So many people have asked me if it’s hard coming back to Auckland. “It must be so small for you! Are you gonna get bored? You think there’s enough here to stimulate you?” The way they ask though, you’d think that all I do is kafao. I wanted to punch my brother Miki square in the face when he asked me if I even work – “all I see is one long holiday”. He was dead serious. Yes dickface, I have a good time but that’s cuz I do like Mary Poppins:
In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and SNAP – the job’s a game!”
Just a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down – Mary Poppins never lies. You needa enjoy yourself every now and then [or always like I do, apparently] or you’re gonna burn yourself out. Right after my last day of work in the US [yes, work] I embarked on The Farewell Tour. I gave myself a month to try meet up with everybody one last time before getting deported/settling down in New Zealand.
The Farewell Tour kicked off in Europe. Didn’t think I’d ever go back. A few years ago I roamed around Italy, France and Belgium – it was nice but I wasn’t quite left with any strong desire to return. When Sarah and Tone hit me up about doing a trip together, I finally had a reason.
Sarah’s the jam. We were in a few student associations together at the University of Auckland – most notably TAUA [the Tongan student association and no I’m not Tongan].
Whenever I needed people for programmes and projects I was running, Sarah was my first go-to cuz whatever the task, you can always count on her to deliver. She’s a bonafide jack-of-all-trades but more importantly she’s fun to be around [oh and she’s jacked, especially her arms – she held all kinds of titles in Waka Ama and still holds national records today]. I always say that if I ever got on “The Amazing Race”, she’d be my partner. It’s common knowledge that I’m not a big fan of the police but Sarah’s given me confidence that every now and then a good one slips through! After graduating with a degree in Psychology, she began serving her community in South Auckland as a cop.
Barcelona was our meeting point! My not-so-little cousin Afa picked me up from the airport.
Afa’s family originally lived around the corner from us in Porirua before moving to Palmerston North [when I was young, I’d go up to visit them in the weekends and pick asparagus for pocket money – I couldn’t stand the sight of them shits for years!] He’s currently enjoying his second season of rugby in Spain. Before that he played a year in Germany.
As it happened, some other old friends were in town too. Tone’s high school girlfriend Jess [her Dad’s a Brit so she’s been floating all over for a few years] and my classmate from law school J’aime [this boy is a BEAST – first person to ever graduate in a Law and Engineering conjoint with Honours distinctions in both].
Spain was MEAN. La Tomatina was prolly the highlight [and lowlight all in one]. What started out as an amusing, high energy tomato party quickly turned into a sticky, stinky, cold drag. The shower lines were way too long so we ended up stripping and washing ourselves in the rain puddles on the street then stood by the cauldron fires cooking the paella to keep warm. Oh and my damn iPhone 5 got stolen! Thank goodness for travel insurance. Never leave home without it! Getting that police report was another mission in itself cuz noone at the police station spoke English and my Spanish is limited to Selena and Pitbull songs.
Hungary was mean too! Ben and Dwayne were working on “Hercules: The Thracian Wars” which was originally gonna be filmed in New Zealand but moved to Budapest due to budget restraints. Stink! Was wicked going on set though [not allowed to share anything just yet!]
I flew back into Detroit before heading down to Lehigh/NYC, Miami and finally the San Francisco Bay Area…
Now I’m back! The honest truth is that I’m loving it. I’ve got my family close by and it’s nice to have an active [and consistent!] social life again. Auckland might not be buzzing like NYC, Miami or the Bay Area [don’t say that too loud in Ponsonby] but it still has a lot going on. I’ve had plenty to keep me entertained since I’ve been back.
The transition has been far more seamless than I expected. I had a lecturing gig lined up, I got a new whip and after two weeks of what felt like speed dating, I’ve moved into a new pad! I didn’t save a penny in the US and I don’t regret that at all BUT I highly recommend NOT coming back completely cleaned out. I’m a “hustling guru” [according to Sarah]. For me, money comes and goes so I’ll be straight whatever the season but for those of us who may not be as resourceful but like to be independent, you’ll be doing yourself a huge favour in putting some funds aside BEFORE you move overseas. That way, you’re less likely to touch it while you’re away. It’ll help alleviate a bit of pressure in getting yourself re-established. Yuck, I feel dirty after writing all that, I have a real disdain for talking about finances! Anyway, back to settling in! Is there more I wanna do? Yep! But that’s gonna be the case wherever I am.
It’s good to be home.