|Einstein the hedgehog who stops me from doing|
homework and loves getting himself into
On the day of departure, he went missing, as he often did, and it turned out he was under the rocking chair I was sitting on. Lifting it up, there were blood stains, and the hedgehog was cold. We managed to sent him to the hedgehog hospital, but they didn't know if they would be able to save him. The safety of Einstein was not something we had to think of before the beginning of the holiday, and I tried to take it from my mind. By the time I was overseas, I e-mailed Mum, who told me the hedgehog was okay. That was a relief...
|Passport photo rejected for|
the dot on my nose!
During this time I also decided to take up study of Chinese, Korean and Japanese languages. Nobody in their right mind would seriously take up learning 3 languages in 5 months, but I was working part time and had plenty of spare time on my hands. I applied at Te Kura, the correspondence school, where I began two courses in Japanese and Chinese - Korean wasn't available, so I had to rent a course through the Library. By the end I could confidently ask for directions and simple requests/queries in all 3 languages. I also spent much time studying about the cities we were going to visit, taking special interest in the mysterious, laberinthine Beijing and the bizarre melting-pot of Singapore.
We had our passports; visas and bookings, but another issue was work. I had been working at a supermarket for 1 and 1/2 years. I had only used up one week of leave, and so, I was owed another 3. The trip was set to take 3 weeks, but my first week booked went before the leaving date, and so, I needed an extra week off. I asked my manager if I could get shift exchanges (someone to do my shift, which I will recompense at a later date), but I was told company policy states a worker cannot be away for more than 3 weeks at a time. I'm not even sure this was a real policy, but I just told them I would resign and reapply when I returned. So I handed in my resignation form and my uniform, was given about $2000 leaving pay (which included my unclaimed holiday pay) and got ready for my trip.
I felt somewhat strange now - I was 20 years old, I was unemployed, but I had more money in my bank than ever, and I was going to leave Aotearoa for the first time in my life. Even though I told them I would reapply at the supermarket when I returned, something told me I had seen my last days at Pak 'n Save. I wasn't concerned about future employment - all I was thinking about was the trip. I would worry about jobs afterwards - once I got back, but inside I thought that if I got back and returned straight to scanning food and packing trolleys, it wouldn't feel right. But, I wasn't concerning myself with that - because I had a plane to catch.