Still Smiling and SAFE

9 days later with only one bed swap and I am smiling.  I can now laugh at myself for how terrified I was to move into a hostel by myself. The flooding of fears and anxiety were for nothing. Living in this hostel is like living in dorms. There are communal bathrooms and showers and you are always paranoid that you will forget to bring your key. You try to be as neat, and quiet so as to be as respectful as possible to your 5 to 9 other roommates. I chose the woman’s only quarters so there are only 6 beds in my room. The floors are carpeted and the bedding is clean and decently warm. I have heard from other roommates that the “Sanctuary” hall is nicer than some of the lower floors so I am glad I didn’t go with the co-ed rooms. Sounds like females get better treatment here! Woot! It was a BIG debate in my mind whether or not I should pay 3$ extra a night to have a room with a window or not. I decided the splurge would lessen my feelings of isolation. My bed used to have my head right next to the door. So I jumped at the opportunity to switch beds when one of the girls moved out. Now I am situated closer to a wall outlet and a better view of the window.

Internet is not free! My first day of moving in I was trying to seek out hotspots on my iPhone. A girl from Argentina kindly told me that the nearest places to get it free were McDonalds or the library. It wasn’t unlimited and would boot you off but at least they were nearby locations. So for the first day I tried to survive on just free internet. I found it extremely hard to be job searching, keeping in contact with friends and blogging while trying to remain connected on a free server. So by day 2 I had caved and paid for a 3 day package of internet. Not ideal to have to pay for internet while unemployed but I believe it helped me to stay sane.

I love living downtown. The hustle and bustle of the streets helps me to not feel so alone. I have been walking up and down the main roads every day. It hilly roads are becoming a great source of free exercise.

I have met lots of interesting people since moving in. I wouldn’t go as far as saying I have made many friends – but I have been involved in some great nightly discussions. ALL from my room. I do not talk to people in the lounge or kitchen. I just do not feel comfortable enough to spark up a conversation. So far from my room I have met ladies from:
2x Argentina
Washington, DC
Toronto, Canada!!!
2x German

It’s been amazing to hear everyone’s’ first time hostel experiences. It really is comforting to know we all shared the same thoughts and fears. I told them how on my first night here I slept with my passport and wallet tucked in my purse and my purse was under the blankets at the foot of my bed with a foot firmly planted on the strap. Another girl said she slept with her purse under her pillow but it was so uncomfortable. Everyone except for 1 lady travelled here with a backpack. We have laughed over Murphy’s Law about needing the item that is at the very bottom of the pack. Or how heavy the bag is to carry but thank goodness we packed what we did. New Zealand is expensive and we are glad we brought all the necessities from home. It has been sad to say goodbye! It sounds like everyone has been having great experiences and I have been encouraging them all to post pictures and blogs so I can keep in touch!

Job hunting has had its good and bad days. I have been in contact with families and had a few interviews and even went as far as making my own post on a website. Au Pair families don’t seem to be too interested in having someone live with them this late in the year. It seems like January is a really popular time for families to want someone to move in. It’s hard trying to stay in touch with wireless and no local phone number but I am doing the best I can. A roommate and I have seriously been discussing heading South and going fruit picking for a month or so. I had never considered doing it alone –but NOW that someone else wants to do it with me my interest has peaked. I opened a bank account and am in the process of getting an IRD number. Summer positions will start to open up soon so we are just looking into accommodations and rates of pay (contract vs. daily).  It would be ideal if I could fruit pick for a few months and build my savings then come back and move in with another family. That way, Emzie and I can still travel on weekends and I’ll have some banked money for Australia — A girl can dream right?!

The other day, someone who loves me unconditionally; lovingly advised me:
“Just keep a vision of the right job/situation in your head and you will find it”
I keep reminding myself to stay positive. This isn’t what I had expected but this is life. I am living and breathing and everything happens for a reason.

Love that people are still reading the blog!
xox Amanda

Sorry about the Pillows!

I have felt alone before. My thoughts have a way of making me feel small. Feeling mentally alone tortures the soul. But you blink, breathe deep and move on.

Being physically alone. It’s different.

The unwelcome feelings that linger as you desperately try to FIGHT it away.
The more you
the more you look around and realize
how alone you are
in those moments you are completely ALONE.
All alone. ALONE.

To be physically alone, TO HAVE NO ONE was when I HAD to wear my big girl pants. And wore them I did.

I was told that I would be dropped off somewhere. When asked where I would like to go, I said, “Well I guess a hostel”. To which I got the reply, “I can’t drive you into town! I’ll take you to the train.” No specific time was given – besides the word evening. I quickly packed my bags so I would have as much time as possible to use the free internet. I frantically researched hostel locations, rates and reviews. I WAS actually going to become a “backpacker”. The difference between me and someone who was street entrenched was that I had money to pay for a hotel BUT there was no way I was going to one.  Sure Emzie and I had bought backpacks, but we weren’t actually dead-set on backpacking all around New Zealand and Australia. Maybe a day here and there, maybe more, but we would always be TOGETHER and travelling as a team. Not me fumbling with my bags in some unknown place alone.

Anxiety. FEAR. Depression. Anger. Shock. Pity. Despair. All these emotions were piling up and getting in my way. I plunked myself down beside a wall charger and kept my phoned charging as I sat for hours just waiting for the words, “time to go”. Dismal ratings, great ratings, horrible comments — the internet was inundated with reviews. Would all this preparation be enough for me? Was I going to be okay? Would I make it to the hostel? How was I going to carry all my bags? Would my shoulders and back give out on me?

For anyone that knows me. TRULY knows me. They know I am deathly shy. I will be the first to tell you I have NO confidence when in public. It scares me. In any new situation I am scanning, searching, and praying that there will be somebody to help me. As long as I have SOMEONE I am not alone. New jobs, new classes, new housing, new people it ALL terrifies me! I just need one person, JUST one person – and I am ok. It’s a confidence thing. I LACK SELF ESTEEM and I know it. THE very thought of me travelling to a new town by train worried me! Staying in a hostel petrified me. Living alone with no job had me fighting back tears.

I was feverishly researching WHILE texting friends to update them on my plans. I was beyond thankful that despite the time difference there were friends to talk to. I wanted them to know I was going to a hostel. Their worry for me elevated my fears and made me want to scream. Yet, it comforted me to know they knew what was happening. I needed them to know. I went from one bad situation, to another, and there was no way I was letting this decision be my worst.

Part of the fear was having never been to a hostel before. I have heard horror stories, and gross stories so I was trying to brace myself. I wanted to make the best decisions, that also fit my budget and time frame. If only I knew then what I know now! The worst part was not the hostel but getting to the hostel! And even then the commute wasn’t bad at all. It was really my imagination running wild. The build up of the situation was far more escalated than it ever needed to be.

My backpack, duffle bag and another bag full of food (there was no way I was leaving my food behind!!) were painstakingly heavy! Before Em left for Australia she brought me some of her hoodies, and 2 pillows and a library book. The pillows were such a nice surprise since the one I had been given was a brick that I never ONCE slept on for fear of breaking my neck. BUT unfortunately when it came down to choosing food over pillows I packed the food and had to leave behind the pillows. I very wisely packed the pillow covers so I could one day replace the two pillows. Love you Emzie!!

I was dropped off at the curb and cursing the skies that my shoulders were killing me. I made it onto the train (I was paranoid that it would be going in the wrong direction and asked a few times to make sure!) I had to ask what my stop would be as all I really knew was I was trying to get downtown. I was a little upset that the “train” was basically what we call a sky train or subway. I had really been hoping for a long scenic train ride. Once I arrived in Central Auckland I asked the information desk what bus I would need to take to take me to Queen Street. The person working the information booth was beyond helpful and even went as far as walking me to the bus. (He didn’t offer to carry any of the bags but I really appreciated the directions. He whipped out a paper map and circled where the bus stops were for each of the nearby hostels. Super great at his job!!) The hostel itself was the hardest part to find since it was on the 3rd floor of a building.  The building was LABELLED but I had to walk around the building a few times before realizing an elevator ride up to the 3rd floor was all I needed. (I have since been reassured that I am not the only one confused with how to enter the building. I have helped a few fellow backpackers know that they need to get on the elevator to find the reception desk! Go me!)

Base is on the corner of Queen and Darby and one street away from Victoria Street!!

And there you have it! Thus far, my 3rd place in New Zealand has been the best. Definitely not in terms of income but in terms of general health and well-being.

Next post will most likely be about hostel life…unless my observation blog comes first. We’ll see how I am feeling tomorrow.

Thanks for reading and blessings to all of you xoxo