Hello dear readers!
I’m back! For those of you who noticed my absence, one—wow, thanks, and two—I apologize. The time has come for me to blog again because, if you didn’t check this update here, I am headed to the other side of the world.
[I wanted to say, “To the Land Down Under!” but I’m only going there for a week.
And I wanted to say, “To New Zealand!” but I’m going to Australia first.
So I have compromised to The other side of the world (said in a movie man bold voice]
There are a lot of reasons why I wanted to go, but I’ll summarize it to say it’s because the stars aligned and I am able to. It’s not for school or a job or to visit a friend. I’m just going to go. To experience. Adventure. Meet some Kiwis. Have some fun. Take awesome pictures. Jump off bridges.
I’ll begin my blog by saying, it is unwise to plan for a three month adventure to the other side of the world only days before you depart.
Here is my timeline.
November 19th: Decides to go to the other side of the world and books plane tickets, to depart on December 29th (awesome thing to note, the “multi-city” option allows one to fly into Sydney, say, and return from Auckland)
November 20th: Picks up “lost or stolen” (lost) passport form and new passport application form.
November 20th: Realizes one needs an original copy of one’s birth certificate to apply for a new passport.
November 21st: Parents overnight birth certificate
November 22nd: A package arrives in the mail, but no one is available to sign for it. A note is left on the door saying, essentially, “here is the address, come pick it up. Or we can redeliver it.” The fine print is so fine, it is not clear that one must check boxes and replace note into mail in order to have redelivery.
November 23rd: Package does not come in mail again because someone did not read the fine print.
November 24th: Thanksgiving holiday. Cannot got to post office.
November 25th: Black Friday, at work all day and cannot go to post office.
November 26th: Enters the address written on post office note into phone GPS (please note, the address is in West Lebanon. I live in Lebanon.) Follows directions and makes three U-turns not seeing it. Realizes it was entered incorrectly into GPS. Enters it correctly. Follows directions. Does not see post office STILL. Stops at convenience to ask, “Where is the post office?” Counter help says, “Oh, that office moved. It’s now behind Shaw’s.”
“Yes. Sort of.”
The big Shaw’s or the little Shaw’s?
“The big Shaw’s. Did you ever go to Club Electra?”
(OMG YES.) …Yes.
“It’s where Electra used to be.”
(Was I paying attention when we drove there? No.) Isn’t that the small Shaw’s?
“It’s the new Shaw’s.”
But the smaller one?
“No, the bigger one.”
It’s the smaller one. Finds obscure driveway around Shaw’s and parks at Post Office, ready to complain that this little piece of paper had the WRONG ADDRESS.
Politely notes address mishap.
“Yes, your carrier should not have used this form. These are old forms. And actually…what’s your address?”
“So, your package isn’t here. It’s actually at the Lebanon post office.”
The Lebanon post office?
“Yes, I was working there yesterday and I saw it.
The post office that’s down the road from my house?
“Yes. I’m very sorry.”
Drives BACK to Lebanon, an hour later, to retrieve package. Does a combination of explaining the situation and nearly crying to counter lady. She is helpful, and birth certificate is secure.
November 28th: Goes to post office (Hanover location) to apply for passport. Have missed the “passport hours.” Also realizes one needs a picture, which is cheaper at CVS.
Stands in a one-person, 30-minute line. Takes passport picture at CVS. Photographer forbids smiling. “It’s the new rule. They want passport pictures to resemble mugshots.”
Result: It’s not a pretty picture.
November 29th: Returns to post office to apply for passport and EXPEDITE the delivery, since it’s now one month until departure. Pays lots of fees. Tells the passport man it’s really unfortunate people are not allowed to smile for their passport pictures. “Oh. When I take pictures, I let people smile.”
Note: take passport pictures at the post office (located in Hanover. Not West Leb or Leb, if you can find their locations)
December 1st: Moves out of Lebanon apartment. Preparation for moving distracts from all other aspects of life.
December 2-9th: Works on thesis, works at the Northface, emails people in Australia and New Zealand, talks with Nigel- THE MAN -Leeming, packs to drive 2400 miles home. Passport arrives in Roswell at some point, neither parent mentions it.
December 11-13th: Drives to New Mexico. Nothing accomplished (except, of course, driving).
December 14th: Applies for work holiday student visa (which required a passport number)
December 15th-25th: Attempts to FINISH THESIS AND NOT BE DISTRACTED BY LOOKING FOR JOBS AND HOUSING ONLINE. Looks briefly at jobs and housing online. Overwhelmed with idea of updating resume.
December 21st: Visa approved. (!!)
December 23rd: Orders backpack from the Nface. Must Express ship it.
Note: express shipping costs almost the same as discounted backpack.
December 26th: Puts thesis away, unfinished. Realizes there is much to be done.
Returns Toshiba laptop (sorry!) and overnights a Mac Book Pro. Sends emails. Looks at flights from Australia to New Zealand (whoops! Forgot that caveat)
December 27th: Chooses a flight from Sydney to Dunedin. Please note: one should not expect international flights to cost the same as intra-island flights, such as those between the islands of Hawaii or New Zealand. They are more costly.
Also note: To do this in advance and not two weeks before saves quite a bit of money.
December 28th: Computer arrives. Must. Download. Microsoft Word! For thesis! Damn the thesis! Backpack arrives. Books arrive. Does five loads of laundry. Packing commences at 10:30pm.
December 29th: 2:30am. Packing finishes.
10:30am Depart Roswell for Albuquerque.
7:30 pm Departs Albuq to L.A.
Makes friends with Colin in the seat next to me, who is also going to Sydney.
8:30 pm (LA time): Realizes upon landing that one needs a Visa to travel to Australia. Not work. Not move. Travel.
10:30 pm: Obtains Visa online
11:30 pm: Flight delayed.
December 30th: Leave L.A. after 2 am. Only sixteen hours to go.
Have yet to: Set up a bank account, figure out a phone, find a job, find a place to live. But I think I’ll just wait until I’m in New Zealand.