Brico

Shortened from the word bricoleur, a french term, which refers to a person who draws from a diverse range of means to create something new, Brico is a bricolage of my own experiences, drawing from my travels around the world.

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Fire Alarm

Last night I had the worst sleep because the fire alarm started beeping due to a dead battery. That was the beginning of a bad day, but I didn’t realize that I was having a bad day until I found out that I had an assignment due last Monday. It’s Wednesday. I have never done this before. I have never even asked for an extension. At least I made the bus ride home! When the professor said 10 people still haven’t turned in the assignment, my heart dropped. I’ve never had the feeling of puking and crying at the same time as I did in that moment… well, that’s not true, but we all know that feeling eh? I couldn’t swallow the peanut butter lump in my throat. It kept coming up. Looking back from a more stable emotional perspective it is kind of funny. I looked over to the guy sitting next to me and whispered, “what paper?” I actually feel bad for the people who get in the way of my struggle tornado.

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City Bus Window

It has become second nature to ride the bus now. I have read 4 Ian McKewan books by now, Atonement, The Comfort of Strangers, Enduring Love, and currently finishing Saturday.  

When the driver releases the brakes a sharp pressurized exhalation vociferates from the lungs of the bus as if it has been holding its breath and is now gasping for air.

Slapped by a gushing suck of air I look up to see

My face slide by in the reflective waters of a city bus window,

The apparition stares blankly as in a candid photograph,

The mobile reflection is a floating reminder

Exposing my body in a flashing instance

Soft pelting rain glides over the suspended mirror

Like loose ink spilled over glass

 

I walk along svelte-swept sidewalks of grey velvet gravel

It’s a cool, clear, fresh dusk

Waves of wind dust the leaves of raindrops in a surging burst,

The sounds of vehicles mimic racecars with a static velcro rush,

I look up to watch the city transform from a hazy glaze

To a kaleidescope of flickering lights

 

Damp grey rain that once softened the angular features of roaring buildings,

Loses effect, diminishing into the glassy black planes

Metallic mountains, penetrating upwards through the clouds

Sharp contours of unforgiving force

Dramatized by noir, black and white from the ashes of grey

 

Glowing silhouettes become blurred

Their outlines recede into darkness

Night awakens the glowing squares,

Teeming with inextinguishable determination from

An oblique electric perspective of white marble sparkle

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Metal Chair

 

Everyone likes to have order, calendared events, familiarity; in “order” to preserve room for unexpected thoughts. I sit in a café, I sat here last week too. And perhaps eventually, I will find a certain portion of the deck, the same area, then the same chair and habitualize. Then it will be time to go home. It would be so easy to walk around but I am glued to the chair, the metal imprints on my legs, marking its ownership, its hold on me. I will be back.

 

To an extent I like to face fears, confront what causes anxiety, such as living in another country, traveling to strangers houses (WWOOFing), going places alone (during the day), etc. On the other hand, I too lay victim to the brawny grip of routine. I too find a bit of customization necessary to settle and when everything seems to pull at me from every direction I find solace in the comfort of this chair. It will be here tomorrow and the next day and the day after… That is to say if there is not another devastating earthquake or more endemic to Auckland, a volcano. 

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Lost?

Sometimes a looming feeling emerges, especially when I’m lost; It’s not “what’s the point,” although some derivative to that effect; It’s “what direction am I headed, and yes on two different levels; literally and figuratively. I found myself at a rugby stadium, observing the league games. I was suppose to be at the Trusts Stadium, but that is besides the point. While I was a respectful, yet distant bystander, I couldn’t help but feel like an ethnographic researcher, observing, but not participating. It was as if (and I don’t mean this to sound condescending) it was all a joke simply because all of these people were completely serious about a sport I had never even watched before. The men would get pumped up by singing songs in the locker room and young boys in striped jerseys, who would someday grow into the roles of their predecessors, would echo the lyrics well after the cessation of chanting. I could predict their lives as a bystander, which made me think about my own life and how it has been laid out, vulnerable to the lofty prediction of a foreign bystander. I can just imagine, “Ah, yes, she will go to college, play volleyball, graduate, be hired by a mid-paying job, continue recreational sports well into her years, get married, have a few children and continue the cycle.” To each his or her own (country). What I mean to say is that so much of our identity and life is already laid out by cultural standards, but what I have learned is that there are so many different paths to follow or create. I don’t have to settle into the working class as soon as I graduate. I don’t have to get married or have children. I don’t have to buy a house or even live in a house for that matter (I would much prefer a boat.) So I guess the point is not having direction at the moment. And perhaps this feeling of floating without destination or a definite ETA (estimated time of arrival) stems from the digression of one path to the realization of many.

I was “suppose” to be at the Trusts Auditorium at 4:30 to watch a netball game; Mystics vs. Pulse for my “Sports Media” class. I decided to leave early; 1:15 to make sure I got to the right place in time. Even when I asked someone at the bus station how to get to the Trust Auditorium on Lincoln St. he told me the wrong directions. I did exactly what he told me. “Take the 131 bus to Smales Farm, transfer to the Albany bus, get off and walk to the destination.” Obviously, he didn’t listen to me and automatically assumed I was going to watch rugby at a stadium. I was very early and congratulated myself for finding the right place, enough time to even watch a few league rugby games. Around 4pm I started getting suspicious. Shouldn’t there be more people parking? Do they simply not support girls as much as guys? So I walked up to the gates where a lady and man were having a conversation. At my presence they turn and look. I ask them if this is the right place, wishing that it is, but knowing something is wrong about the atmosphere. No music, no crowds, no “open” ticket stands. They look at me apologetically. Its definite. I am at the wrong place. Really? I’m lost again? Thankfully, the lady, Shannon, events coordinator at North Shore Stadium, is headed home with her daughter and is passing by the Trust Stadium….sooo I hitch a ride with her and her ten year old daughter and her friend who are playing with a bucket of water and blue squishy balls, probably used for decoration. Blue balls… I know Ha Ha. I get to the game at half time, record the skirted netballers on my Flip, note camera locations, observe the crowd and ponder my next move. I was headed to Waitekere to have dinner with some previous WWOOF hosts, Jane and Hilary (man’s name), but realized that I didn’t know how to get there and didn’t have their number. So I texted Chloe who travelled with me beforehand asking for the number. I asked someone for directions (suprising eh?) to the train station. The guy said it was a long walk, perhaps 25-30 minutes. When he said long walk, I though he meant undoable. I have gone on 2 and ½ hour walks before (trying to find my way home). By the time I had arrived at the station, Chloe had texted back. The train pulled us seconds later. I hopped on and headed to Swanson, a familiar stop I had made two months before. I called the numbers. No answer, only voicemail. I was reaching the last stop before my phone buzzed. Hilary called and said he would come right away to pick me up. Happy ending I guess. Everything seemed to work out some way or another. I had the best home-made Japanese dinner and slept in one of their house trucks. The next morning I helped shovel dirt for artichoke plants. I got to plant one before I left and whispered sweet nothings in its leaves; to grow strong and hopefully end up one day as a gourmet meal on the plate of an eager diner. But wait there’s more! The trains don’t run on Sundays sooo… Hilary looked up the bus schedule, printed out a map, drove me to the station, and an hour later I was almost at the right place. Apparently, you are suppose to press the stop button for every stop, but the bus usually stops at Akoranga station no matter what. As we drive past the stop I try to alert the driver, who breaks a bit, but says its too late. I get off at the next stop with another girl who is in the same situation and wait… a few minutes later a bus stops. It is not the right one. 15 minutes later a bus stops and it is the right one. We get on and are welcomed by the driver who says this happens all the time. Home sweet home, I arrive. Windsurfing lessons at 2pm on the beach. Catch a bus at 1:40. No problems. Go windsurfing. Problem. Windsurfing on the beach is much different than windsurfing in a lake. The ocean has waves, to state the obvious. But it was still fun and something to aspire to eventually. I have no more problems with buses for the rest of the day. Go home, read a few pages for art history. I have tutorial in a different place tomorrow. Can’t wait to get lost looking for it. Should be another adventure and a half. 

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Aukland doesn’t even know I’m here.

A people’s museum, a parade of bodies. Sleepwalking zombies have taken over the streets and humans are doing nothing about it! Who knew there were sheep in the city center? Too appropriate for New Zealand, eh? Thoughtlessly following strangers in herds. Yet, sheep are more intimated. I could be silent for an entire day and nobody would even notice. It is as if I am watching them, completely engulfed in the dramas of their lives, inundated by passion, unknowing to insecurity; estrangement. The city is slowly sucking my soul away. My voice lost in the buzzing chirps of cicadas, knocking against my eardrums. If a girl walks in a city and nobody sees her, is she really there? 

(One of my downer moments)

 

Girls clinging arms as if when they let go, they will be lost in the whirring traffic, inhaled into oblivion. The trees, almost props in the city stage, paper leaves and cardboard trunks, dichotomous to their surroundings. Cars; machine-worker-bees. I have no desire to touch or feel any of these people, yet I feel my body, emptied, an exoskeleton, a shell, needing to find a host in the accompaniment of others. I know the cure, but can’t be bothered. Movements are slow and calculated, looks; meaningful, but what do they mean? Interrupted from a dream, the lanky Amazonian-like Avatar of a boy/man (what are they at this stage) awkwardly addresses me. Having kept in silence for so long, it takes a minute to process a familiar face let alone form my mouth around the sound of words and so they trail off, but the time has passed, and he probably only heard a mumbling discordance from my direction. I find a sort of comfort in apathy, a rightness. I am not unhappy or happy—I just am. I guess I could go look for a different café, roam the city, but a I have no inclination to spend money or meet people I will never see again… unless there is promise of a crème de menthe…. Perhaps a craving for nostalgia rather than its taste. Still I sit, I am somehow gravitationally impaired. 

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Kapa Haka Class

All of us girls are learning how to coordinate our bodies; foot movements, hand movements with poi and singing simultaneously. The teachers make it look easy, but it is actually really hard. Eventually it will become second nature… I hope. The guys are learning the Kapa Haka chant that the All Blacks recite before games. It is so intense! They have to chant loudly and stand in a squat position while stamping their right foot and making crazy faces. I told them it was really fun to watch them and one guy answered that it made him want to go hunting or get into a fight… its very manly. I think I should introduce it to the volleyball team so the other team will want to forefit before they even play us! I think when girls do it, its even scarier because you wouldn’t expect pretty faces to become so completely contorted and the roaring cacophony of voices is impressive to say the least. 

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Motuihe Island

Motuihe Island with tramping club. During the day we walked around the island and sun-tanned on the beach. I now have a permanent white bathing suit or “togs” print, compliments of the sun. You can even see how I tied my bow. I was reading a book by Ian McKewan (favorite author) and didn’t realize how long I had been lying on my stomach…too long, I know this now.

Unbeknownst to us “tramps,” there was a yachting race sponsored by BMW and Steinlager who were to concede and share the patch of land known as Motuihe Island. Would you like some land with that beach? I lay out next to the path with a few other girls and only a savy grandfathery old man knew what we were up to, rhetorically asking if we were sitting in this area to check out all of the men on the way in.” He may have been joking, but he was actually right. The next group was a rowdy bunch who we obviously had to make friends with. Eventually they got our numbers and promised to teach us how to sail and take us fishing. Hopefully the numbers didn’t wash off on their drunken adventure back to Auckland. They were definitley “on the piss” a.k.a drunk. One guy pretended he was in the band and used the tamborine to play along. Another went to claim a prize and while saying “speech, speech, speech” as if he could even speak those words, was spilling his beer without noticing. Everyone was laughing at this, but he thought they were laughing at his speech comment. I watched him as he began to slurp down the remaining drops of Steinlager and didn’t even notice the lack there of. I guess it’s better he didn’t drink it. 

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You Know Your A College Student When…

You know you’re a college student when you wash your clothes in the sink…roll a trolly (shopping cart) back to the grocery store from your appt…eat free sausages and hash browns on white bread…mix cheap beer and wine…use a grocery basket as your recycling bin…

 

Thursday. St. Patty’s Day. Class ended at 12 so I decided to learn how to wind surf. I am officially addicted. I found my way to Lake Pupuke on the North Shore near where I live and found the $25 lessons offered on weekdays. I picked it up pretty quick, but it was a calm day so I will have to see what happens next week. As I was falling asleep that night and the next I had the muscle memory engrained in my arms, just like when I was fishing and could only think of untangling lines and pulling up fish. I begrudgingly went to the city to celebrate leprechaun day. I am not a fan of cities unless I am in a city mood and quite frankly I had enough bussing and up-hill walking during the week. You can basically expect the same thing every time; ear-bleeding music, sweaty creeps, smoking sluts and an array of strangers whom you will probably never see again… thankfully for some. A taxi driver cat-called me. What is this?!

 

I’ve had 3 more sausages with onions and tomato sauce on white bread. There is actually a “Meat Club” at my school and it is $10 to join which includes all you can eat sausages every other Tuesday. No, I did not join because I have had enough sausages to last a lifetime as cliché as that sounds.

 

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