Posts Tagged ‘random’
When I blog about something, unless I add a disclaimer, it’s usually the norm. I’m aware most of you guys are American and so I try to present a generally accurate picture of things for your sake, ya know?
I often find myself clarifying the same kinds of things over and over with incredulous American readers, such as:
Yes, we really do pay rent weekly. This is the most common frequency. I’ve only ever paid fortnightly rent at one house – and I’ve lived in a LOT of places. People pay rent through automatic payments. Cheques are so last century. While leases with fixed terms are getting more common, there are still rentals to be found with periodic tenancies, which are open-ended. Moving out usually requires 2-3 weeks notice.
Sometimes we get paid weekly, too. It’s more common in call centre/hospitality/trade type jobs. Temp jobs also tend to pay weekly. This is apparently something a lot of immigrants struggle with. If your income source is the government – e.g student allowance, student loan (living costs), or a benefit of any kind – you will also be paid weekly. And if you were wondering, yep, student loans and allowances are all administered by the government (though I suppose there’s nothing actually stopping you taking out personal loans elsewhere to boost your income while studying). Loans cover your tuition fees and remain interest-free as long as you stay in the country.
Apartment living isn’t big here. Most people rent houses. And the people you live with are flatmates, not roommates (unless you actually share a room, maybe). You do find apartments in the CBD and the odd block further out in the suburbs, lots of which were part of the leaky building wave of construction. In an effort to lift standards and stem the housing shortage, the new rule for Auckland apartments is a minimum of 35 square metres. But breaking down the ‘shoebox’ perception that’s already established will take a while, and changing a whole culture even longer.
Things (everything?) cost a lot. Food, for one – as a commenter pointed out ages ago, we don’t have subsidies or tax breaks on food – so no, I really can’t get our grocery bill much lower. Cars – that’s why we tend to drive really old cars, and you’ll still see a fair few late 80s Toyotas and Mazdas tooling around on the roads. In the cities, property affordability is WAY over the 2x income guideline, or whatever the benchmark is (it’s so irrelevant that I don’t even know offhand, and can’t be bothered looking it up) – think 4-6x. We don’t have the security of 30-year fixed rate mortgages. Also, the general quality of property is dire. Count yourself lucky if you have insulation. Last winter we found a mushroom growing through the carpet in the hallway by the laundry room.
If you missed it last year, you might also like Living in NZ: the ultimate post.
And if you have any more questions, ask away and I shall answer…
- nails clipped themselves
- hairbrushes were self-cleaning
- clothes automatically unpegged from the line and walked inside
- sandwiches assembled themselves
- mail spirited itself from letterbox to living room
What other little things do you never remember to fit in until they hit you between the eyes right before you fall asleep?
If only payday could be every day. Alas, next week marks my last payday for the year. When’s yours?
Putting money into savings
I transfer my whole paycheque into savings every month, then transfer out money every week thereafter as needed (rent, groceries and the other big expenses are all weekly) – so actual savings transfers only occur when I have extra income. And damn, those feel good.
Fries, potato chips, veggie chips, prawn crackers, corn chips … doesn’t matter what it is, I lose all self-control around them. It’s not pretty. But it’s worth it while it lasts…
Especially when I’ve just made it through a challenging read (cough Anna Karenina cough), there’s nothing like rewarding myself by devouring the equivalent of literary fast food. Best found on the recently returned shelves at the library.
Running in the breeze
One foot in front of the other. The sun on your back, warm and familiar, but not oppressive. A light wind that keeps you from sweating. Light shorts and a tank. Bra-less, if possible. This is about as free as you can feel while outside and clothed, IMO – and it’s glorious. End with a masochistic sprint – deliriously lovely in that brief feeling of near-weightlessness, terribly painful when you’re forced into a premature stop, wondering if you could even manage a sub-20 second 100m today and knowing you wouldn’t dare time yourself.
Tags: about me, random
I’ve always been touchy about my age, and how old others think I am.
This stems back to a time when I was introduced to someone my parents knew, shortly after we moved to New Zealand, and just after we built our house (to my best recall).
“How old is she? Seven?” he asked.
I was in fact nine, and deeply insulted.
At 16 I got my first ever job. I worked in a cafe, mostly clearing tables and washing dishes. My coworkers thought I was in my early 20s.
Somewhere along the way, I’ve gone from looking young for my age to looking older. I think the glasses probably contribute. That, and my weirdly prematurely wrinkly forehead.
It also apparently stems from the way I conduct myself. “You’re so not Gen Y!” I was told earlier this year (said in a tone that suggested being Gen Y was on par with being a Nazi or an animal abuser).
Confidence is not one of my inherent qualities. I second-guess myself at every opportunity. I doubt my skills whenever faced with something new. I secretly think most of my work is terrible and that I’m a fraud. As I told my best friend the other week when we enlisted the help of a security guard to boot the people occupying our seats at Coldplay, if it had been me plonked down there and some other people had come along suggesting we were in the wrong row, I would be instantly convinced that I was the one who’d made a mistake (even if I wasn’t) and leap up to check.
But apparently I manage to carry off the illusion of confidence at work, which suits me just fine. In a generation where people are staying at home and at university longer, I think I’ve got an edge, having been independent from 17 (somehow I’ve become the go-to person on all things adulthood in my circle… housing, work, cars, etc). And I suppose I’m lucky in that I’m not an assistant drone at the bottom of a corporate ladder. I have a lot of autonomy, relatively speaking, and being constantly wooed by PR types on a daily basis has probably inflated my sense of power.
Is looking older than you really are a bonus in the workplace?
I think this can actually be a advantage. People are more likely to take you seriously if you look 35 as opposed to 15. As we all know, appearance counts for way more than anyone likes to admit (and that includes everything from your wardrobe to the pitch of your voice).
On the other hand, that can lead to higher expectations of you, and pressure to deliver what you might not be able to carry off. Pull it off though, and you’ll be a rockstar.
I’ll probably be regretting this when I’m 40 and staring into the mirror wondering where I went. But in consolation, I did recently get carded at a bar (annoyingly, I didn’t have my ID on me at the time). I still have it … sometimes.
Do you look your age? Do people normally guess your age correctly?
Tags: life, random, reflections
Auckland is my hometown. It has a few things going for it – work opportunities, friends and family, ethnic cuisines, and everything from beaches to parks to bush. And as our biggest city, we take amenities like libraries, concerts and the like for granted. Sure, there’s not a lot that’s affordable to do, but if an international band is touring, if they make a stop in New Zealand, you know what city they’ll be playing in. That kind of thing.
But on so many quality of life factors, it fails hard.
Public transport? Dire.
Cost of living? Astronomical.
Housing market? Out of control.
Auckland Harbour Bridge. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
And you can add the weather to that list. After basking under the South Island’s glorious spring skies last month, Auckland has been spectacularly depressing. I’m not quite my mother, who religiously watches the weather forecast every night and practically plans the next day around it; and I don’t think I have SAD, but the weather does have a major effect on my moods. And that effect is generally one of disgust and frustration.
(That said, moaning about the weather here does pale in comparison to what the US east coast is facing right now with Hurricane Sandy. At least we’re relatively sheltered here from most kinds of natural disasters.)
Steel skies. Constant rain. It’s impossible to get out and enjoy our parks, beaches and bush – and if we’re cheated out of a second summer in a row, I’m predicting VERY BAD THINGS on a national scale. This blazing weekend just gone was the best, in memory, for about the past year. Here’s hoping it’s a taste of what’s to come.
On the other hand, one could live somewhere beautiful and warm and sunny in regional New Zealand. But unless you could work remotely and make decent money doing so, all you could realistically aspire to would be working at the local supermarket. Or bakery. Or something along those lines.
What’s important to you in choosing a place to live? Does weather matter?
Tags: random, reflections
Friends, I have made one last outrageous expenditure. The Red Hot Chili Peppers are coming to Auckland in January. I tried to get tickets to their last gig in 2007, and failed. This time, I would not be thwarted.
I’m paying $160 apiece for the privilege … and it burns even more that this is a lineup sans Frusciante, who is about 75% of the entire reason I love this band, but now that I’ve seen Metallica, the Chilis are the only other group I want to see before I (or rather, they) die.
That said, here are five other performers I wouldn’t mind seeing in concert:
Would need to be up front in a fairly personal show, or else what’s the point? But I would DIE if I could marvel at the legend himself up close.
I find it hilarious that there is a Facebook group called Michael Buble’s voice makes my clothes fall off. Forget Barry White.
I only recently realised Maroon 6 has been around for a decade. Can I get a WOAH to that?! I have fond memories of a lazy summer afternoon practising for the high school talent quest at our drummer’s house and bashing out a rough version of their first big hit, Harder to Breathe. And now look at them, all Jaggered up. Adam Levine would put on a damn good show, I can just tell.
The artist who made me want to write songs and play guitar. An artist who actually inspired me to buy an album (Hotel Paper, which I picked up in Singapore).
The diva herself. Granted, there are plenty of her songs that I really dislike, but anyone with a vocal range of five octaves is, quite frankly, superhuman.
DAMMIT JOHN. COME BACK ALREADY.
I’ll leave you with my five favourite Chilis songs.
Who are you hanging out to see live in concert?
Tags: about me, music, random
One thing I don’t think I’ve ever admitted to here is the frequency with which I Google myself.
Usually this throws up nothing too surprising – aside from recent bylines, the odd link from another site to something I’ve written, or a comment I’ve left on a site that must be of higher page ranking than I imagined.
On a whim, I typed my own name into the search bar on Friday.
I – or rather, someone sharing my name – was apparently embroiled in a national scandal involving corruption, fraud, and accusations of sexual favours. It was all over the Singaporean news. Awkward.
Suddenly, it all made sense. Why I’d had 100 people, mostly from south-east Asia, viewing my LinkedIn profile the other week, when usually that number is more like 5-10. Why people have been Googling my name (and landing on the website I work at).
Guess making the headlines in Singapore will do that for you.
I’ve never set up a Google alert for my own name – it somehow seemed too narcissistic. Maybe it’s time, though.
Bitch has totally ruined my Google search results.
Discussions with friends and general observations have led me to conclude there are some things we almost universally forget with age.
Any day now they’ll prove for sure that life speeds up once you leave the education system. And from then on, it gets harder to keep up with your birthdays. I don’t know exactly how old I feel, but it’s definitely lagging a few years behind my actual age. I can’t remember the last time I was asked my age and didn’t have to pause for a second to consider it. Also? The other day I was stumped for a full five seconds trying to remember when my birthday was. Is this all we have to look forward to?
Home phone number
This is another one of those things drilled into you as a child. Your name, age, birthday, home phone and address. But let’s face it, landlines are practically irrelevant these days. Personally, I’ve moved so many times), I don’t even bother to try and memorise my landline number (and I’m sure many of you are similarly mobile). If somebody wants to reach me, I’ve had the same cellphone number all my life. The only people who ever ring our home phone are telemarketers – or worse, voice machine telemarketers.
Back in the day there was always the summer to look forward to – and handy countdowns in school newsletters as to how many weeks before the end of term.But unless you’re a parent or educator, in the real world, us SINKs and DINKs merely wonder why the roads are so empty some weeks and so spectacularly busy in those following – and why our younger relatives seem to spending so much time on Facebook during those times.
Drummed into our youth; frequently forgotten soon after (although that probably depends on the line of work you end up pursuing). Twitter consensus is that fives and tens are pretty easy to retain; the rest are gradually dispatched to that great vortex in the sky where other forgotten facts go to languish.
How much you hate your parents
Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t forgotten
all the things my parents do that annoy the hell out of me my parents’ quirks. But distance/absence (they only live about 10 minutes away but we’re not uber close) does wonders for that kind of thing. I can laugh at them now rather than stew in angry adolescent fury.
What’s faded for you since the heady glory days (HA) of school?
Tags: blogging, life, random
Ah, I do love a good alliterative headline!
Today you get to learn five new things about me.
- I have a double eyelid on my left eye. But not on my right.
- I entered a poetry contest when I was 13 and won a trip to the US. Only it turned to be a scam – and a pretty lame one at that. What’s the point?
- One year, I was placed in the second-lowest reading group in the class after being assessed reading a chapter to everyone, rather than the usual one-on-one reading comprehension test (I HATED that particular teacher, not least for this!). Usually I was always in the top group, easy. That was the level of disconnect between my reading and verbal skills.
- One of my first gigs was writing for a website for uni students (I don’t think anybody still uses the term “online magazine”, but that’s what it was). One of my assignments was to write a tongue in cheek piece, “You know you’re drunk when…” And the editor LOVED it – she asked for more in that vein. I was still in high school. I was 15. Or maybe 16. I’d never been drunk in my life; I was a geek; I’d had one sip of dark beer in my entire life, and hated it.
- I have never tried (nor do I intend to) chicken feet. Renounce my Chinese badge already.
What’s one thing I don’t know about you?
Tags: about me, random
I happened to stumble across this infographic earlier this week.
Facts that stood out to me (as being either surprising or interesting) were:
- Lower high school graduation rates today
- Fewer teens getting their driving licence
- Fewer teens using cannabis
- Many more teens using contraception
- Creative and social degrees featuring more in today’s occupations of choice
Did anything on the list surprise you?
Tags: Adolescence, infographics, random, Teenagers