My plan for Nelson had been quite simple: arrive, find a job, stay a while, save money, head to Australia with said saved money. It seemed like an achievable plan, and I was eager to create a life for myself in a new city. An added bonus to being in Nelson was that Alex, my boyfriend I met in Queenstown who I was not expecting to see for several months, had decided to relocate there as well. I was delighted to be reunited with him and I was fairly certain that I would be able to find a job rather quickly: I therefore arrived in Nelson with high hopes. After a day of pure loafing about the beach and Alyssa’s flat I set about finding suitable occupation, and though I handed out many a resume, both in person and online, many businesses told me that they were no longer hiring and I realized that my search may end up being in vain. I grew slightly discouraged as days passed and my phone didn’t ring with employers falling over themselves to hire me. In fact, I spent most days doing very little, lounging at the beach, taking pictures, and reading books. (I’m sure many of you reading this are rather incredulous at the idea of me being displeased with such a relaxed lifestyle, but there is nothing worse than not having a job when you really want to be working!) As days passed by and I remained nothing more than an unemployed drifter sleeping on a sofa bed, I realized I may need to form another plan of action. I considered returning to Queenstown, because I craved the company of so many familiar faces and of the simplicity of my lifestyle there, but I knew that Queenstown was no place in which to save money; I myself was a walking example of that. After my experiences of traveling solo and the loneliness that accompanies it, I was reluctant to relocate to a new city and try this yet again. Therefore I came up with the plan that if I was unable to find a job in a week, it was time to head to Australia to visit the numerous people I knew there at the time. I continued to hold onto hope that someone would at least offer me an interview, and after a few days of waiting, I was contacted by a marketing group called Savvy Direct to come in. Excited at the prospect of working a job like no other I had experienced, I was slightly sobered to learn that I would be going to people’s homes to ask for money for charity. At first I was all for it because the representative told me that we were fundraising for Red Cross; I had been hoping to volunteer in the earthquake-ravaged Christchurch for a while but the city was literally full to the brim with volunteers, so fundraising for Red Cross would be a good way to contribute. I was apprehensive at the idea of asking strangers to donate in the privacy of their own homes but I figured that I would give the job a chance.
The next day I had my job trial, where I would shadow the woman who interviewed me as she went about the door-to-door fundraising. I was slightly disgruntled to learn that we were not campaigning for Red Cross today; instead we were fundraising for the IHC, a charity that helps families with intellectually handicapped children (still a worthwhile cause of course, but I couldn’t help feeling misled). We drove to a less desirable area of town and started knocking on doors. By the looks of many of the houses, these people had no extra money to be donating monthly to charities; by the smell of many of the houses, these people apparently had no extra money to even buy soap. Yet I followed my companion around, attempting to keep up with her extremely brisk stride and getting more and more annoyed with her overly peppy attitude and frequent use of kiwi slang. I have never been able to be particularly convincing at feigning interest when people tell me things I do not care to know, and, in my opinion, neither was this other fundraiser. I wasn’t sure if the people we petitioned could sense it, but I knew there was very little sincerity in her voice as she spoke to them about their grandchildren, upcoming operations, or anything else they felt comfortable telling a total stranger. At some houses we lingered while she gave them the whole speech about the monthly donation, at others she quickly explained our presence and we went on our way. When I asked her why she was doing this for some people and not others, her answer was that the last house she had given the short version to smelled terrible and she didn’t want to stand there any longer. (In my opinion, many of the houses smelled pretty bad; some were reminiscent of the unidentifiable musk that lingered in our closet-rooms back in Te Anau). I went into the day with a positive attitude, but after an hour I realized I did not have the kind of personality that was needed to succeed at this job (i.e.: an overly fake enthusiasm), and I was soon freed of my trial. I spent the rest of the day looking up flights to Australia.
I would have left the following day, because I had found Nelson to be a less than entertaining city when the only people you knew in it worked all day long. Unfortunately, I was unaware that in order to enter Australia on a tourist visa, which I would be acquiring at the border, one has to have proof of a flight out of the country. At the present time, I had no such flight booked; I had decided that after a few weeks in Australia it would be time to head back home, but the date had yet to be confirmed and I hadn’t even begun to look at flights. By this point I had moved into a hostel as not to overstay my welcome at Alyssa’s, and the perpetual boredom I was experiencing started to cost me $27 a night. My only respite from my days spent in the company of books was Alex, when he was not at work, and Alyssa, when she had finished a hard day of apple picking. As it stands, I am in a limbo between New Zealand and Australia: as soon as I have a flight booked back home, I can head to Sydney to begin my condensed Australian adventure.
The following is a short description of the beach I have spent so much time at since I arrived in Nelson. I wrote it in my journal one day while I was there, and I didn’t think it was long or important enough to warrant its own entry.
Having been experiencing the rocky beaches of the lower South Island for the majority of my time in New Zealand, imagine my delight at the soft, sandy expanse of Tahunaki Beach in Nelson. The beach seems to stretch on forever, and the beautiful turquoise ocean that accompanies it only completes the image of total peace and serenity. I have already spent many happy days here, basking in the sun after a rainy summer down south in Queenstown. It is a perfect place to sit and read a book, people watch, and generally enjoy yourself. The water is actually temperate enough to swim in; unbelievably refreshing after having the hot sun beat down on you. The beach is littered with interesting shells, often so perfect looking they appear fake. The shoreline looks like a graveyard for the hermit crabs that are unknowingly shaken from their cozy shell homes by rambunctious children or simply tossed out of them by the tide. Some of these crabs are still intact, tiny and broken amongst the kelp and sea foam, while others are merely dried-out shells of their former selves, brutally ravaged by the seagulls that scour the beach looking for their next meal. Small fish dart around your ankles in the shallow waters and barnacles line the walls of the raised motorway that accompanies the beaches side; there is life everywhere.