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:

Weather
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.

Trains
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.

Foods
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.

Packing

I got a new job. It’s still in the fast-paced world of television, but whereas my old job was the feel-good public service side of telly, the new job is more commercial – a different kind of feel-good. And while it’s about the telly, I’m going back to my roots, as the job is all about the interwebs.

So that’s all new and exciting, but what’s even more new and exciting is that the new job is located deep in the Hutt Valley, meaning I’m going to have to move to Wellington in a few weeks.

Fortunately I like Wellington and its fine citizens, so I’m excited about the move. But my knowledge of the city is nowhere near as great as my knowledge of Auckland (or Hamilton!). I don’t know what kind of reputation different suburbs have, what sorts of areas I should live in.

But that’s a way off. At the moment I’m in the process of packing. I’ve been living at my current flat for over six years now (six years!), the longest I’ve lived in a flat, so it’s been a bit of an archaeological expedition as I’ve gone through all the stuff in my spare room.

At first glance, it looked a bit like the work of some crazy lady who buys things off TradeMe but just biffs the unopened boxes in the room. But even though there was a chaotic mess, I knew where everything was cos, like, it was all organically arranged, man.

But still, I managed to find a few things that I didn’t realise I had:

  • A sticker reading “UTBNB: Up The Bum No Babies”. (I assume you can stick it anywhere you like.)
  • A teach-yourself book on Irish Gaelic.
  • A vast collection of postcards. I knew I had quite a few, but I didn’t realise how many until I gathered them all together.
  • A badge from the ’80s saying “Telecom – I ♥ my customers”. Yeah, they had to get badges made as a reminder.
  • Too many bags. I would not consider myself a bag-loving’ gal, but yet there they were – too many bags. How did this happen?

I suspect I’ve been throwing out more than I’ve been packing. It’s easy to pack obvious things like books, CDs, DVDs, but then I’ll find and old notebook or a folder full of interesting bits of paper and I’ll want to keep it, but wonder, as it’s been in a drawer, untouched for the last six years, do I really need to keep it?

This is why nuns are content and crazy TradeMe ladies aren’t.