An EPIC Update

Hello, my lovely little readers, I’m back! With the most epic of updates just for you xoxo

Yes, I know, I’m sorry for not posting since Christmas. I’m sorry I didn’t let anyone know where I was and what I was up to, but I figure you would work out that it was due to my thesis TAKING OVER MY LIFE. Which it totally did. Writing, editing, designing a book layout, these tasks controlled my every day existence for the past few months. They also made me not want to write a single word ever again, not even a fun bunch of words for this blog.

But, drum roll please, I HANDED IT IN!!! Let the champers flow and the glitter fall!! (This didn’t happen at all by the way, hilarious side story: The day I went to hand in I dragged a friend down with me to help capture the moment. I was giddy and excited AF as I lay down my two beastly copies of my thesis and perkily said, “I’d like to hand-in my thesis, please”. The admin lady smiled and replied, “Congratulations, have your supervisors signed THIS form?” Of course they hadn’t, and I had to chase them down over the course of TWO DAYS and therefore, when I finally did hand-in my thesis, I was so over it that I basically threw it at the admin person and ran. Then got very drunk. #typical)

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Regardless of the non-event that was my hand-in moment, I am SO happy to be finished and I am incredibly thankful that I ended at a point where I was still totally smitten with my project and not awaiting a point of final escape. That is so rare, but I think it is because I stuck to my guns and did a thesis that I was so passionate about, that I had the energy for the entire year, that I enjoyed even in moments of stress and exhaustion. Future thesis students, this is my advice for you (and for future PhD student Anneke):

Do something that engages YOU, which YOU are excited about – yes, you want to contribute to your discipline or field of study with new and original knowledge, but that will come naturally. Be passionate, be invested, and above all, put yourself first, no matter what. Take a breather from reviews if you feel too anxious, take a holiday if you want to. Always be flexible and open, your thesis will change and will never be the project you intended at the beginning. That’s OK, it will all work out in the end.

[DISCLAIMER: I don’t know if I’ve passed yet, so this could be VERY bad advice. Awkward…]

The week after I finished, I went on a super fun adventure to the top of the North Island with my partner in crime, Miss Natalie Jump (who blogs over at Natventures, definitely go check her out, she is brilliant). We ticked off two things from my bucket list – to go on a road trip with a friend and to travel around the tip of the North Island. Boom. It was amazing. We danced our Monday away at Laneways, ending the night jumping until we couldn’t feel our feet to Chvrches <3. Laneways was hot and sticky and glorious and I loved every band and I saw Thundercat and I die. We shoved anything and everything camping related into the back of Nat’s mum’s Landcruiser on Tuesday and drove to Kerikeri where we perched on a porch with beers and her ukulele. We then cruised on up to Cape Reinga where I took an obligatory tourist photo by the lighthouse and we both freaked out over the STUNNING views. Guys. New Zealand is EFFING BEAUTIFUL. I just, can’t even.

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That Wednesday we found a campsite at Spirit’s Bay where we found out we hadn’t packed the tent poles, so we shoved mattresses in the back of the truck to kip on later. We traipsed on down to the beach where we both FREAKED OUT AGAIN. “The sand is so WHITE, the water is so CLEAR”. We swam. I got surrounded by stingrays. The usual. We ended our night stargazing the most star packed sky before rolling into bed (literally rolling, Nat hurt her back while freaking out about the stars, ouch).

The next day we boarded down the giant Te Paki sand dunes and drove down 90 Mile Beach, stopping to dig up pipi with our toes to cook up for lunch. We adventured around until we settled for the night in a little cottage that belongs to Nat’s auntie. We played lots of card games that night, mainly to distract from the fact that we had run out of beer.

Friday was spent wandering through Kerikeri before we crashed on the couch at Nat’s auntie’s actual house with big bowls of smoked salmon pasta, giant glasses of white wine and Grease Live. The next morning we awoke to have two friends, Annie and Lou, join us on our venture to Waitangi for Waitangi day (New Zealand’s national day). We watched a waka ceremony before wandering up to the carved meeting house for a service. Then my sole mission was to eat as much fried bread as possible as this only happens once a year (seriously, fresh fried bread with lashings of butter and oozing with golden syrup – my HEAVEN). The festival vibe of Waitangi was miles away from what our media portrays as a political hothouse (with this year’s dildo incident taking centre stage). A family day celebrating our nation with mountains of cultural food, community outreach and live music. Perfect. And that was the final point of my beautiful holiday.

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Since then life has been pretty busy, stressful and to be honest, sad. I had a friend pass away suddenly a couple of weeks ago, the type of friend who brought so much life, vibrancy and charm to this world and the type of friend who left this world with hundreds of people mourning him with song, poetry and stories. Friends, family and Wellington’s arts and theatre communities came together to celebrate his life and cling to some type of normality and support as we battled through the emotionally intense day that was his funeral. The light that he provided this world is gone, but his last moment of generosity was to donate his organs to 7 strangers who will now have a second chance at life. I will miss you Michael, you bright and shining star. You will wear your halo fabulously.

I have been working incredibly hard on an art project called The Performance Arcade (which runs on Wellington’s waterfront from 2-6 March). It is physically intensive work. As part of the Spatial Design Team I’ve created furniture and designed hospitality spaces, and moved so much bloody timber. It has its moments of joy, mainly due to the people, but it is hard work. I can only hope that the final product will bring joy, art and brightness to all people who stumble across our project (hint hint).

Finally, my moment of vibrancy. The past year I have put my mental health at the top of my priority list, but my physical health at the bottom. It’s time to shift focus and balance the two. I joined Weight Watchers again! I am so excited, the program is 10x better than when I joined the first time, focusing not only on food but on fitness and mental health. The support is incredible and I am so happy and committed to begin this journey. I will be including you in every step of this journey, and my next post will be about why I joined Weight Watchers and my initial thoughts on the new program.

Thank you for sticking with me, even in my absence. Let the year of blogging officially begin!

XO

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