Week 20 – Moving on.. to the next orchard


Finally! I’m done with chasing agriculture/viticulture payslips for my visa extension. Currently waiting for last week’s payslip to be emailed to me before finalizing documents to send over and be $280 poorer (weirdly, the visa extension for 3 months cost more expensive than my visa application for 6 months which was $245). Sometimes, it definitely seems like the NZ immigration is making loads of money by issuing these working holiday visas.

Anyway, the timing is pretty ‘apt’ as I just received a reminder email which informs me that my visa will be expiring 7 weeks time. Really thankful that I’m in track for the extension after slogging out in hard labour jobs for twelve whole weeks. Now I just need to get my photo taken, print out my payslip and a screenshot of my miserable bank account balance.

Anyway, so for our final week of apricot thinning, we were all downgraded to be on hourly wages. It was a little sad cause I had been earning $25-26/hour the previous week and now I’m downgraded back to $17.70. On the other hand, it was pretty nice to go slow and enjoy the beautiful scenery in the final week and chat with my fellow co-workers. I’m so glad I didn’t get my third incident report form in this final week of work. I had been a lot more cautious with ladder climbing ever since the fall >< My bruises are slowly fading away and I think they should be gone by next week.

In our final week, we were also given an extra off day on Wednesday as they had to do some workshop and planning nonsense which means I only get 4 days salary (boohoo) but I was happy to slack a day off away. Met a friend for lunch and chatted a bit before bidding farewell as she will be moving on to another town. I’m pretty much used to hellos and goodbyes by now.

Anyway, I ended up sending my resume in for a vineyard job with the intention to work for only 1 day as it is rated as the toughest job in the vineyard. The vineyard is located 30mins drive away and a return trip will cost me $10-11 fuel on my super fuel efficient car. This means that if I were to work for 8 hours a day, I’ll earn $132 ($18.50 x 8 x 1.08 (holiday pay) less 16.8% tax) and I need to deduct $11 for transport and $20 for rental which means I’m left with $101 of ‘earnings’ per day. Okay that’s not too bad actually. I ended up going to the vineyard alone as my friends had another offer from a vineyard which was nearer to the place they stayed.

My first day (today) wasn’t too much of a pleasant experience as they told me to reach at 6:50am and by the time I reached at 6:45am, I saw a text on my phone (sent at 6:25am) saying that the start time is delayed till 8:30am because of the rain. RIght. I wouldn’t have seen the text as I was driving so all I could do was to suck thumb and wait till 8:30am. Thankfully, someone brought me into the office and I waited on a sofa with wifi. phew; but I could have slept for 1.5 hours more!

Due to the cold and windy weather, I had a rather alright day at work. The work was not tough but it was very strenuous on the back as we have to bend over often to check and count the grape shoots. It was pretty heartwarming to see that there were many full-timers and kiwi locals working in this vineyard. It means that the environment shouldn’t be too bad for them to stay permanent for such a long time. Everyone seems good and friendly today but I kind of isolated myself for today in the comfort of my own car as it was too cold to be hovering outside. I’m pretty alright with cold but I will totally surrender when it is too hot. Tomorrow is pretty much a cloudless day so it will be a true test on how long I would last.

Then again, if I were to quit this job, I’m not even sure what I’m gonna do from now till the cherry season starts. There’s about 5 weeks more and I can’t think of something else to do. Blah. I guess I will have to hold on to this job until I find something else to do or perhaps until the sun forces me to surrender.

Sometimes, I really wonder if I should continue writing my weekly updates when even I myself is finding it more and more boring as 20 weeks has been indeed a really long time. For the rare time ever, I did not go out on Saturday for the entire day. Well, I had no plans to begin with and the winds were howling at 30-50kmh. Even a trip to the supermarket would be an adventure. Thankfully on Sunday, I met a friend for lunch and drove all the way to Cromwell again. It was rainy but I was just happy to get out of the house.

At 20 weeks, I’m kind of clueless about how long more I want to be in New Zealand and what else I would like to do next. The only plan I have next is to work through the cherry season so I can eat as many cherries as I would like to have but I have no idea what comes next.

Apologies once again, for this badly written entry. I’m still feeling pretty sore about losing an entire post on my experience in apricot thinning on Saturday night as my ‘published’ button got timed-out and for whatever reason, an autosave was not done. I spent about 3 to 4 hours on that piece and.. it vanished into thin air and I’m not sure if I have enough mental capacity to write that piece again. Oh wells ><

Will I still be in the same vineyard job in one week’s time? Let’s see.

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