Thursday, March 30, 2006

Where I'm At

I’ve taken some photos of where I’m living. These are only exterior photos, but they should give you an idea of how hilly and beautiful it is here. It’s pretty amazing coming from NY where everyone’s living on top of everyone else, and living here, where there’s so much flora and fauna you don’t really know what to do with it all…

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front deck

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our little gate

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view of deck from other side of gate

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front gate and view

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view from the front steps just beyond our front gate

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see that little red house there? that's ours! (the bottom flat is, at least)

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still another shot from the front steps

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the castle...

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view from St. Michael's Crescent, around the corner from Kelburn Parade

Wellington Botanic Gardens

Recently I took a walk over to and through the Wellington Botanic Gardens. It's a beautiful spot, and I only saw a fraction of the whole grounds (need to save some for later visits, don't I?) but here are a few photos:

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beautiful flowers

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pretty path

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Thorndon end of the Botanic Gardens

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cool store in Thorndon


The word for "family" in Maori is whanau (pronounced "fah-no"). This represents both immediate and extended family.

I just started reading a play called Waiora by Hone Kouka, for my "Drama and Theatre in Aotearoa New Zealand" course, and just came across a scene that hit home. It’s between an 18 year-old Maori girl called Rongo, whose immediate family have just moved from the country to the city, and a Pakeha (white, European New Zealander) school-teacher called Louise, and here’s an excerpt:

I think Mum's real lonely. No one to talk to here; no other whanau, just us.

Oh, but there’s other Maori people here.

We’re not all the same, you know. We miss our family.

It won’t take long. You’ve only been here a year. You’ll get to know people.

You don’t understand, do you?

Understand what?

What we left behind. Back home, if we had a problem, we could go to an aunty, an uncle, and they always knew what to do, but here we have no one. When we fall, there’s no one there to catch us, soften the blow.

Rongo, you all have work, money, a big house, your father’s going to be promoted. You have nothing to fear. Your family’s flying high. What are you afraid of?


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

attitude adjustment

I don't know who actually reads this blog (except me :), but even if it is only me, it's good to write this stuff down.
This whole move and adjustment has been a whole hell of a lot harder for me than I ever imagined. After all, I've moved away before, even to a different country, and don't remember having this hard of a time (key word: "remember").
So after much thinking and talking and beating myself up (which is essential in any circumstance), I realized what's happening:
I'm terribly TERRIBLY homesick...and it's not just something I want to get over.
Being an only child, and not being as close to my extended family as I'd like (mostly for geographical reasons), I've never really understood the need for a family community, or the role that it plays in a person's life. So every time someone asked, "Won't you miss everyone?" I said, "Sure." but never really understood what that meant.
Now, having really only myself to rely on, and listen to, and deal with, I am beginning to understand.
In addition to my mother and my father (with whom I've thankfully been strengthening my relationships) my friends are all the family that I could ask for. Sure, I don't have any brothers or sisters, and won't ever know what that's like, but there's nothing I can do about that, and that doesn't prevent me from having deep and strong relationships and connections with people that aren't blood-relatives. And in New York, I most certainly, wonderfully, thankfully do.
And if it takes being on the complete other side of the world for me to learn that and appreciate that, then this whole thing was totally worth it.
Once I started to realize how much I miss everyone, I started re-evaluating my idea of "home". I've been saying quite a lot in my adult life that I just want to feel at home, or find home, and a lot of that was what prompted me to up and move to NZ. While it's glorious here, and I don't regret a moment of my decision-making process or the planning or the moving or the staying, it's taken that distance to make me realize that I think my home is where my "family" is. And that's back in New York.
Sure, I'm lonely, and a lot of this is coming from that place of loneliness, and I'm starting to make friends here and all, but it's really just not the same.
Upon further consideration, I realized that a lot of the issue is the idea of the permanence of this move: it's adds a ton of pressure to find the right friends, the right place to live, the right job, the right's all so significant. Too significant.
But when I start entertaining the idea of moving back to NY (shock! horror!) after my program ends in November, that weight is lifted and I start focussing more on enjoying my studies and learning my way around, and exploring, and meeting new people...and it starts to feel like a 9-month holiday (plus school). Which is exactly what I needed.
Forgive me if you're one of the few people I've already emailed the following to, but this is what started to happen in my head once it shifted to this new attitude:

after talking to my mom and dad, and a few other friends, and feeling more comfortable with the idea of maybe coming back to NY after my school is done, i feel like a significant weight is lifted. not having the guilt of bearing that weight (of making this trip as"significant" as i was making it, or feeling like i had backed myself into a corner), all of these internal channels are starting to clear up, and some interesting stuff is coming through:

1- I am really rekindling my love for acting/theatre. Part of that is because that love has never died in me, but another part is because i'm away from where i felt like i constantly had to be producing/performing (NYC), otherwise i couldn't really call myself an actor.
and yet even another part is that, without that pressure to"produce", and taking two theatre courses (now in NZ) in which performing is not a part of the equation, i am learning new things about theatre and how it can be seen and done and appreciated. it's really interesting, and i think is only enriching my knowledge base as a theatre practitioner...without having to perform, just to appreciate and learn from it.

2- Knowing this, I feel like that's a key to keeping it fresh for me: not to keep taking "scene study" classes that only become habit after a while, but studying theatre in ways that i haven't yet: Shakespeare, lighting design, writing, directing maybe...

3- So this experience, incredibly, is an adventure of another sort than what i expected it to be. I was so busy on dwelling on what it wasn't for me, and feeling like i had to make it work because i had made a big deal about coming and loftily thought i'd stay forever, that it was hard for me to see that this is so good for me in otherways: it got me out of the rut i was in.

A huge part of that rut was working at the Princeton Review, and this got me out of that.

Another was feeling beaten down by NY, and this got me out of that.

Another was feeling unfulfilled as an actor, and this is having an effect on that.

And knowing that I can, and probably will, come home in November and bring all of this with me, makes me so happy.

Mind you, I'm still staying open to things changing and staying IF I WANT TO, but i don't HAVE TO.
oh man, this is so big for me. i don't know if this makes any sense or if i've communicated it properly, but i really feel good about it.

Friday, March 24, 2006


I finally, FINALLY have broadband. It's been a pain in the ass the likes of which you could never possibly imagine, and the architecture of the whole thing is pretty inconvenient (can only get a signal in the living room, with all kinds of wiring restrictions) but who cares!!!
To make up for lost time, here are some photos taken while I either had dial-up or no internet connection at all.
I'll take more of the flat/house that I'm now residing in once it stops friggin' raining. I don't need you to think that where I am is anything less than idyllic. :)

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Himatangi Beach, where the McGuinnesses have a bach
(by the way, a "bach" is a beach house in Kiwi-speak. I think it originally came from "bachelor", as they were originally quite small - only big enough for one or two people)

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Himatangi guest Tui
(a "tui" is both a bird and a beer!)

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Tui's footprints

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The infamous Himatangi tractor
(this one's for Tracey!)
l-r: Happy Uncle John, Aleesha, Lauren

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And finally, a sunset from the back deck of the McGuinness's place in Lower Hutt.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Hello folks,
Sorry for the sporadic posts. I moved into the flat on Friday and contrary to what I thought, we've had no internet service.
I ordered a wireless package on Tuesday, and am salivating over it's imminent arrival.
For the time being, I've been having to go to campus to use the internet. Yeah, not so bad except I have to pay for it...which would explain why I haven't been uber-communicative.
So, I'm hoping (and please keep your fingers crossed) that I will have wireless up and running by this weekend (pretty please!), otherwise this is a significant pain in the ass.
Still haven't made any good hang-out buddies (poor me), but I'm working on it.
One thing I'll definitely admit: I was unbelievably under-prepared for how much I'd miss my friends and family. It's quite something.

Love you,

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Moving Day

It's Friday here, and I'm moving in a couple of hours. :)

Bittersweet, as I'm so excited for this new chapter...but am already missing the constant presence of the McGuinnesses. They've been so wonderful.

Will write more when I have broadband (which is soon, hopefully).

Also, for all you theatre buffs out there: I saw one of the most brilliant productions ever last night. It's called The Dragon's Trilogy and is produced by Robert LePage's Ex-Machina. Will write more when I have time, and when I've processed it all (it was a 5-and-a-half hour show, with three intermissions).

Love you,

Sunday, March 12, 2006


Yeah, so, Holy Sinner = not my favorite.

It was visually spectacular, but had no heart.

Although it was nice to see Cliff Curtis prancing around on stage after seeing him only on celluloid (Whale Rider, Once Were Warriors), and I made friends with the nicest lady who sat next to me, named Mavis.

One thing's for sure, the acting bug is rearing it's ugly head again. Why do I even bother fighting it?

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Holy Sinner

Today I'm treating myself to the theatre.
I'm going to see dreamy Cliff Curtis in the revival of a New Zealand drama called The Holy Sinner. It's part of the NZ International Arts Festival, which only runs for another week or two.
So far, the only other program I've seen is an outdoor photography exhibition called Earth From Above, and if it ever comes to your area, I HIGHLY recommend it!
Here's some info about it:

"From spectacular glaciers to a market garden in Timbuktu, photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand has captured an incredible variety of landscapes from the air. The results of his last 14 years’ work can be seen at the Earth from Above exhibition in Waitangi Park, which is free to the public and on display for the duration of the Festival.

The visually stunning, large-scale images are also a report on the state of the planet, revealing the ‘human footprint’ made in the name of progress. Arthus-Bertrand invites the viewer to think about the changes in the planet: is there a way to answer the needs of the present without compromising the capacity of future generations to answer theirs?

Alongside the photographs is a large walk-on map to explore, as well as texts that reveal astonishing facts and figures. Both a celebration of diversity and a chance to contemplate the future, Earth from Above will leave a powerful impression on both heart and mind."

Again, I highly recommend it.

I'll let you know how Holy Sinner goes...I may even do a critique of it for my "Drama and Theatre in Aotearoa New Zealand" class.

Speaking of which, my fires are starting to burn again for acting. I'd really like to be able to do some acting work here in Wellington. I'm trying to investigate options/resources, but if anyone else knows anyone that can point me in the rights directions, I welcome the help!


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

a week and a month

It's been a week since my last post and a month since my arrival to Wellington.
It's a week until I move into my new place in Kelburn and a month of living with the McGuinnesses.
This is my second week of classes, and I'm still trying to wrap my head around them :)
Still plugging along here, but wanted to say hi to let you know I haven't disappeared.
Also, photos will have to come after I move and get broadband, as trying to upload them with dial-up is really ineffectual (and ties up the phone line for far too long).

Love to you all!