We are leaving for New Zealand a little over two weeks from today. Going to Kalispell tomorrow will hopefully be the last and final preparation for the trip; plane and ferry tickets have been purchased, car has been sold, clothes and belongings have been weeded through and sorted, ready to be mailed, donated, packed into Erica’s car and sent home, or placed in a corner of the room to be packed up later.
The trip is both the most sudden and the easiest planning I have ever experienced. I guess going to an English-speaking Western country does have its perks after all! Ben and I applied for working visas about a month and a half ago. To be more precise, I applied for a working visa at the end of June, but the application was put on hold until I submitted a chest x-ray that proved I did not have Tuberculosis. Traveling to so many countries in the past five years made me a troublesome visa case, but I eventually did get the x-ray and submitted my paperwork. Ben applied shortly thereafter…I think he was waiting for me to make the move first. It literally took 3 days to get the visa. This was all too easy.
Shortly thereafter we started looking for jobs. I applied to an assortment of hotel-bakery-childcare-education-management type positions on various job websites, but heard nothing. Then I turned to my own devices. Following a lead on a position that Ben found on a job website, I decided to start email small lodges directly. Even if there was nothing posted, I figured hey… we have skills. We are attractive, awesome people. We heard back almost immediately from two places, and to this date a total of four. I think I only applied to 10 total- which to me seems like incredibly non-American-job-market odds!
So we are going with it! The lodge we ended up choosing (after some debate as to whether or not we should get visas for Australia and work at a helicopter-access-only all-inclusive resort in the Great Barrier Reef…more on that at another time) is in the Marlborough Sound, the north tip of the South Island, about a 5 hour ferry ride from Wellington and a 5 hour drive from Christchurch. Lochmara Lodge appears to be very small, with only 14 rooms, and mainly specializes in day guests, vacationers from the nearby town of Picton and trampers on the Queen Charlotte Track.
The tip that sent me into extreme attraction with Lochmara is their art gallery and sculpture garden. Though Glacier is fantastic, it really hasn’t been a conducive environment for creativity, besides a few random days when I lock my self up and sew something in my room. Not only will I be the “Arts Co-ordinator” (what that entails may just be working in Excel spreadsheets, but I don’t care), but the South Island itself has a huge art community. I jokingly have started referring to myself as the Arts and Farts Director… for any of you who have the pleasure of being acquainted with Wet Hot American Summer.
As for now though, there is still the final week of work at Many Glacier. I try to take everything a day at a time, so that my brain doesn’t get ahead of itself, but this past week just drove me crazy. Perhaps it is best summed up in the words of Wendell Barry (from Jayber Crow), “ I was no sooner convinced that I was going to leave than I became eager to be gone.”