Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Christmas!

Today is December 25, 2007 in Wellington, New Zealand.

It does not feel like Christmas at all. It has not felt like the holiday season for a very long time. Auckland at least had decorations up and had holiday parades and whatnot. Even then it was quite small and not very Christmas-y. But the other cities.. nothing. There is the occasional decoration and the rare song.. but other than that, one can seriously spend Christmas here and not know that is was Christmas! My mum says it must be because it's not a Christian-based country. But in this day and age, Christmas is not about religion.. it's about consumerism! It's amazing.. I have not seen a single long queue the entire time I was here. Do people not go Christmas shopping?! o.O

Perhaps it's the lack of people. This entire country has a little over 4 million people.. period. According to the 2000 census, there were 3.7 million people in Los Angeles. On the U.S. Census Bureau's website for LA county, the 2007 estimate is 9,878,554. And according to Wikipedia, it's 12.9 million. An entire country is less than one city. Sadness.

The point is, Christmas here is not Christmas at all. Christmas really is made up of friends and family, and I lack both here. Spending Christmas by oneself is, to say the least, not very fun. At the YHA hostel that I'm staying at for the night, they offered free cake and bubbly at 10:30 am. Which was nice. A lot of other hostels in other cities are offering really nice dinners, which I'm sad to be missing, but free cake and bubbly is better than nothing. Except there were nuts. Which I didn't realise until I had already taken a couple of bites. I'm fine, except there was a period of sweating, hyperventilating, and chest pains. But thankfully, the hives have yet to appear.. and will hopefully never appear *fingers crossed*

Since my Christmas here is disappointing, to say the least, I expect a second--an actual--Christmas when I come home. We don't have to exchange presents, since we're all broke (especially me, so don't expect expensive souvenirs TT_TT), but I do want Christmas WITH friends. I already made my mum promise a real Christmas dinner when I get back. The instant microwave for 2 minutes pasta I'm having tonight along with my microwave garlic bread does NOT count as Christmas dinner. I refuse to accept this is my Christmas. So we're having Christmas when I come home. Savvy?

But since I'm not home right now, I do hope that you all have a very Merry Christmas and a lovely holiday season! ♥

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tying Up Loose Ends

Warning: this is going to be somewhat long (although perhaps not so detailed), so be prepared :P

PICTURES
I have finally gotten to editing and uploading all my pictures from this month.

Parnell
I mainly followed what was written in Jasons Auckland Guide in regards to Parnell. I started off with the two "Historic homes" listed: Ewelme Cottage and Kinder House. Unfortunately, I got to both of them before they were open. Haha. I then went to Old St. Mary's Church and Holy Trinity Cathedral. Then I hit the Parnell Village Shops. The guide book made it seem like Parnell would be amazing.. but in reality, it's not that great. Or maybe that's because I'm too poor to afford most of the merchandise TT_TT

Auckland Domain
I attempted to go in a complete circle around Auckland Domain, following the map that I had of it. I took a lot of pictures of the flora since they had an amazing hot house and cool house. It was sad because I knew my mum would have loved it, since she loves plants and flowers and has a green thumb. Poor mum will have to live vicariously through my pictures, which so do not do justice to the actual flowers themselves.

BLOGGING
Now to write about the events of my life since my last post!

saturday
Joseph picked me up in the morning and we met up with his sister Elizabeth and then his friend Jimmy. We then drove over to Half Moon Bay to take the ferry since there is no parking in the city. Unfortunately, since we were unable to find the loading dock quickly enough, we missed the noon ferry and had to wait until 12:30pm. But that one didn't actually leave the bay until 1, and it was the slow cheap one, so we didn't get to Waiheke Island until 2pm -_____- We walked along the street, had lunch, and then went to the beach. Left around 4, 4:30ish and then killed time at the ferry stop waiting for our 6pm ferry. We were only out on the island in the sun for 3 hours maybe (it actually was CLOUDY!), but wow.. New Zealand sun is fierce. Stupid hole in the ozone. My whole face got burned. Not so badly burned that there's any peeling skin (thank goodness!), but it's STILL noticeably red right now (4 days later!). Since my skin never burns or tans in LA (or Korea, or Europe), and since I'm very lazy, I don't use sunscreen.. at all. Yeah.. now I have learned to regret the folly of my ways. I have bought SPF 55 sunblock for my tour. Haha.

After the ferry and dropping Jimmy off, Joseph, Elizabeth, and I went to CocaCola's Christmas in the Park. Thanks to the utter lack of parking and the fact that we were already behind schedule, we didn't get there until 8:05pm.. when it started at 7:15 TT_TT And, of course, luck would have it that the break started right when we sat down. I think the first half was more lively and fun, because the second half wasn't that great. But at the end they had a fireworks show ^^

sunday
Church, of course. My last church service for a while. After service I went to the mall and got my ears pierced. RE-PIERCED. That's right. Why? Because Saturday morning, while in Joseph's car, my right earring accidentally got flicked off. And his car is.. filthy. So I couldn't find it! And by the time I got home at night (around 11:30pm), my hole had already pretty much closed. Damn thick fat ear lobes TT_TT So I got my ears repierced. The good thing is that these huge studs seem like they won't fall out *knock on wood* The lady said to leave them in for 6 weeks, so I'm just going to leave them alone until I go home. I can't believe I've had to get my ears pierced three times. But like they say, third time's the charm! And this time they used a gun so I feel better about it ^^ And at night Pastor Yang invited Jeffrey, his friend Hakyung, another boy named Halim, and me over for dinner. It was fun hanging out with the guys, especially since we played poker after dinner. Fun times were had *^^*

monday
After I took the train to the city, I paid a visit to Stray Travel and then tried to find out about Australia tours. I then went to Sylvia Park and New Lynn to look at the shopping malls and figure out what the prices were for the things I needed to buy for my tour. The Sylvia Park mall is HUGE! I have forgotten how big American malls are, but compared to the malls I've been going to in Auckland so far, this is by far the biggest. They had quite nice Christmas decorations~ Afterwards, I went to LynnMall in New Lynn. Not so big, but not bad. Outside of it was their War Memorial.

tuesday
Went to the city and began my shopping spree. I was upset because the previous night I had tried to buy a 4GB SDHC card for $101 total and the site wouldn't let me because I had an American credit card. And neither JB Hi-Fi or Dick Smith Electronics offered them. But as I was walking along Queen Street, I found Camera & Camera. I bought the 4GB SDHC card from them for $105 and also a card reader for $20 (JB Hi-Fi offered it for $57). I was so happy! And then I walked out and saw that there were two more places offering cheap camera stuff TT_TT Bond + Bond was offering a $149 4GB SDHC card.. with a free camera! But I told myself that I don't need a camera, and walked by. Didn't want to even go in and see if they had cheap card readers. Don't want to risk regretting my purchase. Haha. I then went to Glassons and bought swimwear. They were having sales regarding bikinis, but my fat can't handle that. So I bought halter top, bottom, and boardies. I then moved the rest of my money from HSBC over to ANZ and closed down my savings account. So now all the money I have in the world is in my ANZ cheque account. SADNESS. I am broke. Went to Henderson and finished my shopping there. Bought walking shoes, jandals (kiwi word for flipflops) for the shower and beach, sunblock, insect repellent, shampoo/conditioner, and the LOTR Location Guidebook. And at night, I finally found my 512MB SD card! YAY!

today
I'm spending all of today in my room getting ready for the tour. Pastor Yang was supposed to stop by this morning to drop off his huge travelling backpack, but he didn't. And he won't answer my phone calls TT_TT Hopefully I can get it from him later today. Packing is so overwhelming. As is trying to figure out my itinerary and what I should do in all the places that I go. Matching up all the brochures and flyers and guides that I have with the Stray Everywhere itinerary makes my head want to explode.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Resolution

I have made up my mind. I am NOT going to either Australia or Korea. I am going to go STRAIGHT HOME.

As I blogged about yesterday, I had pretty much managed to talk myself out of travelling after New Zealand in the time it took to blog. I know, I am amazing like that. But I still went to Flight Centre, a big travel agency here, today and got some information on Australia tours. There are so many. The thing they all had in common, however, is that they are all either city-specific or region-specific (Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria, etc). Contiki was the only one that actually offered a "Aussie Explorer" tour that seemed to do the most at one go. It is 24/25 days from NZ$3869. All the Australian tours are so expensive. It's ridiculous!

So yeah, not going to Australia. Can't even afford to go to Australia. So Australia is going on the back burner to be visited.. someday. Who wants to come with??? ^^

And since I'm not going to Australia, I won't be going to Korea either. And besides, like Joycie pointed out, I don't have any real reason for wanting to go. I also wouldn't be able to afford that. I can't afford anything right now TT_TT And it's not like if I don't go now, I'm never going to go. It's Korea. I will return someday.

Thank you to everyone who commented and gave helpful advice about making this decision. I'm sorry Gardeenie that I made you look up all that stuff for nothing. But things are looking slightly more concrete for my being in LA by February 1st! I know I forced you guys to all play with me before I left, but come play with me again when I come back~ I need comforting for all my failures ^^# And you get to see pictures that weren't posted online! And probably won't be because I don't even want to think about how many pictures I'll be taking over the course of the tour O.O How in the world am I going to deal with that?! I think I'm going to have to buy several 2GB SD cards.. eish O.O

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Dilemma

I am a stubborn bitch. Although I probably shouldn't, I still want to go to Korea. And I want to go to Australia. For, if not now, then when? I asked Gardenia about Australia, and her emails to me about it almost made my head explode again. It probably would have, but I skipped the rest of the Australia-related stuff just in the nick of time. My poor brain. It gets overwhelmed so easily.

So, of course, I decided I wanted a tour option. Like what I'm doing here. Some hop-on, hop-off tour that does all the major stuff in Australia so I don't have to think too much. At least, not so much that my brain matter will end up on the walls of my room to be scraped off eventually. Lovely imagery, I know.

So I again Blingo'd for Australia tour options, but I can't find any tour that does all of Australia. They all seem to be city-specific. Assuming it doesn't rain tomorrow, I'm going to go back to that tourist information centre and see if they can shed any light on Australia. Doesn't hurt to try, right?

Anyway, so I started to look up ticket options to see how they all stack against one another, so I can make a (hopefully) persuasive case to my mother about going to Australia and/or Korea. The prices shown are the cheapest that I could find.

Auckland (1/31) --> Los Angeles: ~$909-947
Auckland (1/31) --> Seoul (2/11-13) --> Los Angeles: ~$1680-1704

Obviously, I can't argue for just a stop in Seoul. And that trip is too short for an Around The World (ATW) ticket. But when Australia is added in, it works! Except Airtreks (the cheapest ATW provider that I found) added one more city to make it cheaper.

They gave me two options:
Auckland --> Sydney --> Kuala Lumpur --> Seoul --> Los Angeles (estim. ~$1400+)
Auckland --> Sydney --> Seoul --> Tokyo --> Los Angeles (estim. ~$1600+)

Don't you love how going to FOUR cities is CHEAPER than going to ONE? Such things never cease to amaze me~

I then tried looking at other ticket places..
Auckland (1/31) --> Sydney (2/18) --> Seoul (3/3) --> Los Angeles: ~$1452-$1518

So it's pretty much still a better deal to do the ATW ticket. The prices are around the same, but you get an extra city!

But there are issues.
1. If there is no all-of-Australia tour, I don't think I want to go to Australia this time around. The NZ tour is overwhelming enough already, and I seriously don't think I can handle travelling all around Australia on my own. It's just too much. Money-wise, time-wise, and on my emotional/psychological state.
2. Is Korea really worth it? It is if I'm going to Australia, but totally out of my reach if I don't. And is it really that important that I go to Korea? I would just use up even more money when I'm there. Money that I don't have.
3. Let's assume that I do end up choosing to go to Australia and Korea. Well then, Malaysia or Japan? Going to either of those two countries would mean.. EVEN MORE TRAVELLING. I have yet to even go on my NZ tour and I already feel like I'm all travelled out. Yes, I am weak sauce.

Damn. I think I just managed to talk myself out of going to Australia AND Korea! How the fuck did I just do that?! O.O My mum has trained me well~ But I'm still going to go ask about Australia. If there really are all-of-Australia tours, then I must re-think this whole talking myself out of this thing. Haha.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Ix-nay on the Orea-Kay

So sad that I get no comments on the Limbo post, where I actually talk about my feelings and take the time to thank people, and yet I get two comments on my supposedly "filler" Who Knew post. Seriously. Who knew?!

Like I had blogged about earlier, I was seriously entertaining the idea of going to Korea after this. I had thought I would go to Korea afterwards anyway, on my way back home, but these thoughts were of a more serious nature: actually going to live and work in Korea. Basically, taking my New Zealand dream and changing the country. Haha. Well, minus all the tourism and LOTR tours. Because, as you should know, Middle Earth is not in Korea.

But today I talked with my mum. I had called her to tell her about the tour stuff, and she said that afterwards, I can just come home. So I told her, I'm thinking about not going home, about going to Korea. And then, in typical mum fashion, she rained on my parade.

I was reminded, yet again, of how New Zealand didn't turn out how I thought it would. What's to guarantee that Korea won't be the same case? And then she told me how people go to Korea to work because they can't find work in America (this doesn't apply to you people going there for your GAP year, so don't take offense). One of my friend's older brother went to Korea to teach English for two years, and teaching has nothing to do with his desired career, so he was unable to get hired when he returned because everyone just considered that "wasted time." He remained unemployed for about a year, and even now I don't think he's very happy with his job. My mum told me there are countless cases like that, where your work in Korea is not acknowledged by companies here in America. She said, It may be the easy way out right now, but you have to think about the future. What's easy now can make your future much more difficult. And, again, she has a point. Although I feel that getting a marketing position in an American company in Korea shouldn't be bad, just because it's in Korea. But my mum believes that I need to work in America. Such arguments like these cannot be argued against. She is right. I am, once again, in the wrong. And now I worry how employers will view my time in New Zealand. Damnit.

And then she pointed out where I would stay. Was I going to leech off my family, yet again? She said that it's one thing to stay for a couple weeks, on holiday, when they would welcome me with open arms. But if I was going there to live, to work, it would be a burden to them. No more open arms. She pointed out how we feel burdened when our family members all come over for the summer, and says that it's the same thing. Why should I think it's any different? And she's right. I know my cousin would never say it, but I'm sure that if I were to go stay with him, it would be a burden. I could always get my own place, that's not an issue, but this did make me sad. I hate being considered a burden TT_TT

Of course, in the midst of all this, I start crying again. My mum always manages to turn me into a crybaby TT_TT So it's been decided. I'm going back to LA after New Zealand. I will find a job there and work my ass off. But this time, I better get paid decently. TOKYOPOP seriously underpays TT_TT

The only issue now is that I can't fully let go of going to Korea after this. I had so many things I wanted to buy in Korea but I didn't because I told myself I'll buy them on my way back home after New Zealand. According to the original plan, my mum was going to visit me in New Zealand near the end of my stay. And I was thinking that maybe I could get her to go to Korea as well, so I could buy all those cute things and then stuff it in her luggage. Haha. All those cute things.. how can I give them up?! I seriously want to go to Korea after this.. just to shop. And then I'll go home gladly. Except.. I have no money. Damn money. It always takes my dreams away from me.

Giving Up

"I give up, I'm through with trying"
"I give up, I've done all I can do"

from Roy Orbison's "I Give Up"

I don't even know who this Roy Orbison is. According to Wikipedia, Roy Kelton Orbison (April 23, 1936 – December 6, 1988), nicknamed "The Big O," was an influential Grammy Award-winning American singer-songwriter, guitarist and a pioneer of rock and roll whose recording career spanned more than four decades. In 1987, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 1989, he was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. I just wanted to find some lyrics about my giving up, so I Blingo'd "lyrics give up" and his song came up in one of the results.

And, like the song says, I give up. I'm through with trying to get a job, and I feel that I've done all I can do. Well, I kind of don't feel that way, but I should. Having submitted over 100+ resumes in the past 5 weeks, I say that I've done enough. The job searching is over. Tourist season has begun.

Wednesday and Thursday were quite uneventful. It rained for those two days, which gave me a chance to stay in my room without feeling guilty. Especially since I was in quite some physical pain during that time. Now that I think about it, maybe it was my old age and my body becoming all achy because of the rain. Haha. I really am old.

Last night was when I first tried to get into action. You know that I gave myself until today to get a job or become a tourist. Last night, knowing that I would not become an employed kiwi, I started to look at all the brochures and guides that I have picked up along the way. There were so many, they covered my bed.. in layers. I started to go through them, one by one, writing down where to go in what cities, what to do, etc etc etc.. until my head exploded. Being the anal perfectionist that I am, I want to do everything. I want to go everywhere that's mentioned, see everything that can be seen, and do everything possible so I can leave this country without an ounce or gram or miniscule amount of regret. But that is IMPOSSIBLE. There is just so much.. too much. It does more than boggle the mind.. it makes it explode. So, yet again, I gave up. I decided to go for the tour option. They decide where to go, what to do, where to stay, and they take care of transportation, which is a big issue for me. I decided I wanted a hop-on, hop-off tour, since I'm sure the tours won't include everything that I feel is a must-do and won't stay as long in some places as I would like, but that still left me with several options. And with an exploded head, I was in no state of mind to decide what to do.

So today I went to the tourist information centre, went up to one of the ladies at the counter, plopped down all 5 of my tour flyers, and asked which one I should do. The lady (her name is Alyson) was really nice and went through all my options with me. She discussed what certain tours offered that others didn't, why I might prefer one over the other, so on and so forth. She was very helpful. In the end, I decided to go with Stray Travel's "Stray Everywhere" plan, which takes you pretty much everywhere in New Zealand. I'm too lazy and tired to go into detail on the plan, but if you go to their website and look up their Stray Everywhere tour, you can find out for yourself! So with Stray Everywhere, and Stray Beds (vouchers for accommodation, which is not included in the cost), and my YHA card (Hostelling International Card), the total came out to $1950. Wowza. I will be getting on the bus that departs from the city at 7:45am (which means I have to leave the house around 6:15am TT_TT) on Thursday, so a little under a week from now.

At its shortest, the tour will take 32 days. But since I will probably want to stay in some places longer than the tour has planned, I'm thinking that it'll be 5-6 weeks for me. Closer to 5 than 6, but somewhere in that range. And taking into consideration that there are still places in Auckland that I need to see when I come back, I'm thinking that I'll probably leave at the end of January to go back home.

I'm excited, yet terrified. I don't know what to pack. I don't know how to pack. I don't know how to prepare. I just.. don't know what to do. I think the terror outweighs the excitement. Oh the horror of it all.

Anyway, after all that jazz, I finally went to Auckland Domain and walked around. Saw the duck pond, the tropical house, the gardens, etc. Took quite a few pictures of all the flora.

Ahhhh, speaking of pictures.. I lost my 512mb SD card! I put all my edited photos to print out on that card.. and now I can't find it! I know it should be in my room somewhere, but I searched everywhere and I can't find it. Please pray that I find it soon!!!

Anyway, tomorrow Joseph is taking me along on a trip with his sister and a friend to one of the neighbouring islands. I forgot the name of the island ^^# But that should be nice. And at night is CocaCola's Christmas in the Park. Jeffrey was supposed to go with me, but he already has plans with his friend for tomorrow. He said he thought this was "next week." Hmmph. But I think I'm going to be able to talk Pastor Yang and his wifey into going with me, so I won't be alone *^^* I probably won't be blogging about it tomorrow, since I won't get home until around 11pm, but I will try to on Sunday.

As you can see, things are--just possibly--starting to look up. And on that note, I will leave you with lyrics from a happier song that I found on my lyrics search, and a song that I personally love: Josh Groban's "You Are Loved (Don't Give Up)"

Don't give up, it's just the weight of the world
When your heart's heavy, I will lift it for you

Don't give up, because you want to be heard
If silence keeps you, I will break it for you

Everybody wants to be understood
Well, I can hear you
Everybody wants to be loved
Don't give up, because you are loved

Don't give up, it's just the hurt that you hide
When you're lost inside, I will be there to find you

Don't give up, because you want to burn bright
If darkness blinds you, I will shine to guide you

Everybody wants to be understood
Well, I can hear you
Everybody wants to be loved
Don't give up, Because you are loved

You are loved
Don't give up
It's just the weight of the world
Don't give up
Everyone needs to be heard
You are loved

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Who Knew

It's raining! Actually, it's pouring. Seriously. And I'm so happy. Who would have ever thought that I, the hater of rain, would ever be happy that it was raining? That just shows you how far I have fallen. Haha. I took some Panadol this morning for the aches. I still feel like I have arthritis and it's not fun.

Have you guys heard of Blingo.com? You can win prizes just by using their search engine! It's not a scam.. it's powered by Google and presented by Publishers Clearing House, and people have actually won prizes! One can also win prizes by referring people. So please join using my referral link: http://www.blingo.com/friends?ref=I-LaGMzok9Vv-Yhe2H_pc_dZOBQ

I decided to try searching "estherkimchi" and see if anyone else used that nickname. To my pleasant surprise, all the results that came up were mine! YAYYYYY!!! And then I searched "kimcheese".. and I found out that I am not special in that nickname TT_TT There are a lot of other kimcheese's running around. Damn them.

This was pretty much a pointless point, but just wanted to share. Haha. I needed to kill 30 min after eating breakfast so I can go lie down again. Keke. I can go back to bed now! YAY! I ♥ the rain.. at least for today.

Limbo

Waiting for the end of this week to come, to see if I'm staying or if I'm going.. is a mild form of torture. I feel like I'm stuck in limbo.

I ended up staying in today. I woke up to pouring rain, which I was actually happy about, because I felt like shit. I still feel like shit. I woke up with a sore throat and in a lot of pain, especially in the head/neck/shoulder area. It's still killing me, especially at the base of my head where it meets my neck (in the back). I'm actually sore all over. I feel so old. I feel like a grandma coming down with osteoporosis or arthritis or something like that. Ha.

Another reason why it's good I didn't go out today is because I found out that starting from Saturday, Victoria Park is going to get all spruced up for Christmas. So it would have been stupid to have gone today. Now I need to figure out what I'm going to do tomorrow. Which is where I again feel like I'm in limbo.

There is so much to do, but a lot of them I want to do with someone. Of course, if I remain unemployed, then I'll just resign myself to doing everything on my own. But if I get a job (I know I said I gave up, but still.. two more days!), then I might actually find someone to do these things with. So I don't want to do them just yet. Which means I don't really have anything I want to do this week. Horrible TT_TT

Well, there are things that I would probably do on my own anyway. The stuff that involves walking around and taking pictures. But, especially since I'm really sore and in achy pain, I don't want to walk around. Damnit, I just want to stay in my room. But that really would make me pathetic TT_TT OH THE DILEMMA.

On TV today there was a music video playing and one of the lyrics to the song went, "She's such a wreck.." and I couldn't help but think, "Oh! That's me. I'm a wreck." Haha.

Anyway, I just wanted to thank everyone who read my bloggings and actually bothered to write a response. It means a lot, truly. Thank you for telling me that I'm not a pathetic failure. Thank you for making me smile with your corniness. Thank you for spinning my defeat into a happy tale of bravery and courage and inspiration. Thank you for all your support and encouragement.

THANK YOU. SO MUCH.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Emotional Wreck

That is what I was yesterday. My mum called me last night and I was reminded of what a pathetic failure I am. Where to begin?

I'm in a foreign country. Not just any foreign country, but the country of my dreams. And yet what do I do? I stay in my room in front of the computer. My mum pointed out that this was ridiculous: I'm paying $200/week to be in my room in front of a computer. I can fucking do that at home for free! And it would be so much better at home, with faster internet and whatnot. My mum told me, You bought an expensive plane ticket and went to a boarding house in a foreign country.. just to sit in front of the computer?! Very valid point. I lose money every day I just stay here in my room.

So she told me, for the millionth time, that I need to go out and go on tours and all that stuff. They have tour groups for a reason, she says. So I told her why I don't want to go out and do tourist-y stuff. I'm traumatised from my museum experience. The half an hour or so after the Maori Cultural Experience performance. When we could meet, talk to, and take pictures with the performers. I remember just standing there, alone, while everyone around me was excitedly taking pictures of themselves and/or their friends with the performers. I couldn't do anything because I had no one to take a picture for me. And everyone else was busy taking their own pictures. So I just stood there, pathetically, looking on, until people started to leave and then I was able to ask a guy to take a picture for me. That was seriously traumatising. I felt so alone, and that's not a feeling that I want to return to. So I don't want to travel or go to places where I would want pictures taken of me, because there will be no one to do so! Which is why I wanted to work and make friends, who would hopefully be kind enough to go out with me and take pictures for me. But that's no longer an option, she reminded me, you can't get a job and you have no friends. YOU chose to go there without any friends, what are you going to do? Suck it up and go out and travel by yourself! Other people travel by themselves too. Sigh.

I think that's a big part of what kills me. This is something that I wanted. Something that I dreamed about. This is what I desired, and yet now that I'm finally here, I'm still not happy. Yes, when I'm at the beach, I love being here, but that comes to an end all too soon. Then I'm back to the reality where I'm unemployed and friendless in a country that refuses to be my home.

My mum told me that I need to be independent, that I can't live my whole life depending on other people, depending on friends. I used to think I was an independent person. Back home, I thought that I didn't have issues with going out on my own. I didn't have to have people along to go anywhere. But it's one thing to be independent on home turf, and another to be independent in a foreign country. Here, I don't feel so independent. I mean, I do a bit, going to the city and walking around on my own, but apart from that, no. I want someone to go with me to the tourist attractions. On the tours. To all the amazing places where I want to take pictures.

I also explained to my mum, mainly as an excuse as to why I haven't been travelling, that people have told me not to travel now. Height of tourist season is not smart. And they also said it's nicest (weather-wise) to travel between February and May. But, of course, my mum shot me down once again. You can't afford to wait until February. Just from room fees alone you'll be broke before then. If you get a job, that's fine. But if not, you can't just sit around and wait. You need to go and travel NOW. Yet another valid point. I really can't afford to stay here that long, not without a job.

So we decided that I would wait until the end of this week to see if I hear back on a job from anyone. If not, then I'm giving up for good. With Christmas coming around, businesses here will be going on vacation, so no one's going to be hiring. Once I give up for good, I am turning from wannabe kiwi to bona fide tourist. I will go to Christchurch, to Wellington, to all the LOTR spots, and do everything that I said I would do when I left for New Zealand. I don't know how I'm going to finance all that, but that's what I'm going to do. And then I'm leaving the country.

My mum thinks that I'll go back home after this, but I'm thinking that I won't. I want to go to Korea. My cousin-in-law first planted the seed in my head about working there after NZ, and the people here have just made it grow. The pastor's wife keeps on talking about how much money I could make in Korea working for an American company, so I'm very tempted to do that. Make up for all the money I lost coming here. I just hope that I won't be a failure there. It's one thing to fail here, in a country where finding decent work is near to impossible and there is no one to argue otherwise, but to fail in Korea, where I am supposedly guaranteed to succeed.. that would require me to commit suicide.

So yesterday I was an emotional wreck. I couldn't stop crying for the better part of the night. I just couldn't--can't--believe what a pathetic failure I've become. Now I rationalise it by saying that this country is not known for its jobs, that there's a reason why kiwis go abroad to work, a reason why only retirees come here.. but it still doesn't change the fact that I failed, quite pathetically. And I thought about people's reactions when they find out that I left as such a pathetic failure, and how they will regard me with pity and disappointment, and that hurts. I've been here for over a month, and what do I have to show for it? Nothing! It's not like I've even lost weight! I promised my family that I wouldn't leave New Zealand until I was half my size, but it looks like I'll be breaking that promise. I made a big fuss coming out here, leaving the country, and it was all for naught. All I did was show that, in the end, I'm nothing but talk. I couldn't follow through.

I've now managed to move past the wreckage a bit. I've stopped crying. I'm still going to wait until Friday, but I've pretty much given up all hope. I give up. I won't make it official until Friday, but inside.. I'm dead. Oh the travesty that is my life.

A New Month

Can you guys believe it's December already? I've been here for over a month now o.O I wanted to blog earlier, but I didn't really have much to blog about. And then when I did, I was either not in the mood or too busy. But here I am!

The pictures from Mission Bay have been uploaded and are the last pictures for New Zealand: November.

On Friday, I didn't really do much. I had some errands to run in the city and in the mall, so I did those. I actually ran out of money in my cheque account at ANZ, so I had to withdraw some money from HSBC and deposit it at ANZ. When I was at ANZ to deposit, I found out the necessary info I needed to transfer money from HSBC, but I have to go do it in person.. so I will do that later.. someday. Haha. I also informed the owner of the sock shop that I wouldn't be working for him.

On Saturday, I basically ran some more errands and spent the rest of the day in my room. But I was not alone! Well, I was physically, but I was chatting with Tasha and Gardy online, which was very nice. I actually don't have AIM on my computer anymore since I never go on (and meebo.com helps when I need to), but I do go on MSN every now and then, so give me your username so we can chat! ^^ (Mine is estherkimchi at hotmail dot com)

Sunday was church, as usual. I spent all night working on another blog of mine that I am setting up, which will showcase items of interest (read: links I used to post on Facebook) and pictures/news of hot celebrities and such. I know, it sounds like the millions of other websites out there, but this way I can keep track of all the links that I am interested in and such. I'm not done with it, but when I am.. I will post the link here so there will be some visitors, haha.

I spent yesterday in my room. I wrote some Christmas cards and then worked on pictures that I wanted to get printed out, which I was going to do today. Looking through pictures, I got sentimental and decided to make a wallpaper of the pictures of my friends and family. In the end, however, I ended up getting really frustrated because the spacing between the pictures wasn't working out very well but I was too lazy to go back to the actual picture and change the dimensions. And I had to take some pictures out because it was just getting too clumpy in some areas. But I tried my best to include everyone! Can you find yourself?


Today I went out to the city. I don't know if you guys remember, but I mentioned a while ago that I might go back to Parnell to see the sights that I missed, which were listed in Jasons Auckland Guide. So that's what I did. I saw Old St. Mary's Church, Holy Trinity Cathedral, Ewelme Cottage, and Kinder House. And walked along Parnell Road. This will probably be the last time I go to Parnell.

I then tried to print out pictures at Camera House in the Henderson mall, but failed. The kiosks couldn't read my USB drive! I've put them on my SD card now, so I will try again.. tomorrow? Maybe. Then I went to the post office and mailed all my Christmas cards out. It's annoying because they won't actually mail it for you--they sell you the stamps, which you have to put on yourself, and then you have to go around back to the mail slot. If you sent me your mailing address, then you have a card on your way right now (I also sent a confirmation email). It was annoying because it's $2/card, but they ran out of $1 and $2 stamps so I had to buy books for 50c stamps.

For dinner, Jeffrey and I were invited to Pastor Yang's for spaghetti. It was nice hanging out with them. Although after dinner, they ended up making my head hurt. Specifically, Pastor Yang. He's very passionate about Korean politics, and it seems like Jeffrey's quite interested in it too. American politics already makes my head hurt, but talking about it in Korean about Korean people I've never heard about before.. made my head spin. But I have survived. And am here now.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do tomorrow. I promised my mum that I wouldn't stay in my room anymore*, so I'm thinking about redoing Ponsonby Rd and K'Rd, buying whatever I was interested in, and crossing them off forever. And then doing Victoria Park Market, and maybe Chancery as well. We'll see how quickly I get tired.

* I talked to my mum on the phone yesterday, and it was quite.. draining, emotionally. I have also come to yet another decision regarding my stay in New Zealand.