I have reached that stage again; the one where I am not sleeping enough and my first thoughts when I bing awake at 4am are ones of organisation, planning and packing. I am not surprisingly dead set exhausted and dragging through the week in a type of fugue state. I am not sure whether it is Wednesday or Thursday – in fact it could be actually be Tuesday and that wouldn’t surprise me either.
People are asking whether I am excited about going as I start to wind things up here, and I am honest when I say I am trying not to think about it.
Thinking about it opens my brain into all sorts of excited planning and plotting, and then I really can’t sleep and I can’t function in a daily manner, so its actually easier not board that train to crazytown.
Ha, but of course I am organised. I have trip notes of what I will be doing where, wherever possible I have prepaid, I have booked local accommodation, tours, trains, planes, ferries, homestays, and language classes; printed out metro directions, tickets and posted essential documentation into electronic clouds. My Chinese visa is in process, I have my power and broadband set to cancel on the right days, the hire car is booked, I have told the tax dept, the real estate agent, the bank.
Weirdly enough though, I am at that stage of being in Wellington where things are now very familiar. Could I be almost a local now? I walk through the grounds of the Beehive every night on my way home. I have a favourite dinner restaurant, takeaway shop, dairy, library carousel and café for weekend brunch. I almost know the bus schedule to the airport by heart. As the days get longer again (finally!) I have learned to recognise the rhythms of the city.
From my house I can hear the early morning ferry to Picton leaving it’s dock, I join the commuter throng from the railway station as we jockey down Featherston St into work. I know which footpaths to take when it rains so I am sheltered (Lambton Quay for its broad awnings), and which intersections I need to stand back from the corner on or I run the risk of being snatched off the road by the southerlies and cartwheeled into the harbour.
I know on a nice morning to walk into town via the waterfront (so not the most direct route!) so I can watch the sun creep across Mt Vic and the harbour in the stillness of the early morning. I can listen to the tui in my backyard on Saturday morning, clicking, trilling and chortling away at the daybreak. I stand on the creaky board in my bathroom because it is now a daily routine in my waking.
Mexico does still seem so far away – probably because it is so removed from my everyday life here (and I am trying not to think about it for the reasons above). It only dawned on me in the last couple of weeks that I won’t be returning home to anywhere familiar. Normally after a big trip you come home. I will be doing a big trip and then staying away. Weird. Its not something that fits in my head at the moment.
… and another big earthquake… I was just about to publish this blog post when Wellington was hit with a 6.6 magnitude earthquake, sending everyone in the office diving under their desks to hang on and ride it out. Since then we have had about 10 aftershocks – all classified severe (over a magnitude 5) by geonet.
We got evacuated from our building in the CBD and I have just walked home through streets crowded with most of the office workers in Wellington. Traffic out of the city is sitting clogged and emergency vehicles have sirens screaming as they try to navigate through the stationary vehicles to their destinations.
The Wellington train station has been closed and those commuters are milling about outside on the grass, some putting in place their civil defense plans, co-ordinating family members via mobile phone.
As I sit in my kitchen writing this, I have had to get into the kitchen doorway twice during large aftershocks. My house is already yellow stickered and so I would much rather err on the side of safety, although it seems to be bouncing with the earthquake nicely, and so far nothing has fallen or broken.
The ironic thing is that as much as I have been looking forward to this weekend to catch up on my sleep, I don’t think that will be as easy as I originally thought…