Week 29 – Longest hours ever and Relocation again


Hi there, yes, I’m late. I woke up today on Tuesday morning and realised that yesterday was Monday night and I’ve forgotten all about my blog. I didn’t have time over the weekend to pre-write anything at all and right now, I have all the time in the world because I’m jobless in Christchurch. I’ve moved back into the comfortable sharehouse where I previously spent 2 months. Everyone that I had met back then have left but this new company is still pretty decent. It’s 11am right now and I’m currently drinking my all-time-favourite Puhoi Valley Real Belgian Chocolate Milk (freaking ex at $5.49 for just 750ml) but as I countdown the not so long time I have here in New Zealand, I figure out that I need to just do whatever I want to do, spend whatever I want to spend as before I know it, I will be on the plane back to Singapore, back to reality, back to my future and back to the stress that I wanted to leave behind. So, I should just.. enjoy and live in the moment.

Last week, the number of hours I had worked was the highest in my entire stay. It should cross the 50-hours mark (will have to verify with the payslip later on as I’m too tired everyday to even remember how long I worked the day before) and together with the paid off-in-lieu (on Friday) for our work on 2nd Jan, I think my payslip should be able to cross the $900 mark after tax. Fingers cross but let’s see. Anyway, my payslip did not cross the $1,000 mark last week as they did not cash out our 2nd Jan’s off-in-lieu salary last week. I guess I will never have a >$1,000 weekly payslip in this working holiday stint but it’s fine; I’m tired. We had a 12-hour work day last thursday, starting at 7am and ending at 8pm (1 hour deducted for 2 x 30 mins meal time) and in return for the hard work, they gave us Friday OFF. Which means that we had worked 8 consecutive days non-stop.

Now that I’m trying to recall the reason why I chose to leave, it seems like the turning point was kind of on the weekend where I did not want to go out at all. It made me realised that I have overstayed in the (Central) Otago area and there was pretty much nothing that I wanted to do. I also took a gamble and said that if I do manage to sell my car before 12 Jan, I will leave with a friend that was driving down to Christchurch. Some way or another, things happened and everything fitted into place. I didn’t like the job, I was bored of the place, I managed to sell my car and I had a friend that was driving to Christchurch. Everything that has happened so far was kind of within my expectations and.. here I am in Christchurch, in a city (well, kind of), after 4 months of rural countryside living. When I sleep at night, I can still hear traffic and the street lamps are always turn on. There are public buses that I can take which can bring me to anywhere and staying here without a car is definitely a possibility; though I’m still feeling pretty handicapped and uncomfortable without one.

The few things that happened in my work (which was a little more interesting) was that I got to pack apricots for about 2 half days. These apricots were from the same trees that we did thinning for back in October. The babies that we didn’t kill were now big, ripe and orange. I even had my position switched and I tried out being a ‘boxer’ for a couple of hours. The job was simple – putting plastic inside the boxes with the drying sheet and ensuring that the entire production line has enough boxes lined up. When we had free time, we need to stack up the ready boxes to prepare them on standby for busier moments. It was an equally boring job, but at least I could walk (even if it was just a few steps) and not have freezing cold hands. Anyway, on my last day of work, I had a random thought that I could actually get used to the tiredness (in my 4th week) and I did think that I could actually last till to season end, since my body had already been adjusting. I had to throw the thoughts away as I had already resign and I had this grand plans to leave. I was potentially saying goodbye to about $1600-$2000+ worth of income (the hours are peaking up right now) for the last two weeks but.. I need to move on.

I was thankful that I still had one off day in Alexandra before I leave. We spent the day at the Friday market where I bought a Bahn Mi (Vietnamese Baguette), had coffee and went to a cafe and also did my last grocery run in New World. Also, I had to walk 20 mins to my dinner appointment (because I no longer have a car) and it was in fact the first time I was walking so much in my neighbourhood. I had a farewell meet up with the first two friends I met here (in the backpackers of Alexandra) and three months later, it was time to say goodbye.

On the last day of work, I was thankful to receive a shirt and cap from the company and I did feel a tinge of sadness when I left. After all, it was a place I had two jobs in and the people are really nice but the only thing that was wrong about it was the job itself. Perhaps I was too weak in my mind to hold on to the mundane-ness or oh wells, it was just time to move on. I tried my best and did my best while I was there, but I’m sure there are other grand plans waiting for me. Maybe one day I’ll miss the place like how I miss my vineyard but I’m glad to be leaving with happy memories.

On my last night, my friends also prepared a mini farewell for me (using KFC). I wasn’t expecting it at all but somehow it still feels good to be loved by people you barely even know. There’s still something magical about the relationships that I have with each and every one. Although the time we know each other is really short and I will probably not get to meet 80% of them again, it’s still a precious memory that I can remember.

On Sunday, it was finally time to move and oh gosh, I had so so so so many things, though I believed I kind of reduced about 10% already. I was thankful to find a friend that was willing to pick me up from Alexandra and drive me down to Christchurch. Without that car ride, I would have never managed to take intercity. I had 11 pieces of luggage/items with me that day. Sunday’s weather was extremely good and.. hot. The skies were blue, the sun was shining and the temperature peaked at 31 degrees in Christchurch.

We could also see Lupins along the way (near Tekapo town) and it was a pleasant surprise as Lupins was by right only due for Nov/Dec.

It was the second time ever in my entire NZ stay so far that I was too hot to sleep. Weirdly, on monday, the temperature fell back down to less than 20s and I’m a happy kid again. I went out with my friend (that fetched me to Christchurch) and we shopped the entire day. It definitely feels good to be in a city but I was so not used to the roads and all that traffic lights. I guess it was a good transition as I prepare myself to go home.

Yep that’s it for my weekly updates. Should I not be able to find employment, I will finish up my blog post on the cherry packhouse experience and perhaps start booking everything for my family trip next month. I’m excited that it did eventually materialize but I’m worried about the expectations and weather that could potentially screw many things up.

For now, let me get a haircut which I’ll probably regret but.. it’s something I have to do before I go home bald :/

Adios~ till next week!

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