“New Zealand, that’s in Europe right?”

It has now been a whole six months since I left Canada and came back to New Zealand. I can’t believe I’ve already been home for so long and I’m definitely getting itchy feet & wanting to travel again. Partly because I like travelling and seeing new things, but also because I love discovering people’s unintentionally hilarious ideas about NZ. It seems like people have one of two possible thoughts: (a) it’s a tiny pacific island without electricity and a population of approximately 50 people; or (b) it’s the part of Australia where they filmed Lord of the Rings. When I studied abroad I started a list of the things people said to me upon learning I’m a kiwi and I’ve been adding to it ever since. These are some of my favourites:

IMG_7391

A typical NZ home

  • “New Zealand, that’s in Europe right?”
  • “I’ve never heard of it.”
  • “What part of Australia is that?”
  • “You’ve completely lost your accent!” followed by someone else declaring “Your accent is so strong!”
  • “Do you speak English in New Zealand?”
  • “Can you speak kiwi?”
  • “Do you have a national bird?”
  • “Are there black people in New Zealand?”
  • “Do you call it summer when it’s hot or is that called winter for you?”
  • “It’s about the same size as Vancouver Island, right?”
  • “Do you have hair salons in New Zealand?”
  • “I’ve heard there’s a minister for hobbits, is that true?”
  • “What’s the difference between Australia and New Zealand?”
  • “Are you from England?” -No, I’m from New Zealand. “Eh, same thing.”
  • “What’s the capital of New Zealand?” -Guess. “Brisbane?”
  • “I know in Australia they teach kids how to catch kangaroos when they’re really young, do they do that in New Zealand too?”

If you’re from NZ or another country that people completely misunderstand, I would love to hear your own stories!

Steptember, coffee & other good things

It’s Friday night, the Wellington wind is howling strong, and I’m tucked up in bed because it’s so very cold. I don’t want to focus on that though, so here is a list of good things that have happened recently:

  • The barista at the coffee shop by my work has finally memorised my name and coffee order, which could be seen as a sign I go there too often but I’m choosing to take it as a sign that they like me.
  • I now have my own email address at work, which makes me feel much more important than I actually am.
  • Lox and I had dinner out at Ombra the other night and the eggplant parmagiana was a revelation.
  • I got my roots touched up so I feel like myself again (because for some reason, I only feel like myself when my hair is firetruck red).
  • My new jeans make me unreasonably happy.
  • The lineup for Laneway 2018 has been announced and I am so very tempted to go.
  • I’m taking part in Steptember, which means I’m aiming to do 10,000 steps a day while raising money for services, research, and programmes for cerebral palsy. I’m forcing myself to be much more active and I’m feeling better for it.
  • Last week I went for a run for the first time in forever and it turns out I’m not as unfit as I thought I would be.
  • While on my run, it was clear that it was worth it because I happened upon this view:

Further proof that Wellington is the most beautiful place ever 💙 #wellington #newzealand

A post shared by Clemmie (@seaalley) on

The story of a blog

As I’ve mentioned a million times, I’ve been feeling super frustrated with the writing process, so it was really lovely to find out that Eliza had nominated me for the Blogger Recognition Award! I didn’t realise that blog awards were still a thing because the last one I got was in 2012, but I’m super glad they are coz it totally made my day.

I’m supposed to give a brief story of how my blog started; I outlined the reasons why I made this blog in my first ever post, but basically I was in a cycle of creating blogs, writing one post, deciding I didn’t like the platform so deleting it and starting again. When I finally decided I wanted to make something that would last, I did a lot of research on different blogging platforms before deciding WordPress was the best choice for me. I guess that research paid off, because this blog is the longest running of any of my creative endeavours and even though I don’t write as much as I’d like to, I’m still mad proud of it.

I’m also supposed to give two pieces of advice to new bloggers, which feels a little weird considering I’ve had this blog for 5 years and it’s still just a teeny tiny corner of the internet. One thing that has taken me far too long to realise that if you enjoyed a post, you should comment on it. It doesn’t have to be anything super thoughtful or meaningful – it’s just nice to let someone know “hey, I read your post and I enjoyed it”.

My second piece of advice isn’t technically just for bloggers because I think it applies to everyone: you should record your memories, even if you don’t publish them anywhere. The main thing I’ve gotten out of keeping a blog is that it’s a really great way to remember emotional snapshots and fragments of memories that otherwise you’d have forgotten. When I’m feeling blank or fidgety, I like to read through my old happy lists and remember little things that made me smile.

Even though I’m supposed to finish this off with blogs that I nominate, I’m just going to list some sites & posts that I enjoy (because I love lists, and not all the blogs I love are on WordPress):

Things are good

I have a tendency to be an anxious fish. The past few weeks some stressful things happened in life plus I got sick, so I was a little bit of a mess. But I’ve noticed a peacefulness on my head this week which I want to hold onto, so I figured it was a perfect opportunity for another happy things list:

  • My new niece was born a couple of days ago and seeing her at the hospital, just hours after she was born, was the most magical experience.
  • I have plans to see lots of my friends this weekend.
  • Even though I uploaded my cover of “Drive On” a few months ago, I got a nice new comment on it the other day.
  • Photo 22-07-17, 11 52 25 PMOn Saturday, I spent basically the whole day with my beautiful kitty cat.
  • A year ago when I got my first desk job, I put my shoulder out of alignment, probably because of my terrible work posture. Since then it’s been pretty uncomfortable, but I’ve finally started seeing a chiropractor and can feel myself healing. Slowly, but still healing.
  • The other night I had dinner at an awesome restaurant (Great India, if you’re curious – lots of wicked veggie and vegan options).
  • I’ve been with Lox for nearly three years and he still makes me happier than I thought possible.
  • Kesha is releasing new music and I am SO here for it – that ridiculous note in “Praying” and the whole sassy vibe of “Woman” – she’s incredible.
  • Since moving out of home, my mum often comes into town to have lunch with me, so today I had a lovely lunch with her.
  • I just remembered I have half a brownie in my handbag left over from said lunch, so I’m definitely going to eat that now.

Little life update

I have been neglecting not just this blog, but writing in general. I miss it and will find the time to dedicate to it, but in the meantime here is a tiny update of what’s going on in my life:

  • I’ve been at my job for a while now (2 whole months!) so I’m trusted with more which means that my workload has increased a lot. I like work being busy – nothing makes the day drag longer than being at work with nothing to do – but by the time I get home, I’ve got no energy left to do anything but laze in bed and rewatch the terrible perfect nostalgic 00s teen comedies of my childhood. I’m trying to convince myself to start running again but the temptation of watching old MK&A movies is sometimes too much…
  • We are properly into winter in NZ now and I can’t help but notice just how different it is from Canadian winter. The equivalent of this time in Canada, snowbanks were about 2m tall and I couldn’t go outside without gloves if I wanted to retain the use of my hands. In Wellington, I’m just slightly cold and slightly damp.
  • I haven’t eaten meat in an entire year now (in case you’re curious, my final non-vege meal included bacon and it wasn’t good enough to convince me to stay carnivorous). I miss Vancouver’s wicked vege restaurants and I dearly miss Gardein’s crispy tenders, but Wellington is a pretty vege-friendly city (I highly recommend Laundry’s vegan pulled pork burger) and I’ve discovered the joy of Quorn pieces so I’m still loving my diet – plus here I can get a spring roll and chips from the local fish and chips shop for $5, so maybe NZ is the real winner after all.
  • In the three months I’ve been back in NZ, I’m positive I’ve drunk more alcohol than the whole year I was in Canada. I’m not a big drinker by any means, but I can definitely see how drinking culture is wildly different in NZ. While it’s not great, it still doesn’t compare to the ridiculous drinking culture I witnessed on my exchange in England.
  • As I said in my last post, The Horrors finally released some new music and have now announced their upcoming album, V. I am so excited to hear all their new songs but I also feel like a bad fan because even though I love the new single, I hate the album art. I’ve bought every Horrors album (I have Skying and Luminous on vinyl as well in CD form) but I’m feeling like I might have to skip out on getting a physical copy of this one. I know art doesn’t have to be beautiful, but I am not deep or artistic enough to appreciate the art of V.
  • The bed in my not-so-new-anymore flat has a very pronounced bed frame which I keep walking into, so my legs are constantly covered in bruises and it makes me feel like I’m a clumsy 8 year old again.
  • I recently spent the weekend in Auckland and took this picture from the plane, and it reminded me how beautiful the world is in the quiet moments:

I had to wake up at 5 to catch my flight but the sky did this so it's all okay ✈️

A post shared by Clemmie (@seaalley) on

On My Way Back Home

I haven’t done a life list in so long (probably because I’ve actually been writing real posts about my life) but the times they are a-changing so I wanted to do a quick update post:

  • I leave Canada in four days. My head can’t comprehend that I’ve been here for almost an entire year and that it’s almost over.
  • This also means it’s been nearly a whole year since I’ve driven a car.
  • All the Northern hemisphere blogs I follow keep saying things like “Summer is almost here!” whereas the kiwi ones are saying “Bye summer, see you in December!” Having a real winter with actual snow and freezing temperatures has been really cool, but it’s also felt kind of interminable, and I’m a little gutted that I won’t see summer until the end of this year.
  • I’m really going to miss the awesome veggie restaurants in Vancouver, and the ease with which I can find decent meat alternatives. Gardein crispy tenders, how will I survive without you??
  • I’m also bracing myself for the moment I log into Netflix in NZ and see there are half as many shows available.
  • Canada has been amazing and I’ve loved living here, but I’m so ready to go home. I miss my friends, I miss my cat, I miss my piano, and I really miss Wellington. It’s fun to travel and see new places but I’m convinced Wellington is the best place in the world (especially when I haven’t seen it for a while).
  • I’m a little concerned about how my body will function when I get home. I’ve been road tripping with no real schedule for close to 5 months so I don’t know how I’ll cope with a regular 9-5 job (which, hopefully, won’t take me too long to find).
  • Actually, coffee will help. Delicious, consistently perfect Wellington coffee.
  • Everyone seems to love telling me how difficult it is to find housing in Wellington at the moment, which has to be the least helpful thing you can tell someone who is looking for a place to live. Pro-tip: if someone is about to undertake a task that is possibly difficult, wish them luck and give them optimistic thoughts, instead of a boring and unhelpful “that’s going to be really hard, you probably won’t find anything”.
  • I’ve essentially only hung out with Lox for the past year so I’m going to have to make sure I haven’t got too weird and I’m actually still okay to be around. He still likes me when I’m mean and grumpy but other people probably won’t.
  • The title of this post is, unsurprisingly, a song title from a band I’ve seen live, and I’m really hoping some decent concerts will be happening in NZ this year.
  • In 5 days I reunite with this tiny man and I am so excited to see him again:

🐱 #mactomnom

A post shared by Clemmie (@seaalley) on

Dreaming of a White Christmas

All my life I’ve wanted to experience a white Christmas. The Northern Hemisphere idea of Christmas permeates culture everywhere, so much so that typical emblems of the holiday are basically synonymous with winter. And now, I’m in Canada and it’s Christmas Eve, there’s snow outside, the temperature essentially demands you wear that ridiculous jumper – and it just doesn’t feel at all like Christmas to me.

Something that I probably should have realised is that traditions are a big part of how you define things. To me, Christmas has never been about snowflakes and woolly jumpers – it’s been about 25°C sunshine, being mildly annoyed about waking up at 8 to go to church, sleeveless dresses, the inevitable game of backyard cricket, pohutukawas in full bloom, and being surrounded by all of my family. It’s lovely here in Ottawa (plus our Airbnb has 4 cats, a definite bonus), but it doesn’t feel any different to any other day. I’m excited to finally get my white Christmas, but I’m preparing myself for the homesickness that’s bound to hit pretty hard tomorrow.

Merry Christmas 🎁🎅🏽🎄 #flossumthepossum

A post shared by Clemmie (@seaalley) on