6 weeks to go

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So we’re in mid-March (“already?!” we all cry in cliched unison) and it means that we’re finally getting closer to going back to New Zealand for a trip.  It’s 6 weeks away, in fact. I can’t remember the last time I was excited this early, but I am. I am I am.

 

 

It’s also feeling very Spring-like today. Hurray!

 

Somes from Petone

 

Last time I went back, I went alone for a month for a friend’s wedding/a friend’s 30th, and it was awesome getting to see my family and friends for so long, but so strange not having D with me.  It became a bit frustrating, as I couldn’t always talk to him, and NZ doesn’t have affordable unlimited internet, so it got a bit costly as well.  D felt I didn’t dedicate much time to speak with him, and I felt the strain of my family feeling like I should spend every waking moment with them.

 

 

There are also a lot of positives of travelling with someone else, selfish as it is. He’s good to sleep on. I don’t have to speak to random passengers on a 12 hour flight.  He can comfort me when I cry on the way home to Scotland.

 

 

And there’s another perk, albeit a minor one, but I feel a lot safer travelling at night and taking late trains to and from Welly, etc, when he’s with me. Last time I mother felt she should chauffeur me around, which was nice of her, but sometimes you just want to have a few drinks and not worry about when or how you’re getting back to the valley, you know?

 

 

It’ll be good to see my friends, who are online with me every day yet feel so far away sometimes. I’m not in their day to day lives, and I can’t blame them for having local, closer ties than me most of the time. It’ll also be my 30th birthday when we’re home, and I’ll be celebrating with family as well as friends on the 2nd May. On my actual birthday I’ll be jetlagged to hell, but it’ll be so nice to repeat the old family tradition of going out for dinner.  My Dad also turns 60 when I’m home (my main reason for the timing), so I’ll get to see extended family. It’ll be a nice way of getting everyone together and we’ll be toasting our engagement.

 

 

I feel so detached from Wellington sometimes. I barely know the restaurants, bars, haunts of my friends there. I grew up with that city, and yet it feels so alien to me sometimes. I feel like so much of my adult living/consciousness/growing up was done in this wee burgh, and I have to play tourist whenever I’m back in Welly. I miss it, I love it, yet it’s not my city anymore. One day I will make it mine again.

 

 

The day we leave here is also the day I mark 5 years living in Scotland, but that deserves a post of its own. It’s been fun lately going back through old blog posts to fix my categories, etc., reminiscing about all the mixed thoughts and feelings I had when I first landed here and after. I may start posting some videos again, too. I took a bit of video almost every day in 2013, so I’ll be piecing that together sometime soon.

 

 

…xxx

swhite

10 things we’d really like you to know.

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(From an Airline Customer Service Agent).

1. Be on time. If you run in 15 minutes before your flight and then proceed to curse me out that I won’t let you on, I will call the police. It’s your responsibility to be on time. If you’re late because you’ve been at the airport queuing for half an hour, then that’s different. But if you’re just late because you didn’t leave on time, that’s not our problem. It’s not a bus. You can’t run chasing after it. Read your booking.
At -15, we close acceptance for boarding.
If you’re here exactly at this time, we can maybe get you on.
At -10, we are in the stages of final call.
You have no chance. Stop whining. Go rebook at the reservations counter.
At -5, everyone is on board.
We are closing the door on the aircraft.

2. Queue correctly. When you come to queue up, check the screens and get into the correct line. If you’re not sure, ask. Don’t get pissed at us if you get to the front of the business class queue and we send you to the economy queue and you have to wait another 20 minutes.
3. WAIT UNTIL YOU ARE CALLED. No, seriously. That wee sign at the front of the queue that says that is not just for show. We are not ignoring you, being rude, or being slow (well most of us). We often have bags to tag up, because we have let our passenger go so they don’t have to wait and watch us do it, or we have one or two more things to type into the computer. When we push the bag release button and look up at you to say ‘hello’ or ‘next’ (and hopefully smile), you are welcome to come on up. We’ll be friendlier, less stressed/pressured, and much more interested in giving you our best service.
4. Say hello. There’s nothing worse than the passenger who just barks, “Smith, Auckland.” Like, honestly? I’m not a mind reader. What flight to Auckland. Which Smith. And I’m not a machine. If you wanted a machine, go use the kiosk to check in. I am a human being. Greet me, be nice to me. Don’t grumble when we ask for ID. We’re required to. Don’t grumble when we ask the security questions. We’re required to. And I know your day has probably been shit, but so has ours. Because we are grumped at by you all day long.
5. Pay your excess. If you can’t afford to take 30 kilos, you can’t afford to take 30 kilos. I don’t have some magical power that means I can waive it. I have to get my manager. We have to have a really good reason or a higher allowance somewhere in your booking. They’ll say no. Just repack. It’s in the terms and conditions of your ticket, which you are legally bound to when you click that “Yes I understand the terms and conditions of this ticket” box and buy your ticket.
6. Know your visa requirements. If you have lived in New Zealand for 30 years, but you’re on a British passport because you’ve never bothered to get a Kiwi one, then yes, you need a visa to enter Australia. It’s also part of the above-mentioned terms and conditions that you understand that it is your responsibility to check that you need a visa. Don’t make me feel bad about not letting you travel. Get one.
7. I cannot upgrade you. Gone are the days where you could smile sweetly or cry and get bumped up to business class. Check-in agents have no ability to do that. Reservations agents have no ability to do that, unless you use airpoints or money to upgrade yourself. Under very special circumstances, the team manager can authorise an upgrade.
8. There are only limited exit row seats. Unless you are 6’6″, it’s hard to wrangle anything otherwise. If they’re gone, they’re gone.
9. I cannot check you in for tomorrow. If you’re not flying today, I can’t do it. You can check in domestically online, or internationally 3 hours before departure, sorry. Also, you cannot tag your bags through to tomorrow (unless it is continuous travel, ie. leaving here tonight, going to Singapore, going to London technically tomorrow morning). If you are flying to Auckland to stay the night, then flying out internationally in the morning, you have to check in with your airline at the international terminal tomorrow. Sorry.
10. NO BOMB JOKES. We have to take it seriously. You laugh and apologise, but hey, I’m sorry, too. We will tell our supervisor. They will call Aviation Security. They will call the Airport police. You will be offloaded. And then the pilot on the next flight will be asked if you are allowed to fly. Don’t risk it. We’ve had passengers stay overnight in Wellington as they have missed the last flight saying this. It happens.
Thank you, and have a nice day.