It has nearly been a year since this suburban girl moved to a place where the roads are long, the air is fresh, houses get forgotten, and you occasionally find yourself sharing the road with cows, so I thought it was high time to tell the tale of my adventure.
As most of you know, I moved to the Wairarapa to work as a journalist at a daily newspaper after a six-month stint in the Hawke’s Bay (which, FYI, is overrated), where I moved to straight out of home.
For my job I talk to many different people, including kids with big dreams, and it makes me wonder what twelve-year-old Sarah would think of her life now.
In terms of a job, I think she would be pretty proud of herself and would have said “yeah, I could see myself doing that”. The lifestyle, however, would be a different story.
I only she could see it, she would say, “What?! What are you doing living in the middle of nowhere? Why aren’t you in New York City?!”
But life takes some strange turns, and lands you in places you don’t expect to go, or to like, but despite yourself, you change inside and surprise yourself.
The day I arrived in Masterton – or M-Tron as my brother likes to call it – I thought I was getting used to summer. The Hawke’s Bay sun was relentless, hotter than I was used to in my hometown. I was in for a treat.
I got out of the car and the heat hit me in a wave. I looked down and saw my arm was red from resting it on the window ledge for the three-hour drive south, and still we had to unpack my life from the trailer. To be honest, it was hot, but it was just the start of a summer that entailed sleepless nights, constant dripping sweat, chronic hay fever, and nights spent sitting in front of the fan. A micro-climate, they call it. I’ve also been told this summer will be even hotter. Dear lord.
At the other end of the scale, the winter has been the most miserable, cold, gray winter ever – although, my first winter in Masterton just happened to be that winter it snowed twice, so maybe I shouldn’t compare. But I will anyway.
In summer, I challenge anyone not to smile and feel the soul cleansing as you take a drive down a long country road. Winter, however, is a different story.
One of my most significant adventures in Masterton was on that day it first snowed (not the one when the whole country – including Auckland – got snow, the one before that).
I was driving out to a house way out in the country and had a near-death experience trying to maneuver the company car over snow. As I often do, I went past the house I was supposed to go to and, the further along the road I went, the thicker the snow got, and I found myself in a mighty predicament when I looked to my left and saw driveways, which I needed to turn around in, were all caked in snow because the smart people who lived there had decided to stay home.
Then I looked to my right and the road fell away like a cliff down to farmland and a bunch of rivers. So I had the choice to either try my luck with one of the driveways and end up trudging through the snow to the householders door to sheepishly ask them to help pull my car out of the snow; or I could keep driving until I got to the sunny side of the island.
Or, I could reverse all the way back to the house I was supposed to be at 15 minutes ago. So I took a deep breath, steadied myself, put the car into reverse and spent a terrifying five minutes sliding over the snow to the house. I made it safely, heart still (barely) in my chest, and was greeted by an excitable dog and a lovely couple who served me my first ever cup of coffee.
Part two coming soon...