Sunday, 31 October 2010

Life is sorted (just about)

Well a lot has changed since my last blog. mostly the job situation. As I said in my last post I went out on Monday to observe the other sales people and they put me with Rubal, the best salesman in Wellington and one of the best in the country. That man is a machine! he would knock on doors and just start spewing out numbers to people and convincing them to switch power companies. We got 7 sales all with add-ons so in one day he made about $600, he just wouldn't take no for an answer and had a no-nonsense, approach. He would just ask for a bill and in his head he would do the maths to show how much they could save with Mercury, and would just keep repeating all the service stuff like no estimated bills and all that. I found it a bit daunting actually and after a week of training and being told how to build a rapport with customers it was a bit odd to see this very business like approach, but it obviously worked! He said I could so the selling on Tuesday and he would just be there to help me but I was still looking forward to my interview the next day.

I don't actually remember applying for the coffee job, and didn't realise the sort of business i was applying to was a cash and carry. I arrived a little early and saw there were different section to Moore Wilson's, Wine&Beer, Variety which is toys, kitchenware etc. and Fresh. which has most of the food. There is also a coffee bar within the Fresh building. I met the lady interviewing me and after reading my CV and application form asked a few questions and I told her a lot about John Lewis and the customer service we had to provide. I also mentioned I wanted to do the Waitrose (John Lewis's supermarket) Graduate scheme when I got home and work my way into the buying office one day and that the Fresh section looked like the ideal place for me to work. I wasn't sure how it was going because she asked if I had any formal coffee training and I said no, but I learnt on the job, and she didn't really smile much either. Finally she said 'I know John Lewis, its a very fine company and you seem like a lovely lady so i'm going to offer you employment, can you start tomorrow.' I was soooooooo happy I was just sitting there grinning!!!!! Then she did a rota for me and told me how much I would get paid and it got even better!!! I get Thursdays and Sundays off and all the days except Saturday are early starts, which means I have my evenings all to myself. I get a three month casual contract which means there is no holiday pay, so my hourly wage is 8% higher than someone on a permanent contract. The base rate is high anyway, higher than minimum wage over here so it would have still paid well on a permanent contract. And I worked out that my post-tax income and Moore Wilsons is higher then my pre-tax income was at John Lewis so thats not bad at all!!!

That afternoon I went down to the sales people and told them I was offered another job and was told that was fine, good-by so I didn't even have to work any notice (not that I would have, in your contract they can fire you on the spot for any reason without notice and as Moore Wilson never knew about them I didn't need a reference so it didn't really matter.)

Wednesday was my first day at work and I after a quick tour I started out packing groceries, then had my till training. Most of the fruit and veg isn't labeled and although there are laminated sheets with the codes for everything most people have memorized it. There must be about one hundred different codes on that sheet and everyone seemed to just tap them in without even thinking. I began to think I would never  learn them all but I've been there for 5 days and I've learnt a lot of the more common ones already. its not as hard as it seems. If something hasn't got a code, or you can't find I on a sheet you just type the name in the product code bar and a list comes up to choose from, so so so much easier and more sensible than the system at John Lewis which was just ridiculously complicated and I never understood why you couldn't just type in a word and it searched it. I went on the island in the middle today which is the bakery/deli/coffee section and its fairly easy. I just have to avoid cutting my fingers in the meat slicer and thats about it. It was very quiet today though so it was a bit boring.

The break system is another thing which surprised me. You get to 15 min breaks in the morning and afternoon which are paid for, I couldn't believe it!! And than a half hour for lunch where you have to clock in and out with the finger print scanner. And they are much better organised than at John Lewis, the times that you go entirely depend on the time you stared work, none of this first, second and third rubbish and no going later cos its busy or being sent away as soon as you arrive. much more civilised. All the people seem really nice, the supervisors seem reasonable so far and I even went out with one girl on Saturday. We went to a bar called mighty mighty where there was a table tennis tornament going in which involved loads of people running around the able hitting the ball when it was there turn. If you missed 3 times you were out! The music was random, first there was a country band, playing to the table tennis, then after a weird band called run with the unicorns played. They had dancers with unicorn masks on and the whole night began to feel very bizarre and surreal, like a Salvador Dali paining or something.

I have also moved back to YHA for my last few days of homelessness, its much nicer here but I still can't wait to get into my flat and have my own space, unpack my bag and cook real food!

The weather is warming up a little as its moving into spring but its still very windy which makes it seem a lot colder than it actually is. Hopefully it won't be to bad this summer though, as I will be here till at least February. Thats about it for now!

Friday, 22 October 2010

Things are looking up!!!!

So things are getting a little better in Wellington now. I got a phone call from a sales company asking for an interview so went down on tuesday, got asked "are you comfortable with door-to-door sales" and was told to come to training the next day. So I stared three days of training all about Mercury Energy, a power company. I only went cos I hadn't heard anything else from anyone but the more I sat through the training the more I though it would actually be a reasonably descent job. I wouldn't get paid but I get between $40-80 a sale in comission so about £20-40. I figured I'de need 10 sales a week to be comfortable.

Then I got a call from a woman asking if I was a coffee maker and wanting to interview me so I have that on Tuesday. If she can give me 40 hours then i'm taking the job, I know the sales thing could be much better money but i'de rather have a seady income to rely on rather than things being a bit up and down. if she can only give me part time I might try and get enough hours there just to pay the rent, then do the sales thing for food ect.

Speaking of rent, I've found a flat! its very close to the city centre, there are 3 other girls there and the room i'm getting is being sub-let by a fourth girl who is a student going home for the summer. I move in on the 9th so not to long to go now! Its really cheap as well $153 a week including bills and internet. I can't wait!

Not much else has been going really. There are now 4 of us in wellington who I met on the plane and basically we've just been hanging out. I went to a rugby match on saturday with the friend of a friend from Auckland. He's English as well part of the same BUNAC exchange thing so it've been making new friends through him. I went with his flatmates but the game was boring, Wellington beat Taranaki easily, although one of the star All Blacks (the international sqaud) injured himself and is out of action for the rest of the season. And the tickets were free :) thats the best bit.

Not much else going on really, i'm going out and observing other sales people on monday, and have my coffee shop interview on tuesaday, so hopefully they'll both go well. I'll let everyone know!

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Week One in Windy Welly

Hello everyone.

I have been in windy welly for a little over a week now so i'm going to update everyone. We took the cable car up to the botanical gardens on saturday which had a great view of the harbour and was very pretty. we had dinner at a little cafe which was very nice. then sunday we had a relaxing day not doing much. Then the job hunt started monday. its horrible, soul destroying, depressing, life-crushing task. its been a week now and so far the only place i've heard from is a marketing company. i would get crappy pay + commission and bonuses.

The YHA where i'm staying is a really nice hostle, with a comfy tv room and in the last couple of days we've been so bored we've resorted to doing puzzles. the kitchen here is really nice, theres no bar so its quiet and it tends to get older people who dont make much noise at night. But they only let you stay for 10 days so i have to leave tomorrow. Going to base Wellington, its fine but its not going to be as nice as here. I need a job and a place to live so i can get out of hostels, Base is going to drive me mad!!!

 i managed to escape to the museum one day, saw a giant squid which was really ugly. and a friend got me free tickets to a rugby match last night so that made a nice change. the wellinton lions beat Taranaki 49-18 so it wasnt as exciting as the Auckland match, and there were no crazy drunk brazillian guys.

We're hanging out in the laundry room today, not the games room or tv room for a change. thats about from my first week in Wellington!

Friday, 8 October 2010

The Great Escape

Right. tuesday we had to take Batman to the vet cos he had a melanoma. me and roberta then headed over to the red cross tea room, which looks like someone's living room from WWII, for a cup of tea and to wait for the bus, which we missed as we were talking to the old lady there and Roberta was phoning to see if/when the plumber had arrived to sort out the water. This 40 year old punk turned up and the old lad at the red cross wen silent and moody cos someone diffeent t her was there. I wandered round town and Roberta took a nap on the sofa. We got in and roberta took another nap, she was stressed out about Batman and the 'cultue clash' at the tea room and told me to glue the loose tiles to this table i was supposed to be grouting. I got chatting to the guy she had in to sort the garden out and then we baked a parsnip cake (like carrot cake) and the vet phoned to say batman was ready to be picked up. So we get batman and get home, eat, and Roberta tells me she's worried about the gardener and he's so creative that he's going to go over budget, which after Batman's surgery and the plumber she can't let him do. So i suggested that whenever they talk she just repeat the phrase 'as long as its within our pre-agreed budget.'

Next morning she comes out and starts yelling at Paul telling him she doesn't want a chipper or any equipment and to just stop cos she doesn't want his 'creative juces' taking over the project. she run's off to a meeting and paul tells me everything he has been doing has been within budget, that he's working for about $2000 less than most gardeners as a favour and that he might quit. when roberta gets back she sort of apologises but not really and tells him to carry on with what he's doing. to be honest i though 'ths woman is mad, got to get out of here' so i told her i would be leaving the next day, thursday. She was really nice but to be honest i was bored with only her for company and i felt i was in the way, as she was in poor health and stressed about her cat, and the garden and money. I will keep in toch with her, she was good to me, i just couldn't handle the crazy.

Got back to auckland, texted everone i knew asking if they were around for the burger and movie night at the IEP office, printed out 50 copies of my CV and relaxedand with my friends. Burgers were from Burgerfuel and they were amazing, they were huge, really didn't need the chips, but this burger was the best i've ever had!!!! We watched Boy, a kiwi film set in the 80's about a maori boy and his family. it was sooooooo funny!

Then yesterday (friday) i took the train to Wellington. it was a 12 hour journey. the train was nice, the seats were comfortable and there was lots of leg room. at the back of our carriage there was a small lounge area with a glass window that took up the whole of the back for viewing. the views were stunning, and the train staff gave the occasional commentary, describing what we were seeing and giving us facts about things. We even had a lunch stop in the national park and got out for half an hour to walk around. You'de never get that on an English train!!! We ( i was travelling with Rob, a welsh guy in our group) met a Canadian lady and a woman with 8 year old twins. we spent most of the journey in the lounge area talking and i tought the kids a few card games then made them recite speaches they had to do for homework. I think the mum was grateful as 2 hours on a train with childre can't be easy. it was actually a very enjoyable and pleasant evening.

I'm now at YHA, which is nicer than base, in a room with 4 German girls.. for some reason there are so many Germans in New Zealand, you see them eveywhere. First ipressions of Wellington is that is much nicer than Auckland, ut i have to o shopping now cos everyone is so well dressed cos Wellington is very creative and artsy.

i think i'm going to do touristy stuff this weekend hen start the job hunt on Monday!!

Monday, 4 October 2010

What have i got myself into?

ok so mr. waist length dreadocks saved me a few $ by helping me figure out which bus to get to Roberta's, rather than take a taxi. i show up and this crazy lad with messy hair and orange trousers greets me. the house is a mess, its a bungalow which is packed full of stuff, lots of books furniture and other random trinkets she seems to have collected over the years. the washing maichine is below the house and the shower is at the side of the house in a little shed attatched. She has had two hip replacements and has an arthritic back and shoulder. Her garden used to be an organic kitchen garden but with her health problems she can't do that anymore and is now working to restore it. So thats what i'm here to help her do.

We went to a pot luck dinner in the evening with her Christian friends and discussed the problems in Israel, as the hosts and just returned from there and someone said 'oh if people loved one another than there wouldn't be problems.' So after dinner we were sat down with tea and coffee and one woman said i want to pray so we all had to pray, then she said how her and her friend had been discussing the whole love one another as you love yourself thing and said she would like us to discuss how we love ourselves. it was a bit strange but we all had to say how we loved ourselved and what it meant to actually love yourself. it was very strange to have such a deep converstion with people. the men seemed to go with the self preservation, health care, buying boats etc. The woment went with 'i spent so many years being a mother it has taken a long time to learn to loe myself' and the problems of self confidence and self image. I was a bizzare thing to talk about with strangers and it seems they are making this a weekly thing, to talk about various aspects of the bible.

got an amazing nights sleep!!!!!!!!! finally!!!!!! then today i weeded the gravel in front of he house, bought a magazine and went to the beach. cadburys doesn't tast the same :( and there is no descent dark chocolate :( the water also stopped working so i had to cook and wash up by boiling water from a plastic water cooler type bottle in the kettle. Roberta really is a batty old lady, very forgetful and she sort of hobbles around. her friend came round and looked at the water tank (they get all there water from the rain on waiheke) and it seems temporarily fixed.

tomorrow i should be grouting a mosaic table Roberta made, should make a change from weeding!

Saturday, 2 October 2010

We're White We're Blue We're Gunna Crush You!!!!

Yesterday (friday the 1st) was spent chilling out and being hungover till the evening when i finally managed to pull it together in time for the rugby, Auckland vs. Hawks Bay. We were told to be in the globe bar at 5 even though the match wasn't till 7:30 so we were a bit confused. turns out it was happy hour so they were making us spend time there to spend money under the pretext of painting our faces in the Auckland colours, white and blue. Two of the people from the group flight, Carol-Ann and Graham came as well as a Norwegian called Ingrid who was also with IEP and an English guy who was just travelling for a few months called Andrew. There were also some crazy drunk Brazillian guys who were hillarious and painted there whole bodies with the scottish flag (blue and white) and were singing and doig mel gibson impersonations.

We walked to the train station where your ticket for the match was also your train ticket, a very good kiwi idea i think! Auckland took and early lead, but Hawks Bay scored staight from the kick off making nd convrted making it 7-7. For the rest of the first half Hawks bay led, and considering theres one All Black on there team and 5 on Auckland's they did really well. I wasn't sure whether to watch the match or the Crazy Brizillian who was being loud, singing, trying to start mexican waves and staning up on the parapet. He and his friends nearly got denie entry for writing 'F*** You Hawk's Bay' on there bodies and had to wash it off. there were a few times when securtiy came over, and were this England they would have been kicked out for sure, but New Zealand is more laid back.

During the second half Auckland managed to catch up and Hawks Bays scored one last try to end the game in a draw. We went back on the train but rather than get my 2 free drinks at globe bar i went to bed, and didnt sleep again because of the music. It was a very fun night though!

This morning i managed to wake up and after a bit of caffine i arrived on Waiheke excited about the wine tour. we went to 3 different vinyards and an olive grove. our tour guide/ driver was a German who'de been there 20 years and he was actually funny!!! a funny German!!!! two of the vinyards had the most beautiful buildings but the last, Mudbrick Vinyard, was the most stunning, with the main part being a tuscan style villa. They are very small and between all the weddings they do, the restaurant they have and the little shop in the tasting room don't really have enough wine to sell to anyone so te business is all self contained. (by the way i'm getting married there so you'de better start saving daddy). The wine from that estate was delicious! Not only that but there was a sign saying 'bar and waiting staff required, if interested ask at receptin or e-mail CV.' so guess who, in a few weeks time, might have a possible job on Waiheke island?? i'm still heading to Wellington and will decide down there whether or not to take the job, that is if the woman likes my CV. so who know?

I then tried to find my hostel, phoned for the adress and got picked up by a very nice english guy wih waist length dred locks then found my friends at a bar by the beach and had Ginger beer battered fish and chips, which we had tasted a a vinyard earlier which also has a brewery. There was a definite kick there!

The hostle is quite and i'm just praying for a good night sleep so i'm ready for work with Roberta