Week 25 – Calm before the Storm


This had been a week of.. normality. There were small and insignificant changes in my life (e.g. I moved house) but the big decisions and fate to seal my future (for the next three months) is still left uncertain. Also, I kind of had a ‘thrown off the coast’ annual leave week for me as I got fired from my cherry job after 1.5 days.

If you’ve been following my previous post, I had not been welcomed in cherry orchard #1 as I could only commit to one week of work. They allowed me to start work on Monday but I will have to leave the moment they hired my replacement. That moment came rather quickly, on Tuesday morning (second day), where we were informed that it was our last day. The boss tried to make things feel better by telling us that we were really good with packing rolling cherries and it was a pity she can’t keep us and I positively told her that we are available on call any time this week. Well, obviously we were no longer needed after she found staff that could work the full season for them. Life. Well, on the positive note, at least I earned enough to pay the rent for the week.

I haven’t figure out what’s the big deal with cherries. It was never a job on my bucket list (which didn’t exist) but it was on a lot of people’s bucket list. Won’t deny that I am a follower in this aspect. I seriously chose to do cherries because everyone wanted to do it. I wanted to find out what’s the big deal with it but after 1.5 days of work, I still haven’t found any charm to the job.

I was working in the pack house of a really small family-owned orchard. I think we only have 4-5 belts in total and a total workforce of 14 people in the pack house. I’ll be writing a job experience post at the end of the season or when I leave the cherries job which would probably be in end Jan/early Feb (assuming I don’t get deported home before 2020). Anyway, the packing and grading job felt kind of terrible for me. I had to stand in a single spot and not move the entire time. The only parts I could move were my frozen hands and my eyes were hurting so badly from the rolling cherries.

On the first day (4.5 hours of work), I didn’t put on my earphones as I wanted to concentrate on the job and time was painfully slow. On the second day, I put on my earphones but the audiobook was so boring that time passed so slow that I was telling myself I think I can only do a maximum of 6 hours per day. We managed to clock 9.5 hours on the second day so I’m thankful to even receive 14 hours of work for that two days. I don’t even know how pathetic the hours of my current week will be ><

Anyway, the saddest thing of my 2 days work was that our supervisor/boss did not give us any cherries to eat. Not even anything from the rejected pile. I know I was in no position to expect freebies since I’m already getting paid $17.70/hour for my work but still.. there was still a slight hope on having free cherries. It was so hard to be staring and touching fresh, large cherries for many hours a day, and not get to pop any into your mouth (disobeying the rules). Being the very guaikia, I didn’t steal any cherries on my first day. On the second day, my friend took one out for me and I ate it. To be honest, I didn’t feel that it is anything life changing or so amazing that makes this work is so desirable but.. I guess it’s still too early to say. I will let you know at the end of 6 weeks if I get there.

This week, my weekend began on Wednesday. (What I did was so insignificant that I had to use my IG stories to check what I did). Alright, on Wednesday, I had to move out from my room to the living room as my room had been pre-booked by other backpackers prior to my arrival. My landlord was kind enough to allowed me to sleep in the sofa bed of their social living room before I could move in to the worker’s accommodation, only on Saturday. The night(s) on the sofa bed was alright (hard enough) but the sound and the sighting of mice stole away a couple of hours of rest each night. It is bad to hear the noises of hurried scrambling and its insane to watch two mice (mickey and minnie – what my friend proclaimed) running across the room, even down the sofa bed which you will sleep on, hiding underneath the sofa or behind some furniture. I am quite a brave girl (I think) as I don’t scream when I see cockroaches and spiders but I still feel utterly disgusted. The consolation was that what I saw were mice, not rats. Mice could possibly be in the same category as hamsters. I slept for 5 hours on Friday (my last night) cause I wanted to stay awake and watch the mice run out of the living room but sadly it didn’t happen and I got tired anyway >< My life has been pretty tragic right?

On Wednesday, I also headed to Cromwell to have dinner with my ex-co workers from my first job back in Christchurch. It was pretty nice to hang out after so many months. I guess somehow or another, we all end up in Cromwell for the cherry season.

On Thursday, I managed to find a short walk in Cromwell. It was a pretty easy walk (1 to 1.5 hours) but the sun was a little scorching and the scenery felt pretty average at many places. The scenic spots of central otago seems a little meh, in comparison to the dramatic mountains of Queenstown and Wanaka. Nevertheless, it was alright and definitely good to sweat it out once in a while while we ended the day with real fruit ice cream. I was also happy to have mala hotpot for dinner at my friend’s place. At times when I feel terrible, I still feel happy to know that I still have friends that I can eat hotpot with.

Friday, I went to have a glance at the Alexandra’s Farmers market which was very small. There were barely 10 stalls and the shop selling fresh fruits and vegetables was a lot pricer than New World. We had lunch at industry lane cafe which served really good coffee. The food was pretty delicious as well and it is highly likely that I will go back again. Headed over to a friend’s shared house to play cards and went home to have the last dinner in my luxurious and clean house. I was also forced to drink my leftover whisky as I was gonna stay in an alcohol-free hostel next. Friday night was a complete nightmare for me because of the mice sighting. Bad memories and I’m somehow glad to move out of that living room even though it is pretty average here as well.

Saturday was moving day again for me. It should be my 5th ‘big’ move since I came here. 3 times in Christchurch, once in Wanaka and once in Clyde. I honestly feel that my items have reduced but my friends don’t think so. I’ve already cut down on my cold food as my new place does not have a freezer. Alright so this new place I am in is a student hostel leased out by my company for 6 weeks (during their summer vacation).

As it is a student hostel, it has many rules like no alcohol, no entry to kitchen after 10pm and 18+ websites (including vineyard websites) are all blocked by the firewall. In addition, we are not able to use social media (Facebook/Instagram/Twitter) between 8am to 3pm from Mondays to Fridays. Technically I can still depend on my data, but it’s still annoying to the max. The other downside is that the kitchen is so far away and I have no feel to cook (at least not for the first 3 days). No idea how long I can last in this accommodation but I truly enjoy the table that my laptop is on right now and that I’m sitting on a proper chair in my room. Before this, I had been using my laptop on my bed or in the common areas. The only other time I had a table was in a 3-week stay back in Christchurch which I had to move out because my house mates don’t wash their dishes in the kitchen.

Sunday was.. the highlight of my trip! I was ‘adopted’ to carpool to Queenstown. Well, the highlight was that I could finally do wine tasting for the vineyard that I’ve been working for. The wine is so so so so so so delicious and I ended up buying 4 bottles and as I was a staff, I had free tasting and a good discount too. I was really happy drinking good wine and I don’t feel like blindly buying cheap wine from supermarket anymore. We went through the regular itinerary like Fergburger, Asian Mart and Pak n Save. I think it has been my 5th or 6th visit to Queenstown and I’m still pretty alright with it. Not bored, not excited but it is just becoming a norm.

And right now it is Monday night (my usual weekly update blogging night). I went to work today for a 2-hours induction (paid; phew!) and as it’s like 100% rainy weather tomorrow, they are giving us a day off. I kind of want to work to earn money but I also hate the thought of having freezing hands and standing at the same spot for >8 hours a day.

Immigration wise: I called them today and they told me they have received my employer’s letter (kind of an appeal to justify that I was indeed for a valid visa extension employer) and there was nothing I could do to expedite on the application process. So basically my visa will expire next week and if it expires, I will get an interim visa which I cannot use to work. If I get a rejection, I will be an illegal immigrant if I do not leave the country before my visa expires. I asked if I should call next week to check on my status and they say there wasn’t a need to do so. I’m seriously in a ‘come what may’ mood. Other people apply extension with the same company pay slip and they have no issues but I just have my string of bad luck following me wherever I go but.. I need to have problems to have content to write right? If my life is so smooth sailing, my blog will be boring. *positive thinking*

Oh wells, hopefully I will have good news next week. Otherwise, this time next week, I will be packing up my bags already. Fingers cross and.. let’s see where by destiny brings me.

On a side note, the best part of not being in SG this christmas is that I don’t have to take part in any lame secret santas or fret over present buying. I have not bought a single christmas present here in New Zealand (hope I don’t have to) and I hope I do not receive any as well, so I don’t have to feel pressured to return the gift. The christmas vibes are so low here that I don’t even feel it if I stop scrolling through my SG friends IG stories of endless gatherings and gifts exchange. Let me enjoy a stress free christmas this year – if immigration stops giving me nonsense.

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