Odd & Familiar

This past week I spent my time wandering around Auckland, running a few errands, reading (three!) books and researching and applying for jobs. Since Andrew started work on Monday, and without a clear deadline, I’ve had a lot of time to enjoy and ponder about what I’m doing here and what I want to do. Without a doubt, I’m oftentimes confronted by these extremely odd yet familiar situations and feelings. For example, early in the week I walked by the shipyard on the waterfront. When I lived in D.C. I worked for ship aquisition program and so I thought I might be able to spot a company or two that I could get in with. The sounds were familiar, the incesent bell warning of the large crane’s movement, just like I’d hear at the shipyards in Norfolk, VA and San Diego, CA. Also, I momentarily felt like I must have changed my mind in the night and flown back to the US. How many US companies can you spot in the following image in 5 seconds, go:

There are a bunch of strange things to see downtown. Many of the restaurants are tiny. Now picture tiny, then smaller! I’m talking some donut, cookie and coffee shops are no bigger than four feet wide and maybe 5-6 feet deep and that’s a generous estimate. Tiny little crevacies between bigger shops. I saw one shop during shift change and the two employees could not stand comfortably without touching one another. Awkward! Don’t get me wrong though, there are still plenty of McDonald’s and Burger King’s and Subway’s and Wendy’s (among other American fast food joints) but they offer some strange things on their menu. While I haven’t gone in yet, the McDonald’s seating area looks much nicer than many of the sit down eateries Andrew and I have frequented.

Just today I went to buy some cleaning supplies for our apartment, as we move in tomorrow. (I cannot wait to have our own private showers!!) I grabbed lunch in the cafeteria of the local mall and sat by the window. In the plaza outside is a large boulder with some Maori engravings and continous fire on top. I liked to watch the passerbye’s wandering through, many not even seeing the piece, but others noticing halfway through the short walk through the plaza, surprised that such a unique piece of work would be there. In the plaza, no less, of a Westfield mall. Yup folks, you heard that right, one block from the waterfront, downtown Auckland is a Westfield mall. Granted, there are not too many American name brands in the mall, it’s still hard to remember I’m halfway around the world sometimes.

Well, back to the daily grind… more job applications! If you are looking for something to do, I’d appreciate any feedback you might have for my LinkedIn page.

PS. Thanks to the paper-thin hostel walls, I was able to write this post to the wonderful sounds of the saxophone and singing of Room 410. Thanks guys.