What a ride. The last eight months have the been most varied, crazy, new, different and surreal of my life. I felt up, I felt down. I had to pinch myself because life would be so amazing and then I had to shake myself sane when I felt so miserable that all I longed for was home.
And then I was ok again. And then I was excited about my life and the world and the possibilities. It was up and it was down but it was all new.
I’m about to head back to NZ for Christmas and it’s a good time to reflect on my time here. Next year will probably be different again. I’ll know what I’m doing. I’ll have more of a friend base. I’ll be more comfortable with what I like and what I don’t like. It will still be an adventure, just of a more familiar kind.
I’ve had some amazing experiences this year. It’s hard to believe I managed to fit it all in. But that’s the thing about being on an OE – every minute you have here is precious. You fill up your time every way you can!
Some of my experiences include:
– walking across the Golden Gate bridge in sandals and back again
– discovering the awesome friends you make from all over the world, just by hanging out in the hostel lounges
– relishing the freedom that comes with putting on sneakers in a new city and letting curiosity guide the way
– discovering the Weird Street festival in San Fran before walking past a film set and onto little Italy to call my mum back home via the café’s free WiFi. I’ve honestly spoken to most friends and family the same amount I would back home. It’s wonderful.
– watching Broadway in New York
– calling dad from Times Square
– Ground Zero, Brooklyn Bridge, Madame Tussuods, Greenwich Village, Central Park
– watching a gospel choir at church on mother’s day in Harlem
– getting bored of waiting for a man to take me to Paris and taking myself there instead
– sitting in a church service at Notre Dame while the huge pipe organ played
– getting lost in The Louvre
– seeing the last night of Monty Python live
– taking up the offer to be shown around The Netherlands by the guys who sat next to me at Monty Python. We rode the boat at the canal in Amsterdam and saw Anne Frank’s house. A restaurant Butler also assumed I was after a ‘coffee shop’.
– scoring a good comms job in the mobile industry
– staying with my German friend as he took me around Mainz
– walking through thousand year old tunnels in Oppenheim
– seeing Interpol at the Electric Ballroom
– getting a tour outside BBC Manchester with my cousin and seeing where The Beatles grew up in Liverpool
– playing keys in a soul band
– performing songs at The Troubadour with Elson
– meeting friends of friends and ending up with new best mates
– popping down to Hyde Park after my first day of work to see Black Sabbath, Soundgarden and Faith No More
– getting mistaken by staff as one of the historical speakers at a 12th century house tourist attraction in Edinburgh
– having dinner at the Elephant Cafe where Jk Rowling wrote Harry Potter.
– joining an Edinburgh Pub Crawl in the spur of the moment with a bunch of American uni students where we tried haggis and ballroom danced in the clubs.
– boncing round with a couple of American dudes (honestly the Americans are everywhere!) in Dublin and pushing them onward as they tried to flirt with every Irish girl we passed
– volunteering with a learning disability group and having the best times in London (Frozen singalong anyone?)
– attending my first overseas work conference, in Brussels
– going to a private members club
– playing foosball with my mate while listening to 90s rock in a Clapham bar. London has some damn good rock and metal bars.
– seeing Lamb and Mastodon live
– trying out Pineapple Studios dance classes (they yell a lot cos the music is so loud)
– going to a comedy show in Angel and realising my friend’s friend happened to be performing
– seeing Mel C and Martin Freeman. And apparently one time we saw a guy from Boyzone? I’ll take my friend’s word for it.
– watching a seminar at Twitter HQ
– being so engrossed in my Yes Man audiobook I didn’t realise I was walking home in the wrong direction
– seeing squirrels, foxes and deer round London.
– Laser Force in Germany (my friend frantically translated the rules to me)
– getting lost in London in Greenwich, Soho and everywhere else with one of my Kiwi friends
– getting lost when I attempted to take a bus in Paris then realising language barriers are trickier than anticipated!
– and now, sipping apricot tea in Incheon Airport, South Korea!
There are even some things I’ve learnt!
– I’ve learnt it’s not too hard to hop to a new country and get acquainted.
– I’ve learnt in 2014 you can keep in touch with anyone at any time and I’m already taking it for granted.
– I’ve learnt that I get lost a lot. And that’s ok!
– I’ve learnt that the more people you meet, the more you learn about the world, a total insider’s guide!
And I’ve learnt Earth is smaller than it seems. In the future I’m sure country hopping will be as easy as catching a train. It will be outer space that offers us a new place to explore… As long as we cherish what we have here first.