Wellywood / by Tori Reed

I have been pleasantly surprised with the big smoke.  As previously admitted, it was with much trepidation that I moved up here from the South Island.  I had grown accustomed to the ways of the Southern Folk; and I liked it.  The nonchalant ways in which everything is approached, the attitude that anything is possible if you just keep going, the ability to grit their teeth and smile, and say "She'll be right".  These values are much akin to my own philosophy, and I was loathe to leave it.  The South Island taught me determination, discipline and drive.  The three d's as it turns out!  I always did have a thing for three's....

But I digress; so my departure from all of this had me worried.  My memories of the city were ones of people who don't like to smile.  It's as if they're worried that they have a finite number of grins, and if they are to give one to every person they pass in the street they will run out and have no happiness left over for themselves.
I remember anonymity.  How on earth you can feel lonely in a place that has so many people confounds me.
I mostly remember feeling like I didn't fit in.

The last time I was living in a big city, I was young.  In your early 20's you somehow manage to juxtapose feeling invincible and indelibly delicate at the same time.  I was also living in a city that housed my high school friends which automatically lends itself to stereotyping your behaviour.
I was an awkward high schooler.  So determined to get old quickly, to move into the 'adult' world.  Looking back, I realise this mistake, yet I feel it is a common one.  We wish to be older when we're not and then look back at the carefree school days with nostalgia when we do reach the 'adult' world.  (On a brighter note; I was asked to produce ID the other day.  I was wonderfully pleased at being asked to produce proof of age at a stage where the years I have spent overage, is close to equaling the ones I had underage)  I feel that in our childhood we are thrust into circles and paths of people who may not be in line with our own, just a geographical link ties you together.  Often for years or a lifetime, but when you look closely, what is the common denominator?  School.  An institution that attempts to deform us into something not all of us are.  A bell curve of algorithmically minded people who have little ability to critically think.  Quick!  Someone take away my soapbox!
Sometimes this enclosure produces, absolute, unconditional love.  I have childhood friends who, heinous crimes aside, can do no wrong.  That non judgement formed by years of standing beside a person because they are there and you have no reason not to stick by them, can form a strong bond.

But then finally, there is an age and a stage reached, where you gain some direction.  This then leads you towards like minded people, away from learned patterns of behaviour. Into the lives and living rooms of others who want to stay up all night and play music.  Into spaces with huge pots of curry that you help yourself to, and candlelit jamming with people from all over the world.  It may be true that it has taken me longer to find that direction than most.  I must be honest when I confess, I have been stuck in the finance circle; making money in order to make money.  Existing and passing time.  But here I am, dreams and schemes in hand, ready to face, the not so big and bad, city.

Wellington is a city of surprises.  In reality, it is a teeny tiny city.  If you are to look at a map to plan a route through it, do not be deceived.  What looks to be the other end of the world, is really only a fifteen minute drive.  It is full of musicians, performers, poets and dreamers.  People who think big, plan small, wear heels that his height certainly does not require and every fashion IS fashion here.  It has neck aching architecture, trees where ever they will fit, and installation art everywhere.  The only thing missing is the mountains, but never fear, escape to the beach is swift.

Wellington is a small city with a big attitude and there are far too many one way streets in this place.  The labyrinthyne way the city is laid out will catch out even the most dextrous who are gymnastically craning their necks to find non existent signage, or leaping inches out of the drivers seat trying to catch the road map that is blowing away in the ever present sea breeze.  It is, however, a lovely place to get lost in.  The many bay towns hint at promises that everyday could be a Sunday with smokey jazz on the radio and hot black coffee in front of you.  Driving north quickly brings you to the succulent smell of wild blackberries and rolling hills for as far as the eye will see.  Every lane way has some sort of surprise, whether it be one in the plethora of places that makes incredible coffee, or in typical New Zealand fashion, a road dog eared by orange road cones surrounding men and women working on seemingly perfect stretches of tarmac.  There is always some form of entertainment.  I do feel though, that lollipop men and women should dance more often.