|Oh NZ sun, you are cruel.. Read #21 for the story
What is serendipity? Truthfully, I’d heard it, but never really thought about what it meant. Until recently I realised that it could possibly be the best word to summarise my life! In the past 27 years (okay maybe even the past 4 specifically) I’ve clocked up quite a few tales of the dumb things I’ve done, important things I’ve forgotten, bad luck and lucky breaks.
Serendipity means a “happy accident” or “pleasant surprise”; specifically, the accident of finding something good or useful while not specifically searching for it.
Today marks my ‘champagne birthday’ as I turn 27 on the 27th. As many bloggers have done before me (Beverley’s 27 Confessions at a Party
, Tom’s Secrets Over Virtual Margaritas
and Melissa’s 26 Fun Facts: Birthday Edition
) I had to join in on telling ridiculous stories, because let’s face it, I have chronic FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) AND
These are only the best ones – I had to cut a few as better ones came to mind, since I was aiming for 27.
So without further ado, please enjoy these somewhat cringe-worthy chronicles of bad luck, forgetfulness, and serendipity listed in no particular order. My apologies in advance for the large paragraphs.
1. My first international trip was to Honduras in May 2008. Somehow I managed to leave my raincoat at my mates place before I went to the airport, and my sunglasses on the first plane. Not a helpful move, considering I was going to a tropical sunny destination, where it predictably down poured at 4pm daily. Luckily, we met the nicest man during our overnight layover at Dulles airport. He kitted me out with an industrial raincoat and sunnies that to this day I still cannot lose! 5 years later and I’ve still got ‘em.
2. I traveled from Dunedin to New Plymouth via the most milk route possible, for a Fleetwood Mac concert in December 2009, only to realise in Wellington that I’d forgotten my ticket at home back in Dunedin. I did end up getting myself a new ticket and getting to the concert – and spending the second half of the concert in the front of Gold Section. The night ended up being one of my top 3 travel memories.
3. During Teachers College in Dunedin, in 2009, I managed to come down with Atypical Pneumonia. It took 2 trips to the Emergency Department and spending the night in isolation at a time when Swine Flu was rearing its ugly head before getting an proper diagnosis. ‘Luckily’ it happened during school holidays, and I only had to miss one week of my practicum, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to complete and had to repeat the whole placement.
4. I sent application to a school I didn’t even know existed and ended up getting my first teaching job (and it turned out to be such an awesome school community!). I’d put the principal of the Catholic School’s name on the Public school application. In such a small town, the mail sorters would have sent the letter to the name rather than the address. The principal of the Catholic School ended up with my CV and decided to give me an interview/hire me! Talk about fate?
5. While in Thailand in July 2012, I happened to get food poisoning
the last night I was there. This resulted in me (and Thom) being offloaded
from the flight and having try to sort everything out on our own, and fly standby back to Auckland
|Nothing to see here, officer!
6. In September 2010, one of my university mates joined me in NZ and we hired a campervan for a week tiki-touring out of Queentown and around the South Island. I left my glasses at a friends place in Auckland, which was a bit of a problem for my near sightedness, as I legally need them to drive.
Personally, I knew that I can confidently see fine during the day, but at night it was a no go. My solution? Stick to the speed limit to avoid being pulled over, and have these fake glasses to put on ‘just in case’.
7. I went on a few horse rides with Thom’s dad around some of the most beautiful areas of the Far North. The last time I went, I managed to falling off the horse multiple times – I lost count after 7. Once I actually slid down her neck, and landed under her. This scared the both of us, and she ended up prancing on my calf muscle.
8. This year I made 3 solid attempts to make myself a blood donor. The first time I was all good throughout the whole thing, but before I could get up to leave I was overcome with nausea. The man told me to cough and the next thing I knew, my breakfast was in the little plastic bag, and a bit all over me. I’d power chucked and surprised everyone including myself. The second time, I *only* passed out, and a few months later, I knew it likely wasn’t going to end well but thought I’d persevere. I drank heaps of water all day. This didn’t work out so well for me, because when I passed out shortly after starting to squeeze, I also wet my pants while I was out to it. No one knew until I told them… and now you do too.
9. While on holiday with my family in Quebec, we were in a supermarket looking for the packet of pizza dough mix and couldn’t find it. I tried to use my “French skills” from school, which only ended up to be “Ou est un sac de pizza dough?” Have yet to live that one down with the parents.
10. While in Honduras and practicing my less than amazing Spanish, I pronounced the (silent) h when ordering a baked potato aka “papa horno”.
11. While living at the Hall of Residence in Dunedin when I was studying at Otago, I partook in a classic Scarfie pubcrawl. It was all fun and games partying with the freshers on a school night, until one guy decided to pick me up – literally. He grabbed me around the knees, threw me up over his shoulder and then proceeded to drop me down his back. I plummeted face first and had to go to uni the next day with the meanest goose egg and hardcore headache (for some reason).
12. Thom and I made our first joint purchase on our first trip together in 2011. My waterproof Olympus camera had long since died, and since we were headed to Rarotonga, I really wanted another. So we went halves on an awesome Lumix at duty free. After our 4wd tour of the island, we had some snacks at the headquarters. I absentmindedly walked away from the brand new camera and left it on table! Luckily, the driver kindly turned around for me, and it was still there when we came back.
|Nice and clean!
13. About a year ago my passport accidentally went through the washing machine. It was nearly at its life expectancy, full of stamps and memories, and the High Commission retained my damaged collection of travels (I swear as a punishment) when I renewed it.
14. When I got my current work visa with my soon to be expired passport, they told me I’d need to send proof of payment to get the new sticker in my new passport. I sent a copy of the initial receipt for my work visa, only to find out that there was an additional fee of $90 to have new work visa stuck in new passport. Didn’t I look smrt when immigration rang up to say there was no payment included and I argued that I’d already paid for the fee and then learned there was a bloomin’ new one.
15. In my first year at Brock University, I applied to do the Concurrent Education program alongside my BA in Child and Youth Studies. You had to have a 75% average to be considered. When I put my application in, I told myself and everyone else “If I don’t get in, I’ll just go overseas and train to be a teacher…” Then my marks came out. Wouldn’t you know I got a 74% average and didn’t even get a look in. All of the sudden, I was saying “well, ummm, I guess I just, go overseas and… study?” I had 3 years to sort my life out – and I did go overseas and study! Possibly the best thing to ever happen?
16. While at Teacher College, my laptop cord got caught around my foot, causing it to fall off my (not even very high) bed. Something about the motherboard happened, and all I know is that it died. I’ve been reliant on school computers every since and have to return mine in 3 weeks, which will render me laptopless!
17. Somehow, somewhere in my teaching career in NZ, I ended up with the wrong tax code on my payslip. I learned the hard/expensive way that the Tax Return process/purpose here isn’t at all like Canada… I submitted an enquiry directly on the website only to be stuck with a $900 tax bill because I’d been UNDERPAYING for however long. D’oh.
18. To get paid my proper teaching salary, I had to have my qualifications checked by NZQA. This cost $700 that I didn’t have as a new teacher and so I had to get a credit card. It only has $1000 limit on it, but every time I pay it off, ‘something else’ comes up. So annoying!
19. The first car I bought, I thought was a great deal at $1000, until I found out that it had Engine Knock. The mechanic said I’d lucky to get it from the bottom of the South Island to the top of the North – but I did. Within a week of living in Kaitaia, some guy pulled out from his parallel park and completely sideswiped every panel on the passenger’s side doing $3k worth of damage. The guy was happy to pay me the $1000 the car was ‘worth’ rather than repairing the damages. I never would have gotten anything for it otherwise!
20. Back in June I encountered another driver with not much sense, as she’d stopped in the middle of road just at the top of a blind hill. My car ended up being a write off, and after months of rigmarole with insurance companies, the beautiful, reliable car named ‘Pipi’
I’d bought for $2000 2 years ago, was valued at $2500 and I got a cheque for sweet justice.
|White sand, hot sun.
21. I knew that the sun in New Zealand is vicious, but found out the hard way. One of my first weekends in the Far North with my new friends, we found ourselves at one of the most stunning beaches for most of the day and then spent the afternoon/evening barbecuing and drinking. I used to get the most brutal hangovers as it was, but pair this with a crisp-ified sunburn from the day before (across my tummy/thighs nonetheless!) made it painful to wear undies. The next morning, in my hungover state, I had to make the half hour commute into town bright and early for Family Mass, COMMANDO because it hurt too much to wear my knickers.
I’m sure that’s some sort of sin, oops sorry.
|Lucky find from a pub!
22. We met future landlord (of our absolutely stunning beach front flat) at a small country pub while out drinking.
23. We went to an Op Shop with some friends in Whangarei in 2010, and ended up getting fancy cocktail drinks ($8 each reg) 4 for $10!
24. When I was 4 years old I won a Lady Diana ring in a contest at the jewelry store.
25. My black pearl necklace from Rarotonga and the forget-me-knot ring I bought myself on Valentines Day shortly after arriving in New Zealand both went missing while living at my old flat. I’d misplaced them somewhere and had no idea what had happened to either. Shortly after moving into our new place, the ring was on the necklace, tangled up outside the door on the ground at our new flat. Completely inexplainable, but really happy to have both back!
26. I recently won an Avanti Plus mountain bike as a spot prize at the Kerikeri Half Marathon, which I did in a dress
27. Before moving to New Zealand, I lived with my parents in Nova Scotia for 4 months. I needed a job, ASAP and walked into The Rodd Grand Hotel, where I’d already emailed my resume for the wait staff job going, and asked to speak to the manager. I said “Hi, I’m Kate and I need a job.” With no prior waitressing experience, I started the next day, serving formal functions, the hotel breakfasts and eventually the bar as well. I guess all my experience on the customer side of the bar had finally paid off?
Amidst the randomness of relocating up north, the bad luck of getting hit by the muppet on Puckey Ave, reporting it to the police, and meeting Mike the cop who eventually introduced me to Thom 2 years ago.
What is seredipity? It’s the story of my life! And it sure does make for some good stories to tell, that are funny once I get over the shock and pain of them a the time! I wouldn’t trade my bad luck, good luck and stupid mishaps for the world. They’ve taught me a lot, often what NOT to do, made me stronger and given me a hell of a lot of stories to share and make other people laugh at my misfortunes!