Beasts of Burden

I just wrote a Facebook status using the phrase/hashtag, “ExpatBeastsofBurden in regard to my disdain for writing cover letters for potential employers. I comprehend their purpose and absolutely find them useful in being able to sell myself in hopes of acquiring a promising job, but just the same, they are a pain. After writing that, I put on “Beast of Burden” by The Rolling Stones and I began thinking about the other beasts of burden in my life, or in other words, how I can properly convey what’s going on in my life at the moment. So here it is. And before I get into all of that, Spotify was kind of enough to follow up The Stones’ version of BOB with Bette Midler’s and I’m just confused as to why she sings. I imagine she has talent, but I can’t see her as anything other than the surly leader in the witch triad in “Hocus Pocus.” Oh well. Trivial pursuits.

So beasts of burden in Brittany’s bizarre life . . . I am job searching at the moment. My current position as an au pair in Paraparaumu, New Zealand ends in mid-July! Eek! It went by much too quickly and as usual, I am unprepared for what to do next. The plan is to find another job in Wellington, NZ’s fun and vibrant capital city, and to get myself into a lush apartment (or at least one that is somewhat warm and large enough for my air mattress). Should this plan fail, then I’m unsure of where I’ll be. I’m hoping though, that I won’t have to relocate–I’ve really come to love the Wellington region, the friends I’ve made here, and all the cool things in the area (the rainbows, the tramping, the pubs, the events/festivals).

Therefore, I’m going to continue with my search and see where it takes me. As some of you know, my time in NZ has been filled with more ups and downs than a line of camels meandering through the desert (it’s almost midnight and I’ve had some red wine, so excuse me). But I’ve managed to get myself picked up and dusted off again and again, with the help of friends and family, with some unexpected people lending a hand along the way. We need those challenges that life throws our way to test our strength–to reinforce the fact that life truly is unpredictable and that we should take nothing for granted. I’ve learned that lesson again and again in this country. I lost my positivity at some points, which shocked many people who had never seen me down before. I thought I had made an enormous mistake moving to an expensive, western country similar to the States. I considered bailing and running away to Central or South America or heading back to Asia. I compared my NZ adventure to my previous travels, which just wasn’t fair, and I became dissatisfied. Traveling isn’t perfect. It’s not easy and it’s not always as the photos suggest. If you want to relax and have no worries, go on vacation. Don’t travel. I LOVE traveling and I have embraced all of the hardships and magnificent moments that go along with it, but just the same, when you’re down and can’t stand back up again because the waves keep knocking you down, traveling is ROUGH.

Getting through all those rough patches was a beast of burden worth facing though because I’ve come to adore this country: its magical, otherworldly beauty, the laid-back nature of the friendly Kiwis I’ve befriended along the way, and the feeling of security I possess no matter if I’m hiking through the forest solo, walking through the city streets late at night, or sleeping alone in my tent. New Zealand has offered me a very different sort of travel experience than what I’ve previously experienced. It didn’t challenge me with enormous cultural differences or force me to pantomime in order to communicate, but it has made me realize that I can survive no matter what. I’m resilient and capable of making things happen for myself.

That being said, who knows where I’ll go from here? I can’t even begin to think about what happens after my NZ visa runs out . . . so let’s not even put that out there right now. We all have our beasts of burden and if the only beast of burden I have right now is a matter of finding a job and a place to live, then that’s okay with me. Things always work themselves out. I know that I worry people with my lack of purpose, my reluctance to settle down and have that “American dream,” and my tendency to end up in very peculiar situations, but that’s just the way it is and it sure does make for a good story. I’ll find my purpose (just a little later on in life), the “American dream” is NOT mine, and those bizarre stories fuel me and enlighten me and even more importantly, they make me HAPPY!

So there you have it–one American girl’s life in NZ in a very tiny nutshell. It never fails to be amusing how you set out to write about one thing and then it morphs into something entirely different. BOB’s for another day: love, sex, relationships, grief.

I’ve been working on a piece that incorporates love, grief, and traveling altogether, but it’s painful to release. I’m not even positive if I want to share it, but I know that I should. It will be the most difficult piece of writing I have ever created. That is the BOB I was meaning to express, but it wasn’t the right time, apparently. Thank you, mind of mine, for filtering me subconsciously.

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