Well, I am officially tired of working! Staffing shortages at both my jobs have led to 70+ hour work weeks, which was not how I intended to spend my time in Wanaka. The goal was to work in a South Island playground to maxamize fun on our days off. Well, turns out I don’t have any! I know I’m not getting much sympathy from those who know me well. Somehow I always do this to myself. I guess I’m an addict? I consider quitting one of the jobs everyday in favor of more time to relax, plan our onward journey, write, and maybe lay the groundwork to do more freelance work on the road. I quickly lose myself in circular reasoning involving the fact that I don’t love either of the jobs, and the pros and cons are strangely polarized.
On a lighter note, Kiwi-isms are seeping into my speech, and my vigilance is waning. Ketchup here is “toMAHto sauce.” In an evening shift, I reference this particular substance anywhere from 6 – 20 times. To avoid repeating myself, I’ve given this one over to the dark side. Otherwise it’s, “Would you like ketchup? [quizzical look] I mean toMAYto sauce. [continue look] You know, toMAHto sauce?.” At my other job we have lots of tomatoes – slow roasted, cherry, and sliced – so “toMAHto” is rubbing off there as well. Kiwi’s also say “reckon” instead of “think.” As in, “How many do you reckon we’ll have in tonight?” Or “I reckon it should only take twenty minutes or so.” I reckon the word has taken up permanent residence in my vocabulary!
Activites of note during the last two months included:
Birthday celebrations! Pat planned a fantastic day for our birthdays (we’re a year and three days apart). Sleeping in, breakfast at Tango’s cafe, hiking up Roy’s Peak, picnicing, and a fancy dinner at The Landing – he’s hired!
Challenge Wanaka – a huge iron distance triathlon (165 miles!) held in and around Wanaka. It’s a big deal. Elite athletes and common folk come from around the world and pay thousands (yes, thousands) to enter. A few of my coworkers did it, and I volunteered at a running aid station. It was intense to be finding out what an athlete wants only seconds before grabbing it in time to jog alongside as they sprint past.
Dog sitting! Barker and Scruffy were our companions for six weeks. Barker is a cranky old man who loves you but doesn’t know how to be anything but protective and gruff. Scruffy is a silly, sweet, bum wagging dog who is completely loyal. They were fun, and we miss them!
Anniversary No. Five – P at and I just keep on keeping on! We’re still laughing most days and still very much in love. We spent a few days at a lodge in the New Zealand wilderness to celebrate. It was so good to get away and spend time together doing nothing!
Black Market Penicillin – because I am not a citizen of New Zealand, medical care is expensive. I knew from experience that I had tonsilitis, wasn’t getting better, and could get a whole lot worse. I was miserable enough to start asking farmers what kind of antibiotics they kept around for their stock. Miraculously, upon sharing my tale of woe with a friend, he exclaimed, “I have a course of penicillin!” (And yes, Mom, it was the right kind. It was prescribed, but he never took it. Don’t worry!).
Care Packages! – Our families and friends have been giving us the royal treatment – first Christmas, then our birthdays, then Valentines Day, then a special supplies shipment and lots of little surprises… In the wake of 70 hour work weeks, coming home at night to a care package makes it all better!
More pictures, if you’d like, at: