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Saturday, July 29, 2006

First trip to Welly - ramblings


Lucky for me I think I was able to salvage the whole journey this weekend in Wellington. I've spent the past couple of weeks working a few relief shifts, but didn't really like the idea of being a full-time relief vet over here in NZ. I really like it best when I'm part of a team and I can stay in one place with one staff and have more control over my cases. So, nice as it was to be able to fill up my calendar with relief dates, I was hoping I could nail down this job opportunity here in Welly this weekend. Thanks to Paddy for setting me up with the interview, because without her I would probably not have gotten this job.

So, now I have a job in a better practice with a very reasonable boss and better pay, and in the one city I really wanted to live in the whole time I was planning this trip. Wellington is really cool, for a bunch of reasons.

Geographically, it's at the very southern tip of the north island, so it's right in the middle of the whole country and is a pretty good jumping-off point for wherever you want to go. It's a beautiful harbor city with lots of culture. Lots of good clubs and restaurants, with an active theater circuit. There's a great museum called Te Papa that's always got interesting and world-class exhibitions. Great sightseeing around the city and lots of good outdoor stuff within a day's drive of here.

I'm very lucky once again, and I really feel like I've saved the whole trip because for a while there I was feeling like I had to go home. Things could be a lot worse, of course, as I really do miss the States and all my friends and family there. But I've sacrificed a lot and put a ton of time and effort into this adventure and I haven't even really begun. Even if I hadn't landed this job, there are others out there, but I really don't think I could have done any better than this.

Now I'll be working in Upper Hutt, a small town about 25 minutes north of Wellington. I start on August 21st. My boss is letting me stay at a small, very nice flat next to their house for the first 3 months, at a very decent rate I might add. This will give me time to find a place I can afford AND that will allow cats, and from what I gather it's not too easy to find places to stay in the Wellington area so I'll need all the time I can get. It's getting so that packing up and moving are becoming a part of everyday life for me, but hey at this point I'm like a pro! It's also far easier to pick up and move when you haven't had time to put down roots, as they say.

The drive up here from the south island was pretty, as for about a third of the way I had the Pacific Ocean right outside my driver's side window. Then I hit wine country with all its rolling hills and vineyards, before I got to Picton, a small town at the northern tip of the south island. Here, I put my car (and myself, duh) on a ferry that goes across Cook Strait. It's about a 3-4 hour trip but they've got food and drink on there and the seats are really comfortable, plus the views are great. Sometimes, they can have 15 foot swells on the water and they'll still make the ferry ride over, but thank God I didn't have to endure any of that! Yet.

While in Welly I got to see the massive Lord of the Rings exhibit at Te Papa, which is a good thing too because it's gone for good after August 20th. I chatted with two of the 'curators' for the LOTR exhibit, Lou and Kathryn, for a while about the movie. We also discussed Peter Jackson and his film company. Lou and Kathryn were really nice and had some good stories about the filmmaking. They mentioned how Peter still has a house out on Miramar, a suburb peninsula of Wellington, and also how Viggo Mortensen and Elijah Wood had gone in on a house together (possibly with Orlando Bloom, can't remember now) in Wellington somewhere so they could visit whenever they wanted. Kathryn said that when Viggo visits he is very affable and approachable by everyone, and I obviously don't know Viggo but I can see that about him. She also said he doesn't get mobbed in Wellington as much as he might somewhere back in the States, as the Kiwis tend not to get all 'fussed' about things like that.

When I first got into town, I was getting in after the check-in desk had closed at my motel. So they left me my room key in a little lockbox outside the office and I let myself in. I think it must have been me and about 40 elderly ladies staying at the motel all weekend, for when I got there and started to move my bags into my room from my car, they all arrived en masse. They must have all been out to dinner or something and were now coming back to their rooms, and there were so many of them they had to make way for me and my huge suitcase as I came down the stairs.

They were pretty funny and very polite, but damn... why couldn't they have all been 30ish and single?

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