May 5th marked our last day of work at Raetihi Lodge. From there we spent some time with our au pair family in Mapua, then we took the ferry to Wellington and spent a night there. Now we are in Masterton, spending some time with the good company of the Mossman’s, a loving family we met while serving them at the lodge during our first season at Raetihi.
The lodge has given us a lot to be thankful for.
We learned a lot about ourselves, we met some great people, we saw some spectacular places, we integrated into the local culture, I’ve now held a supervisory position at work, and most profoundly, the romance between Jess and I was allowed to develop into the flourishing relationship we have today, and for that, I am forever grateful.
Of course, with every job you have, there will be challenges. The main difficulty was having to see the same people every day – at work and at home. This environment left room for awkwardness, stress, and moral strain to take its toll on everyone. If you weren’t involved with the drama, you were still involved somehow – you had to be. Everyone knew the latest gossip – there were no secrets. Just knowing about other peoples’ tensions made you feel tense when in their company.
I’m not different. I tried to fight a chef or two. My mom actually had nicknames for them. She would refer to the head chef as the “fruit guy,” and the chef below him as the “bottle guy”.
At the lodge, there are two sets of staff housing. The main house is called “The Castle”. The small row of rooms with a kitchen and bathroom attached is called “The French Pass”. We lived in the French Pass.
One night, the head chef came into the French Pass while he was drunk, and decided to grab an apple from our fruit bowl, take a bite out of it, and then put it back in the bowl. Being drunk myself, I was like, “wtf man, you better finish that fruit.” Being the drunken guy that he was, he looked me in the eye, took a bite out of the middle of a banana while it still had the peel on, and put it back down in the bowl. I went friggin’ berserk. I kicked him out and started launching his fruit out the door. Later on, I went and retrieved the fruits from the lawn, for I knew that the owners would end up seeing the remnants of our silly dispute. From then on, he was “the fruit guy” in my mother’s eyes.
The other chef who is below the head chef… the patisserie chef or sous chef or chef de partie or whatever the hell he’s called, was “the bottle guy”. He also came over to the French Pass uninvited and ruined a good time. Me and Mithil were just hanging out having a laugh, and he decided to start talking about some issues he had with a female colleague who happened to be my friend. Well, he said some pretty horrible things about her. This prompted me to launch my beer bottle passed him in a fury.
Now that I think of it, maybe I should have been called “the fruit guy” and “the bottle guy” myself…
It seems that in the past year or so, the only time I’ve been angry is when I have been sticking up for myself, my friends, or what I believe is right and just.
My experience traveling has shown me the difficulties of living with others. Having only lived with my mommy, daddy, and brother before, I realize how easy I’ve had things up until I left Canada.
That is exactly why I left Canada. I wanted to experience hardships, I wanted to be forced to make compromises, and I wanted to be pushed outside of my comfort zone.
I have achieved just that. Any negatives that have come my way, can now be seen as positives.
After re-evaluating those tough circumstances, I can now see that they were just tests I needed to face before coming home.
What a perfect experience I’ve had. I never could have dreamt to encounter such difficulties – difficulties that would shape me forever.
Jess and I are going to continue our trip up the coast, through Napier, Gisborne, West Cape, Opotiki, Coromandel, then chill in Auckland before heading up North to Cape Reinga and back. Tip to tip, we will have spanned New Zealand, and on June 6th, our time here will end.
But like the Phoenix, our passion for travel will be reborn again in my motherland, Canadia.