LeithJournal

You haven’t heard of me?

Archive for July, 2007

Jul31

Traveling, recovery and the adventure of the tree branch

Posted by Leith in News,Play,Travel,Work
traveling-recovery-and-the-adventure-of-the-tree-branch

Well, Thursday morning I spent doing the last vestiges of my packing. I ran around town a little with Rach (many thanks again for playing taxi, Rach), dropping various bits and pieces off to various people to whom I may or may not have mentioned I was unloading stuff on. Back at Kath’s, I somehow manage to jam all my bits and pieces back into my luggage and then Dylan helps me take the aforementioned luggage out to Mum’s car. Cheers, Dyl! Mum was kind enough to take me to the airport and check my luggage in with me (making sure I wasn’t over on the weight limits, which I wasn’t… barely). We then sat and had coffee and chatted in the airport for a while. It was good to have a friendly send-off. I know Mum is worried I’m going to fall off the planet and never come back to New Zealand or something, but I’m sure I’ll always be making trips back to see everyone, even if I end up living overseas for a while.

Anyway, the traveling wasn’t so good. I made it to Auckland just fine, until they told me that my carry-on was over their weight limit and I would have to either somehow lighten the load by offloading some of the contents (to whom, I’m not entirely sure… they certainly didn’t seem to care) or check the bag at extra cost. Naturally this infuriates me, since I had already flown up from Christchurch no problems. I would later, when checking my baggage in LA, have the baggage handler look at me like I was an idiot for checking that bag as well and say “Nah, that’s a carry-on, right?”, to which I would reply “Mate, the bastards at the last airport made me pay $300 and check this little thing, so I’ll be damned if I’m carrying it around for the rest of the trip.” Which, of course, is what happened. So much for getting a cheaper flight this time. At each airport I touched down in, I had no time whatsoever. I was literally running from gate to gate, through customs and re-checking things. My running around in LAX was fun, as the baggage kept on falling off of the little trolley I was pushing. For my flights across the US, I had a screaming baby to keep me entertained and to top the whole thing off, my (US) cellphone decided that it wasn’t going to work, even when I was back in the country. This led to some unhappy people in Florida, as I didn’t have time to breathe (and thus get out my laptop as an alternate method of communication) until I got to Charlotte and was thus almost in Florida. So… all in all, not the best of trips back. Eventually I did arrive in one piece however and was picked up by Anastasia in Orlando. A couple of hours drive and we were back in Gainesville, where we brought everything inside the apartment and crashed out.

Next day I spent recovering from the travel, making sure to email out to people saying that I arrived just fine. I spent a couple of days recovering, actually… was really groggy. Anastasia and I got my phone fixed and did some shopping.

On Sunday, something entirely unexpected happened. Having just vacated the bedroom a few minutes prior, Anastasia and I were startled off the couch when a very large crash came from that end of the house. A rather hefty tree-branch had fallen from the tree outside and come through the roof, through the ceiling and smashed straight through Anastasia’s long mirror. In a very Boondocks moment, I pointed and said “I can’t believe that just fuckin’ happened!” We managed to do some clean up, tidying up the glass and some of the plaster. The landlady came over and inspected the damage, said she’d take care of things. We put a few spare shingles up on the roof to cover the hole in order to tide it over until the repairmen came the next day. That evening Anastasia and I went out for dinner with Lea and regaled her with the tale.

After a very weird sleep (2 hours to start, 2 hours to finish and nothing in between…), the repair guys were over in the morning and spent most of the morning here with the landlady patching up the hole. It doesn’t quite look like it fits with things on the inside now, but only if you look I guess and at the very least it doesn’t have a hole there. Anastasia went off to study with Lea for the class that they’re sharing (Dynamics, which sounds fairly horrible), then I joined them for lunch at Firehouse Subs and made sure they knew what was going on with the roof. I worked for the afternoon/early evening and then…

…I got an email from the University of Tokyo, confirming my acceptance with them! So, everything continues to fall nicely into place for getting my scholarship and going to Japan next year.

Anastasia and I had dinner with Lea again (she lives here, really… her other apartment is just an expensive storage unit for her stuff…), this time enchilladas (my fave) while we watched Jet Li’s Fearless on DVD. I’m still surprised that for the DVD release, the subtitles they put on the Japanese speech is different from the subtitles that they had on when I went to see it in theatres. I know enough Japanese to know that the subtitles they put on the DVD release is not what they’re saying.

Today was just more emails and more work while Anastasia and Lea went off to study.

Comments are off for this post

Jul25

Last week with long white clouds

Posted by Leith in News,Play,Travel
last-week-with-long-white-clouds

Well, with my last week in New Zealand before I head back to Florida, I did mostly more of the same I’ve been doing the whole time I’ve been here – seeing people and talking to them. I saw Ocean’s 13 with Mum, spent more time watching anime with Daniel, I dug up stumps at Mum’s place with Dace, had a lunch with Ian (graphics guru and musician), grabbed a coffee with another Ian (anime buddy from Uni), had dinner with Dace and Newby, hung out with Rach and Cam, had coffee with Grandma and Grandad out at Russley… all in all, a busy week. Not to mention getting my tickets and insurance sorted out, then packing up all my shit (again).

Being in New Zealand has been an odd experience for me. While I’ve had some startling moments of clarity about how much certain relationships mean to me and the lengths I would be willing to go to in order to keep them going, at the same time I have felt disconnected, transient, at times unwanted and altogether like I was in the wrong place. While Christchurch is where I was born, where I grew up and will probably always be the place that I know the best, I don’t really have my own space there. I could create one, this is true. But even if I did, that would not change the feeling that I have about needing to be somewhere else. I miss Anastasia a lot, having been able to live with her and see her the majority of the time – the last time I went to Seattle from Florida, it was “See you later” and a feeling of coming back, rather than a feeling of urgency, like I was living on borrowed time. Home is where the heart is, and my heart is in Florida. I’m sure at various points in the future, New Zealand (and Christchurch) will be the place that I need to be. Not for the first time, I find myself wishing that I could pack up all of those people in New Zealand (and Seattle) that I love so dearly and take them with me. I certainly know that some day I will get to do some traveling with some of them, and I’ll get my wish.

But I’ll never be able to do that with everyone I care about, and I don’t know how to deal with that quite yet. Things were much simpler when everyone was in one place. Sure they’d go away for a little while every now and again, but they came back. No longer. The people I care about are all over the world, and I have to find a way to spend time with all of them that isn’t going to make me explode. For those of you that don’t see me as often as you’d like, know that I miss you too and that I wish you were with me. For everyone, I hope you understand that it’s hard having people you care about deeply all over the world and that feeling like “home” has been split into several pieces is very disconcerting. That all being said, my thoughts are never far from the ones I love and I know that the rest of me will get to catch up to my thoughts at some point.

On that note, tomorrow I fly away to where my heart awaits me.

Comments are off for this post

Jul19

The old school yard (a musical interlude)

Posted by Leith in News,Play
the-old-school-yard-a-musical-interlude

Well, one thing I’d been thinking about on and off while I was away was the idea of going back to St. Andrew’s and seeing some of my old teachers. See who survived the purging of the Fairbairn regime and just generally see what kind of changes had been wrought in the last five or so years. As it turns out, I managed to see a whole lot of people! I started off with just a quick visit, seeing Mrs. Long and Mr. Farmer. Today I went back and saw a whole raft of people, former teachers of mine – directly or indirectly. I didn’t spend as much time with some as I’d like, mostly I just got to have brief conversations with people. I also managed to somehow become a guest spot in Mr. Brittenden’s year 13 design class, fielding a few questions about how the class helped me and dishing out a few bits of advice about what not to do (i.e. don’t procrastinate) during his design class.

Earlier this evening, I then went out to town to Fat Eddies, where Hera was having a gig. As I hadn’t seen her live in concert for a very long time, it was great to kick back at a little table with a Lemon, Lime and Bitters and listen to her music. I got to say hi to her and so on, although I didn’t manage to catch up with her after the gig as I had originally planned, since I ended up talking to some people sitting behind me. Turns out one of them actually was a student at StAC (would have been in 4th form when I was a prefect there), and that a friend of theirs who came and sat with us… was Warwick, formerly of Boulevard Systems, whom I had met while working at E-caf and done a little bit of work for. Very much a “Christchurch moment” – it’s a small, small world.

Comments are off for this post

Jul17

More work, more meetings

Posted by Leith in News,Play,Work
more-work-more-meetings

Over the last week I’ve spent a good chunk of time sorting out doing work for Serah’s aunt, as well as having several meetings with various clients and a bunch of people. I spent time with Dad and Dace doing work stuff as well as having meals and generally hanging out. I had my hair trimmed with Harry the barber in Merivale, which I hadn’t had done since I was in high school and had short hair. Was good to chat with him and hear his inimitable advice and manner, as if nothing had changed in the intervening years. As a strange twist of fate would have it, Mum has actually become coffee-mates with Harry the barber – she kept saying hello to him on her daily walks (since she lives down the street) and it just kind of went from there. Go figure, huh?

Anyway, Wednesday was Daniel’s birthday, so I went over there to see him and give him his gift from Anastasia and I, which was a satchel with “Hentai Inside” written on it as a parody of the “Intel Inside” logo. This was especially perfect because his mother Jan had absolutely no idea what it meant. ^^

This week I had coffee with Mike Smith, dinner with Andrea and David, dinner with Grandma and Grandad… it was a busy week. I had coffee in Cashmere with Robbie, as he was down from Wellington, where he’s been busy studying at Vic. We also spent a little bit of time in at the Dux having a couple of Ginger Toms. It was great seeing him again, I’ve really missed him while I’ve been away.

I also spent some time watching anime and hanging out with Daniel, which is something that I regularly did before leaving the country and certainly missed while I was away. While there are always anime fans of similar inclination wherever I go, there’s no one who’s quite the same as Daniel and nothing like it when the two of us get together. ^^

Comments are off for this post

Jul10

Off to see the Consulate… again

Posted by Leith in News,Travel
off-to-see-the-consulate-again

Well, today I got up at 4:15am and got my stuff together before driving to the airport. I took a trip up to Auckland and had a bit of a bumpy landing. I didn’t realise until I was on the plane that I had managed to forget my book! I taxi’d to the central city and had breakfast while I was waiting for the American Consulate to open up and my appointment time to roll around.

I spent some time trying to remember who I know in Auckland and sending out text messages to see if they wanted to catch up some time today.

I had my interview at the Consulate at 11, there was about an hour to wait to get in. I had an interviewer who actually asked me a relevant question this time – why did I want to go to Gainesville if the company that had sent the letter’s office was in Tampa? The only reason he asked was, as it turns out, that he had actually done some post-graduate study in Tampa.

Now, you’ll have to excuse me a moment while I rant about US governmental policy. The fact that I’ve been flying to and from the US for over three and a half years means that I would think by now that they have a pretty good idea of who I am, and know that I’m not some stupid terrorist. Did you know that when filling out visa applications, because I’m male and between 18 and 40, that means I’m the “target terrorist demographic” and I have to fill out an extra form which asks such ridiculous questions as “Are you affiliated with any terrorist organisations?”… as if they’re going to have some very, very stupid terrorist that going to answer “yes, I’m here to blow you all up”. Honestly. Do they somehow think that after some idiot comes into the country and blows himself (and possibly others) up that they’ll be able to wave this piece of paper around and cry “And he lied on his form!”

Ok, enough with the ranting. While it still irks me that I have to go through this process and that by now I ought to be able to just say “Hey, I’m coming back” and there’d be some kind of expedited process by which I could arrange to get my visa.

Anyway, since after a series of near misses, I managed to see absolutely no one on my trip and spent the day in a coffee shop working on my computer. Towards the end of the day, I shuttled back to the airport – it was a lot cheaper, but I needed cash (which I didn’t have in the morning). At the airport I got sushi for dinner – I was very happy, the guy gave me and extra 10 pieces for free on top of the 10 I bought.

After that, I flew back to Christchurch and ended up with a constant headache from the constant bouncing turbulence. It wasn’t serious, it was just constant.

Once I was back in town, I dropped in on Cam, Rach, Ollie and Kristin playing Lego Star Wars on Xbox. I stayed for way too long (that game is addictive), then went back to Kath and Gareth’s and crashed.

1 comment

Next Page »