So, after a few months, I am back! I could not be more excited to start writing again and of course exploring. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind to tell you the truth. I think the last time I journaled, we were in lock-down and now I look back on it and it feels like a lifetime ago! In this time we have had jobs, lost jobs, interviewed for jobs, watched the news religiously and then cut it off completely (it was getting just a little too much)… it’s been a crazy time.
Now, of course unless you have been living under a rock for the past few months, COVID-19 is still a thing, so for the foreseeable future we will be spending time journaling about our local explorations in our ‘backyard’ … luckily this is New Zealand and it is one of the most picturesque, if not thee most beautiful country in the world.
For our first adventure, I wanted to write about our recent weekend away in Matakana. Driving only 1 hour away from Auckland you will be whisked into the picturesque scenery of Matakana Coast wine country. We have visited this idyllic village many times in the past few years but this time round we decided to make a night of it.
Upon arrival we visited the Farmers Market which to be honest is a must do. There is an absolute showcase of artisans, growers and farmers from the Matakana Coast region, who have a passion for what they do and produce. There is so much amazing yummies to choose from like fruit, vegetables, delicious artisan baking, Italian sausages, organic chocolate, flowers, and olive oil. Oh, and the honey bourbon was unreal!
Good morning chickens!
Holy Moses, do you know we are now in day 22 of our personal isolation and into week 2 of NZ’s full country lockdown – I cannot believe how quickly things have escalated and I have to admit I have been arrogant to the severity of the matter for months when we were still in our bubble, traveling and staying as happy as positive as we could.
However, since my last morbidly depressing memoir, I have to say things have taken a dramatic turn. I am still working – WAYHEY – albeit on a much less successful manner (shockingly being in International sales within the Tourism industry in a country where we have a closed border, isn't going very well). I managed to get the Governments grant which I cannot be more pleased/grateful/happy/relieved about, and we are living happily at my family’s place, getting stuck into making this new normal work for us as best we can. I would say so far, it’s being a success. Leo even managed to snag a job during this bloody disaster and for that I could not be prouder!
I believe in order to make this lock-down work successfully and to stamp out COVID-19, is really to follow the advice of our PM and ‘’stay home to save lives’’. My heart breaks every time I watch the news about Italy, Spain or the UK as their Governments simply didn’t act fast enough and now, they are facing an absolute irreversible disaster.
We have taken to working out a lot, eating as healthy as we can – with daily treats as we are in lock-down and I like ice-cream WAAAAY too much to cut that happiness out my life; and for me I have found a fantastic method of staying sane is to listen to podcasts. Everyday we have a routine, and through this, watching reruns of MasterChef, walking around the block (which I am so lucky is truly stunning) and being creative, we really have managed to work well together into our little bubble of happiness.
Just before lockdown I also managed to get my hands on a small electric hob so I can cook - which has been a true lifesaver. I have missed the kitchen so much this past year so now I can cook up a healthy feast each night while we get our 1 daily helping of the news. I must admit, this lockdown has kept me off social media which I have found to heal the soul. We watch the 6pm news daily, simply to check in and see what’s going on, but I try not to follow the social media bullshit news and all the keyboard terrorists who after watching a few episodes of ER are now fully trained medical professionals, IT DOES MY FUCKING HEAD IN. It’s very simple, stay the fuck at home, follow the guidelines and stop pretending to know best.
The past 2 weeks have seriously taught me to re-evaluate the important things in life, and as much as we already live the life of minimalism, I feel we can take it one step further as my want to buy anything bar food has disappeared completely. I have found to appreciate the smallest things, like walking, reading, writing and being launched into the creative space as an outlet for my anxiety. If there was ever a time to be anxious then it is now, so I feel I can take advantage of this and when most are battling this new feeling, I am simply just living the day to day norm.
This prolonged time with my own thoughts have also made me re-assess what I actually want for life and made me question what I felt I wanted before, and whether I still do long for these things? This goes for employment, career goals, personal goals and all the other self-improvement mumbo jumbo I have found myself caring so much about in the past.
A question that I think everyone has been guilty of asking during this hideous time is, 'Do we need to take this time to be as productive as possible?' Or, is it simply fine to watch the new season of the Hills/ Tiger King/ Married at first sight back to back and just try to enjoy being present, removing those terrified thoughts and worry?
Who knows the real answer but I feel in this lock down we are already thriving to just simply exist in this new normal so having to really push ourselves into something new may well be overwhelming.
Overall, do what makes you happy guys because at the end of the day, you have to take care of number 1.
Well, my god has this been a rocky road of a week! Infact, I’ll up that a notch, it’s been a fucking disaster. We managed to get a flight back on Saturday, arriving back in NZ on Sunday morning. I was stressed, but a sense of relief knowing we were back in civilization, safe and just before the self-isolation cut off…or so we thought.
Arrival was easy, in fact it was a little too easy. No temperature checks, not asking where we were staying, no checks to see if we were sick – we found it all a little too easy. We hired a car for the day and spent the day searching for new wheels to get us around before making our way to the Airport hotel for the night. Good news is we managed to find one which was fab, it’s a little Nissan Lefesta (7 seats so not so little but we can always sleep in it if things get worse)
We were stoked, we have a car, we arrived before the quarantine – life is beautiful… or so we thought. Yes, we made it in before the isolation rules came into place, but really is that sufficient to not have to self-isolate – we weren’t sure. Once our friends started justifiably saying to stay away, we realised that we were right and for the safety of all we really should be in isolation.
We are currently staying at my cousins which I cannot be more grateful for, I can’t put into words how amazing these guys have been because on Monday when this all came to fruition and our PM made the self-isolation compulsory, we pretty much all lost our jobs. Actually, the whole of NZ tourism and AU tourism have lost their jobs, so yup, now we are in quarantine, both jobless and homeless. Could this be the worst possible situation to be in right now…I think it maybe be getting pretty close.
We are now on day 5 in quarantine and it’s been quite a struggle, how many times can I log into SEEK, trade Me , jobaroo, jobaday, jobarabadado, who the fuck knows. It’s killing me. The Government has offered to support individuals and businesses who are now facing unemployment’s / no more money which of course I have applied for but that was nearly 3 days ago and so far nothing. They said it cold take up to 5 days, but I just don’t know. If I don’t get this government funding then I am truly fucked. About 3000 jobs have disappeared overnight and more to come. I am looking into Supermarkets, café’s, restaurants any anything I can do but the chances are we will all be in compulsory lock down within the week so then what do I do? Aww fuck, it’s a bloody nightmare.
In the grand scale of things, as much as I feel so alone, so isolated, rejected and lonely, I know this has to pass. It really does, this cannot be it. The world cannot just shut down, that’s not the plan at all. This self-isolation rule is great. Really it is, but for us who have just arrived home after 1 years away it is truly saddening. I described it today as being grounded. I want to see my friends so ,much, I thrive from contact and right now knowing that I cannot see them is heart-breaking, then on top of that of having no income and being homeless, it is surprising I am able to get up in the morning.
5 days in and 11 more to go… we have got this, but I will probably blog a whole heap more in these 11 days as it’s keeping me semi-sane.
Hey! I'm Ally. I left the UK in 2011 to move overseas and ended up in New Zealand - my new home. For the past year we explored the world stopping in some AMAZING destinations - and now we are back in NZ dealing with the ''new normal'' and life currently in the COVID-19 Pandemic.