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  • Writer's pictureTai John

Changes, Trials, & Tribulations

Updated: May 26

I’m backkkkkkk! I hope you missed me just as much as I’ve missed sharing with all of you! A lot has happened since my last post at the end of February, so I hope you have a big cup for me to pour into because I am so ready to spill all the tea!

Marchin’ in Comfort

7 months in this thang & thriving! March was filled with so much love, fun, friends, & a lovely visit from my parents towards the end of the month. Aside from the date nights & activities with friends & lovers alike, my favorite part of the month was getting to spend the very few yet impactful days at the end of the month with my parents. Being in New Zealand without family near me in any sense of the word truly made me miss & appreciate them so much more after 6 months of phone calls & the occasional Facetime chat. They didn’t stay long but those few days meant the world to me. To have them with me in person, to be able to embrace them with each hug & hold, kiss them, eat with them, & just be in their presence was such a refresher for my soul. Having friends, lovers, & associates is great & needed for social balance in life, but for me personally, nothing can compare to having my parents near or around. We didn’t do anything too crazy while they were here, as much as I wanted to have a plan for each day & stick to the itinerary, we mostly ended up going with the flow & they weren’t too fussed about what we did, just as long as they got to spend time with me, ensure I was doing well, had everything I needed & see how I’ve been living.

April Showers in Changes

April marked my last month spent in Christchurch as I was preparing for the next move on my journey! As much of a fan as I wasn’t of Christchurch, many great things developed from my time spent there. Aside from my arrival & 4 days spent in Auckland, Christchurch was the place I began making my aspiration of living & working overseas come to life. I struggled at first getting acclimated to New Zealand in general, from the climate to the people, the culture, working in hospitality, & flatting with flatmates (haven’t had roommates outside of my parents & brother since 2015 when I graduated with my undergraduate degree), driving, the list goes on & on. I say all that to say, all of those things that used to be an adjustment & sometimes struggle for me when I arrived in Christchurch, have changed & evolved into comfort by month 9. Christchurch is where I got my grounding, built a community of strong friendships & associates, fell in love with a friend who soon became a lover, got comfortable in my hospitality position, comfortable driving & finding my way around, developed healthy routines, made connections, found my places, Christchurch is where it all truly started for me. It is where I began to see the potential in making my aspirations a reality. It gave me the reassurance that I could live any life that I wanted to as long as I put my mind to it & effort behind it.

It wasn’t an easy decision to leave Christchurch, but I was not 100% sold on staying to continue building a life there, I was pheening to see more parts of New Zealand & to be in a part that was a bit livelier, with a younger population, & overall more in tune with my overall vibe. Which is where the choice to move to Queenstown came about. I secured another position in a hospitality job & found a place to live. By April 27th TT the Tiguan was packed up & my person & I began our trek from Christchurch to Queenstown. What was supposed to be a straight 6-hour drive became an amazing, memorable road trip! Our first stop was in Tekapo Springs where we took a break from driving to wind down & warm up in the hot pools. If you know me, you know I love the water, from beaches, pools, jacuzzies, etc, this mermaid loves them all! The next stop was in Wanaka to catch up with my former colleague & friend from Christchurch. Seeing as she moved to Wanaka, I figured what better time to stop in for a catch-up since Wanaka so happens to be en route to my final destination, Queenstown (they’re an hour apart). By the time we reached Wanaka, we had a bite to eat at this yummy food truck stop then caught up with my friend for a brief bit. By this time, it was dark. Rather than sticking to the original plan to spend the night, we decided to continue on our way. We drove through the night, through Queenstown & to my final destination, Glenorchy.

If you’re confused about how I ended up in Glenorchy when I said I was moving to Queenstown, let me catch you up. Due to Queenstown being a highly over-populated & popular snow town, accommodation in the city is extremely expensive & limited. Because of the lack of affordable accommodation, most workers have to commute. The place I was lucky to find before moving down just so happened to be in Glenorchy which is a 49-minute commute to Queenstown…yea we will get to the deets in the month of May. But before we do, I must say this road trip & move definitely wouldn’t have been all that it was without my person along for the ride. He was such a great help with getting me settled & comfortable in my new accommodation & in Glenorchy in general. Glenorchy is what I like to consider a very small town, as there is not much to it. It gives you the feeling of being in the middle of nowhere. There is a general store, a post office type of place that also serves as a petrol station, a cafe, & maybe one or two places to eat attached to a hotel or motel…yeaaaaa not much going on. Very quiet & isolated place.

May I Get Through These Trials

It’s May 1st & baby let’s talk about trials. May was a month filled with lots of change & even more trials to face. Living in Glenorchy was the most comfortable for me when I had my person with me for the first week. He helped me get settled into my new accommodation, get accustomed to driving down the winding devils pass (see pics below) for my 49-minute commute to the city & work, cooked for me, cooked with me, took me to my first few days of work, & was the helping hand I didn’t know I needed. Once he left to return to Christchurch, it’s not that everything got harder, it just got lonelier & uncomfortable to the point that it was almost unbearable.

Aside from the 49-minute commute to the city & work, the accommodation was the biggest issue of all for many reasons. For one, the only way to heat the home, in general, was to stack wood & create a fire in their old school oven-like fireplace, which neither myself nor my flatmate knew how to use, so no one spent time in the common area or kitchen, as it was always freezing cold. I was only in & out of the kitchen to cook meals, otherwise, we mainly spent our time in our rooms with our space heaters. Secondly, there was no wifi set up, which is surprising considering the landlady & her husband used to have the home rented out as an Airbnb. When I asked her about the wifi she said she would look into it, get back to us with the price (as it would be additional to rent), & that she would get someone to come out next month to set it up. Next month?! Yea, you heard right, thus the reason why I have been without wifi for over a month. Because I couldn’t wait a month to have internet access, I went into town to see what could be done with my mobile provider, I ended up getting another endless data plan so I could use the hotspot from my phone for my laptop. And guess what? That didn’t work either. Usually, my laptop has no problem connecting to the hotspot from my phone, but Glenorchy would not let me be great.

Thirdly, my flatmate who I lived with was dirty, didn’t keep the common areas or shared spaces clean, didn't know how to properly wash dishes, & didn’t know how to put the toilet seat down even when there was a note above the toilet stating, “Please put the toilet seat down after use as a courtesy to others.” He even stopped talking to me at one point (must’ve been mad because I called him out for being dirty, I don’t care), so talk about awkwardness. After a while of tolerating the day-to-day bullshit, it began to all feel unbearable. From commuting 49 minutes during the day, night, rain, freezing temperatures, etc, all to come back to a cold, dark, unwelcoming place that I was supposed to call home. When I'm uncomfortable in any way, I start finding a way out, so I began searching, messaging, & applying for accommodation closer to the city & far from glum Glenorchy. The icing on the cake was when I was packing up my room to prep for the move (which I know was coming despite not finding a new accommodation yet), & when I went to remove my shoes from the shoe rack in my closet, I noticed one of the boxes I had on the floor was wet. YALL, when I moved the box & began to move my shoes off the shoe rack, I saw a layer of mold growing on the bottom shelf of my shoe rack. Apparently, the washing machine which was behind my closet wall was leaking into my closet. Talk about disgusting! Luckily, the only thing that was ruined was my shoe rack, no shoes were harmed.

Not too long after making this disgusting discovery, guess what? I found my place! Of all the places to finally have something I’ve wanted for so many years, my very first place all to myself just so happened to be in Queenstown, New Zealand. I found my new one-bedroom, one-bath apartment, 13 minutes from work & the city. No more flatmates, no more oven-like fireplaces, darkness, coldness (now I have a proper aircon system, Thank God!), dirtiness, just all mine! Once again, I did what I do best, packed up TT the Tiguan & took my last drive (for now) from Glenorchy to Queenstown, signed my lease, & moved into my new space on May 29th.

I moved just in time, as the next day I had a famil experience booked with my job at the Shotover Swing. A famil basically allows employees to experience or get more information on a company or product so that you can be prepared to sell this to guests when you are concierge. I've been skydiving twice, I used to rock climb, am not afraid of heights, & I'm generally a very daring & adventurous individual, so I figured how bad could this swing be. YALL! This was nothing like skydiving, the drop itself literally took my breath away, forgot how to breathe, & lowkey was wondering if I was still conscious. But once I got over the initial drop & could breathe again, just getting to swing & dangle above the river was really beautiful & freeing. The complimentary mimosas & brekkie post-swing were definitely comforting & needed & it was nice to see other people do the swing in different ways. Would I do it again? Hell no! But, I am very grateful to have had the experience. I would say it is worth trying at least once in your lifetime. So if you ever find yourself in Queenstown, New Zealand, definitely give the Shotover Swing a visit.

Tribulations, Truths, & Breakthroughs to Start June

Whoo! I am literally crying as I write about the start of my month of June & how things have developed thus far in my journey. On June 1st, my boyfriend of 6 months broke up with me on a phone call…talk about a way to kick off the start of a new month. Feel like I’ve been shot down by love once again, it has definitely been a roller coaster of emotions & a ride that I am still on & trying my best to navigate with grace. Though, I will say that, unlike my past experiences where I have been let go or broken up with, this one hit differently. Rather than immediately shaming & blaming myself for who I am or what I did or didn’t do, I had to realize that sometimes breakups are breakthroughs. I had to keep living, learning, healing, & growing from this.

I am not going to lie, initially, I was not only extremely hurt, but I was angry. I was angry at the manner in which it was handled & the timing of it (a week before he was supposed to come to visit me, (déjà vu, if you know, you know), & most of all that someone that I was so deeply in love with, didn’t love me back in the same ways to give me the respect that I felt I deserved. He made me feel as if I didn't fit into his picture-perfect future due to “reasons” such as my age & 6 hours of distance between us now & maybe more in the future. Despite how I felt, the bottom line outside of all the “reasons” was that he wasn’t ready. I always felt as if he was very mature for his age, as there is a nice age gap between us, but when it comes to understanding & exemplifying the difference between being in love with me & loving me, he wasn’t there yet. And guess what? That is perfectly okay. I had to learn that regardless of how it was done or the timing, it was over. I had to accept it for what it was & give him the space he requested to live the life that he fully intends to. I could no longer continue to feel like a roadblock in his life when I should be a positive addition, a blessing to continue on shared journeys with.

I had to shut up my own negative self-talk & understand that just because someone isn’t ready to take a genuine interest & invest in me as an individual, join with me to become a united front, & work with me through the ups & downs that come with being in an intimate relationship (because all relationships regardless of age, distance, cultures, religions, etc, go through it), & reciprocate the love I give, doesn’t mean my worth has decreased by any means. It doesn’t mean, I have to be bitter or angry & give up on love altogether. It just means that person was a blessing when they were a part of my journey & as our journeys part ways, they can still be a blessing & a lesson simultaneously. Which is exactly what he was to me. He made 6 out of the 9 months that I have been in New Zealand so much more magical. He opened me up to new places & experiences, helped me explore different foods through my picky palette, & most of all reintroduced me to love again.

I came to New Zealand to find my way into living my life fully on my terms & creating a more balanced, softer life, not to look for the first mullet-sporting Kiwi to hook up with (there are so many mullets in New Zealand lol). He was my friend at first, but then love came knocking on our doors. Everything happened so naturally, organically, & slowly. It was a blessing to have found love in another place in the world. Although it didn’t pan out as I had hoped, & it doesn’t feel like this now, I know the redirection is always going to be better than I ever imagined. That’s what this is, a redirection, also known as, God’s plan, also known as a blessing. He was the blessing that taught me the lesson of not allowing heartbreak to change me for the worse.

The most valuable lesson I learned was to stop taking rejection so hard. See, the thing about me is when I love, I am all in, & I give my all. L-o-v-e is not a word that I throw around aimlessly, it’s not a word I bestow upon anyone. When I tell someone, I love them I mean it with every fiber of my being & I show it in every way I can. I’m not in a place of selfishness or greed, I’m all in to show & share myself & my love with whomever I have chosen to invest in. So of course, it hurts when people treat me or make me feel otherwise.

Despite my dating history & this recent breakup, I won’t allow myself to not be open to love again. I deserve to find a love similar to or better than the love I give. Until I do, rather than wasting my energy being bitter or trying to erase people that hurt me from my life, I want to do better for myself. I want to be better at making peace with endings so I can be better prepared for new beginnings. I know that I am not for everybody, everything, or every opportunity. I know that just because I want something doesn't mean I'm supposed to have it. I know that not everyone who comes along on my journey is there to stay, & that everyone holds a purpose or a reason for a season. I know that the people & the things that are meant for me will stay. They will not run from me & I will not have to chase. If it's mean for me a way will always be found. Most importantly, I know I'm going to be okay, this too shall pass.

Cheers to having 6 days off. I am in a new town, one month into my new job, a few weeks living in my new place, & well on my healing journey as well. Although the very first day of this month started on a very emotional & sour note, & I am still sitting in the front seat of an emotional roller coaster ride, I have a feeling all my tears are watering the seeds for something & maybe someone greater. Though, I am not looking, I hope love finds me again.

The temperature is in the negatives here for Winter & I'm back to how I started. It's not going to be easy, as nothing has been easy for me since I've been in New Zealand but that's all a part of the journey. I'm going to keep watering my grass until it's green & living out my dream life.

Hope you all aren’t filled to the brim with all the tea I had to spill! Stay tuned & continue on my journey with me, I’m excited to keep writing my story (:

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