How to understand this blog

Monday, October 31, 2011

love and marriage

My next bumper sticker...

He was a recent immigrant. I was a fresh-faced but mature-looking twelve year old. He thought arranged marriages were the way to go, and were my parents interested?

Once he found out I was only twelve, he wondered if I had any sisters?

My parents politely said they thought they would let us choose for ourselves.

And then we got to the train station.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

windscreen emptiness

I'm going to pick up my new car today!

This got me thinking: for the first time in my life, I will be allowed to use bumper stickers in the purpose for which they are intended. But which bumper stickers to use?

Some people like to use the back windscreen of their car to boast about the interesting places they've been and the interesting things they've done.

And so I bring to you a series of my own bumper stickers, based on my exotic life of travel. And it's all true. Here's the first:

Feel free to print these out and make up your own bumper stickers if you too swallowed a fly in Western Australia. It's not difficult to do.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Graffiti in Christchurch - photo borrowed from a friend with permission:

"Christchurch - destined to rise"

Look, the thought's very nice, and his/her talent with a spray can is prodigious... but Icarus? Destined to rise? Really?!

Perhaps they started reading the story and got tired before the middle or the end.

Perhaps it's the name the artist uses on everything s/he does and my snark is pointless.

Either way, this made me giggle.

Friday, October 28, 2011

a week of firsts

1. I started my first proper grown-up job. Tried not to refer to it in that way at work and instead look professional and seasoned... well, perhaps not, but contrary to all expectations I did not get horribly nervous. I did not make horrible mistakes. I'm slipping into the work much quicker than I (and they) expected. I'm learning lots. I'm feeling quite privileged to get paid to do something that seems actually important and to work in something so closely associated with Canterbury earthquake recovery - pretty cool, really. Take that, all the people who said But what are you going to DO with a BA/MA? Future Arts grads, don't listen to them!

2. I bought my first car. !!! Rockin it in a Mazda Demio... okay, so it doesn't have that kind of a ring to it, but I'm pretty excited! I'm not actually picking it up until my birthday, as in NZ you pay less insurance after you're 25, so it made sense to wait a week.

3. It was my niece's first day at school on the same day I started work. She's five and very excited!

4. This week the buses started going through the city again, instead of around it, for the first time since the February earthquake. This may not seem that significant but the city has been like this big black hole in Christchurch where only people with hard hats and orange hi-visibility vests are allowed to go. The buses have been stopping on opposite sides of the CBD. This leads on...

5. The shopping district of Cashel Mall has all but disappeared. As you can see in the photo above, so much has been demolished while it's been cordoned off that it's barely recognisable. This goes for much of the city.
BUT! For the first time since February 22nd, they're opening up Cashel Mall to the public for shopping in shipping containers! See below.

Behold: the "pop-up mall".

It's not quite finished in the photo, but it's finished in reality, and tomorrow afternoon we'll be allowed into this part of the CBD once more to shop in this pop-up mall, eat and drink in pop-up cafés, et cetera.
I was a little sceptical until I saw the report on TV tonight about it, and it just looks so cool. It's very exciting to see the central city opening up for the first time, even if it's only a little bit, and in such a creative and fun way. Hurrah!
I will also be able to wander down in my lunch breaks on work days, as I work right on the edge of the CBD. Eating options have been limited, so this is also exciting.

It's SO GOOD to see Christchurch recovering little by little. There's a very long way to go. This has been something I've learnt even more this week as I've started my new job. It's easy to forget that things are crazy when you live in a fairly unaffected suburb and no longer visit the CBD. Now I'm there again, my work station reflects the buildings that are destined for demolition in its glass, and it seems ghostly. But life is returning slowly.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

hunting of a different kind

So it's been a while since I updated you. Last time, I almost had a job. This time, I definitely have it, and I'm starting next week! Can't deny I'm a little bit nervous, but I'm also looking forward to it. I will be working in a research and writing capacity for a government department concerned with the consequences of the earthquake in Christchurch and the rebuild. Doing what I love (research, writing) and feeling like it's actually practical - a winning combination for me! I just hope I don't make any really stupid mistakes in the early weeks.

In other news, we are spending this week flat-hunting - my last week of freedom plus my other flatmate is on holiday. We will be leaving our current flat when the lease ends in a month or so as it is quite big (5 bedrooms to fill) and some of us are keen for a smaller place in a different part of town.

We visited a potential flat yesterday that has so many flaws but I am addicted to the idea of it already! I will explain.

It's on the hills overlooking Christchurch.

After parking your car, you need to walk up a little path like this one, for about a minute. (So yeah, it is inconvenient when moving in, or at night, et cetera - but oh so romantic!)

The house is a 1920s villa a little like this one (but it is almost entirely white).

It is surrounded by trees and bush like this one. There is a little grassy area at the top of the section, with a clothesline and sweeping views of the city, and it feels like you're in an oasis from the modern world, even though you're actually surrounded by other houses.

There are bay windows throughout the house.

There is a sun room and a lounge, dining room and bedrooms with amazing views.

This would be the view during the night.

This would be a view during the day - except that it would be much more sweeping, and you could see all the way to the sea.

It might be cold in winter. The kitchen is quite dated. It's an old house and is likely to have mice. But on the other hand it's affordable, there's HEAPS of space, the landlord seems excellent and he seemed to like us, there will be a new kitchen, and despite the fact that the weather was horrid yesterday the house felt warm, even though its new owners have not yet installed any heating. (They will be doing so.)

We left the house so excited. But completely aware of its problems. Are now waiting for a quote from a moving company for our bigger items, as we have no hope whatever of moving them in ourselves. We think we'll have a cooling-down period and see other houses before we apply... but I can't imagine feeling quite as much in love with any other home!!

Saturday, October 1, 2011


I am having a great weekend so far, and it's only Saturday!

1. I almost have a job! Just waiting for them to speak to my referees but basically as long as my referees say nothing horrible about me I am going to receive a job offer soon. It happens to be a job that I really wanted and I am very excited about it - so very grateful, relieved and happy!

2. I got my thesis markers' comments back, and was surprised to read some really lovely, positive, genuine feedback from the external marker who happens to be an historian I really respect. Recovered some of my confidence in my own work as a result.

3. Googled myself this morning (oh, don't laugh, I bet you've done it too) and discovered my thesis is now online - I'm famous! Hmm. Yes. Of course.
You can read it here or here if you like. But don't worry. I have few illusions about how widely read this thesis will be.

4. Had an excellent night with some friends from church last night, sitting round eating dessert and sharing our stories of how we discovered faith in God. It was really fantastic and a little emotional at times and there were a lot of smiles and laughter.