Auckland, New Zealand
Breathing. Calm. The feeling of sitting crosslegged, a warm wind glimpsing your skin, on a mountain near the ocean. (Or, more appropriately, a volcano.) Peering over the edge at a granite cliff. Comfortable. The curse of comfort.
Settling in one place is a new feeling for me. I get to buy groceries, credit for my phone. Weekly salary, pay weekly rent, bills, laundry, flatmates & co-workers. Names to remember. Together my apartment & workplace make a pint-sized community to weave through. Lucky for me they are all flawed, but mostly happy in spite of it. Easy to get along with. Chill.
Being in a city is a luxury, never mind a city of 1.5million. Internet is a disease in it's own right, but communication is a blessing (in moderation). There is no way to explain how delicious the food was when I arrived. I sculled a 1L of fresh cold milk as soon as I landed. It's been almost 9 months drinking uht, an unfitting substitute. Pastries exploded my tastebuds & apples were like icing sugar. I am still amazed at my delight of toast! (Our apartment doesn't have a toaster.) Food here is awesome, heaps fresh, organic & free range, & you can get any type of food you can think of. Except apparently pumpkin pie & perogies. I can drink my favourite Mexican beer they only sell on the West coast, but couldn't have pumpkin pie for christmas. Insanity.
Living at the top of a hill, it takes about 15 minutes to bike downhill to work, to sea level at the marina. My parents were accurate in their concern that I'd step out of a pub after a long night & forget which side of the road they drive on. As soon as I got my hands on some handlebars though, there was no issue. She'll be right.
At the top of this hill is a particularily frustrating intersection, at the beginning of Karangahape Road; K Rd to everyone always. New Zealand is great for mixing familiar English names, like Wellington, Hamilton, Queenstown, & Christchurch, with seemingly silly & similar sounding Maori names; Mangonui is a small fishing village in the far North, Maunganui is a beach hotspot on the East coast; Whangaparaoa is a penninsula North of Auckland, but Whakapapa are ski fields in Central North Island; Papakura is one of the southernmost suburbs, right beside Papatoetoe. It takes getting used to. The buses still never take me anywhere near the direction I had hoped for, but I always understand the one-way trains out of town!
K Rd is a refreshing bit of grit, nestled nicely between 2 major shopping districts & Ponsonby, that defies the thought that opening 5 cafes side-by-side would be counter-intuitive. Sex shops, burlesque bars, instrument shops (I wonder if there's any cross-over?), & my favourite music venues. Kings Arms wide open with a large patio for touring acts; The Thirsty Dog's unassuming facade has an attitude at night; & Wine Cellar/Whammy Bar an always reliable one-two punch that opens their cavernous underbelly to hungry cretins when there is nowhere else to run. When it comes to Whammy, there is nowhere else to be...
Outside these corners, Lucha Lounge is the outdoor mutt of prissy Newmarket that has us howling all night. We light up as soon as it goes to sleep.
Night stalking, tongue wagging, ear to the ground. Handshakes & headrushes.
It took me a couple weeks to find the pulse, & I'm squeezing every drop out of it.
This is what I'm here for. Fill the void. Intensify the craving.
It's nice to sit still & get a grasp of things. I am acutely aware of the curse of comfort & the comfort in routine, & have no intention on leaning back too much. Simple enjoyment in being able to take directions & understand them. Taking it in slowly, so there's always something to do. Somehow life is a constant deja vu.
But the restlessness hasn't gone away, it just feels more focused. I'm excited to see my beautiful friends all around & to taste Tania's amazing cupcakes at bike polo if I get there on time! I'm excited to keep practicing my upside down & underneath skills at acrobatics on Tuesdays & maybe go out for 10$ curry after. I'm excited to see my new CouchSurfing friends at the weekly meetup since we all went tramping & camping last weekend & one of these weekends I'm finally going to get to a Polynesian market & surfing & hiking in West Auckland, if I don't leave town to do something else again! I'm excited for forethought, watching festivals, concerts & events coming up like waves.
(Evidently I don't know how to use a thesaurus. Excited: enthralled, eager, spark, invigorate, breathless, on tenterhooks [???])
The learning opportunities are endless. Since submersion I currently have the possibility of learning Croatian, Hindi, acrobatics, self-defense, belly-dancing, cricket, whale rescue, waka ama paddling, acting, race sailing, cooking, parkour, target shooting, stock trading & wine-making. If I could learn 2 of these, I'd be sweet.
Did I mention I'm an electrician's apprentice? That's another story.
Everything not forbidden is compuslory, and even then...
What's stopping us?