Woah bro, where do I begin. I am now back in Paihia, and I am having the time of my life. I have been back for about 3 weeks now and it just keeps getting better. The weather is still getting warmer as summer hits and the place is really picking up more and more as it is a big summer tourist spot. I came back to the warmest welcome, validating my reasons for wanting to return in the first place. Even though I had only told one person I was returning, I came back and even people who I hadn’t met yet knew about my return. I immediately just felt like I was back home. The party began immediately that night, and hasn’t stopped since.
I started my job within a few days of returning, and it’s so much fun. I work at the bar at the Pipi Patch hostel. While most hostel bars are usually filled only with backpackers, the Pipi has local clientele as well because the town is so small there are only a handful of bars. It’s so fun working there, meeting people from all over the world, hanging out with friends and getting pissed, and paid! It’s funny because sometimes people take pictures of me like I’m a tourist attraction or something. I know I’m a backpacker just like them, but to travelers its like hey here’s a picture of my hostel and hey here’s a picture of this person that served me drinks in New Zealand. The lifestyle here gets pretty wearing on the body though, as we literally drink every single night. It’s not because we are alcoholics, there just isn’t much else to do here. But I don’t say that in a bad way, it’s still a freaking awesome town with the best people and the best vibe, but every night you just sort of wait to it seems reasonable to begin drinking. Or you don’t wait.
About two weeks into being back I got tonsillitis though, and it knocked me out hard. I was in so much pain and backpacking alone and living in a hostel it could of have been so miserable, but I am so lucky I have met the friends that I have. I stayed at my friend Bobby’s house for about 4 days. If you have ever stayed in a hostel you know you can’t actually get good sleep there, it’s just impossible. All of my friends would come by and visit me and watch movies with me and make me food, and I was just so thankful to have made such awesome friends so quickly here. I know my mom was happy to know I was being taken care of as well. That’s the kind of stuff that makes me feel like I really have a life here and am not just a tourist anymore.
I still hang out with the people I met when I first went to Paihia, but the group has expanded a bit as well. I hang out a lot with these two girls Kelly and Reagan who are from Wellington. They are cool as hell and allow me to be a little more of the weirdo that I normally am. I mean pretty much all of my friends at home call me weird on a regular basis, but I don’t think anyone here has seen the half of it. It just takes certain people to bring it out in me, and foreigners especially seem to be a little more frightened by it. I figure it’s best to sort of ease them into it, like just slowly start getting weirder and weirder. It might be too much of a shock if I hit them with it all at once. I think I’ll hold off on talking about Megalodons (um only the coolest prehistoric mammal ever, 60 feet of prehistoric terror!), street creds, in-depth analysis of indie hipsters, extreme picnics, etc. etc. My housemates at school (I miss you Flanny’s) signed leases so they had to deal with me, and me with Christine is like a one two shut the fuck up/you are so annoying punch.
Kelly and Regan work at the juice bar down on the wharf and they live in the bush. “The bush” in New Zealand is pretty much the woods. But because everyone is so intense about outdoor stuff you hear things like “you going bush?” or “any good bush around there?” But living in the bush also implies you live in a hut. Which they do. They lived with me at first, but then got the juice bar job so they moved into this little shack in the woods owned by their friend’s dad. They don’t have power or plumbing or anything, its just like a roof with a bed, but the view is sick and its so fun to go out there have bonfires and party in the woods. You walk down to the waterfall to pee, and you shower (aka pour creek water on yourself) on this open wood plank where cows and sometimes wandering farmers can watch you. Hard core eh? One of their neighbors (neighbor means they live in a hut about 5 minutes away) killed a guy because he stole his four-wheeler. He didn’t go to jail. Woah. Stay away from that guys yard.