New Plymouth – Part 2

Published October 28, 2015 by Maryann Kate


And so the saga continues…

I couldn’t have been happier to see New Plymouth and Taranaki then I was when I returned from that meditation retreat. I had the hugest smile on my face and I was super excited (I think I even cried some tears of joy). I was free and back in the place that felt like my home away from home.

When I got back to the hostel it was pretty late (maybe around 8 pm) on March 8th. It had been a long ten days and I just wanted to have something to eat and get settled in. I was so thrilled that Julie let me keep all my stuff in the storage room while I was away (because lugging all your stuff around with you is not so much fun). I was also happy that she let me have my receptionist position back so that I could start where I left off. It’s the little things in life to be thankful for.

What I realized after walking around the hostel is that almost all the workers were different than when I left. I was so confused to where everyone had gone. The only people who were the same were Julie, Richard, Liz, and of course Marvey. Gina had left because she found a paid job up North, Steph left to take care of some business with her boyfriend at the time, and there was also a new cleaner. Basically everybody was new and the energy of the whole place had changed dramatically. I was suddenly one of the veterans in the YHA Sunflower Lodge.

I introduced myself to my new roommate, Colette, who was a very nice girl from France and she was also the new cleaner (who started about two days before I came back). We had a lot of great conversations. I always remember her watching her favorite TV shows on her laptop and making some amazing food in the kitchen. I really enjoyed the time we spent together Colette!

Another girl who stayed for over a week at the hostel as a guest was a girl named Maria from Basque Country (which is a separate community in Northern Spain). She became like part of the crew even though she was paying to stay here lol. Colette, Maria, and I became pretty close and we even played cards together a few times (they know what I’m talking about). Oh, and of course we talked about boys and girly stuff too. I remember one afternoon when we went to the local café called Elixir and we all got some dessert. I got a very chocolatey brownie and some hot chocolate (Can you say I had a craving?!). We had a wonderful time. Oh and who could forget how much baking I was doing and that I ultimately offered the baked goods to everyone staying in the hostel. I know the girls really enjoyed it.

It was great to see Liz as she was one of the other veterans that I could depend on and she also had all the gossip on what had been going on. I caught up with Julie and Richard and told them about what I had been up to for the past 10 days. We must have talked for about an hour and a half. They were always polite to offer me something when I was in their apartment (whether it was some food or a drink). It was great to be back with my New Zealand parents (which I say half kidding and half being serious).

And then there was Harry. What can I say about Harry? He was one of those very smooth talking, confident guys with a hell lot of sex appeal and charisma. Oh yeah, and did I mention that he had one of the best English accents that I’ve ever heard? Yeah, he did. He was a skater boy and very laid back (which made him fit in perfectly in New Plymouth). He also knew martial arts and studied psychology. I introduced myself to him the next day as he was my coworker in the reception department (he replaced Stephanie). We must have talked for at least an hour or two that first day. But there were so many other epic conversations in the course of the next 3 weeks. Not sure why he was so easy to talk to but he was. I feel like we both told each other things about ourselves that were quite personal (that’s my honest opinion but I could be wrong). There was definitely chemistry between us and it made me very uncomfortable so I confessed that I thought he was attractive (just to lay it out on the table from the beginning). He said he just wanted to be friends, which was fine because he had a long-term girlfriend at home anyways. I don’t regret telling him anything and I’m glad I had the courage to do so.

The first weekend that I was back was the WOMAD (or World of Music, Arts, and Dance) festival, which is one of the most popular times in New Plymouth. One of Harry’s work friends from back home, John, was coming just for this festival (as he follows this festival around the world). I had my reserves about John but I eventually let my guard down and had some interesting conversations with him. Since the hostel was completely booked out, Colette, Maria, Harry, John, and I were sharing the 5-bed dorm for 4 or 5 nights in a row. That was an interesting few days to say the least. Ahh the hijinks that ensued! The first night that John was staying at the hostel, Harry and I joined him in Julie and Richard’s apartment (which to clarify is part of the hostel). We had a good night of listening to music, talking about different stories, and just hanging out. I think I went to bed around 3 am that night.

Colette and I were able to go to WOMAD for free because Harry was able to snag some wristbands (sweet!). We had a great time listening to different kinds of music (Sinead O’Connor was even there that day) and we ate some delicious food! Oh, and we saw this awesome hairdresser/artist named Osadia (who were from Spain). They would choose people from the audience and completely transform them using spray paint, makeup, and LOTS of hairspray! It was amazing and my favorite part of the festival. All around I was happy I listened to John’s advice to go to WOMAD because it’s one of the biggest events that happens in New Plymouth every year and definitely a must see.

Okay so honestly speaking, Harry and I acted like children or brother and sister or whatever you want to call it. I remember I was chopping vegetables in the kitchen and he startled me (on purpose) not only once but twice. Well, the game was on now. I asked John what I could do to get back at him and he said and I quote “Just get into bed with him, that’ll scare the **** out of him.” I said absolutely not, there is NO way I am doing that. Well, once we entered the room, John and Harry started talking (it was dark in the room) and while Harry went to the bathroom, I snuck up into his bunk bed and I patiently waited. Then when he came back, I scared the **** out of him. It was well worth the effort. Thank you for the advice John. Harry did proceed to tell Julie what I did the next day which was somewhat embarrassing but hilarious at the same time.

And who could forget the time that I went into his room and woke him up from his perfect slumber. Little did I know that retaliation would be had against me. He came over to my room and asked for my arm. I refused because I didn’t trust him. He insisted and I reached out my hand. He picked me up, put me over his shoulder, and carried me through the hostel to the backyard and proceeded to lock me out. I ran around the back and immediately came back inside. Or the time he hit me in the face with a pillow and I chased after him, only to then be placed in a headlock (which happened before I could blink). I forgave him for that though because he did legitimately teach me some self-defense. And of course there was the time we played “Nervous” in the kitchen. And the many times he made fun of my American accent (but I was guilty of making fun of his English accent too). We were always joking around and teasing each other. It was to be expected and very predictable on a daily basis.

Our conversations always turned very sexual for some reason. It was just the way it was and we couldn’t help ourselves. I can’t explain it or understand it. I could never stay mad at him either, even though I did go through every emotion that exists during those 3 weeks. He was a very flirtatious guy to say the least (perfect for a receptionist, I must say). It was one of the most intense relationships that I’ve ever had with the another person (a completely platonic work relationship but still intense nonetheless). We disagreed on a lot of subjects and there was a lot about him that bothered me. However, I’m so glad that I met Harry because he sparked something within me that needed to be sparked. I was so closed off to life, and boys, and love before I met him. He made me a stronger person and strengthened my belief system by challenging me. I actually had an absolute blast during those 3 weeks and I wouldn’t ever take it back. Some people come into your life to change your world and Harry definitely did that for me.

Well, St. Patrick’s Day was a fun time. I went to an Irish Pub called The Black Harp with Julie and Maria. We spent a little time there but ultimately me and Maria ended up in a place called Peggy Gordon’s (another Irish Pub in town). I had a few drinks and I was a little tipsy but I had a great time. There was fantastic live music and the spirit was really hopping that night. I was so glad that Maria was with me and it was one of the best St. Paddy’s Days that I’ve ever had. Maria and I had also gone back to the same Pub like a week later but it was a lot more low-key that night. We still had a lot of fun and I got to practice stepping out of my comfort zone.

Towards the end of March, I was able to find a paid hostel manager job in Invercargill and so Julie found my replacement. He was a young German guy named Justin. I must say that he was a fantastic student (I was responsible for training him) and he caught on really quickly. He was very smart and we got along super well. I was happy that I was handing off my position to someone who was as good at it as I was. Thanks for being awesome Justin!

Julie and Richard threw me a party the night before I left and that was a great time. Julie made gluten free pizza for me and her and regular pizza for everyone else. Ice cream was for dessert! I probably had the most alcohol that I’ve ever had at that party (but I was by no means drunk just very tipsy). The tension between me and Harry was noticeable by everybody. It was very palpable. We were definitely giving it back to each other big time that night. Nothing was off limits. It must have been humorous to watch. Lots of witty banter and teasing, as usual. I know Richard and Julie thought something happened that night when we left the apartment (Nothing happened just clear the record). I did have an amazing time and was so grateful that I had such great coworkers and bosses.

When I finally left, Harry helped me carry my bags out to Julie’s car. It was kind of a bittersweet day. I was excited to move on but I was sad to leave this amazing place with so many wonderful memories. Harry and I shared a long embrace which is when he jokingly told me to “remember this moment.” Well I do remember and probably always will.

I said goodbye to Julie at the bus stop and I was on my way towards the Auckland airport and ultimately Invercargill for the next part of my journey. I did end up calling Harry a couple times at the hostel after I left and we had a couple good long chats. I’m not sure if I’ll ever see him again and I’m not sure if he even thinks about me anymore, but I’ll always have the memories and the experience of that last month in New Plymouth.

I don’t feel bad about anything that happened and I’m glad I had the opportunity to find such an amazing place in New Zealand. It’s all about following your heart and staying courageous to face whatever life throws your way.

My message to Harry is this: I hope one day you’re able to truly find yourself. I hope that you make the best out of life and never take things too seriously. Please keep your brilliant sense of humor and always stay a kid at heart. That’s part of what made you so charming to everyone. Make all your dreams come true. I don’t know why I felt connected to you or why I felt compelled to write this but I’m not going to question anything. Remember everything happens for a reason. My biggest wish is that you find what makes your heart sing and your soul soar. That you discover the love that exists within yourself so that you can share that love with others. I’m not sure if we’ll ever meet again. I guess if it’s meant to be then it will be. As much as I joked around in this blog post, I was sincere in the fact that I’m glad that I met you. I just hope that I changed your life as much as you changed mine. Thank you for everything.

New Plymouth, you were amazing and I will definitely return one day. Until then, whenever that will be, I always have New York (which isn’t half bad either).

Love you all,



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