I'm feeling really good. This OE thing really does do wonders for you. You grow up quick in this town and learn its dog eat dog and you have to fend for yourself, and to meet people you have to put yourself out there and be confident. Its a lonely dull place if you dont have friends or money in this town.. And people before me have said the same to me. Lucky I have both, and its been one of the best years of my life.
Just before I turned 25 something clicked for the better. I'm suddenly freer, more confident, ready to face the world and I dont care what people think anymore. I have a greater understanding of who I am as a person, and what I want to do in life. I'm still not sure what exactly I'm going to do next, but overall I know what I want, and I feel I have acheieved what I came here for - independance, confidence etc, and have picked up some maturity and greater understanding of things along the way.
Fascinating as this, I'm craving some kiwiana right now. I feel like going down to the local pub where I grew up, wearing my gumboots, have a good kiwi beer with some other farmers, watch some good rugby, go home and watch john cambell read out somekiwi news, then read an interesting kiwi newspaper, and see the beautiful sea, sun and bush.
Isnt it funny how indoctrinated (brainwashed, propagandized) we become to NZ tv, advertising, cultural icons etc, without noticing - and how you miss it when your gone. It's like an IV drip of familiarity. Brands and shops and billboards that were part of daily life have been replaced by odd cartoonish british advertising characters and unfamiliar slogans are presenting themselves to me on signs everywhere, and even billboards and tv and things like that are different. Much like my blog post a while back about stores that still look like they did 50years ago, it is funny to walk into a store like WHSmith (Whitcoulls) or a department store like farmers and see worn/threadbare carpet, dirty old lino or even fake wood boards covering the floor. Much like the roading in this country, which is OK but hasnt had an upgrade in how long (and i never see any roadworks) and pavements have loose pavers that rock under your foot or the uneven edges that trip you up.
Its a different way of life obviously, but I look at british people hopping on buses and the tube and wonder what it would be like growing up living in this city and having catching public transport with your friends be the norm. After a year I still cant quite get that so much of the working class catches buses everywhere and relies on public transport and some dont even have their liscence! I can clearly see there's no need to drive in this city, but as a culture whos main aim is to own your own car and drive everywhere at 16, and from a country that hates catching buses, its very different.
Theres also something else i've noticed. Very often the roads and footpaths will be damp - wet enough that everything is dark and shiny with water. But never enough water that there's any puddles or running water anywhere. And this happens so often its unusual enough for me to mension. England really is a damp country. I know the mist and frequent rain of Scotland & Ireland is worse but england is more often than not, damp. Yes, and overcast, but that goes without saying. Its strange because you never see it rain. But some mornings and most evenings, everything is damp.
Theres also little things that are different, like all the doors in the UK lock themselves when you pull them shut. Not a door handle in sight people, not 1! Our door for example you have to pull the door shut by holding the letter box hole. Our front door has a handle, but still no doorknob. One of my flatmates pointed that out the other day- thanks for the interesting addition.
Something I noticed the other day was that everything is more about security here. Picnic tables chained to the wall of their pub, security guards in every single office building, security walls infront of every shop... it feels like a computer with no administrator rights - you walk down the street and literally cant get away with anything, everythings strapped down and bolted!!
Thats my thoughts on things this week. I wanted to give you something to picture the UK by, and wanted to give myself some thoughts and memories to look back on.
There will be more from me soonish.