3. Join a wine club

Actually that’s kind of fudging the truth… It was a marketing gimmick from Green Man Bar in Wellington… but it was great!

I’m almost through all of my goodbyes, and last night went for drinks with my fellow interns and later met my friends for dinner.

Turns out it is quite difficult to find a good happy hour on a Wednesday, but after asking my friends Larry and Sergey we found the Green Man Wine Club. Every Wednesday they have a new selection of guest wines for $5 per glass or $25 per bottle. If midweek drinking is your thing I thoroughly recommend it!

Delicious, delicious Oriental Kingdom roti

The bargain hunting rolled on with dinner at Oriental Kingdom. I had never been there before but heard great things about their signature dish: $7 Roti Chenai. A secret hotspot in Cuba St’s Leftbank, it seems everyone but me knew about it! Despite appearing busy, our food came out pretty quickly (hint: it isn’t so quick if you order anything other than Roti Chenai). Even though my dumpling entree came out later I was happy. There are few things more delicious than Roti bread and dumplings. In fact, I am such a dumpling fiend that if I spot them on a menu they are practically compulsory. You should have seen my face when I went to Harajuku Gyoza, a restauarant entirely devoted to Japanese dumplings in Brisbane. It has a hilarious website too!

A belly full of some of my favourite foods definitely softened the blow of saying goodbye to some of my favourite people. And all the wine probably helped too.

*I think this post should have been labelled ‘Join a Wine Club and Profess my Deep Undying Love for Dumplings.

2. Publish a blog

Back on the horse. Project started!

Technically I started a blog once before, but it was work related and I wasn’t particularly committed. This time around I am committed, full of ideas and I even bought a domain name!

It was actually kind of tricky to come up with a name. It felt like getting a tattoo, except it had to be a tattoo no-one else in the world had.

Next step, stop feeling self conscious that my writing is crap, tell people it exists and get out there and do exciting things to write about!

1. Start a project and fail immediately

The original plan was to start January 1st, being a new year’s resolution and all. Unfortunately I was too preoccupied gallivanting around the North Island with no computer or internet access for that to work out. When I came back I was straight in to work. Despite my best efforts, working 9-5 implementing a contract management system doesn’t lend itself to doing exciting, blog-worthy things.

Between returning from holiday, planning my departure to Europe, working full-time and not having actually started this blog yet, I managed to keep deferring kickoff for a good 16 days in to the new year.

I did manage a number of ‘firsts’ throughout that time, but I realised that it actually takes quite a conscious effort to ensure you do something new every single day. Maybe this challenge will be harder than I thought.

So instead I decided to defer the beginning of my 365 days to January 17th (no particular significance, other than finally getting this blog going). While I could drum up something new for each day, I was really clutching at straws for posts for the days I was at work. Instead, as a consolation prize, I do have a list of highlights from my first 16 days of the year:

1. Dance in the rain on New Years Day

While I certainly wasn’t the only one experience this, it was my first New Years at a festival where it practically rained the entire time. AND IT WAS AWESOME! It was also the first time I had been to Rhythm n Vines. A great lineup, a great bunch of people and a magical moment when the rain stopped just in time for the midnight fireworks.

2. Go to Tauranga

To be fair we only drove through it on the way to the Coromandel, but I have never been to New Zealand’s fastest growing city before.

3. Go to the Worst Best Restaurant

Down the road from the bach we were staying in for the post New Year’s detox was what looked like a lovely restaurant, albeit with a terrible name and incredibly tacky sign. However, ‘Go Vino’ had been voted ‘Best Restaurant in Coromandel’ and claimed to be a “Tapas Bar and Wine Merchant’ so we had high hopes. Sadly, it was the most shocking service I have ever experienced. In something that reminded me of the winning customer service experienced by David Thorne here, there appeared to be a bizarre practise in place where the staff at Go Vino would inhale sharply, grimace, and exclaim we are terribly lucky to be able to get a table at this time of night (8pm, well past the dinner rush) and look like it really pained them to serve us. I would guess the restaurant was about 1/3 full.  Perhaps if we were in the finest restaurant in New York, the wait staff were done up to the nines, bow ties and all and there were lines outside, behaviour like that may be expected. Unfortunately we were in Cook’s Beach, there were at least 6 empty tables the entire time, the waiter was a bizarre Latvian in cargo shorts, jandals and ridiculous purple aviators and he asked us to produce our ‘documents.’ A bottle of warm Pinot Gris, a forgotten entrée and two decidedly average pizzas later I can quite confidently say the only things salvaging the evening were the 3 lovely friends I was with and the wine waiting at home. At an appropriate temperature. The menu also featured a bizarre explanation of how some people find the concept of Tapas confusing, so rather than explain it in fewer words, they have invented (and subsequently needed to explain) an entirely new concept called ‘Kaizen.’ Not confusing at all.

4. Go floundering and feel like a murderer

My father and I have always found it a little difficult to sit still on holiday. Unfortunately for him he had a wee cycling accident and had a broken collarbone this summer so there wasn’t much windsurfing, sailing, kayaking or fishing to be done this year. One of few activities he could manage this year was floundering – a new hobby since I last holidayed with the family.  After pulling out the doe eyes and the ‘I’m crippled’ card, before I knew it I had put the wine down and pulled on my wet suit. Little did I know floundering would involve walking around in circles in the shallows for an hour trying to spot fish shapes in the sand, then ruthlessly stabbing them with a trident. When I finally spotted one I edged closer, hoping it wouldn’t notice me, hovered over it and tried to work out where to aim to combat the light refraction. There was nothing left to do but stab this poor defenceless fish, but I couldn’t do it. Hesitating a few seconds was enough for the poor little guy to work out what was about to happen and scurry away. I spent the rest of the evening being berated by my father and brother for losing him, but I was kind of OK with that.

5. Play ‘Articulate’

A brilliant board-game, played at a friend’s place on Waiheke Island. We enjoyed it so much we went another round (and it was a relatively long game). It is kind of like pictionary, except you describe words (without saying them) instead of drawing them. Much more fast paced. I tried to control competitive Harriet but I don’t think I did too well. I think I would still endorse Articulate even if I wasn’t on the winning team!

6. Win money at the Casino

I have been to the Auckland, Brisbane and Dunedin Casinos, but never have I gambled at one before. It just doesn’t interest me at all. I know the odds, they are shocking. How can I enjoy sitting at a table seeing my money disappear? However, this was my first ever casino trip before 3am and all but sober! At the end of two weeks of drinking none of us felt like a big night out in Auckland, even if it was a Saturday. So after a civil dinner in town we decided to go to the Casino (some of my friends have quite different views on gambling to mine). We arrived at 9pm and it was packed. There would have been thousands of people there. The boys had to queue for their blackjack table while the rest of us wandered around for ages to find an available pokie machine (it was that busy). You can spot the tourists and those there for novelty’s sake, but it actually made me sick to see just how many people were there repeatedly putting $2 coins in to the pokies as a legitimate Saturday night activity. After watching a friend lose her gold coins to the sparkling abyss I thought heck, when in Rome! and decided to empty my wallet of unnecessary spare change. I am leaving the country after all! A rookie mistake, however, as they only take gold coins. Here’s where things started going bad – I went in to debt to fuel my gambling. After a kind donation of $2 from another friend I gave it a go. I didn’t even fully understand what all the sparkling moving pictures meant, but somehow they made me feel hopeful! Unfortunately money was diminishing by the cent. 30c later I was bored and skeptical as ever (does anyone ever win these? It must be a scam). In the end I was just waiting for it all to disappear so I could leave, when all of a sudden the numbers were going up! I couldn’t believe my eyes. And they kept going up and up until it said I had $8! After that I decided to cut my losses, claim my $8 and repay my gambling debt. For a brief second though, I felt the temptation to put one of those coins back in the machine and see what happened. The very next moment I didn’t feel quite so morally superior to all of the people sitting around me putting coin after coin in to the pokies.

7. Go to the cricket and watch the whole game

Not! I gossiped the whole time and still have no idea what cricket scores mean.

8. Dye my hair a ridiculous colour

In 2011 I already went for ‘dye my hair a colour I have never been’ just for a laugh. I went a dark brown/auburn colour initially and wound up quite red after a disappointing trip to a hairdresser (stupid group-purchase-online-sites). It was all fun and games but dark red hair is incredibly high maintenance on a natural blonde and after a beach holiday it was starting to go pink. So I thought it was time to return to blonde and bought a couple of boxes of bleach. I knew it would be a challenge and was predicting at least 3 rounds would be necessary to rid myself of dark coloured hair.Little did I know the real issue was the industrial strength of hair dye required to get me back to blonde isn’t available on the supermarket shelf. 2 rounds later and my hair is now bright, bright orange. I’m talking bitten by a daywalker orange. I must look like the ginger kid with the best ever tan right now. Thankfully, my mother intervened and forced me to make an appointment with a hairdresser to finish it off before I could do the third round of hair dying and risk having it all fall out. With that comes a rather interesting wait to get my soul back/for my appointment. Two more days until I am cured of gingervitis!