Sunday, 5 May 2013

I wasn't always a teacher Part 2

Murphy's Law! Having done a post where I talked about my experiences in a house with a plague of mice I have an encounter in our kitchen this morning. Yesterday I thought I saw a dark shadow move across the kitchen but thought maybe it was just my imagination. But it is now official...we have a mouse in the house! Hopefully he / she does not have a family that has also taken up residence.

On a cheerier note for me I have joined a gym...Marion would be so proud! I have resisted for many years but made my first appearance in 54 years on Friday but that's another story.

Back to the subject of this post. I was delighted to get so many comments on Part 1 of my work experiences and to read about everyone else's work experiences. We have lived colourful lives. My mice tails / tales seemed to create a lot of interest. It was truly a creepy crawly time for me and probably has added to my disgust for these creatures.

Without further ado here is part 2:-

When I left New Zealand in 1984 at the age of 24 I left with feelings of excitement but also uncertainty. I remember vividly the drive from Dunedin to the Airport with my grandmother in the back seat with me. We were both a bit upset because my grandmother was 80 and we were very close. There was a sense of maybe this being our last time together. As it turned out that was the case. On the plane I was somewhat anxious and was wondering what the future had in store.

I had a one way ticket to San Francisco with no onward journey. I had US$1500 and the plan was to travel across America finishing in New York from where I would fly to London. I took a 3 day excursion with the Green Tortoise Bus Company to Yosemite. We slept on the bus which was a new experience. Quite comfortable as the bus had fold out beds. An incredible place of remarkable beauty that I was fortunate enough to revisit with my family a few years ago.

During my time travelling in America I met some wonderful people who put me up and took me places.

I had some scary moments such as going for a run in Los Angeles having left all my valuables at a person's house I had only recently met. In horror after a 20 minute run I realised I was completely lost without an address. Thankfully after a while the lady I was staying with drove her car around the neighbourhood and rescued me.

I lived with a father and daughter in Atlanta for a short time. We were the only white people in the street which was quite weird for me coming from a place like Dunedin. I had had an extremely sheltered life to this point. Bus journeys into the city were interesting. I met a man who owned a red corvette who drove me around and introduced me to his family and running friends.

My longest stay was in Little Rock, Arkanas of all places. I met a couple who owned a health store called Beans, Grains and Things. We shared an interest in alternative music such as Joy Division. They were most friendly and kiwis were an unknown breed to them. In fact few knew where New Zealand was and some thought it was attached to Australia.  In Little Rock I was looked upon as a novelty item. The locals loved my accent and I always had a captive audience. I found I didn't have to pay for many drinks.

As much as I loved being in America all good things must come to an end. Also money was running out and I missed some basic things like watching cricket and eating Fish and Chips out of newspaper.

Just before leaving New York a rifle shot passed me into a shop window near Time Square. A frightening experience! Finally I got on the plane and headed for London. My brother, Vincent was with me in America and London. The photo below was where we lived in Queens Park, London. Just a taste of things to come!


  1. ha. the rifle shot is your parting image of goodness...smiles...pretty cool...i have the motivation to do a similar jaunt through europe---one day---maybe...hope you catch that mouse man...

  2. Oh yes, I love(!) that you joined the gym. You'll fit in with the best gym members--you know the kind of people I really like!

    I hate to say this but, you'd be surprised at how many people in the U.S. don't know where New Zealand is. I apologize for those ignorant citizens.

    Your Fair Isle sweater was totally in style back then!!!

    :-) Marion

  3. Erm..for every mouse you see, there are six in hiding!!
    Jane x

  4. Wow! You are so very brave to do such an expedition! Then again, with all your experiences, you'd be that much more of an interesting teacher.

  5. Oh... I don't much care for mice, but it's spiders that make me scream.

  6. LOL... I had a baby blue sweater just like that in High School. Have enjoyed catching up with your posts. It's 3:15 AM and in 15 minutes I will be leaving for work. Working 4 AM on a Sunday really stinks! Ah well... it is what it is. Brighter note - Scott (hubby) is feeling some better.

  7. I'm glad you enjoyed yourself in our wonderful country. Travel certainly widens the mind. I can imagine your visits to other places are of great benefit when teaching your students.

  8. A life well lived with plenty of life experiences, Paul!

  9. What a fun adventure! I did a lot of traveling during my single twenties, too.

  10. Sounds like a real adventure! I wouldn't be as brave to head to New Zealand and just take off exploring...but I'm glad my fellow Americans did show you a good time and help you out..except for the nasty gun shot...yikes! You really did see America from "sea to shining sea"! P.S...Love the sweater!

  11. Sounds like you had a great time in America - what experiences you had!!!! That is what life is all about isn't it.
    Sorry I haven't been to visit a lot recently. Just back from spending the week with Laura and baby Riley so trying to catch up now. Your recovery must be going well :)

  12. Your story reminds me a bit of the movie "The World's Fastest Indian". (I wonder if Bert Munro's friends ever referred to him as a Temporary New Zealander?)

    You have seen more of America than I have ... it sounds like great fun.

    And Fair Isle has come back into fashion, you know. Do you still have that sweater?

    Congrats on joining a gym and on riding the exercycle! Your muscles are probably wondering what the heck was going on there for a while.... :)

  13. That was quite the introduction to America! As Sue said, I think you've seen more of the US than many IN the US! Oh, and there are people in the US who don't know the state of New Mexico is part of the US, so finding out there are some who don't know where New Zealand is doesn't surprise me at all. :)

    Good luck with the gym. I just finished physical therapy, and it certainly has done wonders for me, both physically and emotionally. I hope your experiences at the gym will do likewise.