It seems crazy how the time flies. I mean, sure, it’s only been 9 days since I’ve left, but it seems so much longer. Those closest to me know that I’ve been struggling a little bit. I knew I would dislike things in the beginning, everything being so new and foreign, but I didn’t know exactly how hard it would actually be once I left the comfort and safely of those I love. It has been a humbling experience. But, as of now, I know I can take it. I have survived my 9 unsure days. I’ve shopped and figured out routes to campus and haven’t gotten that lost. I’ve even discovered some of the shortcuts!
I had a meeting with an International Student adviser, because I was feeling so overwhelmed. And just getting prepared to talk to her helped my mindset. I made a list of all my concerns and when I presented them , she commented that I was pretty on top of things, whether for a student (of international or NZ origin) or for a person. It definitely helps to know that there are people here that are working with you…however long you have to search to find them. Ooooooh bureaucracy, how I loathe you. And Bureaucracy reared its head many a time this week, what with signing up for classes, getting a multitude of signatures stating I can enroll, which courses I can take and all that. Then standing in line after line to get paper work filled out, only to then bring it back to where I started. Isn’t it someone else’s job to make sure this gets done? Not the terrified and utterly overwhelmed student who doesn’t know where anything is or what’s really going on? I think it’s a way of weeding out the lesser stock. In case you were worried, I passed with flying colors.
Then, I had Postgraduate International Student Orientation. I found out that my department (and all my classes) are not on the close Kelburn campus that’s a 5 minute walk (uphill) from my flat. Instead, it’s Pipitea campus, which is a 15 minute hike (slightly uphill down and majorly uphill coming home), through lush green overhung pathways, a parking garage, and a 1 mile walk down Lambton Quay. It’s much easier to get there, than it is to get back to my flat. But, this just means I get a good hike in every day. YES! My lower half is going to look amazing! I figured out which classes I’ll be taking, how long my program is, and that I don’t actually owe the school any money at this point since I’m all paid up, and in fact they owe me (score 1 for me). I also know all the quickest ways to reach someone who can help me if I feel like I’m not at the level I should be in terms of course work.
The three guys I’ve been living with have all moved out, well except for one who’s on a field trip and doesn’t come back until Saturday. Essentially, he’s not here, at least not in my mind… But, as they moved out, I took it upon myself to clean before the girls I will be living with for the next year move in. I met two of my new roomies briefly yesterday when they moved some of their belongings in, but they didn’t stay long. Just enough to go, “Ugh….how can you live here” and then spray the heck out of their living spaces with some kind of cleaning product and wipe them down with hot water. I completely agreed, though until that moment I hadn’t really even thought about how the dirty space I was living in might be affecting my mood.
Everything is slightly damp (coastal town), there is a bit a mold hanging about corners, on door frames, on the shower curtain, the dishes are never put away, the toilets haven’t been cleaned in ages…there’s some kind of water lurking at the bottom of the refrigerator, and I think some of the food at the back might start talking to me soon. So, I cleaned the kitchen and threw out everything that didn’t belong to me (and that I didn’t feel like claiming….I did get some awesome food swag though: Peanut butter and Chiwda. So much delicious.)
Then I moved to the bathrooms. The shower stall walls were a pink-ish color when I started. That was the color I thought they would remain. Nope, turns out they are actually a tanish color, and, I suspect once they get another good cleaning, might be off-white. This freaked me out. I’ve been SHOWERING in there. That’s gross. I swept and scrubbed the floors (on hands and knees). I cleaned the toilets and the sinks. I tossed everything left behind. I took no prisoners and showed no mercy. I knew that being hired as Janitor at the Southington Library happened for a reason! Not only for the extra money, but to prepare me for my new flat! It’s funny how that all works out, isn’t it? How you can make all these connections after you’ve gone through an experience and look back on it. I vacuumed the whole flat (minus the other girls’ rooms, since their doors are locked) and then straightened out mine.
I applied for 2 library positions here for part time that I would really like to get. I’ve been impressed with my cooking skills and my ability to make one meal stretch into three by simply veggie and rice (or pasta) accompaniments. Not to mention being able to completely change the flavor profile of a meal by adding different spices. What started off as Italian chicken cacciatore turned into Indian chicken masala (albeit a Spartan one). How awesome is that? Pretty awesome, if you ask me.
All in all, through the frustrations, it’s been a pretty good week. Classes don’t start until the 5th, so I have yet another week to settle in, make friends and get into some shenanigans. You all already know I got to hang out with a giant squid. I also got to see a Moa (stuffed, of course…I haven’t found a live one yet) and I took a picture in front of The Sea Shepherd who’s docked at the Wellington Waterfront. Intense! I found out that I might be in love with mochachino (and that I can get one for 2 dollar), I found an incredibly cheap and delicious sushi place, and I bought a New Zealand towel to compliment my American towel.
It’s going to be a good time.
This is Molly the (future) librarian, signing off.