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Alex: Walkabout

July 16, 2011

After the doldrums of two days ago, I was determined to turn my mood around. I thought getting out on my own might help bolster my confidence somewhat and help me get to know the city, so I decided to walk.

When I say I intended to get to know the city I don’t mean to suggest that I’m unfamiliar with Auckland. I have a cursory knowledge of it, probably as much as I have of most other cities I’ve lived in, but I’ve always felt that every city has a rhythm–a cadence all its own and unless you spend time getting lost in it, you never discover this rhythm. I know it sounds silly, but I always feel uneasy in a new city until I can put my feet to its pavement, dodge through its traffic and discover its dead ends and back alleys. So for the past two days this is what I have done.

Yesterday late in the morning I took a walk north and discovered a beautiful old cemetery. It’s a bit grim, but the weather was wet and dreary and it seemed appropriate. The ground was muddy and slick as ice, and I felt more than a little disrespectful scrabbling my way through the mud over graves more than a hundred and fifty years old. The fauna there was gorgeous, and the cemetery is set into the side of a hill that looks like in another twenty years may return back to rainforest. The time and weather have not been kind to many of the grave sites, which were at best moss-covered and and worst shattered to pieces with headstones knocked down or removed entirely. It would have been depressing if it hadn’t been so gorgeous. There were Lilies of the Valley there, springing up from the winter soil small and white and hopeful and something about their tiny brightness and their familiarity moved me deeply, but I’m waxing poetic again.

The rest of my day yesterday was less eventful, a few orientation-y things in the afternoon. Last night there was supposed to be a gathering at the Globe Bar down the street, which I made my best attempt to attend. I arrived what I thought was a fashionable half-hour late, but no one I knew was there and after having a discussion with the bartender about how little it would take to satisfy my desire for a whiskey sour I ended up having strained conversation with strangers over loud music and sipping whiskey and water. Needless to say this situation did not in any way dull my inherent paralyzing anxiety with crowds and strangers. I left after about forty-five minutes, panicked with anxiety and unable to hear myself think over the music. I saw a few of my friends as I was walking out of the bar.

Still all things considered, this was not an altogether bad day. It ended later than my previous days (which I consider a success) and with much less time spent on the internet. I hear the party was a lot of fun, and it made me ache slightly in wishing that I was able to properly enjoy such things.

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