On the nine hour bus ride from Auckland to Palmerston North I gradually started seeing through the window one of the things New Zealand was famous for. The wavy, rich, green hills of which the colour of its grass was filled with the blue of the sky and the yellow of the sun. And on top of that: multitudes of sheep grazing carelessly over the land.
No, the duration of the trip wasn’t a problem for me. Heck, last week I was on a plane for sixteen hours, making this one seem normal.
When I arrived in Palmerston North, or Palmy, which I have learned is the nickname used by its inhabitants, I found myself under a dusk sky. The streetlights were on. Families were heading home and I was to check in at the Old Railway Hotel near the city square. With the gps on my iPhone and a five minute walk I entered the youth hostel in backpacker style.
Before I knew it I was in the not too modern room, having myself settled in. But then I crashed, being still jetlaged and so tired.
The next day it was time for church. After a thirty minute walk on a bright, but cold morning it was nice to feel the warmth of the community.
I remember this quote of William Butler Yeats, which I noticed several times during my stay in New Zealand:
There are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t yet met.
As the last meeting came to a close I was really lucky to have a couple offer me a ride back.
Near the square I hung out at a local youth center to which a woman had directed me at the library since the library was closed due to being under construction.
While checking my emails suddenly I got a phone call.
“Hello, Alexander speaking … who am I talking with?”
The lady on the other side of the line said she had went through my CV, which I had sent to her and other employers just three days ago. She exclaimed that she wanted to offer me a position as a massage therapist at her center in Hanmer Springs, which was a little village, she told me, situated on the South Island. It was famous for its thermal pools, spa’s and adventurous hikes and mountainbiking.
“No way! Did you happen to check out my website?” I asked her to know for sure whether or not she had screened me as good as possible.
“Yes, I have.” She replied.
“What! This is AWESOME!”, I thought, totally elated, listening intently to her voice.
Ani – that’s the name she said I could use to call her – informed me further. “With my husband and baby I will go to Germany for five weeks. Basically I am looking for someone to keep my business running during that time. To work yourself in, you would be needed here before the 10th of September, one week before our flight. When we arrive at the end of october you would be able to continue your work with us.”
“What? Alright! Fantastic!”
Still amazed about the good news, I promised her to think about it and get back to her in a couple of days. In my heart though I was sure to go and meet her in person before the 10th. It felt like home.
I took it all in and later that evening I stepped on another bus to see Susan at Sanson, a busstop nearby. She would take me to her organic dairy farm.