New and interesting experiences (21st - 24th May 2008)

Wednesday, 21st May 2008: I'm a curious creature and would give pretty much anything a go, at least once (legal, of course). And the curious me have always wondered, what do the other single people in Wellington do when they are not hanging out with their own social networks?

Some time back, I saw in the local newspapers contact details of 2 social groups for singles to get together for social events, including movies, sports, dining, outdoor activities etc. The first one (off the top of my head, I don't recall the name) I contacted told me that they wouldn't mind me joining them though I would be the black sheep of the lot as everyone was in their 50s or older and I was no where near that generation. Right...guess I won't be going to this one then...

The other one I contacted was called The Wellington Group. Now this one was somewhat intriguing in the sense not any Tom, Dick or Harry could join in - you first need to get in touch with the organiser who will meet up with you and put your through what seemed to be like a screening process i.e. ask you a series of questions before you get 'invited' to join. I had the privilege to be a guest at their Club Night tonight to check out whether this was a social network that suited me. Oh, and it cost me $10 as a guest (which I didn't think was very nice when the members didn't pay for the event). Anyhow, I went to meet up with random singles at a bar called D4 on Featherston this evening. A nice upmarket bar on Featherston Street that I've not been in.

I guess I had expected to not find anyone of my age group in the gathering (I was kind of told so beforehand) so wasn't at all surprised when most of the people whom I had conversations with tonight were either divorced or widowed. Some of them were new to the group; others have been members for awhile. One of the rules of staying in the group was that you had to remain single; once you were attached, out you went. Plus, there is a membership fee of about $230 a year, which ain't cheap. According to one of the women I spoke to, she had been to another group in Wellington which didn't cost anything but most of the members were non-professionals, some even jobless (and on the dole). I guess it didn't quite fit her social network or potential partner criteria so a paid group somewhat guarantees other singles who have income. Ok, I can make sense of that. Events are held twice a week and most at additional cost of $20 on top of the membership fee. More if the events require travelling out of Wellington.

It was very interesting to talk to people and figure out their reasons for joining (some were really on the prowl for a partner) though sad to say, this was not a social network suited for me. Perhaps if my circumstances were different or if I was in my late 30s, it might suit. Besides, my social agenda seems to be pretty packed these days - can't see how I could incorporate this into my already crazy social life!

I didn't stay too long and left after 1.5 hours (I kind of had to go because a man old enough to be my dad was trying with much effort to buy me a drink). It was a nice surprise to get a text from Chris, a traveller from Sweden that I met during my trip in Tutukaka earlier this year - turns out he had just moved to Wellington this week so I caught up with him and I took him out for a drink. It was nice to catch up and listen to his travel adventures. Hitch-hiking? Man, you are brave! Honestly, I didn't think I would see him again after Tutukaka so was really happy that he contacted me :) We need to catch up again soon - perhaps you can coach me to dive too (by the way, he's a qualified dive master)!

Thursday, 22nd May 2008: I find myself feeling jittery from anxiety due to a busy work week and social life - I'm just running to too many places/events and have little time to breathe!

After a busy day at work, I shot off for a quick swim and then to Te Papa to check out another Brazilian gig, Alda Rezende and Friends. This is again another band I've never heard of (are the Brazilians suddenly taking the NZ music scene by storm?). I couldn't stay very long at The Marae for the gig but during the 45 minutes that I was there (the gig was for 2 hours), they played some pretty unique jazz songs with ethnic beats (can't really dance to the song but pleasant to the ears). Very nice!

Alda has such deep, powerful voice - I wouldn't imagine such a voice coming out from her. Guess looks can be deceiving ;) Bumped into a few friends there too. Hehe...Wellington is so small...Standing at The Marae listening to the music reminded me of my time in Chicago where I went to see a few cultural gigs and how much I enjoyed doing so. I hope Alda and group will perform again soon in Wellington - we need new blood in the Latin scene and it's fantastic to know that there are Brazilian bands tapping into the Wellington music arena.

Rush, rush! Went home, had a coffee and then off to samba gafieira practice at Christian's place till about 10pm. We now practice the dance at his place on Thursdays and mine on Tuesdays with a bit of salsa thrown in at the end of the night.

I need to exhausted...

Friday, 23rd May 2008: If you didn't know, Friday is usually the busiest work day of my week with lots of meetings and reports due before the end of the day. I didn't hang around for drinks with the lads tonight because I had signed myself up for the NZ Tango Festival beginner's course starting this evening.

The NZ Tango Festival, like the NZ-Pacific Salsa Congress, is a 3-day dance fest with workshops and performances held at Te Whaea Dance and Drama Centre. The organisers of both events are the same and since I was in the salsa congress mailing list, I received an email from organiser, Heidi, about the free 5-session workshop. The free course wasn't widely advertised but the 70 spots for beginners got snapped up pretty quickly!

I've never done tango before and as you know, I have a keen interested in latin dance so thought, I might as well check it out to see if I like it. It is a beautiful dance, one danced very close with your partner and oddly enough, with little rules (or so the teachers said so). My first session started at 5.30pm today for 1.5 hours and we were taught the basics of posture, the embrace and lean-in position and danced to a few songs on the dance floor.

Honestly, I felt a little odd being there - it was deja vu being back here at Te Whaea, only in a totally different dance world where I literally knew nothing about the dance or the people. But I was sure glad to see a familiar face, Grant (he was my rueda teacher and definitely not a beginner in tango), and we had a nice tango dance together. It's always fun to dance with Grant :)

Hmm, one thing though, I think some of the guys do have to adhere to Heidi's rules about dos and don'ts at the course i.e. the whiff test. At least with salsa dancing, the dancers break apart to do shines or moves but in tango, we seem to be dancing cheek to cheek all the time and it gets quite uncomfortable when your dance partner has bad breath, or hair and/or clothes that stink. Save me, save me! I think I'm going to faint...I sure hope it gets better in the next 4 sessions over the weekend...

Rush, rush again for me after the workshop. I had agreed to babysit Edmund tonight while Hew and Jonathan went out to celebrate Jonathan's birthday. I have never babysitted someone else's kid in my life so this was a first and I have to admit, I was somewhat excited and afraid. I guess I didn't know what to expect being left with a 4-year-old for 5 hours while his folks are away.

2 hours passed and the boy is still sound far so good. Jonathan had told me earlier that Edmund may get up and I'm really hoping that he'll sleep through the night...

As if on a timer, Edmund really got up 2 hours into my babysitting and told me he was hungry. Oh dear...We rummaged the fridge and found him some leftover noodles. I wonder if he was testing me out, knowing I have little to no experience in babysitting, and periodically asked me where his parent were. I kind of lied, telling him his folks went out briefly to get me dinner, since I wasn't sure what his reaction would be if he knew I was the only adult around. I'll just twiddle my thumbs and pretend I didn't hear his question...

Some 45 minutes later, I successfully had him fed, brushed his teeth, read him a storybook and put back to bed. Yes! I think I did pretty well for my first time babysitting Edmund (it was a first for him too) and was quite pleased with myself :) Even got some blogging done while I was there. Hew and Jonathan returned just before 12 and we chatted for a bit before I ended my night. I'm glad they had a nice night out and I didn't have to interrupt their night. In fact, I think babysitting tonight was a favour to both parties - they wanted to go out, and I needed to unwind from a crazy and busy week so it fitted everyone well. Will see you guys later for dinner and CATS (yep, we are going to CATS tonight)!

Saturday, 24th May 2008: This afternoon, I went back for the 2nd day of the beginner's tango course and though it was fun to learn something new, I was quickly bored with the lesson. Perhaps I've picked up other dances in the past so the pace of the course was somewhat slow for me - I was ready to learn more! I'm not sure if I'll come back for another day tomorrow - the next session after lunch would probably be the last for me.

Stuck around during the lunch break and ended up chatting with fellow salsa dancer, Kanaka. We were both quite surprised that despite going to the same salsa events, we have never danced with one another to date. We'll have to have at least 1 dance later at the salsa ball!

My tango lesson continued on at 2.30pm and around 4pm, I rushed back home to shower and got changed for dinner at 6pm with Hew and friends. Hew had organised for a group of friends to have dinner together at Lone Star before we all headed to the Opera House to see the musical, CATS. Hmm, I've never been to Lone Star and the serving here is HUGE! Served mostly steak and ribs (you know, country/western food) - you should see Hew and her plate of ribs. The stack of ribs could nicely hide her head!

Why is my week so rushed all the time?? We had 10 minutes to run to the theatre for the show!

CATS is an award-winning musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber. I wasn't sure if I would enjoy the show because I've seen it on TV when I was a teen but I loved it! Ok, maybe not where I was seated (part of my view was blocked by the lady in front of me that had huge curls) but the show was definitely better seen on stage than on TV. I could even remember some of the songs, especially Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats and the one sung by The Rum Tum Tugger, the tom cat with a wild mane and leopard spots on his chest (and the Elvis Prestley hip action move...hehe...). Thanks Hew for organising this - it was really nice!

The show was about 2.5 hours long with an interval. I went to pick up Kalwant after the show and we headed off to The Loaded Hog Wellington where the Black and White Salsa Ball was held. It was so cool that most of the dancers dressed up in black, white or a mix of both! I had a laced black and white skirt worned like a tube top so it looked as if I had a miniskirt - ain't I creative :P I had lots of wonderful dances tonight, including one with Kanaka.

I'm going to take it easy tomorrow, sleep in and keep warm. The weather has been real crappy the past few days (where is the sun?). And I'm not even going to look at the pile of work I've been putting off week after week...


  1. It was really a fun and exciting journal. glad to know that you are doing fine up there hahahahhaha....


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