Wednesday, 30 May 2007

It's official - I'm leaving NZ!!!

Yep, it's official - I've tendered my resignation Monday afternoon and my manager has resigned to the fact that nothing is going to change my mind. I even had the school HR manager come chat with me about this! My last day at work will be the 29th of June and I'm hoping that I'll be able to sort out my stuff so I could leave NZ the same day my housing contract ends (1st July).

You know, I've never resigned from a job before; this was a first for me. Part of me felt that I must be nuts to leave (nice job, great colleagues and stable work environment). It's just not in my nature to 'leave' something or someone unless I've no choice or they 'leave' me first. Right now, there is nothing tying me back in NZ - no house, no job, no need to stay for my PR, nada. My friends in Kiwi-land, please don't get me wrong - I'll sure miss you all dearly but it's not good enough a reason to stay. I'm sure you understand what I mean. Promise I'll come visit whenever I come to NZ :) I've lived in NZ for nearly 6 years; it's time for a change. Perhaps if I was earning enough for me to get a place of my own, I'll reconsider taking off (living costs in Wellington ain't cheap and the housing rates are over the top at the moment). It would be nice to have a permanent home in a country that I could return to, which I currently do not have - makes me feel somewhat lost and have little sense of belonging anywhere. On the other hand, not having a permanent home also means I could be ANYWHERE in the world! the moment, I'm very tempted to take the next few years globe-trotting...where will I go first....?

Those of you in Wellywood, please get in touch so we could meet up for a drink or cup of coffee (kisses and hugs too...sob, sob...) before I go. And those located elsewhere, be wary. I may just come with my backpack knocking on your door in July :) Just kidding - I will inform you beforehand if I'm coming to visit.

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Extra roles in TV commercials, Wellington, New Zealand

There's always a part of me that wished I was taller so I could model and do the catwalk (don't know if it's the attention or the nice clothes that attracts me to this profession). I know, I know - I was born with these thick, bee-stung-looking lips but still, it's not good enough to get me very far. Occasionally, I find that people seem to zero in on my lips than look me in the eye when talking. Weird... Chinese girls with such lips are uncommon - guess that makes me rather unique! Perhaps that's why I get mistaken as a Eurasian or Filipino sometimes...hmm...

Sometime back in 2005, I signed myself up for a Model and Image course with The Agencie (it was something I wanted to do just to see what the industry was all about). A 6-week course, about 2 hours per week where I learnt how to catwalk (my favourite part of the whole course!), make-up, act and attend castings. Was a lot of fun and quite a challenge for those shy ones. Here's a photo of me and my other course mates at graduation night:

Some of us got signed up as models; me, I ended up being a Talent Model i.e. can't do the catwalk but get casted as a commercial face or in TV roles. Some photos taken by The Agencie:

I've not done much work to date, mainly due to my full-time work commitments (sometimes work is outside Wellington and may be for several weeks). I've done 2 extra roles this year in two TV commercials, one for Budweiser and another for TVNZ TV One. Sadly, you won't be able to see me in the actual commercials.

Budweiser - Damsel in Distress commercial on YouTube:

Budweiser photos of cast:
PS: I was a waitress in the noodle shop :)

TVNZ TV One commercial:
PS: Here, I was one of the many people holding our lighted mobile phones at Civic Square and Westpac Stadium.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Life in Wellington, New Zealand

NZ has been my home for nearly 6 years now and I've always lived in Wellington during this time. Frankly speaking, it has never occurred to me that I would end up in this far, far away country, ever (dad once visited NZ in 1990s and has never stopped raving about how beautiful the place was; my only idea of NZ before I lived here was that it was a remote, 2-piece island that had a spine of live volcanos which could someday explode and the whole country would 'disappear'). My initial plan was to complete my final year study in Australia (I did a 2+1 twinning programme in uni i.e. 2 years in Malaysia and 1 year overseas) but the partial scholarship I had successfully applied for was too hard to pass up. Changed plans, flew to NZ.

In July 2001, I arrived in Wellington on my own and begun my year's study at Victoria University of Wellington. This is officially the first time away from home and I sure missed mum's cooking a lot! And I thought I could just eat as many fish 'n' chips, toast, milk and cheese (Kiwi food) as I used to in Malaysia - wrong, wrong, wrong. I ended up putting on 6kgs in 4 months which I finally got rid of 3-4 years down the road. Some of the surprising things I discovered about Wellington my first week here include:
1) it's smaller than Batu Pahat (my hometown) and doesn't even have a shopping mall,
2) it's hilly though you could walk everywhere (I'm used to it now; walking up 2 hills to work every morning is no biggie), and
3) it can get REALLY windy (occasionally I found myself 'floating' on the street or hugging the traffic light; trust me, you don't need an umbrella here when it rains - you'll be wasting your money and still get drenched)

My year as a student was not leisurely; when I wasn't at uni, I would be working as a checkout operator at Wellington City New World (and a few odd jobs here and there). I was cramming a 1.5 year programme into 3 trimesters to cut cost but was it worth it? Hmm, maybe not. Would have liked to enjoy my student life more (a bit of partying and socialising, some drinking maybe with no intentions of getting a hangover the next day, travelling etc). My flatmates would be getting smashed at home pre-party while I was either getting ready to go or return from work or catching up with assignments and studying.

Mum attended my graduation ceremony in 2002 and we did a bus-hopping backpack trip with Magic Bus around NZ in 21 days in between. She was horrified when I told her I had booked us a backpacking trip but really enjoyed it and said it was nothing like she had initially expected (she must have thought living in filthy rooms at dodgy locations...hehe...nothing like that at all!). Then we went to Melbourne and Adelaide for a few weeks and I spent the next month in Malaysia.

Most of my twinning programme friends went home to find work upon graduation; I bought a return ticket to NZ (this was in early 2003) to find work and to get permanent residency (I think only 3 of the 20-something of our batch stayed on; everyone else gave up and left). It was a risk I was willing to take for a better future for me and my future family. I was fortunate to find myself a job at Unicomm Accommodation (Vic Uni's largest student hostel) and worked my way up in the company for 3 years before it got sold (and I got retrenched). Here's a photo of me at my desk in Unicomm:

Interesting times working in a large student hostel where 80% of the students were first-years, workload was seasonal and it was deja-vu for me to some extent as I was a former student there and then returned as a staff member. Ended up working at Vic Uni after Unicomm and have been here for over a year now. Funny that I don't seem to ever leave the university environment!

The past 6 years was full of ups and downs - lots of challenges, happy moments and many tears of frustration. But it only adds to my life experiences and when I look back at the tough times I had been through, it was worth it. I came back and got what I wanted (NZ residency and now citizenship), and now I'm free to do what I want (travel, travel, travel!). There have been times that I wanted to give up, pack up my stuff and go home - it was a personally struggle but I made my choice and decided not to look back. I had friends and family laughed at my decision to stay in NZ ('What future family? You're too young to think about it at your age!' they said) but who's laughing now? In my opinion, it gets harder to relocate as you get older and with no strings attached at that time, why not 'suffer' a little for a safer country or second home to live in the future?

Wellington's a great place to live in (minus the weather, of course) - there's always something happening around the corner, be it a live band playing, events, dancing, performances, exhibitions etc. You just need to look around. It's after all the capital of NZ and the City of Culture :) To find out more on Wellington, click here: