Just a month of the familiar

Tuesday 24th January, 2012. 6.30am wake up. Out the door at 7.30am. A beautiful morning to be walking to work. I threw sensibility to the wind, opting not to take the stairs down to the bridge but kicking off my jandals and running down the hill through the freshly cut grass. 5 mins later I was sitting at my desk, jandals and grass replaced with heels ready for work.

My job’s never particularly exciting, and this last week’s proven to be a challenging one as I’ve tried to cover the unfamiliar portfolios of two absent colleagues. Today our manager gave our office a jar of lollies in a feeble attempt to keep us all sane during our peak processing time. The liquorice allsorts went first. Followed shortly by the milk-bottles and snakes. If I’m quick there might just be one or two lollies left tomorrow morning.

The sun was still shining as I wandered back home, resisting the urge to stop in at the dairy for a trumpet, or the bakery for a passionfruit donut. Dinner was followed by cheap Tuesday movies with a bunch of friends, and of course randomly bumping into other people I know. ‘Sione’s 2: Unfinished Business’ didn’t disappoint both for it’s double entertainment value of good humour and games of ‘guess the location’. The night ended with a short drive home singing along to The Rock and enjoying the sunset over the Waitakeres.

Tuesday 24th January, 2012.

Just one month from my anticipated departure date.


To answer what I’m finding to be the three most common questions right now

Am I excited? Yes.

Am I scared? Yes.

Is everything sorted? No.

Despite all the research I’ve done I really don’t know how I’m going to find this whole Korea experience. I mean really, our imagination of something we’ve never known relies on our ability to combine elements of presumably similar things we have experienced, and what we’ve seen and heard. I know that my imaginings of my new life in Korea will prove totally inadequate.

My mantra at the moment seems to be “It will be good, because I will make it good.”

It sounds convincing.

It sounds like a good strategy.

But it also sounds rather exhausting.

Trying to imagine the unfamiliar seems to make me more aware of the familiar. A typical day like today is full of all sorts of special things.

I opened my blinds to a harbour view and a beautiful summer morning.
I ambled my way to walk, crossing an inner-city creek just downstream from a waterfall seeing bunnies, pukeko and tuis.

I spent the day exercising my administrative prowess. It’s not a job I find much enjoyment in (12 days to go and counting), but I do get a sense of satisfaction after dominating a pile of paperwork. I also love the mix of people in my office, which really reflects the cultural diversity of Auckland. Sampling Indian cooking, learning about Vladivostok, and getting excited about an upcoming Chinese wedding… lunch is always educational.

Having recently watched my first Korean movie, I thoroughly appreciated watching a home-grown movie. Actually getting the jokes is always a good start. And when you come out of movie world and back to reality it’s always nice to be surrounding by familiar faces.

The drive home from the mall is a short one, whichever set of roads I choose to take. Not needing to spend energies navigating my thoughts went elsewhere. I’d thought a while ago about how weird it will be to not drive a car for a whole year. But tonight it dawned on me that I’m not going to have car time to sing along to the radio. Where am I going to sing like a fool in Korea? Will I have to resort to renting a Noraebang for myself?

As I drove westward the sky was orange behind the black silhouette of the Waitakeres. And as I parked my car outside our house I sat for a moment watched the reflections of the city lights dancing on the harbour. Auckland really is a beautiful city; people South of the Bombay Hills really don’t understand what they’re missing out on.

And now it’s dark and the stars are out. I see “The Pot”/”The shopping trolley”/Orion’s belt. I’m sure if I looked around I’d be able to find the Southern Cross too. Let’s face it those are the only constellations I know. But it’s still weird to think that in just a month’s time I’ll be going to sleep under a sky of totally unfamiliar stars.


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