One month ago today I hiked the Tongariro Crossing, said to be the best day hike in New Zealand, and today I hiked again for the first time since leaving New Zealand. As if I weren’t already feeling nostalgic, I met a hiker on my trek who told me he was planning a trip to New Zealand this November, and then I wanted to cry.
I miss New Zealand, a lot, but it’s good to be home. However, I have many untold stories from my adventure abroad, so even though I’m back in the States where I am inspired to write about such exciting things as free-cookies-and-milk day on campus (WHAT A WONDERFUL SURPRISE), I’m going to go back in time and write about New Zealand and Bali. I think it’s worth it.
One quick real-time update before I pretend like I’m Marty McFly and go back in time: I FINISHED MY THESIS!
You may recall my earlier entries that cursed the vile thesis as the bane of my existence (not to mention, the reason I stopped blogging for a year), but it is FINISHED! I’m actually going to graduate soon, and this is very exciting news. Feel free to do happy dances while shouting my name and twirling streamers with sunshine in your pocket. Or treat yourself to gelato and pizza and banoffee pie. Whatever you feel is necessary to rejoice. Yayyyyyy!!!!
ANYway, back to New Zealand. Instead of beginning with the Tongariro Crossing, which would be appropriate, I’m going to write my long-overdue blog dedicated to my friend Kirsten.
My original intent was to dedicate the blog to Kirsten in honor of her last day of working at the hotel. This was back in February (well done, me), long before MY last day of working at the hotel, but alas. KIRSTEN, WE’LL MISS YOU.
So the thing that I love about this girl is her sense of humor (which I’m guessing she would spell “humour”) and I think it’s accentuated by her accent…or her attitude, or a combination of the two. She’s technically a Kiwi, but she grew up in Dubai and went to a British prep school, so she’s got the most “propah” English accent I’ve heard. It’s also mixed with Kiwi, though, and I’m not sure whether pronouncing garage as “gare-ahj” is a Kiwi thing or a British thing. I just know that I want to giggle every time she talks.
I knew I liked Kirsten when she admitted that she used to see guests approaching the bar and immediately become busy with something in the restaurant so she wouldn’t have to deal with them.
That’s exactly what I did! I feared the bar. First of all, since I don’t drink enough to know what drinks ARE, let alone how to make them, people were often met with a blank (albeit terrified) stare when they requested things like “a shandy.” I can pour a glass of wine and open a beer bottle, but beyond that, I’m quite retarded. I never even knew how to pour a beer from the tap until working at the hotel, and once I did, my response to foam was to panic.
ALSO—another bar gripe—the bar was where we made fancy coffee drinks, like cappuccinos and lattes and things I’ve never heard of (flat whites, long blacks, etc.) and it was the second reason I avoided it at all costs. Of all my special skills—such as, predicting questions on biology tests, dancing on tables and chairs, saying the alphabet backwards—frothing milk was not among them. Whenever I tried to do it, the machine sounded like a dinosaur shrieking and I was afraid the whole restaurant would wonder if I was killing a prehistoric animal. There was never any whirlpool effect in the steaming pitcher, and what does “stretching the milk” honestly mean? I was convinced my manager hated me when he assigned me bar duty during the morning shift of the busiest week in the hotel. I was forced to delegate all coffee making tasks to the Resort College kids while I busied myself with the register.
Anyway, there were a lot of reasons to avoided the bar, and I was excited to know Kirsten shared my paranoia (though I admit she handled hers much better).
On her last day of work, Kirsten was scheduled for minibar, the job of restocking all food and beverages in the hotel rooms. And because I was scheduled to do it the following week, having never done it or even seen it done, I got to come in on my morning off and undergo speedball training. (LOVE my job.)
Kirsten had me laughing the entire time. She spoke quickly in a stream of consciousness kind of way, and I was lost the moment we walked into the minibar stockroom, but Kirsten apologized for being “the worst teacher ever,” (she wasn’t) and said, “It’ll make sense when we actually do it.” She ended up teaching me so well that the person I trained, on my second-ever minibar shift, by the way, taught someone else who’d been doing minibar for months the proper way to do things. Go Kirsten!
I think my favorite thing was learning why the minibar keychain contained a small mallet—“Because the week I did minibar everyday during the conference BY MYSELF I came home to find my hand swollen and bruised from knocking on the doors. I mean, honestly. It’s inhumane”—followed by my insistence that Kirsten sounds much better doing minibar than I do.
When you knock on someone’s door (with your knuckles and/or the mallet), you have to announce yourself. Like, housekeeping will say, “Housekeeping.” Room service will say, “Room service.” Well, Kirsten said, “Hell-lo, Mini-bah” in a sing-song, British-y, Kiwi sort of way that I felt I had to mimic. Otherwise I’d sound so flat and harsh, I’d come off sounding like a redneck saying “tore-tilla” instead of “tore-tee-ya.” Who wants to open the door for someone who says, “Mini-barrrrr”? Not even the Americans in Boston can stand the letter “R” (unless they’re saying the word “saw” in which case they’d say “sawr.”) I told Kirsten I wished I had an accent.
“You DO have an accent.”
Which was said in HER accent, so it sounded much better.
She also educated me on confidence—“It’s not a walk of shame, it’s a stride of pride”—and told me family stories—“So this one time, I was quite drunk, I came into my parents room and asked my mum if she remembered the days when I was little and would crawl into bed with her. ‘Kirsten, no. Absolutely not. You are not sleeping in this bed’—I mean, where’s her mothering instinct? So I threatened to take the dog with me instead.”
She always had a fun story to share, and I wish I could tape record them all.
Kirsten, I miss you. Hope you are doing well 🙂