Monday, October 26, 2009

11. Camping + broken friendships

I can quite honestly say that camping is not for me. For the record, backpacking does not float my boat either. My sister works for a huge, international hotel chain so we have all stayed in some absolutely stunning hotels all around the world.

I love hotels. I love the fact that I have a nice bed, clean sheets, hot water and room service. When you are camping, I dislike the fact that hot water can be intermittent and I get a bit sick of cooking on a BBQ. I also HATE not having a washing machine!

I have had two memorable camping experiences; one good and one bad.

The first was when my friends and I went camping on a private property out in Muriwai at the end of High School. There were over 18 of us and we had an absolutely brilliant time. We had a very private camping site, a beautiful waterfall and had an amazing time and great New Year’s party. Even though I am no longer friends with most of these people, thinking back about this holiday makes me smile. It was also our transition from High School to University.

The second experience of camping I remember is because it was horrible at the end, and the fall out was emotionally draining. We went camping with a friend’s daughter and her family the same year of the Boxing Day Tsunami.

We were very excited about it and probably the one big mistake we made (in hindsight) was being on the same camping site. If we had been on the next site over things probably would have been fine.

In retrospect I probably felt a bit uncomfortable about my weight; nothing new there. Also, when I go on holiday I love nothing better than curling up with a book; which I expect can be seen as unsociable. Do not get me wrong, I did interact with everyone, but sometimes I just like time on my own. Also, we were camping with a lot of children and as we do not have children often it was hard for Mark and me to relate to some things.

It was when another friend of the people that we were camping with turned up; things turned a bit nasty and this new woman and I got a bit bitchy with each other. Even now I cannot stand her. Admittedly perhaps I was being a bitch and unsociable, but in all situations both sides need to take responsibility for their actions. In the end it was really “three’s a crowd”.

After having to hold our tent up and sleeping under the tarpaulin when the worst of the weather hit us and a huge “grrrr” moment with this girl we decided to leave early.

I did not really think a lot of it until a few weeks later when I was talking to my friend (whose daughter we went away with) and that is when things really got nasty. We were talking and I was explaining that I was a little bewildered about how things ended up. To which she replied “it was because I was hard to be around when we were camping and that her daughter did not know what was wrong with me”. What the hell?? I said “nothing was wrong with me and that it was not until XX turned up that things got a bit weird”. Then we got into a huge conversation about how I had been odd and that this friend had only been sticking up for her daughter (or something like that). Anyway I said “well I do not like XX anyway” and then it just got nasty. I then got told that “XX was a lovely person and a close friend of the family”.

Mark and I went from seeing my friend just about every day to not seeing them for over 2 years. It wasn’t until her eldest daughter actually text me out of the blue that I re-formed a relationship with members of this family. I have an amazing relationship with the daughter of my “old” friend and consider her one of my closest and most loved friends.

Looking back I realise that if the roles had been reversed, any one of my friends would have stuck up for me if they felt a person was being rude or unreasonable. However, I think that they would have addressed it at the time, rather than after the fact. The irony is that the person that we went camping holds no ill feelings years later. I still do not like or trust her friend, but then she is not my friend so does it matter?? Also, it is probably time to let it go and give camping one last try!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Fantastic Weekend – A Quick Break from my Blog Challenge

As I stirred a pot of mushrooms with a dash of rosemary and then finished cutting the baby carrots that I bought at Oratia Farmers Market yesterday I am reminded of what a perfect weekend we have had.

So let’s go back.

As I packed up to leave work on Friday, one of my workmates wished me a “happy weekend” to which I exclaimed “Liz and Paul are up to stay and it’s the Auckland tweet up tonight, and I am so, so excited”! Suffice to say I do not think he really understood my complete and utter excitement about the weekend. While I do love weekends, I had not been this excited about one for quite a few months.

Mark and I raced home cleaned the house, and then headed off to The Falls in Henderson. This was my second tweetup and certainly will not be my last. I was absolutely blown away by the service and hospitality offered by Alan, Nina and the team there.

What also overwhelmed me was the amount of twitter people (tweeps) that came up and said “you are nessliddell right?” and proceeded to give me a hug and a welcome hello. It is so nice after a few months of tweeting with people to finally meet them in person, and realise that it is not only enjoyable tweeting with them, but also meeting and talking with them in ‘real life’.

After great food, fantastic conversation and lovely wine Liz, Paul, Mark and I headed home. We chatted for a bit and then went to bed.

Saturday morning dawned a beautiful day, and I headed off to the markets to meet my friend Karen. We stocked up on beautiful fresh produce, meat, cheese, bread and bing cherries. Liz had been trying to catch me as I left the house to come with me, however could not get the door unlocked. So, Liz and Paul popped into the market to have breakfast and then raced off to pick up a Trade Me purchase, after agreeing to dinner at Karen’s place.

Mark and I ended up in Albany for a bit and met Pauline. We got ingredients for dinner and then raced home to feed the cats, and then onto Karen’s for dinner.

We have a lovely dinner with about Karen and 11 others. My friend absolutely loves cooking, as does Liz. So again we had more good food, fabulous conversation and great wine. Paul brought out the PSP and the sing star with “cordless” microphones (I did not think that Karen was going to let him take them home) and the kids started singing. Then the adults joined in a bit later. What surprises me about sing star is that it truly spans generations and it is great fun.

We left happy and full.

This morning we went to The Falls for breakfast with Pauline, Jason, Bri, Sam etc. What started as a booking for 4 ended up as a table for 10! Once again I was totally blown away by the experience and service we received from Alan and the team.

On the way home Paul mentioned there were some geocaches (kind of like a new generation of orienteering) on our way home. We stopped along the way and found two.

As I sit here on the couch and reflect on our weekend, I feel blessed that we have some beautiful, generous friends and have met some truly astounding people through twitter. Thank you everyone for the laughs and great times this weekend.

Monday, October 12, 2009

9. Australian Accents and 10. Kiwi Accents

I have never really thought too much about Australian and Kiwi accents to be honest; mostly because I do not think that they are as obvious as American or English accents. Mind you I expect to other people that do not live in Australasia then they probably are. I can think of 3 distinct instances where I have thought about it.

When I went to America in 2000 speaking with a Kiwi accent was better than a pick up line. I remember being in a bar and this guy was absolutely intrigued by my accent. He kept asking me to talk, it was my first real experience where I realised that yes “we Kiwi’s do have accents”. It was a great conversation opener; you did not even need to say anything interesting or witty!

The next two instances were just recently.

1. When flying from Brisbane to Sydney I was next to an Australian couple. It was quite interesting listening to them and thinking about who their accents differed from Kiwi’s. One thing that I have realised is that all Australian’s call women named Sharon, Shazza. I have absolutely no idea why, but I find it quite cliché. I always expect the sound of “cracking chewing gum” to precede the use of the name Shazza. Also, Australian women seem to over use the word “darl” which really ends up getting on my nerves.

2. I was saying Fish and Chips in the car on the way to work this morning after listening to Peter Heller on The Edge radio station. Unfortunately, I think it may actually come out as Fush and Chups with a New Zealand accent...go figure!

8. Road Rage

There are so many things that I could talk about in relation to road rage, however I think it is best for me to pick the two that really drive me absolutely nuts!

The first one is people not using their rear vision mirrors. Why do we have rear vision mirrors in our cars if we do not intend to use them!? The most common mis-use of a rear vision mirror is when a person driving is turning left into a side street, and there is a person coming the opposite way wanting to turn into the same side street but they are turning right. The person turning left fails to check their mirror to see if there are cars behind them going straight through, and blocks traffic because they think that should be giving way. I want to scream in frustration at them to check their rear vision mirrors so they know that they can turn left because ROAD IS NOT CLEAR BEHIND THEM.

The second thing is are drivers cutting into a busy stream of traffic forcing those behind them to break suddenly and almost causing an accident. My favourite is people coming up Hobson Street to go onto the motorway. Two lanes going to South Auckland and two lanes going west. The centre lane going west always has drivers who decide to jump into the southbound motorway lane at the intersection to the motorways. What the hell??

When it comes to road rage, just remember to breathe and take it easy!

7. Unicorns

I was really struggling about what to write about Unicorns (so this is not a huge blog), until I had a bit of a look on the internet over the weekend.

To be fair, I have not given a lot of thought to Unicorns over the years. I see them as a mythical, magical creature and a product of limitless imagination. They have found their way into our hearts by way of books and stories handed down from generation to generation. These stories have slowly helped to weave the magical vision of unicorns around us and into our lives. Also, movies, and books of the fantasy or science fiction genre certainly help keep the unicorn in our minds.

Interestingly enough biblical unicorns found mention in the bible. Did not make it onto the Ark?

Perhaps Unicorns once existed as a flesh and blood animal, before becoming extinct and over time their existence has simply become woven into our lives as a mythical being.

Luckily, in today’s world, there are echoes of unicorns in the rhino, narwhal, Oryx and Eland.

Friday, October 9, 2009

6. Ponies

The last time I rode a horse was in Waipu at least 8 years ago and I will not be doing it anytime soon.

I felt so sad for this poor horse having to carry me up the darn hill and it was really muddy. I kept saying “sorry” to the horse the entire trip. The woman I was with (who owns horses) laughed at me through most of the trip, especially when I said “oh my god the horse is panting”.

Did I want a horse as a child; probably. My parents had a 10acre section in Karekare and I went on my first horse aged about 3 years old. I think that if they had chosen to keep the section and build there, then I would have had a horse, and the annual Karekare beach races would have been part of my life.

We live in Te Atatu Peninsula and every morning and evening we go past a huge block of land with quite a number of horses/ponies grazing there. I always get a bit worried that they don’t have any shelter from the elements, as there are not really many trees. So they are really exposed to the sun and the rain. Most of them have covers which is great if it is cold, but probably stifling if the weather is warm.

One of the greatest things is that they give away free manure for gardens. I cannot wait to start out vegetable garden with a good helping of Peninsula Poo.

5. Old friends

I seem to have quite a few close friends that I have met over the years. However, I am only in touch with two friends that I went to school with, and the rest are from old jobs, people I have met through mutual interests and also the internet.

I am constantly amazed how I can live in Auckland and not really bump into many people I know. A few years ago I came across an old school/university friend that I had wondered about for ages. We met for coffee and talked about all the people that she had kept in touch with. What scared me the most was that she was friends with everyone that I had lost touch with; she also knew everything about their lives. I found it a little disconcerting. When I emailed to say thanks for coffee and say we must do it again, I was a little surprised to get not response back. I am no longer worried, I am glad to have seen her and glad that she is happy.

I then bumped into another person from the same group of friends at U2; I found it quite uncomfortable as in the end I did not really have anything in common with her. I was also glad that I lost touch with her, because I considered her to be a bit of a bitch.

I was “dumped” by a friend who I was really close to. It just ended as she found a different set of friends to hang out with and also she became interested in religion. I think that the main reason that it ended was because I was a bit overpowering, and also I was obsessed with a guy I worked with, and he liked her. All very difficult and messy...hopefully I learnt not to be so overpowering with friends after that experience.

Recently I posted a status update on Facebook about whether some friendships just end naturally with no apparent reason. I found the responses from my friends quite interesting. The consensus from most people is that friendships do end sometimes and it is often the result of lives taking different paths and priorities changing. Another comment was that people come into your life to teach you things.

Yes I have lost friends over the years, and also been “dumped” by others. After taking it personally, I have learnt that it is just part of life.

I love the group of old friends that I have and know that I will be friends with them forever. I also love the new friends that I have met this year as a result of Twitter and other interests.