We jumped on the ferry to Wellington Monday and rushed north toward Taupo, about 4.5 hours away, in order to make enough progress back toward Auckland to make my 2:15 p.m. interview the following day. The plan was to hit some shops in the Taupo town center to pick up appropriate attire early in the morning, then beat feet for Auckland. The time pressure meant that we’d miss Wanganui entirely, but we figure we can come back through on a long weekend later this year. From what we could see of it, the drive to Taupo through Tongariro National Park, a World Heritage Site that boasts snow covered volcanoes surrounded by miles of red tussock grass rooted in undulating clay desert, was stunning. There was a 3/4 moon, so while the details were lost on us, the sky was clear and the snowcapped peaks were alight.
Along the way we received a message from the recruiter for the job asking to delay the meeting by a day, saying she had overbooked and would like to meet Wednesday instead. We were crunched for time, so I was relieved to have an extra day to source appropriate office wear and shoes, plus do some background research and print a copy of my resume. Jason and I decided to spend an extra night in Taupo where we had free parking and a consolidated shopping district, plus a gorgeous view of the lake and surrounding mountains, then head to Auckland first thing Wednesday.
Lesson learned: Inexpensive office wear that does not scream “CHEAPO!” is not very easy to find. We found a couple of primo items on sale, but by and large I wrung my hands all day freaking out at what it costs a lowly office worker to look appropriate at work every day. End result: It took us 6 hours and a little over $600 NZ to get me outfitted for one interview and a first day of work, but let me tell you, I’ll look slammin’. (I also know exactly what parts of my wardrobe will be shipped out from the U.S. next.)
I have to thank Donna & Pete for gracing Jason with sisters, because he has turned out to be an excellent shopping assistant. He’s very patient, and he even picks out suggestions! We were both pretty worn out after running from shop to shop all day, so we went for some quick Thai noodles and headed back to Blackcurrant Backpackers for a rest.
I checked my email on the way there and low and behold, there was a message waiting from the recruiter. Her client had hired two people to fill the position that morning, and I wouldn’t be needed in Auckland. Great.
It took me awhile to decide how to receive the information considering the pain I was feeling in my wallet at that moment, but eventually I came around, and after some grouching with Jason, we decided to call it a reprieve. We hadn’t wanted to be back in Auckland until next week anyway. We drove back out to Tongariro this morning and captured the incredible vistas we’d missed on camera, then made our way north to Mt. Maunganui on the coast of the Bay of Plenty. We’re tucked away at Pacific Coast Backpackers now, looking forward to checking out this little surf town, walking around the Mount, and hitting the saltwater hot pools tomorrow.