How’d my dance card get so full?

Oh, hi. I’m living in Wellington now. I’m rather enjoying it.

I was planning on writing something earlier, but I got all sensitive artist about where I was going to write. I realised Virginia Woolf was right about needing a room of one’s own to write. And it took a while to get the interwebs connected.

I flew down on a rainy Auckland afternoon. Now the awful rainy weather has been seared in my memory as “Auckland”, alternating with a blissful, tropical summary image that somehow has palm trees and white sand around Queen Street.

For the first three weeks I stayed with Jo and Stephen, who were kind and lovely and let me use their spare room, which is really all one needs. I shall give a naive 1990s R&B/pop-album-note-style shout to them: “Yo, peace! Thanks for the spare room. Say no 2 drugz!”

Then I found a flat, centrally located, and have managed to figure out where the nearest awesome coffee place is (Schoc, 11 Tory Street).

I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting the move and settling in to be like, but it’s turned out to be surprisingly easier than it seems it should. It hasn’t been without a few hassles or emo interludes, but it’s gone rather well for the whole ‘moving to another city and starting a new job’ thing.

Oh, but I know what you’re thinking. “Robyn, tell us, wot r some of the differences between Auckland and Wellington that you have noticed so far plz?”

All right, here you go:

I never had to pay attention to the weather in Auckland. It was usually grey and overcast, sometime a bit more sunny, other times a bit more rainy. But in Wellington, I’ve started reading the weather report. I know now what a southerly feels like. I’ve also had the unusual experience of coming indoors after some extremely windy weather and discovering that the wind appeared to have opened a wormhole to 1987 and brought back my hairstyle from when I was 12 years old.

Public Transport
I used buses quite a bit in Auckland, and I noticed that most of my fellow bus-goers were students or people in lower socio-economic groups. In other words, they were taking the bus because it was cheap. Whereas in Wellington, I see business people taking buses and trains to work. They look like they could easily afford to drive to work but choose not to.

I’m living in Wellington but working in the Hutt Valley. The quickest way to work is the train. Trains are still a novelty for me – it’s all a bit Thomas the Tank Engine, wahey, toot-toot, etc. I’m lucky that I’m travelling against the rush hour so I can enjoy the luxury of near empty carriages. When the full trains pull into the station in the morning, I don’t envy the sardine-like commuters.

It boils down to this: more Malaysian satay, fewer Chinese and Middle Eastern. More Japanese restaurants, but hardly any takeaway sushi places. And cafes are more likely to have affogato on their espresso menu, which is just fine with me. Also, I highly recommend the Kiallas Greek cafe in Newtown – especially their pancakes.

48Hours Film Competition
I sadly couldn’t take part this year with Fractured Radius, my old team in Auckland (not that they needed me: they just went ahead and make a totally brilliant serious film – serious! – that’s scored them a place in the Auckland finals!), so I volunteered to help out with Wellington. This involved handing out ping-pong balls on kick-off night, marking off completed films on the Sunday night, and helping with the judging process. As always, hard work but tons of fun.

The main difference between Auckland and Wellington 48Hours films is that the landscape seems to play a greater part in Wellington films. It’s harder to pretend that Lambton Quay is downtown Chicago, or that Lower Hutt is Central Park. Auckland is dirty streets, Wellington is hills and flats and harbour and sharp shadows.

By the way, the Wellington final is on Wednesday at the Embassy theatre. You should come. It’s going to be good.

Closeness – Things
Everything is close in Wellington. I like that I can walk places and go to things without having to work out some sort of elaborate transport plan. If it’s not a little walk away, it’s a pleasant stroll away.

Closeness – People
I’ve lost count, but it seems that about half my workmates know someone who I also know. I’ve already had the experience of walking down the street and running into people I know. This might seem ordinary, but it barely happened to me in Auckland, and only seemed to happened frequently to hugely social people.

Now, if you will excuse me, I need to figure out how to unpack three rooms worth of stuff into one room without it looking like the abode of a crazy Trade Me lady.

12 thoughts on “How’d my dance card get so full?”

  1. Wellington is teh crazy for just running into people you know. Last time I was up, we couldn’t get hold of our friend Oliver, whom we hadn’t seen for years. But that was okay because we ran into him on Vivien St on our way back from Te Papa.

    It might just be because the city is so centralised. Or there might be a magical Care Bear Friend Vortex somewhere round Cuba St.

  2. Welcome to Wellington, Robyn. And great to see another fan of our rather good public transport system. Yes, almost every adult who uses it has a car but chooses to leave it at home.

    Fascinating that you decided to live in the city despite working in the Hutt. Though, I have never understood why anyone would want to live in the Hutt, any more than I have ever fathomed why anyone would want to live north of Auckland’s harbour bridge.

  3. We miss you!!!
    But we are looking at organising a “babymoon” (apparently a holiday you take prior to having a small person explode out of you) and Wellington maybe our destination of choice given we missed out on going for our anniversary.
    I will be the fat, waddling person.

  4. Poneke: I was going to reply about the ‘living in Wellington, working in the Hutt’ thing, but I think it would best suit a full post. Watch this space (or one like it).

    TomA: Word.

    Mel: You totally should come! If you’re looking for a romantic hotel, I recommend the Museum Hotel. Also, good luck for the Auckland 48Hours finals!

  5. Welcome to Wellington chook. I see you’ve found Newtown, the coolest suburb of all…..and Mama at the local greek. Check out peoples coffee in Newtown, just across from the library, it’s the BEST. See you in the supermarket

  6. I am troubled. I made a quick trip to Wellington last week, the first in years. And now I want to be there and not here. Auckland really is the biggest one street town in the world.

  7. Poneke: I love the Cuba Street slogan! It kind of suggests coming home having bought many useful things, then opening your bag and finding a ceramic “Cheese of the World” clock.

    Paul: Many people experience this feeling. You can either treat Wellington like a mistress or a spouse, but either way is fun.

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