After I find my luggage and make my way through customs effortlessly, I hang around the airport for a little bit. I text my dad to let him know that I’ve arrived safely and then I order hash browns from McDonald’s and have a seat.
I don’t know what I’m doing here. The thought goes through my mind. Maybe I should turn around and go home.
What’s wrong with me? It’s not like it’s a 30-minute train ride from the states to New Zealand. It’s a long journey and my body was sore from the flight. I sighed, told myself to take one step at a time and that I’m in control. I can go back whenever I want. I can do whatever I want.
I grabbed my luggage and made my way to the city. The plan wasn’t to come to Auckland at all. I had a connecting flight to Wellington. The only problem was that I couldn’t find accommodation around my arrival date. So I opted to not take the connecting flight and stay a few nights in Auckland, then take an overnight bus to Wellington.
The few days I spent in Auckland were filled with highs and lows – still carrying around that tight knot I felt in my stomach. I had to keep telling myself that it was OK – that all I had to do was one thing at a time.
I arrived at the hostel and had to wait a couple of hours before my room was ready. I decided to book myself a private room because I honestly didn’t feel like interacting with others. I just wanted to sleep off my jet lag and give into my introverted routes for the next few days.
The kind lady at the hostel showed me my room when it was ready. She asked me where I was from and what my plans were. The room wasn’t that big, but I was happy to have the privacy.
“Do you think this is an OK hostel or not OK?” The lady asked me. Huh? Did I make a face when she showed me my room? Was I acting like an unappreciative, bratty American?
“Uh, I think it’s fine,” I managed to smile. After she left, I tried to get some sleep but only managed about an hour on and off. The hostel was located right on K Road – a road known to be party central on the weekend and nights. My room was right by the window and I could hear every siren and car going by.
I showered, then found the bank that I originally wanted to join but turned me away for not having a letter proving my address.
“I don’t feel comfortable carrying so much cash around with me,” I said to the banker trying not to let my anxiety get the best of me. “Is there anything you can do?”
The banker shook her head.
“Well, is there another bank that you can recommend?”
“No,” the banker shook her head again. “It’s a government rule.”
I walked away feeling defeated and on the verge of tears. Why was something like this stressing me out? I walked down the street and saw another bank. I remembered that I considered them a year ago when I was living in Australia before canceling my move to New Zealand. I walked in and spoke with the receptionist. She said the same thing – that I needed a letter proving my address. However, she said it kinder and explained to me how I could obtain a letter so I could open an account with them.
“You can ask your hostel to write you a letter,” she said. “They do it all of the time.”
She made an appointment for me with a banker for the next day and I felt a sense of relief. The receptionist said she knew what it was like to move to a new country and understood how I felt. The banker was equally kind when I met up with him the next day. He was curious about my adventure in New Zealand. “It’s so great that you’re doing this,” he said.
It was great. But that anxious feeling stayed in my gut and I felt guilty for not feeling as excited as everyone expected me to be.
Later that day, I spontaneously met up with a travel blogger and her family. They took me to dinner and gave me a mini of tour of Auckland while mentioning several things to do in the city. The information was great but it was more than I could remember. I was grateful for their tips and the oddest things stuck out in memory as I walked down Queen Street the next day. I walked pasted The White House – a strip club. Right next to it is Monica’s – a brothel. Should I ever need any of those things, I now know where they are. They also told me where the good ice cream shops were (which is a greater need for me than a brothel). They also mentioned a park that I actually took the time to wander around in during my stay in Auckland.
Anyway, after a long bus ride, I’m in Wellington. I’m hoping to find a flat soon and then start the job-hunting process. I’m also going to give myself space and time to write and do things a bit differently then I did while living in OZ.
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