napier and Taupo there is nothing. NOTHING. There’s a road, and mountains, and ROADS. That’s it. Because of the shitty weather and curvy uphill roads we used more gas than planned and basically putzed into some tiny nowhere town on the other end of the road on fumes. We didn’t run out, but we were all on edge. Full of gas, we made it to Napier proper and got into our hostel. The evening went from bad to worse. The free parking that was ‘just up the road’ was about 3km up the road, which meant that Michelle was going to have to walk back through the rain or pay for parking, but we finally got a spot in town. After begging the staff to come help us. I went with Michelle’s parents to get some food for us all while she rested. When we got back Michelle was coming out of our room, people were playing pool in the common room and she asked one of the employees if the common room ever shut down. Oh lord.
The worker went and talked to the owner, and when Michelle walked by he said “Uh oh, somebody looks mad.” Right. Great start. So the owner tells the girls playing pool that they were keeping people up all night, and weren’t allowed to play anymore, then makes them apologize to us. We try and tell both the owner and the girls that we didn’t care if they played, we just wanted to know if the common room ever shut down because pool is loud. The hostel owner told us that it’d never been a problem in seven years, and there’s no way pool was loud and we were crazy and rude to imply otherwise. He continued to ignore us and be belligerent and would neither listen to us nor answer our questions. In the morning, he left us a note saying that he was going to post our details on Facebook, etc etc. We left. We also left Napier. I got a poster for Jacqueline, and that was it. Napier, hostel issues aside, was just boring.
Masterton was next on our list, and it had my favorite hostel by far. Not only was it really quiet, and the people quite nice, but it was actually an old hotel from the 20’s or so. (No, Michelle, it was not from the 1800’s.) It was kept in a pretty decent state of disrepair, which meant that it was a deserted, rundown, and old hotel. HORROR MOVIE. It was quite nice though, and I had a great time in it.
We came home the next day, got some wine, yadda yadda.
You’re more or less caught up now. I’m in a new apartment, but that can wait for later.