Day 896 – NEW ZEALAND: Happy Christmas…Merry New Year

A rather belated season’s greetings to everyone. It’s 2009, and everything is going to be fine.

Welcome to the future.

Just before Christmas I was greeted with a message when trying to access my website, telling me that I had exceeded my monthly allowance for bandwidth. A blessing and a curse, I guess. Lots of people still checking in to catch up on the action.
It was my first Christmas at home for 5 years this year. The actual Christmas family gathering at my parents’ place was nice, but what I have enjoyed most is catching up with individual family and extended family members individually here and there for the last few weeks.

Chillaxing with fandamily in Sumner, Christchurch, New Zealand Chillaxing with fandamily in Sumner, Christchurch, New Zealand

Chillaxing with fandamily in Sumner, Christchurch, New Zealand Evie and Uncle Rob

Christmas dinner was typical family chaos with new babies and new couples and generally new everything (to me).

Family Christmas in Halswell, Christchurch

Hayley and EmJay in Halswell, Christchurch With Makayla in Halswell, Christchurch

New Years was quickly destined to be a rather quiet one until my brother Chris paid for a flight for me down to Queenstown to spend New Years in Wanaka. It was great to get away from Christchurch and socialise a little, despite not knowing many of those that I socialised with over the four days.

New Years in Wanaka was a wild one with a huge party hosted at the half-built house of a friend of my brother’s. Overlooking the township and lake of Wanaka, the house was in an awesome location. The day after, my brother and I tried to visualise how big a container would have to be made in order to contain every drop of alcoholic beverage consumed in Wanaka alone the night before. Many a reveler was paying the painful but content price for ushering in the new year.

My brother had also flown down to Queenstown for New Years, so we were both without transport. Putting his resourcefulness in action once again, Chris manged to find us a free rental car for the duration. For three days we were driving around a large, gutless, but oh so classy Jucy Charger campervan. The arrangement was that we would relocate it to Christchurch, only paying for fuel and insurance. A very good deal.

On the 2nd of January we headed to Otematata, at the southern end of Lake Benmore, to catch up with another of Chris’s friends. Waterskiiing on the 3rd, and home by 9pm that day.

So…a reality check. How am I feeling at the moment?

  • I felt more comfortable in a cross-cultural environment that I do now in my own local culture. I find it hard to make small-talk.
  • I’m finding it hard to get excited about anything at all.
  • I feel burnt out and tired most of the time.
  • I don’t know what I want. I still feel a huge lack of direction and purpose.
  • I feel guilty and uncomfortable about the ‘excesses’ I percieve in my own western cultural bubble. Water-skiing and boating for example. What a huge luxury. I’m not sure how to think about it all.
  • I am feeling lonely and disconnected with society. It has been hard to find opportunities to make new friends here in Christchurch. This is due to the fact that any clubs or groups that I have been interested in have been non-operational over the end of year break.

As for 2009, I am still on the prowl for a creative writing course. The plan is to enrol in one of the courses out there that allow students to work towards a finished manuscript over the course of a year, whilst receiving mentoring and reading advice along the way. I had initially looked into online courses, but I have ditched that idea. Too unsocial. I need some interraction. So I’ve emailed course directors for courses in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin. I hope to hear back from them in a week or so.

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2 thoughts on “Day 896 – NEW ZEALAND: Happy Christmas…Merry New Year

  • david victor

    Sounds like you got a bit of reverse culture shock, surprise surprise. Although I can definitely see it taking a while to wear off. You'll be back to your genki old self in no time!

    In a bit of surprise sudden news (for you at least maybe) I'm getting married in February to Emi from the APU admissions office, remember her from way back then? The ceremony will be in Hawaii. I'll have some stuff on facebook soon too!

    have a great 2009!