No News is Good News

No News is good News… Well I can tell you that it isn’t. What it is my friends is bloody annoying. No news often means a prolonged agonising wait to find out that you have failed or that maybe theres yet another sift to go through.

I’m sorry! Pardon! You’re lost? Oh… Right, I see… Maybe I should start from the beginning. Twenty Five days from today I would have been back on these shores for a year, a whole year since I came back from New Zealand – I should point out I was forced to return as my visa had expired and I didn’t want to risk deportation and ruin any chances of returning to that magical place I called home for a while. Never the less I landed in England with two objectives. The first was to get back to New Zealand and the way to do this was through a Bunac Visa, the second was to find a new career and get the god damn hell out of theatre.

Well the Bunac ship sailed and I wasn’t on it, the getting out of theatre is still very much work in progress but I think I may be there. I started applying for signalman roles with Network Rail and anyone in the railway will tell you recruitment like the trains take a long time, and the responses again like the trains are heavy delayed. After a year I have final landed a role (fingers crossed) This process for the role began 5 months ago (Along with other tests and assessments I’ve been invited to over 7 months)  and I still have not yet got the confirmation letter  although I was told by the line manager I was successful and he was sending relevant paper work to HR.

So as the saying goes, No News etc well, I can tell you handing in an application to have no news for two months and then an email to say its been moved on to the first test and then nothing for a moon cycle to be told you were successful but wait there’s another assessment and so it goes on starts to get you down. My good friend Kat has been there with the struggle and the process and when I got the call to say you’re in I think she may have been more relieved than I, partly as she won’t be receiving anymore ‘Whats happening’ ‘Why they not get in touch’ ‘My job profile status has changed, what you think it means’ messages, but also she understands what this means for me. However now I am back to waiting on HR… this time I know I have the job but need to receive the ‘Job Offer letter and pack’ and until I have that in my hand I am once again in limbo.

I’m like an animal, I can smell the blood of the kill I know it is close but it’s just out of reach. The exit from theatre is right in front of me yet I do not have the key to unlock it.  Believe me when I say posts on forums tell tales of people applying to putting on uniform taking over a year. So the wait is no way near over, the finish line is in sight… Just… it just happens to be obscured by several more obstacles, but as I look behind and see the ones I’ve already conquered the ones to come seem easy in comparison.

So now I move from checking my emails every day and job profile on the career site to waiting for the postman to bring that news, that Network Rail letter that contains my job offer and when it comes I’ll hold it high resembling Charlie and the Golden Ticket, for it will be my ticket out of a career I’ve fallen out of love with and onto something new and exciting with real career prospects.

So while No News is certainly not bad news, it is not good in any respect, just painful.

Having the Memory

Six months I’ve been back in the country and thats not to say I haven’t enjoyed the time. I’ve got myself a new shiny road bike, caught up with old friends but the truth is it’s just the same as when I left these shores for the ones of New Zealand. Nothing has really changed. I returned to my parents and I’ve tried to settle back in and get a job, boy have I tried to get a job… Its not that there isn’t any out there, its just whats the point of getting bar or supermarket work, when thats not what I want to do?

Anyway once again I wander of the path. The one subject that has been on my lips since the plane touched back on British soil, was how great New Zealand was and how it was right for me. In truth I think I have turned down or selected certain decisions on the fact that I want to return back to Wellington… Why move out of the parents and sign up for house when another visa could be in the post. At least at the folks house I can pack up and go straight away.

Yes everything has been about getting back. Well before Christmas that opportunity came in the the form of a Bunac IEP visa. Did I grab it with both hands? No, I said I would think about it. Why? Why indeed. I think in my hearts of hearts I know maybe its not to be, I always said I wanted to live and move over full time and if I had got sponsorship first time round that would be true, however I didn’t and now many of my friends have moved on, whether back to their own countries or else where in NZ.

So maybe my love and thoughts of returning is trying to hold on to a dream, a bygone era, if I go back its going to be different and maybe not the way I remember it, am I prolonging the prospect of growing up in the UK, settling down with pension, house, car, the white picket fence life? Is New Zealand somehow me running away from my responsibilities and life in the UK. Sure I was happy over there, maybe the happiest I have been, but are my memories clouded. There were times I felt low, I had no job for three months, no money to my name for one of those but yet the memories are always off Burger Fuel, nights out at the Embassy, craft beer, the beach, the friends, the pals, the fellow travellers, the one who have now moved on. Was it the city, the country I remember or the people I shared it with… Why do I feel so strong about the place.

The place is really quite different. Sure I have NZ mates, who were born and bred in the city, but most of my network were fellow travellers who’s relationships were built in the hostel we all sheltered in before we made our lives in the capital city. Sure I could go else where and be a traveller make new friends a new life in a new town, but whats the point if in a year I have to pack it all up again, knowing that I will only ever return for holidays if and when my wallet will allow.

So now I have the opportunity I find myself again, worrying and becoming scared if taking the visa is the right idea, but unlike last time, I won’t be stepping into the unknown, and some how that terrifies me more than not knowing what is to be expected.

Getting Back

Well, being back in England is jolly nice, no job or home and a strong desire to get back to New Zealand. Even all those friends that ignored me for a year and then suddenly emailed to say we should meet up as they’d love to hear about my adventures have once again disappeared off the radar. 

Now I don’t want to sound like a moaning miserable bitter old man but there are just somethings that a trip abroad will not change. So what is this all about? Well, in truth I don’t really know. Its… I suppose a little metaphor of my life at the moment. Being in New Zealand allowed me to think and examine my life and where I want to go. We all know, if you’ve been following the blog that I want out of theatre that much is clear, what is a little hazy is what I want to replace it with. 

Today I applied for an outdoor shop job, and a trainee Air Traffic control, both fit in to what I wish to do. One work outdoors and be an activity leader and the other have a well paid job with future prospects. 

The other side of me is trying to work back up to running a marathon, except my legs and hips seem to have differing thoughts on this as every run is growing harder along with what seems like a little injury in my hips. Maybe a tight hip flexor or something else. But what ever it is, running more than 5 miles is proving to be a pain. 

Either way I am not really committing to anything, running, job hunting or re-contacting my old connections in theatre. I’m also not really making a concerted effort to contact old friends I did without them for a year so a little longer isn’t going to hurt. I would like to point out here that I am contacting some, ones who remained connected and didn’t have a spell of radio silence while I was away. Yes I know how to hold a grudge. But if one more says they’d love to hear my adventures I might just say ‘You could have skyped or IM’d or Facebooked and got it in real time’ Like its not like I was in the Borneo rainforest with no modern methods of communication. But I can count the amount of people on my right hand who emailed, or FB a couple of times. 

So yes, back to civilian street, no more walking down to the beach with a mountain as a backdrop and clear blue skys watching ships and relaxing in the coolest littlest capital in the world. Oh no,  its getting back to my old life which for reasons known to me I’m trying to avoid. After all why go away for a life changing experience only to return and resume with your old life. 

So getting back to it, is something I think I will carry on avoiding. 

A Letter to New Zealand

Hometown 

The  UK

 

To New Zealand

Hello there, just a quick to note to say I landed and arrived back in one piece, oh who am I trying to fool I desperately miss you and long to see and spend time together once again. I hope Mt Taranaki is doing well and is still behaving I did see him on the way back to Auckland and waved but I doubt he saw me as he had his blanket of snow on him. I hear that his cousins Mt Ngauruhoe, Tongariro and Ruapehu are all behaving themselves and have yet to let off any steam unlike old White Island that is getting his temper back. Well I hope they are missing me as much as I am them. 

That reminds me how is Aoraki doing? Has he got any smaller since I left? I suppose he will never shrink down to his brother height Mt Tasman any time soon but if he keep shaking then more than snow and ice are going to fall. Are people still using his nickname of Mt Cook I always felt strange using it around him. He truly a wonderful sight to spend time with and I feel I may miss him the most out of all the mountains, his home was so peaceful and still. I only meant to see him for the afternoon but we just hit off and a week later I had to wave goodbye.

I hear that Northland is having a spot of bother with a little bit of wind, I really hope it isn’t too serious, while I spent little time with her up there I did love the beaches and coves which reminds me I never got to pay a visit to Abel Tasman before I left I hear that she was pretty shaken up over the recent storm that hit her and Nelson Lakes quite hard. Now he was a character and gent, never a dull moment walking the track in his company and while the views might not have  been as impressive as old grandfather Routeburn or Milford the vistas were reward enough if not then the weather certainly was. 

Have you heard anything from Wellington, I feel that she should have been in contact either by Skype or email. Even the odd ‘like’ from her on Facebook would be nice but I’ve heard nothing and lets face it, I did spend most of my time with her so feel quite abandoned. She had such a wonderful personality so vivid and wild a real sense of humour but she’s probably busy. I always liked that about her, she would never stop always had something going on. I hope ChristChurch is still on the mend when I saw him he was still down in the dumps and as for Queenstown the less said about him and Auckland the better, sometimes you just know you aren’t going to get on and take an instant dislike. I tried with Auckland I really did, but QT I knew from the off. 

Anyway I hope you’re keeping well I promise I will be back. There was so many of your family I never visited or spent enough time with. Next time when I’m over I promise I’ll spend more time with little Wanaka and pray he doesn’t go the same way of his older brother QT, and hopefully Nelson will still be up for partying hard. You really were such a kind and generous host. You had such a fresh way of doing stuff, sometimes a little old and outdated but somehow it felt right and it seemed to work. Nothing was ever a hassle and there was never a rush and for that I have to say thank you.

Oh well I will leave you to carry on being awesome but thank you once again New Zealand for being a really great wonderful host. To say I enjoyed and will be treasuring my time I spent with you and your family does not even begin to cover it. 

Chur’s Bro

A Bag of Nerves To…

This time last year I was trying to see and spend as much time with family, friends and Manchester. My thoughts were ‘what happens if I hate it, I’ve sold everything to fund this trip and I’ll look a fool if I’m back in two weeks’ as nervous as I felt even with the reassurance from my mate in the back of my mind something was telling me that I’d be home sick and would not enjoy the year.

I had plans, everyone has plans. Those plans however have not turned out. The biggest plan has failed, I know this as in a week I’m returning from NZ to the UK, but unlike a year ago my mind isn’t nervous or scared it’s just, just unenthusiastic about the prospect. Sure I get to
see people but I’m back in the UK.

The truth is while I didn’t work for DOC or live in the hills partly as I allowed Wellington to trap me in its ‘Coolest little capital hub’. The truth is this is home, this is my city, and I think I was also suppose to stay here. Before I left it was on the list of possible place I’d lay down my bag and sleep. I feel that when I return to Manchester I will feel like a stranger, as I walk round my home country I will feel like a traveller.

Someone one said that you change once you travel, and only travellers know this, you have a different look on life, and to be honest the kiwi one rules. I always said, even thou nervous about the adventure that I’d like to live and stay in NZ and as I browse the shops for those gifts and pack my bag I know that I was right.

It’s not that I’m scared of my return, sure I’m worried or refusing to think about my job prospects, living arrangements and money its more the fact I don’t want to go back so I’m not allowing myself to think about it. Don’t get me wrong I’m excited about having that English pint next to a fire in a wood panelled pub in the heart of an English village with my best mate, seeing my nephew and my mum, but I’m not looking forward to reverting back to the British lifestyle, nipping to the corner shop rather than the dairy, ordering a pint rather than a handle, replacing pound for dollar and having to do the conversion the other way, going to a supermarket to buy everything instead of the liquor store for my drink and having to drive to the coast or mountains rather than taking a walk down the road. Wellies not gumboots, flip flops not jandles, mate not bro the list of culture change goes on.

Yes a year ago to day I was nervous as I was going into the unknown, now I’m scared and upset.

If someone at five thirty came on that plane to tell me I could stay then in all honesty I think I’d get off.

It’s funny how a year changes your view.

If You Take a Walk Through Mt Vic Tunnel.

“Show us your tits love”
Cried an oversized bricky perched aloft his scaffold tower.
“Look at the arse on that” Echoed another cry from the crowded platform, each builder bending their neck to spy at the view. One nudged Paul “if she was a car I’d love to drive here hard and fast”.
“Aye and it’s got the air bags for you to crash” Gary snickered.
“Come on love… You’re not shy are ya?”

Sandra continued walking, ignoring all cries that came from the now drooling pack and no sooner had she turned the corner than the wolf whistles had died down and she returned to a slower more relaxed pace. ‘I need a new route to work’ she mumbled beneath her breath as she sighed and turned into Dickson Street.

For many a walker, cyclist and even a runner taking the path through Mt Victoria Tunnel in Wellington face a similar experience, maybe a little amusing and enjoyable on the couple of occasions that you may experience it, but come the 5th, 6th and definitely the 20th the joke has grown old. Like Sandra it’s not a nice experience. For walkers it must be worse, as a runner I speed my pace up to get the hell out of there, but yet I’m not sure if all the attention is aimed at us mere pedestrians or if it’s some other kind of game.

We’ll take a pause here, as comparing the mere objectifying of woman to a simple annoyance through a tunnel is by no means the same… But I’m sure is equally annoying as it is not needed, but like the builders, the drivers feel it is justified.

I’m talking about the honking of car horns. A barrage of ‘beep beep’ and it only takes one to begin the chorus. It has roots and reminds one of the running of the ‘ Great North’ with ‘Ogie ogie ogie’ ‘Oi Oi Oi’ as the cars and their owners try to create a tune.

Runners get it all the time, as you run along, Gary in his mates Ford Fiesta learns out of the window to shout instructions, just incase you had managed to get this far somehow running in an incorrect fashion but thanks to Gary you now know to lift those knees up. And like Sandra your mind straight away sends a curse to these people. Why do they feel the need to shout at you or in the case of the cars, beep their horns.

No one yet can explain this phenomenon from Wellington, no one seems to know when, how or why it started, but like the woman walking past a building site being objectified with wolf whistles, you can gaunatee that if you were to cut through the tunnel on state highway 1 then a cacophony of car horns will be accompanying you on your journey and while I’m informed it’s not aimed at those using the raised walkway, one but can’t help that maybe just maybe it is in some way and if not then why not…

The Final Countdown

It was around this time last year I wrote something similar, except the countdown was to my adventure and after almost a year what an adventure it’s been.

Now with just 27 days left (as I write this) I look back at my time in New Zealand and think back to how scared and nervous I was. Any regrets? Only that I hadn’t done it earlier in my life and applied for a two year visa with visas to other countries along the way.

It’s no secret that I’m happy here, my Kiwi mates and traveller friends all know this is where I belong and while I won’t go into those reasons you can rest assured that NZ like snowdonia is a spiritual home of mine, one in which I will return and one that people who know me know it’s where I belong.

After months of trying to find a way to stay or extend my visa it seems that fate is telling me to go home, and maybe with good reason. I’ll be able to sip a nice pint of warm ale with my bestie and see my family again but at the moment that is all that England has to offer.

If I was to describe the sensation or my feelings at the thought of leaving in 27 days it would be to compare it to a warm bed. Imagine the alarm going off on a cold wet dark winter Monday morning, with the thought of a hard depressing day stuck in your office cubical. How much nicer is it to just roll over and hit the snooze button and bury yourself beneath the warm sheets and have a sick day. Well the bed is NZ and the journey and work is going back to the UK.

Sure I miss elements of the UK, off course I do it’s my country, but I’ve gotten use to NZ, the shops, money, food, lifestyle, brands, shops, adverts you name it I’m living it. The thought of adjusting back into English life does not excite or thrill me. I’ve seen what the world has to offer, I’ve seen what other opportunities there are, I’ve experienced a new way if life, and you know what I rather like it.

The countdown however has begun and while the nerves tingle and the thoughts of not wanting to say goodbye along with the fear of forgetting the experience and returning to the life I had. I know that it is I and I alone who needs to hold on to this experience and forge a new life. I never wanted to leave Manchester or change my job for the fear of the unknown, but now after a year away living from a bag meeting new people living in several communities that fear I once held onto as an excuse for living the old life seems pretty lame.

Oh well we will see what happens UK.

The countdown has started.