The Budding Psychopath

I am still unused to seeing my schedule so packed. Between working two jobs, visiting with friends, exploring, and trying to catch up on lost sleep, I hardly have time to sit and pursue the random hobbies I enjoy (writing being one of those things). As the busy working-backpacker life devours me, I am growing to appreciate the down-time in Queenstown, as well as the satisfaction in the work I accomplish.

The two jobs (as I have mentioned in my last post) are housekeeping in a hostel, and working at a place called Fear Factory (a job referred to by a friend as “the perfect job for the budding psychopath”).

As hostel work goes, it’s actually fantastic so far. I cannot claim that housekeeping is my passion in life, yet I still find satisfaction in a good days work cleaning up my Queenstown home. Comparing my work with other hostel workers in the area, I can fully appreciate exactly how awesome my situation there is. Not only is it one of the nicest hostels in Queenstown (I’ll claim partial credit for keeping it clean), but it is genuinely an enjoyable experience working with the entire staff. I particularly appreciate the warm bed and a roof over my head right now as I’m a bit sick (apparently working two jobs and not getting enough sleep tends to make one sick). Every day working there is remarkably similar, and the role of housekeeping is fairly self-explanatory, so I won’t bore you with the details of my work there.

Fear Factory, however, is another story entirely. As I exit main training and become a fully functioning member of the team, I have realized exactly what an amazing job this is. This is a type job that I will probably only get once in my life, and I can’t be grateful enough for it. The simplified version of my job is this:

I scare the crap out of people.

I don’t think I realized how much this work appeals to me until I actually started doing it (hence the reason my friend refers to me as “the budding psychopath”). The work is stretching me in new ways that I never thought I would have to use in the workplace. Whether I am practicing creepy voices, new types of sounds or screams, moving stealthily, or makeup, every day is a new exercise in creativity. I‘m constantly working to expand my repertoire of acting/entertainment skills here. I am also getting good use out of my communication studies degree as I have had to get better at reading body language/nonverbal communication in general in order to better understand guests. I never thought I would be using my university degree to terrify people, but life throws all kinds of unexpected things in the way sometimes.

Besides work, my life has been extraordinarily similar in the day-to-day activities. One fortunate and exciting new experience that took place last night though was the opportunity to see the southern lights. Seeing the Aurora Australis was a bucket list item for me here in New Zealand, though one I didn’t think I would get to check off. The lights made an appearance in the sky along the mountain range just outside town. I walked a few minutes outside the light-polluted city and settled down for an hour to watch the natural light show in the sky. The lights were visible to the naked eye at a low altitude (a rarity, from what I have heard), and provided a spectacular show. The mountains across the water were silhouetted in bright green beams of light that wove their way under the Milky Way, interspersed with nearly white bursts of color throughout. The hour that I spent watching the display is not something I will soon forget. Nothing makes you feel smaller than a night sky ablaze with stars, and the aurora shining along the mountains.

New Zealand has been amazing for me thus far. As June quickly approaches, I can hardly believe how fast the time has gone by. It’s odd to think how much I have experienced in such a short time, and exciting to see how much I have grown as an individual. I feel like I only have a vague idea of the changes I have gone through personally while here, yet it is something that will become apparent upon my return to the states. I can’t wait to see how I interact with the world differently after this. Queenstown has already become a huge formational part of my time in New Zealand, and I can’t wait to spend the next few months here figuring out more about myself.

As always, thanks for reading, and I’m always open to chat if anyone from home (or from anywhere really) wants to!

Whistle While You Work

Since last we spoke (yes, I’m aware that it’s been a while), life has been a beautifully chaotic maelstrom of activity. At the heart of this is one thing.

Something I have been waiting nearly a month for.

Work.

I spent the better part of last week working on the deep clean and refurbishment of the hostel that I’m staying, and now working, in (shout out to Absoloot). I had a chance to work with the housekeeping staff here for the duration of the refurbishment, and am happy to announce I have officially joined their ranks now. This allows me to work for my accommodation, something that severely cuts down on my expenses while living in Queenstown. It’s not a bad job overall, and I have the benefit of working with some of the most fun-loving and generally enjoyable people around.

As of today, I’m finally living in the staff accommodation in the hostel. I get the opportunity to live with and get to know these incredible people for the next while. As we bond over the job of cleaning up after the other guests, we cannot help but grow closer. I can’t wait to see what is going to happen with this new Absoloot family formally represented by: Irish, German, American, Chilean, English, and Swedish members (with a few more honorary members from England, Ireland, and Australia as well).

After the refurbishment was finished on the hostel and I joined the crew, I was also given a trial and a job at one of the local businesses as well. This may be one of my strangest jobs yet, and I can’t wait to get into the full swing of things. I have begun my employment at Fear Factory, ranked in the top 5 scariest haunted houses in the world. The best way to describe it is thus:

You walk through an old Victorian hotel in the pitch blackness as you follow a trail of small lights (laser pointers).

Oh, and you are being chased by the dead (yours truly).

I am proud to join the team at Fear Factory, and can’t wait to begin my work with them in earnest. So far, I’ve only had one wild day of training, and am eager for more. Undoubtedly, more will follow on my work life later. I’ll leave you all in a bit of suspense on that for now.

One thing I have learned lately is to appreciate every bit of work that I have. After going nearly a month without an income, I appreciate simply the fact of being a productive human being again. I have learned to whistle while I work (that varies between figurative and literal), and have found joy in the unexpected. I have gotten to make new friends, say goodbye to briefly formed friendships, and generally build my life Queenstown. Having a paying job, a place to stay, and friends to stay with, all finally make this place feel a bit more like home.

I’ve been busy and admittedly slacking a bit on writing these blog posts lately (and for that I apologize). I shall strive to keep you all updated on my life, and can’t wait to discuss it with anyone interested. Don’t forget that I’m only a Skype call away! Get a message to me (Facebook, Instagram, comment on this, smoke signals, message in a bottle, etc.) if you feel up for a chat. I’ve been missing the faces from home quite a bit lately. Despite being all the way across the world, I still want to be able to keep in contact with those of you who have any interest in talking. Though I do understand it’s hard to find a time, rest assured that I’ll find time if you do.

For now, I approach the next week of whistle-filled work with anticipation. Time to clean some rooms with some ridiculous friends, and scare the life out of people at my night job. I have a feeling things are just getting started here in Queenstown.