A wild Jen appears

Oh hey, I still have a blog. Who knew? I return to the land of wordpress pretty much a year after my last post which is indicative of the year I’ve had. Chaotic. Stressful. Overloaded. Intensely busy. Amazingly fulfilling. It’s been a rollercoaster basically.

I guess the biggest thing is that I’ve decided to withdraw from my PhD and focus on my work. Which is quite a 360 from where I was last year, or even 6 months ago when I was having a nervous breakdown, but changes are happening at work and I think my job is going to be at least marginally more manageable so…yeah. Let’s see where it takes me. At the end of the day, the company is pretty cool and even though I may not love my job 90% of the time, it could be worse. There is sadly just no way to complete a PhD and work full time though so I’ve had to choose. After all, I can always do a PhD later, right?

It’s been a very full year and things have taken a turn that I never really would have anticipated. I feel settled here and I think, fingers crossed, next year will be a lot less volatile. Here’s hoping anyway. I can’t even remembered all the crazy shiz that went down in 2015 so I’m just going to trawl through my photos and hope that’ll jog some memories!

January

A long visit home to Perth included a trip to Margaret River and burgers on the beach for my last night at home. I miss my dog more than anything! The month rapidly descended into madness though with commercial shoots. No rest for the wicked!

February

I’d like to say work got particularly busy in February but in retrospect, it might just be it’s normal pace. Slightly terrifying! Anyway, there was many a trip to Auckland, fun at a launch event, Wellington Sevens and many a late night in the office. Three cheers for the noodle place across the road! Liz also came to visit which was loads of fun as always and in our various wanderings around town I discovered my dream home (which was actually on the market in October – oh, the horror!)

March

Things got off to a great start with mum visiting me for a few days and summer putting in one final stellar appearance before the long dark of winter. I went to my only gig of the year, shock horror, at San Fran (Parquet Courts) and started a weekly pub quiz crew which some of us take way too seriously but is always a stupidly good time. And we often win, so that’s always a plus. I also became a proper Wellingtonian by becoming obsessed with cheese scones and flat whites. As you do.

April

Made a flying visit back to Perth to cuddle my puppy (valid motivation for most things), get my hair done and soak up as much warmth as humanly possible. Work was just going through the motions of covering rugby games every weekend so was looking for bright spots of entertainment like a Simpsons themed quiz night at a cafe near my flat. And then of course there was the big Anzac Day commemorations which I spent at the then-new Pukeahu War Memorial – complete with a moving light display.

May

Ah May. A month in which I despaired at how many meetings I had, and at how much uni work was building up. It’s also the month I helped my work wife stalk Prince Harry – and then we ended up sitting next to him at the rugby. I dragged the work wife out for cocktails and fell even more in love with this quirky little city.

June

Everything fell apart. I’m not even kidding. Full scale stress breakdown. There was just too much happening on all fronts and I had no support. I walked into HR and said that I had every intention of quitting when my manager got back from his 4 week holiday and I meant it. There were crisis talks. I was sat down in various rooms and asked to talk through my issues. And then I swore at a very problematic contractor and was given a disciplinary I thoroughly deserved. I also got the weekend off though which meant French toast at my fave cafe and walks along the beach. Times were tough. Morale was at an all time low. On the flip side, my aforementioned work wife finally let me hang out with her dogs. We went to see half a play. Our quiz team won first prize and made some dinosaurs out of play-doh. This is also the month I developed a crush on the guy at the cafe near work. June was a real turning point for me. I was so close to walking out on all of this. So close.

July

Of course you can’t have a meltdown without then having to deal with the meltdown. I started counselling – it helped a lot. I took a leave of absence from the PhD to try and get my head on straight. I started hanging out with cafe guy. I took lots of walks and cuddled other people’s dogs. We had a home Super Rugby final and it was nice to see the city buzzing. Work was still hectic and I was seeing more office sunrises than I’d have liked, but there was support. I started thinking that I might just be ok.

August

Everything started to shift towards Rugby World Cup in August as the international season rolled on. My work wife and I accidentally wore the same clothes for something like eight days in a row which cracked us up and weirded everyone else out. But come on, we’re adorable. We had a fancy high tea to talk about holiday plans and I spent a lot of time in places I don’t really have any business being…like stadium media rooms, suburban high schools and Parliament. Then the parentals came to visit for a week and I joined them for a trip to Auckland for the final Bledisloe Cup match which we thankfully won. I don’t know how we’d cope without the Bled in trophy case. It takes up so much room.

September

At work, there was nothing but Rugby World Cup. It was all consuming. It was all hours of the day. It was exhausting. We had an office kick off party where you were supposed to dress up as a country and the work wife decided Romania = vampires. It was fun. It was also the first work event I took the boyfriend to because yes, I now had one of those and yes, I was horribly, hopelessly in love. I might have lost my mind if I had nothing but work but there were date nights and dog walks and bootcamp at 6.30am which it really wasn’t warm or light enough for just yet. But c’est la vie.

October

More of the same as the war machine rolled on. The team was storming through the RWC though everyone was on our case about not being good enough. SIGH. We had so many staff activity events, it was ridiculous. One involved a trip to the Botanic Gardens to see the tulips in bloom…another involved representing a region of the country. Work friend and I panicked on the day about our shitty team effort and invested in some cow onesies – a very comfy investment as it worked out. I went to see a great play with another work friend, and the work wife and I continued to accidentally dress the same. Halloween was, unfortunately, a non-event as the RWC Final meant an ungodly 5am start the next day…

November

…and we only went and won the whole thing! All very exciting but also very stressful as we scrambled to welcome the team home and have the appropriate celebrations and what have you. It was an incredible experience but absolutely exhausting for a poor little introvert like me. But at least I have learned that I never want to be famous. No thanks! Football season had begun so I was dragged off to the stadium yet again. There was an impromptu trip to Sydney to hang out with mum and have dinner with my lovely Sydney friends – annoyingly didn’t take any photos, wtf self. It was so, so nice to see everyone again! Then it was off to Lake Taupo for my birthday. A much needed long weekend and a gorgeous part of the country. Cake courtesy of my work wife, of course.

December

And now it’s December and somehow it feels like both a long time coming and waaaaaay too soon. We had our work christmas party the first weekend. Circus themed. I went as a lion tamer, the light up hula hoop I acquired was the star of the show (good for clearing dance space that everyone wants to be in. Who knew?) And last Friday I was up in Auckland again for awards season. Pretty sure that wraps my work commitments for the year though and it can’t have come soon enough. Only a week left in the working year and lord knows I’m limping towards the finish line.

Bring on the holiday! Bring on summer!

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What happened?

Google ‘terrible blogger’ and you’ll find a photo of me. It’s been an atrocious year for doing things I said I’d do, like blog, or you know, be around. I’d like to claim that I’ll be better but I’ve realised claims like that are counter-productive…basically, I have no free time so I doubt 2015 will be a better year for blogging. Waaaaah.

Regardless, I’m here now and lord, do I have a lot to catch up on. Where has 2014 gone? What exactly happened? I did not authorise any of this! I need an adult! (Apparently I am an adult now, I also did not authorise that. Double waaaah.)

My whole life is upside down since my last post. Things were insanely busy, what with the broken wrist and never ending uni work and moving countries. Again. I know, I know. T’is mental. So, in order, this happened:

Broke my wrist
Already blogged about it. But it went on for ages and was a massive pain in the ass. Not fun. Wouldn’t recommend.

Visited the UK
Was fun. Would recommend. Not with a broken wrist though…well, technically not broken but I was told it needed to stay in the splint for the journey so…that was something. It did mean I got a lot of sympathy on the plane though, which was handy since I had developed a fear of flying shortly before leaving (I was flying Malaysia airlines, so, self-explanatory.) But yes, I went to London and got to hang out with my BFFs and have an amazing time. I went to Paris for a day with V, Ireland for a day of Game of Thrones adventuring with Abbi and spent five glorious days in Iceland which is definitely in best holiday ever contention. It included a flight over a motherflipping volcano! It doesn’t get more awesome than that.

Moved to Wellington
Surprise! In a bit of a long, drawn-out procedure, I applied for a job as a bit of a joke in May and three months later ended up getting it. But because I’d broken my wrist and was essentially useless, I couldn’t start when they wanted me to but for some inexplicable reason they decided they were happy to wait and so at the end of September, I packed up my life and moved to the land of the long white cloud. It’s been a little over three months and I absolutely love Wellington, it’s a cute little city with a hipster vibe and more coffee shops than any caffeine loving fiend could hope for. And everyone is so nice. Mum was with me the first couple of weeks as I settled in and then M came to visit for my birthday. Lots of fun was had. The job is challenging and extremely busy, and I’m still finding my feet. I’m worried about how it’s going to fit in with my PhD (yes, still doing it, long distance) and I don’t think I’m going to get much sleep in the foreseeable future. But my manager is great and the team I’ve been adopted into is really nice. I already have what I’d call one good friend so that’s always great. Another girl always takes me out with her, so I’ve been to more soccer games than I ever thought I’d go to and the League grand final and lots of other random things, like the santa fun run. It’s really sweet of her to invite me and hey, it’s fun. Overall, it’s a pretty cool organisation to work for so, you know, I’m just letting it play out at the moment and not making snap judgments.

In other news, my ironic love of One Direction is no longer ironic – both worrying and hilarious. I’m also obsessed with Taylor Swift. Queen Tay! Oh well. Pop music is fun y’all. I really really need to listen to more new music though, I’m woefully behind on albums released this year. But where does one find the time? WHERE? That said, I have found the time to become obsessed with Teen Wolf (up to season 3!) and get up to date with Vikings after everyone told me to watch it (really it’s just a show for people who like Sons of Anarchy but not Game of Thrones, and vice versa.)

I haven’t read nearly as many books as I’d like, excluding uni reading of course. I’m sitting on 9 for the year, but I read one twice (The Gone Away World, so good) and I’ve also reread three Harry Potter books (currently on The Deathly Hallows). Just finished The Queen of The Tearling on the plane back to Perth for Christmas and it was soooooo goooooood. Agh. I hate reading unfinished series though. I’m too impatient. Look at this A song of ice and fire fiasco, this is where series reading gets you! But I digress. I’ve just downloaded The Maze Runner for the flight back to NZ, looking forward to that one. And no, haven’t seen the film.

That’s another area that’s been woeful this year, film watching. I just tried to make a list of things I watched this year and it came to 24, excluding re-watches of course. Pathetic! My fave films released in 2014 that I’ve actually seen: The Grand Budapest Hotel, Edge of Tomorrow and The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies because I am lame and Middle Earth is everything and no, I didn’t see it twice in the space of 3 days, what are you talking about? In related news, Guardians of the Galaxy was lame. Laaaaaame. I also finally saw Only Lovers Left Alive which is basically everything I ever wanted in a film. 

So yes. That’s the last few months in a nutshell. In 2015 I want to read more, whine less, write more, finish Sons of Anarchy, organise my time better and be an all round bad-ass that gets shit done. Bring. It. On. No doubt I’ll be in a corner crying and muttering incoherently about my thesis by the end of January.

Music: Blank Space – Taylor Swift

Faded jeans and faraway eyes

I know, I know, it’s been ages. There’s so much going on in my life at the mo that I can’t really see myself doing a proper update but just as a general fyi, not dead. I’ve just returned from a wonderful trip to London where I got to hang out with all my friends and it felt like no time had passed at all. I had so much fun and I don’t think a day will ever come that I don’t miss them all terribly. I also went to Ireland for the day, to go on a Game of Thrones day trip with darling Abbi, and went to Paris for the day with V. AND I went to Iceland for five amazing days and proceeded to have the best time ever. Such a fascinating country, so many mind-blowingly awesome experiences. I really loved every second of my trip and I will get round to blogging about it properly at some point, hopefully!

Before I can do that though, I have to finish my PhD candidacy stage (not much time left at all, eeeeeeep) so I really need to stop procrastinating. And, big news, I’m also facing some major upheaval because I’m moving to Wellington, New Zealand, in…well, a week. Sunday! I was offered a new job there and even though it kinda goes against everything I had planned for the next four years of my life, I couldn’t turn it down. So, yeah, so much change. It’s exciting and absolutely terrifying! Hopefully won’t mess everything up and/or lose my mind from stress.

But yes, that’s why I’ve been basically awol. I have so much to panic and freak out about. I hope to one day be a half-decent blogger again but fear it may not be any time soon. What’s the point of life without change though, eh?

Would you really rush out?

Weird week.

I’m teetering on the edge of a flu I can’t shake. Was down with it two weeks ago and thought it was over, but the scratching in my throat suggests otherwise. I’m properly cold now, winter is in my bones. I hate the cold. I hate that it took me over a year to adjust to a London level of cold and manage just fine, but in less than four months I lost it all…now I think 13 degrees is cold again. It’s madness. But this is the desert. Mild days, chilly nights, scorching summers.

Some bad news came filtering across the water. My uncle’s father-in-law, who I’ve known for most of my life, passed away unexpectedly. Two days later my great-grandmother had a light stroke and was rushed to hospital. She’s recovered pretty well and seems to be doing ok now, back at home. Still. Long exhale. It’s pretty scary and stressful for everyone involved, and mum takes it so hard. Ouma will be 99 this year and we all love her to bits.

I’m struggling to find a happy balance with my work/uni arrangement. I’m not doing nearly enough studying. Too many distractions, I find it almost impossible to focus. It’s really annoying cause I used to be so good at focusing, and following a routine and getting shit done. Now I feel like I can’t sit still for more than twenty minutes without losing my mind. It’s a self-discipline problem and I need to get it sorted really effing quickly.

Also waiting on some news that could have pretty big repercussions for my plans…I don’t want to want it, cause then I’ll be so disappointed if I don’t get at least a shot at it. But it’ll be huge. So I’m waiting and biting my nails to the quick.

Now to do some uni reading. I have so much of it. So much. And I have barely started any of it. Just over a hundred days to go until I have to present a candidacy paper. So much stress. That’s just how I roll.

Music: Blindsided – Bon Iver

Say-yes-and-youll

Stu-stu-studious

As some might know, I’m attempting a PhD. I’ve only started this year so I’m currently in the candidacy phase, which means I spend most of my time in the library looking like this:

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I had my first meeting with my main supervisor this week and it went relatively well, all things considered. There are now fortnightly meetings scheduled alternating between him and my secondary supervisor until my project is accepted or I die. Whichever comes first.

Because I’ll be expected to provide regular notes on my progress/reading/research at these meetings, I’ve decided to create another blog specifically for thesis related rambles and meltdowns. You know, in the vain hope that it helps me focus or at least collate my thoughts. I could just ramble in a word doc, but I know it will just disappear into the archive of my computer, never to be read again. I feel like this might have a better chance of success…but I guess we’ll see. Eep.

Should you be interested, you can find the blog here.

Music: No. 1 Party Anthem – The Arctic Monkeys

White Noise

This is going to sound strange, but I find it really hard to do any work without a television. I’ve always done my studying or essay writing in sight of a television, playing something that I could easily drift in and out of, or ignore. I know it sounds ridiculous, but there it is. I used to have a tv in my study for precisely this reason, and I’d put things on that I’d seen before just for momentary respite when I glanced up from my studies. It’s always been that way – I have fond memories of lying on the living room floor, doing my math homework to Rove Live (and when Letterman came on, I always knew that I’d stayed up too late.)

So now I find myself in the odd position of not having a television – it’s usually not an issue at all, we basically stream everything we want to watch and I never feel like I’m missing out. It’s actually quite nice to not have that compulsion to immediately switch the thing on when you walk through the door. But I’ve noticed it’s a bit of a problem when I’m trying to write essays – like I’m doing right now. I need that background noise. And streaming something on my laptop while writing on it…well, it doesn’t work that well.

Sigh. First world problems.

In other news, I’ve upped and moved my blog yet again. I can’t even settle down in the virtual world. I know, madness. Anyway, I’ve mostly done this because my travel blog is on wordpress and I’m tired of swapping between platforms all the time. Also, Abbi insists this is easier to follow. So, here I am. Let’s see how it goes.

Music: Brennisteinn – Sigur Ros