Tag Archives: Kiwi

Howdy Stranger!

Oh my gawd, HI!

Man I haven’t seen you in ages! What’ve you been up to? You won a beauty pageant? And got a promotion! And found the love of your life?! Well, that’s not surprising at all since you’re so delicious. Plus, yeah, I’ve been stalking you on Facebook, so I kinda knew already.

Where have I been? Well, I guess I’ve been having a couple of those weeks that kinda answer the ‘why did you move to London?’ question that bewildered locals always throw at me. All credit to my funemployed pal JJ, who is the BEST at fun-hunting instead of job hunting EVA. What have we been doing? Well…

We went to THE GLOBE for FREEZIES! Not only did that tick off a massive London To Do, but it was the first ever musical at the (reincarnated) home of Shakespeare… history on history baby! Plus, it was a modern take of a Greek classic of Euripides, that I’m sure I must have translated at some point in my Classical days (*casually brushes off shoulders of leather-elbow-patched tweed jacket*). AND… golden speedos. Need I say more?

What else? Well there was the taping of the show Catchphrase. All I can really say is that the only time I’ve ever seen or will ever see that show was in person. I totally thought that freaking ‘golden robot’ (according to Wikipedia) Mr Chips was a banana, like, you know, ‘banana chips’? That or he’s just a chip. But that ain’t no robot! If that irritation weren’t enough, the super Essex simple-sweetie sailed away with over 20gs in prizes, while I was stuck there watching the host do endless retakes at the end for all the lines he or the production team gaffed. Seriously, go to Graham Norton. He knows what he’s doing. AND he’s actually funny.

That same week we took advantage of the London Design Festival to get free booze. Sounds like a non sequitor? Well, it was promoting stones that you freeze to put in your drink instead of ice cubes so as not to dilute the mythical glory of our Northern neighbours’ godly nectar. Simple design genius perhaps, but I was only interested in the magic the uber-proto-hipster barmen wrought to make me like whiskey! Load it up with mint and lemon and lime and I’ll be all over it. Or rather it’ll be all in me. ASAP. My mouth is watering now for Mint Juleps. And if that Blue Grass band would please alternately score my life with their sultry southern hick hipstering and narrate my life with their surprisingly broad Brit accents, I’d be even happier.

Then there was the Butterfly Enclosure at the Natural History Museum, which brought back memories of the Otago Museum Butterfly House in 2008. Granted, this one had less wedding dresses and MUCH less booze, but it was equally sweaty and just as much makeup ended up in my boobs. But I did find my new favourite butterfly. Granted, I didn’t have one before, but this one was epic. On the outside, it was pure folliage. Like, you’d have to have psychic powers that connect to butterflies to distinguish it from a leaf. But when it flexed its wings open, its insides were a triumphant regalia of blue sapphires. Commonplace on the outside and glorious on the inside – if you tell me I’m like that butterfly, that’ll be a massive insult-complement combo hit right there. Possibly a fatal hit.

And of course there’s the resurgence of pub quiz at a new close-to-my-house-thank-bloody-gawd location. Usually during the music round I zone out while my team shouts ‘MotzBach!’ and ‘Unicorn #5!’ and I get nuffin. But this week was a random hip hop theme, and my team watched agape as I managed an answer for all 20 question parts and got enough to bring us up from about 9th to 3rd. Who knew I was so gangsta? Yup, me, that’s who. Bad Geeks 4 Life!

But sadly, and despite my #1 thug status, now that the infamous JJ is employed once more I’m rather at a loss.

You know, we should totally, like, hang out… Maybe we could get coffee sometime?

Or I guess I could just go back to those ER reruns…

I hear the pitter patter

Today I saw the city cloaked. The Shard wore a veil to shyly hide its heights while the Gherkin shrugged its shroud about its hunched shoulders in mourning for the Summer passed now beneath the ground. Ben tolled away, concealed as usual, but his mask was sheathed from the rest of us, the spires shooting blindly towards oblivion. Those circling the eye graduated briefly to those hidden heavens, only to return to earth, triumphant or disappointed, depending on the make of them.

Oh wait.

After complaining to you endlessly about first the cold and then the heat, I want to do anything but complain about the sudden onset of constant rain and creeping mist in London.

Therefore I offer up to you instead my equal-top-3-fave-poem EVA…

HONE TUWHARE – RAIN

I can hear you
making small holes
in the silence
rain

If I were deaf
the pores of my skin
would open to you
and shut

And I
should know you
by the lick of you
if I were blind

the something
special smell of you
when the sun cakes
the ground

the steady
drum-roll sound
you make
when the wind drops

But if I
should not hear
smell or feel or see
you

you would still
define me
disperse me
wash over me
rain.

How to write a blog (without a computer)

Anyone following the beer-dominated drama of my electronic life will know that it’s been a bit quiet around here lately thanks to the complete betrayal of the aforementioned liquid.

Two weeks without a blog post and I might as well have fallen off the face of this corner of the interwebs, so outdated have I become.

Call me Bebo. Call me MySpace. Call me Ishmael.

No!

If there’s one thing I know how to do, it’s how to write a how to post. So here is…

How to write a blog post without a computer (especially if you spilled beer on that computer and it is now forsaken to the Apple underworld).

1) Work it at the grindstone!

Holy PC Batman! Is that a computer you’re using day in, day out at work? Perhaps you can take a break from concatenating the shit outa that data and vlookup your blog? Your work doesn’t block WordPress? Bazinga! Oh. But it does have some skewiffiness (technical term) with the site, and now you’ve lost the titles on half your blogs? Great start.

2) Find an Internet cafe in your local area!

The amount of Internet cafes here in the East End of London is roughly equivalent to the number of drug deals I witness on a daily basis. Note however that the amount of cafes that also have computers available for use, rather than just wifi, is equivalent to the number of friends willing to come to my area on their own at night.  

3) Use Siri to write a blog!

20130814-205956.jpg

Siri fail.

4) use yor phon to post a block!

do you kniw hie freaking hardnot is to post a blog by tqopyety tap yapping on thos vloody tiny screwn? heave forbid you tien off autocorrect. heaven forbid you habe the fattest thimbs in the jisiness. oh god. i just wrote jidiness dodnt o?

Yes the above was legit typing. I used to love damnyouautocorrect.com but now I say THANK YOU!

5) Give up. Have a beer.

Soothe your soul with the devil that cursed you.

 

 

Haikus: the forgotten masterpieces

Since I’m away with the folks I’m breaking out the drafts I never published. Round one: taking it back to my haiku roots, from right after losing my job and before the sun came out again after 8 months of darkness…

 

I wrote some haikus
In my head the other day
But then I forgot them.

I think that I started
Berating my nemesis:
Fuck unemployment.

‘Have a job’ they said
‘It’ll be awesome’ they said
But it was a LIE.

Or maybe it was
About the endless season
Rain, hail, but no shine.

Winter is coming
But can’t seem to quite get there
Wish he’d just fake it.

Maybe just an ode
To my two favourite bevvies
Coffee and Vino.

Oh how I love it
When you slide down my gullet
Get in me my friends.

If I could recall
Those other masterpieces
This would be better

But since I cannot
Let’s hang our heads together
At these lame haikus.

London: the next level

As you all know, my parentals have come to London town. Yegads! But once the planes, trains and automobiles were booked, the accommodation hastily arranged, and my room ‘sanitised’ to a parent-friendly level, I had to consider the things I needed to tell them to keep them, well, alive.

I write about LIVING in London, which is why I bitch and moan and generally wank on about my ‘feels’. But suddenly I had to think about London from the point of view of a tourist, and even worse, a tourist who’s NEVER BEEN ANYWHERE. Of course, two years ago that was me, wide-eyed and freaking out about the smallest details in the face of a giant adventure.

So now that I’ve got a craptonne of countries and a year of living abroad under my Heathrow-injected belt, here are some things I would like to go back and tell myself, or anyone new to the big city, based on the past week with my parentals.

London: tourist mode

  • Stand on the right on escalators, walk on the left. If you stand on the left, a secret buzzer goes off and all commuters within a three-station radius will automatically head in your direction, to stand behind you yelling ‘exCUSE me!’ You will be lucky to survive the resultant stampede. Many do not. Others come back in wheelchairs or suffering from lifelong tremors.
    Bonus points if you sass another tourist making this fatal error.
  • If you are lost, don’t think standing still, looking about you and glancing at a map will invite those about you to offer help. The key is to aggressively leap in front of the passers-by and make the most sympathy-inducing puppy eyes. This will cause an enormous 20% of Londoners to remember that they are human beings, and you WILL be given directions.
    Bonus points if you make someone remove their earphones to help you.
  • Learn the lingo. DO NOT expect people to infer meaning from context. This is a skill you have learnt by osmosis by watching international television all your life. If you ask for ‘trim milk’ at a coffee shop, the barista WILL assume that you have had a stroke and are speaking ‘word salad.’ Stop him calling the ambulance and then explain that you meant ‘skim’ or ‘skinny’.
    Bonus points if you slip ‘jandals’ into conversation and don’t get questioned.

London: secret levels unlocked!

  • Smile at and speak to bus drivers – other people on the bus will assume this means you’re either terminally ill or have special needs, and will probably give you their seat.
    Bonus points if an old lady with a cane stands up for you, you poor dear.
  • Carry a survival kit. You may never be trapped underground but if that train grinds to a halt with your carriage still in darkness, you will suddenly realise that you are hungry, thirsty, dry-lipped, and entertainment-less. For this reason, always carry water, a snack, chapstick, and a friend or other distractor – Candy Crush being my current Raison d’être.
    Bonus points if you ace the level while a snooper watches over-shoulder.
  • Do not feel at home because you see a Flat White on the menu at the coffee shop. This version of home has been raped and pillaged by orcs, and all beans sent to a bitter death in the hell-fires of Mount Doom. Don’t take sugar? You will. I saw my caffeine-addict-but-not-coffee-snob mother THROW OUT a full coffee yesterday.
    Bonus points if you kick the habit altogether because it’s just. Not. Worth it.

I asked my parents what else they’d learnt in the last week in London, and the immediate and vehement response was ‘EVEN OLD LADIES ARE BITCHES!’ My Other Mother learnt this most obvious of London lessons on day one in town when an old piece of animated crepe paper shoved her into a baby in order to squeeze her lizard-skinned arse onto an already packed lift. Mind you, this was in a fancy-pants department store, so whaddya expect, right?

The other major lesson they’ve learnt is that EVERYTHING IS SOOOO OLLLLLD! I knew this would be ‘a thing’ for my mother since I spent many a late evening as a 14 year old passionate about Latin (yup, geek-fighter here) trying to make her comprehend the timeline I was working with. When I tried to contextualise by saying my favourite Roman author Ovid wrote about the same time as Jesus was around, I saw the brain gaskets blow.

My mother is a super clever cookie, but coming from NZ and not being a uber-dweeb, it was almost incomprehensible how old things are in London. Things that you can just walk over and touch and spit on and lick if you’re so inclined. This is probably my favourite thing about having parents in London – exposing them to things that blow their minds and make their eyes widen and give them a taste of that passion I have for the how-we-got-here, the complete WTF of where-we-are-now in the scheme of things, and the holy-mother-of-god of the where-we-could-go.

Plus, now that they have experienced at least one rush-hour tube journey, they understand the true love-hate-love relationship that I have with London.

A heart in one of the places I heart - Brick Lane graffiti heaven.

A heart in one of the places I heart – Brick Lane graffiti heaven.

 

Parents in London: the how to edition

At some point in their stint in London, most ANZACs will experience the big life experience of the parental visit abroad. Yegads. In my hemisphere-hopping circle of friends, these visits are ALL HAPPENING AT THE SAME TIME as we all hit the one year mark (and therefore halfway point that conveniently falls in ‘Summer’) fairly simultaneously.

There are several types of parental-invasions, including:

  • The Parenthood of the Travelling Relatives: the brief visit on the way through to other places, other family, places to go daahhling. These parents have done it before. They might stay for a weekend, but they’ll probably put themselves up at a hotel in the city. You will of course perform your childly duties by playing tour-guide, but you’ll have to do better than the Eye and the Tower, as they’ve been there, done  that, child.
  • Family Planning: don’t you even open Google hunny, they’ve got this covered. The shows are booked, the shuttles are paid for, and the timetable is set in stone. You were thinking about checking out the markets that day? Well too bad, you’re off to Buckingham Palace, whether you like it or not! Chances are, they’ve found a hotel on your street or already arranged with your flatmates to stay at your place, so you can spend every waking moment together. Yay.
  • Parental Guidance Recommended: these parents are delicate wee birds, who’ve never flown the coop before, and are easily spooked. With their limited knowledge of the outside world, they will be easily influenced by snippets of advice from others, and you will feel afraid to leave them alone for more than 5 minutes. They WILL be staying with you, because the thought of them getting lost between the hotel and your house is both terrifying, and likely. But watching them step off the branch for the first time will fill you with such pride as your wee parents go off on their own.

My own lovely parentals are watching none of the above. But despite their obvious perfection (Hi Mum!), there have certainly been several stages in the preparation for their visit:

  1. Freak out. My mother hasn’t seen me in a year! She will see that I’ve got old (thanks London water and pollution), not cut my hair, drunk too much, eaten like crap (thanks £2 pizzas). She will see all the holes in my clothes that I haven’t sewn up. She will see that I have 14 scarves but one towel. What is my life?!
  2. Breathe.
  3. Talk parentals through their own freakouts. Yes that’s enough money for a month. No you won’t get mugged. No don’t buy a belt-wallet, that’ll get you mugged. Yes you’ll figure out the Tube. No don’t buy a smartphone just for the trip. Yes bring some warmer layers (it’s London). No don’t bring a duffel coat (it’s Summer). Yes you can buy anything you forget here. You are not leaving civilisation mother. In fact, have I told you about Boots?
  4. Breathe.
  5. Give you parents a tutorial on helpful websites including Google Maps, Skyscanner, and trains.anything. This will help to answer questions such as ‘how many days will it take to fly from Paris to Berlin’ and other gems such as ‘should we hire a car to drive from London to Paris?’
  6. Freak out again about all the things that need to be booked – flights, hostels, trains, cars! Shows, plays, brunches, Harry Potter World!
  7. Prepare your room. Take out the rubbish (clink, clink), display everything they’ve ever sent you, calculate the exact moment you will have to wash your bedding in order to have both the sets you own clean and dry for both them and your couch-bed.
  8. Prepare your house. Warn your flatmates of the invasion, stock the fridge with actual foodstuffs (yeah, I eat Bok Choy every day Mum!), make your couch bed, clean, Clean, CLEAN.
  9. Get excited about all the cool ‘real London’ stuff you can show the parentals and blow their minds! Work in all that stuff you’ve been meaning to do for a while, too! Then consider just how much you can make your parents do in any one day…
  10. Make a wish-list from home. Oh my gawd. What should I ask for? This is a once-in-two-years opportunity. There are limited space and weight restrictions to consider.

Despite months of prodding from my mother, my list only contains 2x Glassons cardigans (every Kiwi female understands this request) and 2x jars Promite (no one in the world understands this, but I stand outside of the marmite vs vegemite debate). I just can’t think of anything else that I couldn’t buy here (if I had the money) or is worth bringing across the world…

If you had a mum-sized parcel winging your way, what would you request?

 

 

The Kiwi Conspiracy

Breaking News!

We interrupt this regularly scheduled broadcast to bring you up-to-the-minute information on a late-breaking international headline.

Statistics and demographic studies released in New Zealand commonly indicate that there are around 1 million New Zealand born expats living overseas, accounting for roughly 18% of the total population when added to the 4.5 million residents. However, this has been shown to be an egregious and intentional error.

Our sources show that the New Zealand government has long been plotting to take over the world, complicit with all of its citizens between the ages of 18-31, in what has been dubbed ‘the Kiwi Conspiracy.’

The first stages of the decades-long plan of aggression has been a programme of propaganda designed to blindside the rest of the world. Its tactics are the reverse of that in North Korea, for the populace is entirely aware of the reality, while the outside world has had the sheep’s wool pulled firmly down over its eyes. The approach is referred to colloquially as “shrekking”.

One great win for the Propaganda Ministry (locally referred to as Tourism New Zealand) was the election of Peter Jackson as Chief HOBBIT (Head Of Big Budget International Trickery). In Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings the painstakingly-hand-drawn and CGI-ed backgrounds promoted the outlandishly stunning landscapes in a fantasy tale where New Zealand became a main character in itself.

Many actors were in on the action of course. Jackson hand-picked a mixture of big stars and new faces and specifically chose those who seemed like ‘nice’, trustworthy people. While these all signed on in good faith, some began to suspect the deceit when they spent their entire film-shoot on a green-screen or sound stage and were never allowed outdoors. All were paid off in New Zealand dollars and – much more valuably – Oscars, but the more vocal were subjected to blackmail.

When Orlando Bloom threatened to leak the story rather than film The Hobbit, the Ministry took his child with Miranda Kerr and hid it away on a farm in the Deep South so that it would grow up with a Kiwi accent. Bloom buckled under this heinous threat, but only when filming concluded were the family reunited in an emotional scene. Luckily the only scar the poor child suffered was the legacy of a rolling ‘R’.

With the entire world now believing that New Zealand was a beautiful, unspoilt paradise, the next stage of the plan was to get Kiwis out in the world promoting the New Zealand people. From birth Kiwi children are subjected to niceties including – but not limited to – smiling, talking to strangers, being polite, helping lost tourists, hard work, modesty, and understanding of personal space. Once so indoctrinated, young Kiwis are let out into the world, but only after passing the following tests:

a) learning Poi E, Pokarekare Ana and/or the Haka
b) owning a New Zealand flag, pounamu, Silver Fern badge, or other Kiwi paraphernalia to display on luggage/bag/self at all times
c) downloading copious amounts of Six60, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Salmonella Dub, Anika Moa, Hollie Smith, the Black Seeds, Bic Runga, Crowded House, Dave Dobbyn, Ladyhawke, Op Shop, Supergroove, and anything Finn so that the musical indoctrination can continue abroad.

London was chosen as the stepping off point for world domination, and young people flocked to this European hub in great numbers to help their country. The immigration-resistant British government has in recent years begun to suspect a ploy, and started limiting Visa numbers, but their tactics have been ineffectual as they have massively underestimated the depth of the deception.

The UK Border Agency‘s restrictions were combatted by a nationwide campaign for all New Zealanders with British heritage to use this to gain passports and ancestry visas. Furthermore, those with the ability to gain passports from other countries with entry rights to the UK were asked to travel exclusively on these and deny all links to New Zealand.

Perhaps the most genius move has been the funnelling of Kiwi conspirators through Australia. One great flaw in the UK Border Agency’s systems is the complete inability of the British to distinguish New Zealanders from their Western neighbours, and thus any Kiwi traveling on a foreign passport from an Australian port of origin has been added to the Australian tally.

Once resident in the UK, Kiwis have several tactics for meeting up to discuss world domination plans. When local Londoners started to suspect a conspiracy, the Facebook page Kiwis in London was set up by a Lead Ex-Pat to cover up the suspicious monthly meetings. These became known as ‘Kiwis in London Drinks’ and much drinking, dancing and revelry was used to  disguise the planning and conspiracy.

Wristbands offered on entry designated combat roles and free cocktails included instructions for each individual member, which had to be chugged within 10 seconds or they would be destroyed for security reasons. Whenever classics such as ‘Why Does Love Do This To Me?‘ played, it was a signal that outsiders had entered the bar and extreme jovial Kiwi spirit must be displayed. Perhaps most crucially, lead operatives swapped sensitive communications through tiny microchips hidden in their saliva.

Between meetups certain ex-pats are charged with communication responsibilities. For example, RunawayKiwi delivers information about locations for area-group meetups in a blog that purports to describe local events, while 1in12million’s To Do list is a constant coded update of the progress of the Worldwide Campaign in London.

Although the Kiwi Conspiracy has been blown wide open and its tactics, targets and operatives identified, one question remains unanswered: what is the reason, the motivation, the end-goal?

What will the world look like once the global domination is complete?

 

Dr Evil Kiwi?