In case there’s anyone out there who should stumble upon this:

I’ve switch towards a more focussed blog. It’s about movies. Kind of.

It can be found here. It would be cool if you read that.

I’ve still got all of Saturday and a good chunk of Sunday in Wellington, but I’m getting kicked out of the flat tomorrow afternoon and have spent all of today frantically scrubbing black mould with bleach.

So I may die in the night from noxious bleach fumes.

I don’t want to try to cram everything into (especially when I’ve got two-ish days of awkward goodbyes left) this one deathbed entry.

That said, I really, really love this place and it deserves more than one statement regarding what it has given me.

First of all, there’s nothing more strange possibly in the entire world than saying goodbye to a human being that isn’t dying but that there’s a good chance you will never, ever see again.

Not that I haven’t done this before. In high school I said goodbye basically forever to a lot of people, but they weren’t people I particularly WANTED to see again. Not bad people (well, some of them were bad people. In high school at least), just people I was pretty sure I wouldn’t see again but wasn’t too concerned about. I’m still pretty close with the people from high school that I knew I would want to see again. Or at least communicate with them on a regular basis.

And I’ve had friends who moved away recently, off to grad schools or jobs or whatever. And I said what was basically goodbye forever to them. But again, there was still the assumption that the very important ones would keep in touch.

And none of those people lived on the other side of the world.

Flatmate Michelle went back home while I was in Australia. So we already had our goodbye. And it almost didn’t seem sad enough. Like I was still operating under the assumption that in the future, we’d spend time together. Thanks to the wonderful, wonderful internet, we’ll probably still keep in touch. But the likelihood that we’ll ever be in the same room together physically again is small. Which is very, very strange to think about–I like Michelle, I would like to spend time with her in the future, but I may never see her again for the rest of my life.

Obviously the same goes for the people I’ll be saying goodbye to over the next couple of days.

But it also goes for New Zealand as a whole. Particularly Wellington, but New Zealand in general as well.

I like this country a lot. I’m a little bit in love with this city. And I suppose, in order to make it through the night in situations like this, even if it turns out not to be true, you have to tell yourself that you WILL actually see these people, these places, etc. again.

As the song goes:

Or if you like, because almost everything is made better by ukuleles:

This is all a bit too sincere for my liking.

Oh, wait here’s a joke!:

The good news is, in spite of that song, as far as I’m aware none of the people I’ve met in Wellington are going to blow up.

Yep. A bad joke AND a movie reference. In your FACE, sincerity!

Thankfully I left Melbourne on a pretty positive note.

But I’m prone to griping, so let’s get some more “hostels are terrible” crap out of the way first:

For starters, it turns out the German that I thought was trapped in a K-hole was actually a VERY nice Italian guy. He still may have been trapped in a K-hole though, that part hasn’t changed. His name was Alessandro and he honestly sounded like one of the guys from Inglourious Basterds doing their bad impressions of Italian accents which lead me to believe that he was in fact a very talented liar (if he’d kept everything the same but said his name was Fabrizio, THEN I might have called him out on it. That’s just too suspicious).

A thing Alessandro actually said to me once, in the most sincerely dramatic voice ever:

“SHIT!”

“What happened?”

“For the third day in a row. I have lost… my shower gel.”

The Coloradan left the next day, which was awful because he was the only person who didn’t stay out all night other than me and Possibly Greg, who inexplicably hated me. At one point, he flat-out said to Thom (a British guy who eventually took the Coloradan’s bed. Relatively nice, hated shirts, loved his PSP and walking around in tightie whities) and I that he thought there were “too many Asians” in Melbourne. In a desperate attempt to salvage his racist comment, I mentioned that I hadn’t really met many actual Australians in Melbourne and it seemed like a lot of expatriates lived there. He glared at me (that happened a lot), said “That’s just because you’re in the city center” as if he was saying “You are a fucking tourist” (both of which would have been true, obviously) and avoided looking at me for the rest of the night.

It’s a minor incident, but we all know I’m the world’s cry-iest baby, so there you go.

Some better things:

I am in a stranger’s holiday photos because I offered to take a picture of her and her friend together and they then forced me to take a picture with each of them. It was very weird.

I’m a lame nerd who doesn’t understand that when you’re in a new place with a different history or culture or whatever you’re supposed to do things specific to that history or culture in an attempt to understand what it’s like to be part of that community. Or something.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is: I don’t understand how being on vacation works so I checked out some of their artsy and/or classic movie theaters. So Melbourne’s sort of a movie nerd’s delight. It has a LOT of independent theaters in a small area, one really nice classic cinema, AND the Australian Center of the Moving Image which is basically a film gallery. They recently opened a big, permanent exhibit on the history of film which was very cool and surprisingly comprehensive (also they had a LOT of video game playing stalls in the section on “video games and film” and that’s how I learned that I’m really fucking good at Little Big Planet).

And they listed Ze Frank’s 29th birthday as a “notable event” in film history. Which…is probably pushing it a bit, but it was still really cool to see.

I also learned that Australian film people go totally apeshit over Baz Luhrmann, who I am no great fan of. So obviously I kept my mouth shut. Other cool things on display: lots of old shooting scripts, Cate Blanchett’s bronzed elf ears, and different peoples’ Oscars and BAFTAs. It’s almost definitely the closest I’ll ever be to an Oscar or a BAFTA ever again in my entire life.

The clear highlight of Melbourne was, for me, this little shop called Wunderkammer. Apparently that’s German for “Wonder Chamber” which is basically a curio cabinet. Which means for me it was basically heaven. TONS of crazy stuff in there. Taxidermied chimps, lions, etc. Not one but TWO whole human skeletons. Wooly mammoth hair (which I almost bought. I opted out in favor of a trilobite). Lots of fossils. Lots of insect displays. Ancient medical equipment. Gyroscopes-a-plenty. Two abandoned wooden legs. More belljars than you can possibly imagine.

Basically, a lot of old weird shit. Interesting insights to come, I promise (which is possibly a lie).

I’ve only got a few days left in Wellington and beginning to get very wistful. Expect all-too-sincere entries very soon.

Against all odds, I am currently sitting in a five-person dorm in a hostel. There’s a surly German guy sitting in the corner watching a movie on his computer. I think his name is Greg.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I decided it would be a really good idea to go to Melbourne, Australia during my last week or so on this side of the planet. Alone.

As an aside—yes, I have fully failed to make friends who aren’t my friends this entire time. I’ve gone out to coffee with Potential Cult Member girl a second time and wouldn’t mind hanging out with her again before I leave (in a twist which should be surprising to no one, I have a lot in common with potential cult members). The last of my friend dates was with a seemingly-awesome British guy. We went to see In The Loop (which is awesome, by the way) and I dominated a lot of the conversation because he was busy being sullen about having to move out of the house that he and his ex-girlfriend shared recently. It was sort of awkward, but he was still seemingly-awesome. So I coaxed another more discussion-based and less sitting-in-the-dark-looking-at-screens-based meet-up (that really makes me sound like a PG Travis Bickle) out of him. It was normal at first but became very awkward when we breached the subject of my vegetarianism. Screwing this up was a two-way street: I tried to make some stupid point about the negative effect vegetarianism has on a person’s social like and the way people attach emotions to food (I know, I know), he committed the cardinal sin of Person Who Is Talking To A Vegetarian of doing the whole “I know a person who is a vegetarian so I know that you are a normal person or possibly better than a normal person because your life is full of Healthy Choices.” I HATE attention drawn to my vegetarianism and I really hate the assumption that I have ever made a healthy choice in my entire life. That’s such an insult. Anyway, things went from sort of weird to really, really weird and terrible when our age difference came up (as it is wont to in such situations). On his behalf, in the “I am several [seven, to be precise] years older than you and therefore much wiser than you,” on my behalf in the “I am going to try very hard to draw attention from this age difference by making jokes about it which will just make me seem very young” way. So, I’m an idiot, we’ve all figured that out by now. But it’s seriously a crime to just automatically claim wisdom like that. You have to earn that level of assholery. Either by being VERY old or by being in some sort of position of authority. So anyway, he ducked out as quickly as possible and I spent the rest of the night moping about not having any friends. It was all very boring.

Anyway. I went to Townsville for a grand total of about a day to visit Carissa. Where I met the world’s friendliest (not to mention youngest) cabbie. He was really, really great.

I learned a few very important facts about the Virgin/Pacific Blue airlines and the way they do business:

1)   They are jokesters. “This is a non-smoking, non-complaining flight.” The pilot, as we were beginning to land: “I think we’ll be on the ground soon.” Wowzers! Kitten’s got claws, you guys.

2)   It’s totally acceptable for them to paint pin-ups on the sides of their planes even though this is not World War 2 and they’re not fighter pilots. I rode on the “Melbourne Millie” and the “Hobart Honey.”

3)   They pipe music into the plane while it’s on the ground for no clear reason. One of the planes I was on alternated between Prince and Coldplay. Because those two things go well together.

4)   Unrelated to the airline, but I am a Reverse Bigot: I saw a couple canoodling in the waiting area before we boarded one of the planes. I’m ridiculously anti-public canoodling (frankly I think hand-holding is pushing it. I make exceptions for kisses goodbye in relationships that have been going on for more than a year (so I either have to know you personally or you have to give out a distinctive “we’ve been together for a while” vibe, but outside of that, you’re just pissing me off), so I was getting pretty annoyed. Then I realized the male half of the couple was actually just a really butch lady, so my annoyance instantly faded. So apparently hetero-affection is unacceptable but homo-love? Go right ahead, I’ll just go back to my sandwich and podcast listening thank you very much.

So after spending a day traveling from Townsville to Melbourne (which was, by the way, not before a drunk guy in Townsville shouted “PURPLE TOP! PURPLE TOP!” at me. He had a good point, though. I was wearing a purple top) I took the world’s longest cab ride and found myself in downtown Melbourne.

I was under the distinct impression that Melbourne was a little artsy city, the Austin of Australia. It might be some of that, but little it is not. This place is huge. Or maybe I’ve been in tiny Wellington for too long. It’s possible.

I’m staying at the Greenhouse Backpackers. And so far it’s really, really weird and something I’m completely shocked that I’m subjecting myself to. Despite the fact that I am like 85% sure I requested an all-ladies room, the first person I saw when I got into my room was a semi-bearded Coloradan named Greg. I later found out that my three other roommates, all seemingly German, included only one girl (Anya), plus Possibly Greg and a guy with a shaved head and serious douchebag facial hair who wasn’t in the room long enough for me to introduce myself to him. I’m on the top bunk about Anya. I haven’t slept in a bunk bed (let alone on the top bunk) since summer camp. And in a way, this is sort of like a monster version of summer camp: it’s really, really hot, I’m feeling very uncomfortable, and I can’t seem to carry on a conversation with anyone.

Though I’m not entirely convinced that this time my inability to carry on a conversation is do to my personal social awkwardness (which has depleted significantly. Or at least I’ve gotten really good at making small talk with cab drivers). Or it’s 50/50 this time. German Possibly Greg was talking to Greg about that song “Hallelujah” and mentioned her didn’t know who sang the original, so I told him it was Leonard Cohen. That’s definitely a normal-person in, right? Not “Look what a music expert I am” douchebaggery? I’m not convinced it didn’t come off as a dick move on my behalf, but the brief conversation that followed was Awkward City, USA.

Me: It’s Leonard Cohen. The guy who sings the original, I mean.

Possibly Greg: I don’t know him.

Me: Oh, well it’s really weird sounding because he’s like…this gravelly-sounding old guy, basically [NOTE: Possibly Greg had mentioned he was only familiar with the version from Shrek which I’m pretty sure is Rufus Wainwright. So compared to Rufus Wainwright Leonard Cohen is very gravelly and old. Even though that phrasing suggests Tom Waits. Which, by the way, would be an awesome cover).

Possibly Greg: It is the best version.

Me: Really? I don’t know, there have been some really good covers of that song.

Possibly Greg: It’s the original, so it is best.

This was an almost angry, definitely conversation-ending statement. I became uncomfortable with our weirdly tense silence so I took a shower.

I forgot how bad public showers suck. It’s a lot.

I’m here until Thursday. Let’s see how I adjust.

Against all odds, I am currently sitting in a five-person dorm in a hostel. There’s a surly German guy sitting in the corner watching a movie on his computer. I think his name is Greg.

 

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

 

I decided it would be a really good idea to go to Melbourne, Australia during my last week or so on this side of the planet. Alone.

As an aside—yes, I have fully failed to make friends who aren’t my friends this entire time. I’ve gone out to coffee with Potential Cult Member girl a second time and wouldn’t mind hanging out with her again before I leave (in a twist which should be surprising to no one, I have a lot in common with potential cult members). The last of my friend dates was with a seemingly-awesome British guy. We went to see In The Loop (which is awesome, by the way) and I dominated a lot of the conversation because he was busy being sullen about having to move out of the house that he and his ex-girlfriend shared recently. It was sort of awkward, but he was still seemingly-awesome. So I coaxed another more discussion-based and less sitting-in-the-dark-looking-at-screens-based meet-up (that really makes me sound like a PG Travis Bickle) out of him. It was normal at first but became very awkward when we breached the subject of my vegetarianism. Screwing this up was a two-way street: I tried to make some stupid point about the negative effect vegetarianism has on a person’s social like and the way people attach emotions to food (I know, I know), he committed the cardinal sin of Person Who Is Talking To A Vegetarian of doing the whole “I know a person who is a vegetarian so I know that you are a normal person or possibly better than a normal person because your life is full of Healthy Choices.” I HATE attention drawn to my vegetarianism and I really hate the assumption that I have ever made a healthy choice in my entire life. That’s such an insult. Anyway, things went from sort of weird to really, really weird and terrible when our age difference came up (as it is wont to in such situations). On his behalf, in the “I am several [seven, to be precise] years older than you and therefore much wiser than you,” on my behalf in the “I am going to try very hard to draw attention from this age difference by making jokes about it which will just make me seem very young” way. So, I’m an idiot, we’ve all figured that out by now. But it’s seriously a crime to just automatically claim wisdom like that. You have to earn that level of assholery. Either by being VERY old or by being in some sort of position of authority. So anyway, he ducked out as quickly as possible and I spent the rest of the night moping about not having any friends. It was all very boring.

 

Anyway. I went to Townsville for a grand total of about a day to visit Carissa. Where I met the world’s friendliest (not to mention youngest) cabbie. He was really, really great.

 

I learned a few very important facts about the Virgin/Pacific Blue airlines and the way they do business:

 

1)   They are jokesters. “This is a non-smoking, non-complaining flight.” The pilot, as we were beginning to land: “I think we’ll be on the ground soon.” Wowzers! Kitten’s got claws, you guys.

2)   It’s totally acceptable for them to paint pin-ups on the sides of their planes even though this is not World War 2 and they’re not fighter pilots. I rode on the “Melbourne Millie” and the “Hobart Honey.”

3)   They pipe music into the plane while it’s on the ground for no clear reason. One of the planes I was on alternated between Prince and Coldplay. Because those two things go well together.

4)   Unrelated to the airline, but I am a Reverse Bigot: I saw a couple canoodling in the waiting area before we boarded one of the planes. I’m ridiculously anti-public canoodling (frankly I think hand-holding is pushing it. I make exceptions for kisses goodbye in relationships that have been going on for more than a year (so I either have to know you personally or you have to give out a distinctive “we’ve been together for a while” vibe, but outside of that, you’re just pissing me off), so I was getting pretty annoyed. Then I realized the male half of the couple was actually just a really butch lady, so my annoyance instantly faded. So apparently hetero-affection is unacceptable but homo-love? Go right ahead, I’ll just go back to my sandwich and podcast listening thank you very much.

 

So after spending a day traveling from Townsville to Melbourne (which was, by the way, not before a drunk guy in Townsville shouted “PURPLE TOP! PURPLE TOP!” at me. He had a good point, though. I was wearing a purple top) I took the world’s longest cab ride and found myself in downtown Melbourne.

 

I was under the distinct impression that Melbourne was a little artsy city, the Austin of Australia. It might be some of that, but little it is not. This place is huge. Or maybe I’ve been in tiny Wellington for too long. It’s possible.

 

I’m staying at the Greenhouse Backpackers. And so far it’s really, really weird and something I’m completely shocked that I’m subjecting myself to. Despite the fact that I am like 85% sure I requested an all-ladies room, the first person I saw when I got into my room was a semi-bearded Coloradan named Greg. I later found out that my three other roommates, all seemingly German, included only one girl (Anya), plus Possibly Greg and a guy with a shaved head and serious douchebag facial hair who wasn’t in the room long enough for me to introduce myself to him. I’m on the top bunk about Anya. I haven’t slept in a bunk bed (let alone on the top bunk) since summer camp. And in a way, this is sort of like a monster version of summer camp: it’s really, really hot, I’m feeling very uncomfortable, and I can’t seem to carry on a conversation with anyone.

Though I’m not entirely convinced that this time my inability to carry on a conversation is do to my personal social awkwardness (which has depleted significantly. Or at least I’ve gotten really good at making small talk with cab drivers). Or it’s 50/50 this time. German Possibly Greg was talking to Greg about that song “Hallelujah” and mentioned her didn’t know who sang the original, so I told him it was Leonard Cohen. That’s definitely a normal-person in, right? Not “Look what a music expert I am” douchebaggery? I’m not convinced it didn’t come off as a dick move on my behalf, but the brief conversation that followed was Awkward City, USA.

 

ME: It’s Leonard Cohen. The guy who sings the original, I mean.

POSSIBLY GREG: I don’t know him.

ME: Oh, well it’s really weird sounding because he’s like…this gravelly-sounding old guy, basically [NOTE: Possibly Greg had mentioned he was only familiar with the version from Shrek which I’m pretty sure is Rufus Wainwright. So compared to Rufus Wainwright Leonard Cohen is very gravelly and old. Even though that phrasing suggests Tom Waits. Which, by the way, would be an awesome cover).

POSSIBLY GREG: It is the best version.

ME: Really? I don’t know, there have been some really good covers of that song.

POSSIBLY GREG: It’s the original, so it is best.

 

This was an almost angry, definitely conversation-ending statement. I became uncomfortable with our weirdly tense silence so I took a shower.

I forgot how bad public showers suck. It’s a lot.

I’m here until Thursday. Let’s see how I adjust.

I wrote out a real, long update but it’s saved to a Word document on my computer and I can’t figure out how securing time on the hostel I’m staying at’s internet works and I am in no way motivated to ask them about it at the moment. So I can’t put it up yet but it IS extra-long and will possibly be even longer by the time I get it up. And that’s not even with pictures/videos thrown into the mix.

Anyway, I’m on holiday until the 12th and since I really, really hate being on holiday (especially when, as in this case, I am traveling 100% alone) I want to complain about/mention a few things:

1) I’m in Melbourne, Australia and if you want to know what I’m doing here the answer is: sweating. I’m doing a whole lot of sweating. It is very, VERY hot here.

2) I’m staying in a co-ed dorm room in a hostel with a pretty nice guy from Colorado and three Germans, one of which seems nice, one of which seems perpetually surly, and one of which seems to have spent all day today in a fort he made out of sheets in his bunk. I’m convinced he’s in some sort of K-Hole.

3) This whole situation makes me deeply uncomfortable, as you may assume.

4) There’s a magic shop around the corner from the hostel which is a ridiculously good sign to me (there is absolutely no way to make this sound normal but: I’ve wandered into many a magic shop in my day and I tend to have an instant rapport with street magicians).

5) There’s also an all-soup restaurant. I really, really love soups. So obviously despite the heat that’s where I’ll be having dinner tonight.

6) I ate a kangaroo the other day in spite of my strong moral vegetarian convictions. It was really fucking delicious. And cajun-style, not unlike James Carville.

7) I really don’t know what to do with myself during the day. I am really, really bad at being on holiday, as mentioned. I hate tourist attractions but I get bored of just wandering with literally no aim. And I don’t want to be stuck in the dorm with the German Guy in his K-Hole. So.

8 ) Is it completely weird to refill a water bottle in the bathroom sink? I mean, it’s all the same water and it’s safe to drink. But I still feel like the seemingly-infuriating other girls in the hostel would disapprove.

That is all. Hopefully I’ll figure out how to give you a real update soon. But for now it’s time for soup.

So, for reasons not relating to New Zealand in any way and therefore technically inappropriate for discussion in this space, everything is terrible.

(In case you hadn’t gathered yet, one of the leitmotifs of my life is a constant variation on “everything is terrible.”)

Because of a combination of a) not being able to take more than three classes while here b) not taking any classes that would contribute in any way to my degree’s breadth requirements and most importantly c) doing what I could to enjoy the past for years of my education rather than taking a bunch of required courses deemed necessary for a well-rounded education (I’m being snarky but this completely makes sense. I’m just annoyed) I still have about six required classes left to get my degree.

Well, technically five. Gym is hardly a real class.

So, theoretically I could fit all six required courses into the next semester, but one of them would be a lab science (very time consuming) and one would be statistics (boring and requiring of a lot of study time from people like me who are terrible with math). Time consuming wouldn’t be unacceptable but I’ve spent the last semester planning (or alternately stressing about lack of concrete planning done) for time consuming creative projects.

Which means it looks like I’ll be in school for an extra semester.

This SHOULD be no big deal. If I break things up this semester then my extra semester should be pretty light–light enough for me to at least audit something that would make me want to drown things significantly less than lab sciences and statistics and things like that. And theoretically there’s no shame in saying “I had to take an extra semester because (not surprisingly) when I was 18 I barely knew what I liked in general let alone what I wanted to study for the next four years, so I just took a bunch of random classes for fun. After that each semester I decided it would be a good idea to take something just because it interested me rather than because it would contribute to my degree so as a result I know a lot of stuff about philosophy and can sort of speak French but I won’t be graduating on time.”

There’s still a lot of shame-based stuff that goes along with this for me, though. Because it’s me and I’m a largely shame-based entity. Lots of “I used to be really good at this whole school thing, what happened there?” and the ever-important, ever-present “I used to be really good at this whole school thing but I suck at it now. So what am I good at? Am I good at anything anymore?” sort of freak-out. “Does not having this stuff done yet mean I’m lazy?” “Does not having this stuff done yet mean I’m stupid?” (No, it doesn’t. It DOES mean I’m lazy, though. Possibly.)

And of course it just generally sucks that I won’t be able to take part in the end of year celebrations with my friends. The other leitmotif: “Why does it seem like I’m at least three steps behind everyone I know?”

In summation, I have a lot of problems that aren’t real problems but ARE things that I feel justified complaining about even though I shouldn’t (feel justified, that is). If only I had two tiny Liam Lynch cowboy-ish guys to help solve all my stupid fake problems…

So obviously this isn’t a real update and I’ll give anyone who might be reading this one later. Suffice it to say my stay in New Zealand is coming to a close and I’m beginning to feel wistful and reflective.

And Halloween happened and I sort of missed it. So if anyone reads this: tell me about your Halloween! Was it like this?:

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