Be Interrupted

Mother and daughter

As many of you know, this past Christmas/New Year my mum visited London to see me for the first time since I moved here. Before she arrived, I had a long list of wonderful London things I wanted us to do. Visiting Paris and Madrid was also on the agenda. Mum had never been to Europe and I was set on giving her the best time possible, which meant having a packed itinerary for three full weeks.

A couple of days in I realised that though she appreciated my efforts, she was just excited to see me.

She didn’t care about getting stuff done. The holiday was about us spending time together after almost five years apart. To her, it was about rich conversation and laughter and fun. It was about connection. It was about relaxation. After all, it was a holiday for both of us. She was eager to see the city I call home but what mattered is that she was doing it with me.

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When Is Running Away the Right Thing?

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Running away has a negative connotation. We’re often advised to face an issue, deal with it and go through it, rather than escape it. Enduring hard times and seeing things through promotes good character, yes? I believe in this and all the reasoning behind it, but naturally, at my core, I’m a bit of a runner. I’m a little too familiar with giving up and calling it quits.

There are a number of situations where that’s cost me. For example, I wish I never threw the towel in with learning instruments when I was younger, or sticking with languages at school. It was all too hard, so I made seemingly valid excuses and broke up with German and French, and cello, piano and flute. I regret that.

But is it always bad?

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High Tea at The Ritz London

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Having afternoon tea at The Ritz has been on my Life List ever since I accepted that it was the only way my modest footwear would meet their plush carpet. If you can’t afford a night at the fanciest hotel in London, then dressing up and faking your rank in society for two hours is the way to go. Plus, I just adore the way the British do afternoon tea – it’s an event. And I suspect my first word as a baby was “scone”, or at least it would have been if I was born in Mother England.

If you know me at all, you know that I’m not exactly ladylike. I wear pretty skirts and and even lipstick on the weekend (reow) to cover up the fact that I have the manners of a child. I am learning, slowly, thanks to my friends who tell me off for talking with my mouth full and remind me to wax my legs (TMI?).

Pair my disastrous self with my friend Cate who is 8 months pregnant and one of the most hilarious people I know, and you have yourself a party. You could say this was a highly anticipated day, since we booked it in May when she didn’t have a bun in the oven. As expected, we laughed our heads off the whole way through and definitely had more fun than anyone else there. Quote of the day was definitely…

“I’m just not cut out for this posh shit. Tehehe, I just said shit at the Ritz!”
“At least you didn’t say #^*@”

Though anyone in their right mind would find the idea of paying £42 for SANDWICHES preposterous, myself included, it was worth it. The tea, sandwiches, scones, dessert AND cake was the best I’ve ever had. We ate until Cate’s babeh punched her from the inside and screamed “please, stop woman!” Plus, you’re paying for the experience, right? To be treated like you’re royalty even though they know you aren’t (they can just tell, I think).

And in case anyone was doubting that I’m easy to please; my favourite sandwich was the egg and mayo. Keepin’ it real. Holla if you want to take me on a cheap date.

I took a ton of pictures because I was unashamedly gobsmacked by the splendour.

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The last one is of me in the bathrooms, because honestly, it would have been rude not to. LUSH I TELL YOU.

Is Your Career Worth More Than Your Reputation?

I’m not a dog-eat-dog kind of girl; it’s just not my style. I am ambitious but I won’t stamp on anyone to get up in my career. Viciously fighting my way to the top while trampling people underfoot does not compute in my mind. I don’t think it’s ever worth it and my reputation is more important to me than anything.

Yet I live and work in one of the biggest financial hubs in the world, steaming with people fixated on conquering the next rung of the never-ending ladder of success. It’s nasty and I despise it. I am in the middle of the city posing as one of them but deep down, I’m not at all.

Maybe I’m naive or innocent to think that motivation and hard-work are enough to see one do well in their life and career. That you can only leave one mark on the people you meet in this world, so it may as well be a good one. That business doesn’t have to control you or ruin you, selling your human compassion and generosity along the way. And that it will all pay off because our reputations last longer than any job or position.

I just so happen to think that I will do well by being genuine, honest and kind while aiming to be successful in my field. I may not make it to the top, but that isn’t necessarily what I want. Getting to the top means a lot of sacrifice. I’ve been working in corporate organisations for three years and I’ve seen first hand that the main thing that gets sacrificed is also the most important thing: people. Family, friends and colleagues.

It also means working your butt off and maybe even shoving some people out of your way. And what for? A sense of purpose, which I understand, but usually the greatest motivator that I can see is money. More money. Too much money. It is a never ending pursuit because the more we have, the more we want. Even I have fallen into this trap.

Don’t misunderstand; I’m not suggesting we all sit back and give glitter, hugs and sunshine to our colleagues. I myself have been considering that I need to prove myself as a professional and not be walked over. I’m young and impressionable, and have been taken for a ride in the past for this very reason. Experience is the best teacher of these things, unfortunately.

Healthy competition is a great motivator to push forward, but with too much of it there’s no time to get to know anyone; to have an impact, to connect, to bless. I always think of America’s Next Top Model in relation to this, and how the girls can be downright horrible to each other, and defend their bony ass honour by saying “I’m not here to make friends”.

So why are we here, in this game of life? To succeed at a job, to get married, to have kids, to buy a house, to get rich… The list never ends and there’s nothing actually wrong with it but if it comes at a cost to our character or the people in our lives to obtain it, that’s a problem.

When all is said and done, our character and reputation is really all we have. Without a fancy CV or resume, without earthly awards or accolades, we only have what people can testify about us. We have our reputation which lies in our integrity. What would the people you work with, that you spend most of your time with, say about you?

Who you are and the impression you leave on other people is your resume for life, so make it a good one. You won’t regret it.

I will work hard, respect my colleagues and run toward my goals, but I won’t be tripping anyone up along the way. I’m just not cut out for that sort of high-flying career, after all, I’ve got my humble street cred to protect.

Do you struggle with this in your profession? How do you deal with it? Are you more competitive than I am? 

Olympics in London Town

OH HI EVERYBODY! Above is me saying hi to all my internet friends… Call me a poser, bored or just plain silly. It’s all true. I never thought much of PhotoBooth until last night (possibly when I was procrastinating) and now it’s the best thing ever!

So, um, sorry I dropped off the face of the earth for two weeks. It wasn’t planned, but turns out that’s what happens when old friends and THE OLYMPICS come to town!

Oh man, it was so much fun. I wasn’t at work for the 2-week duration of the London Olympics (don’t ask why, just be very envious). So I got to make the most of my old buddies Scott and Macka staying at my place, and experience Olympic fever to the max. There are an awesome bunch of my school friends either living in London or visiting this Summer, so it’s pretty much “reunion time” ALL THE TIME.

I went to a couple of Olympic events and spent the rest of the time in front of the telly or a big screen watching the action. There were screens, pop up gigs and events all over the city, so it was hard to miss out. London did great at hosting such a massive event, I gotta say. The general vibe was amazing and I loved every moment of the festivities. There was a lot of laughing, cheering and crying… Who knew watching athletes succeed and fail was so emotional? Not me.

Here’s a few pictures of exactly what I’ve been up to, and I will resume normal posting next week.

Thoughts After 4 Years

‘So, how long are you going for?’

‘Well, I have a one-way ticket so I have no idea. But I’m giving it a year!’

That was the conversation I had multiple times before I left Auckland to start a new life in London. Saturday 26th May marked four years since I landed in this city as a wide-eyed, excited and naive child.

I never dreamed about travelling. I never imagined myself working and saving my butt off so I could come across the world. A few months after arriving in London, I went to Paris the weekend before my 19th birthday . It was (and still is) the most beautiful city I had ever seen, and I was elated on life. I couldn’t believe little ol’ me had come this far and was seeing such amazing places. I think that’s what made it so special – that I had never given myself the permission to dream, but on that trip something clicked and anything was possible.

I played a game with myself, often, in the first couple of years. I would be walking down the street with some new friends, or doing something different and exciting, and I would think ‘If someone had shown me a picture of this very moment a few years ago, I wouldn’t have believed it’. Occasionally I still play that game, because it seems my life is still ever-changing. Some days I love that, some days I despise it. We all want routine and security in one way or another.

I read the book One Day a couple of years ago, and it was more to me than a love story. It was a revelation that life never happens how you think it will. Life is unpredictable and that’s the best part. Sometimes I feel frustrated that I’m still here, and that I haven’t done anything that amazing or gone that far or seen that many places. But I have, and I will.

I’ve sky-dived in England.

I’ve snowboarded in France and Colorado.

I’ve explored Edinburgh on a bike.

I’ve photographed a sunset in Malta.

I’ve climbed the Eiffel tower in Paris.

I’ve had a traditional Turkish bath in Istanbul.

I’ve seen the still-standing parts of the Berlin Wall.

I’ve thrown up over the side of a canal boat in Amsterdam.

I’ve been to a casino in Monaco.

I’ve danced on tables in Nice.

I’ve drunk fresh water from streams in the Swiss Alps.

I’ve had Sangria on the beach in Barcelona.

I’ve stayed up late into the night drinking with the locals in Portugal.

The most important thing I’ve done though, is made a life in London. I’ve transitioned from late-teens to early-twenties and learned a hell of a lot along the way. I’ve grown up here. London will always be the place where I learned that life is hard, incredible and everything in between. 

I had a few hours to spare on Sunday, so I took my camera to Southbank and soaked up the sun and the culture. Here are a few of my favourites from the day.

Girl Behind The Words

So I saw this on someone’s blog recently (The Lazy Christian) and I thought it would be a good way for my reader’s to get to know me a little bit. Apart from all the emotional shiz that you know about me already!

First is 11 facts about me, and then I will answer 10 questions that Rachel asked at the end of her post. After I’ve answered them I’ll put some new ones at the bottom of this post for you! (If you are a blogger and would like to take part… go on).

Without further ado…

1. I sleep-talk like a mo-fo. It’s embarrassing. Wedding present to whoever I marry will be ear-plugs!

2. My favourite TV shows are New Girl, Greys Anatomy, Glee and Modern Family. I don’t really watch telly otherwise.

3. I dream of adopting a child.

4. I love soya milk. As a kid my mum used to buy it as a treat for me and it would make me really happy. Weird, I know.

5. I still don’t know what I want for a career and I’m 22. Not awesome. Maybe I should just choose something and run with it? (Not a rhetorical question – all advice is welcome)

6. I sucked my thumb religiously until the day before I turned 10, and then never did it again. My mum tried everything as a kid to put me off but it didn’t work, then something just clicked and I wasn’t interested anymore.

7. I love anything with birds on it. LOVE.

8. I eat apple stickers. Who can be bothered removing them? I thought it was normal till I was ridiculed and learned it’s actually gross. Meh, I still do it.

9. I like going on boats a lot. The sea makes me happy.

10. When I was 13 my best friend Katie stood on my pinky finger with an ice-skate. It’s the coolest thing to happen to me to date (medically, I mean).

11. This year I am getting my PADI (diving) license. Next year I will dive the Red Sea in Egypt.

So these were the questions Rachel asked on her blog for me to answer…. 

1. How’d you come up with the name of your blog?

Crazy Micaela

On the surface, I am a fairly bright and bubbly person. Sometimes I’m plain outrageous (if you’re lucky). But I have always been a very deep thinker, and I really don’t think people who don’t know me well always realise that. I used to be labelled as ‘immature’ and ‘crazy’ a lot when I was at school, which is fine because in a lot of ways I was. But I felt there was an intense, mature and wise side that not everyone saw. ‘the underground micaela’ is where those thoughts are projected and shared.

2. What would your perfect day consist of?
It would consist of bike riding around a European city and capturing it all on my camera. Finished off with someone cooking me an amazing meal and watching a good film on the couch. Oh, and a bath would have to be thrown in there somewhere too. I loooove baths.

3. What’s something you’re really good at that few people know about?
The thing is, if I am good at something, everyone will know about it. (I have insecurities about not being good at anything!) I think I am a good swimmer and if I was fitter I could be really fast. Alas, I’m not very fit.

4. What’s one book you didn’t read/like when you were young that you love now?
Haha… the Bible! (I think that’s pretty standard)

5. Who is your go-to person when you’ve had a lousy day?
Definitely Miss Hayley Williams. She’s so supportive and will give me sympathy when I need it, but not endulge my pity parties. She’s good like that. Plus she is always so excited for me when good things happen, I love sharing with her!

6. Where would you live if you could live anywhere in the world?
Hmm great question. Apparently whenever I travel I say ‘I could live here!’. I’ve always wanted to live in Japan, though I haven’t been yet, so it’s a ridiculous answer. I’m sticking with it!

7. What’s the most comfortable piece of clothing you own?
Definitely my green Topshop jeans. I wear them all the time. I even wore them on a 12 hour flight on my way home once! Plus they are green = awesome.

8. Do you like to see movies in the theater? Why?
I loooove seeing movies at the cinema! My best friend and I both have Cineworld Unlimited cards and we go at least once a week. I love the experience of a big screen and that everything is so magnified that way. It’s one of my favourite things to do.

9. How do you feel about being in large crowds? 
I hate hate HATE it! Why do I live in London again? It makes me panicky and anxious.

10. What’s the most unusual food you’ve eaten?
Probably snails in Paris.

11. What’s one piece of furniture in your house you wish you could get rid of and never see again?
I don’t have a house. I have a room, and I love everything in it. Sorry to ruin the last question!

Questions for you

1. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
2. What’s the craziest thing you’ve done?
3. In your eyes, what’s your greatest personality trait?
4. Who makes you laugh the most?
5. What’s something you would really like to do in your lifetime?
6. What kind of books do you like reading?
7. If you had to switch jobs or careers, what would you pick?
8. Who do you look up to?
9. What’s something quirky about you?
10. How do you feel about flying in airplanes?
11. What’s the greatest lesson your parents taught you, that you want to pass on to your kids?

Good Music, Kiwis and Mullets

Last Thursday (10/05/12) was a good day. Firstly, my beautiful niece Kaylah-Star was born! See here, she is a real cutie:

This is my third time at being an aunty (so legit!). I left when Ashton, my nephew, was only two. He was just starting to like me, and I ruined everything and moved away! Then 18 months ago little Asylah was born, who’s basically adorable. Now there’s Kaylah…

I’m missing out and it’s starting to kill me slowly. I may have to go home for good soon, because I hate to be missing out on all the cuteness! After learning about this wee one’s birth last week, I got homesick. Real homesick.

Luckily that night in North London, I got to experience ‘home’ for a few hours (minus the breathtaking landscapes, that is). An awesome band called Six60 came to London to kick off their world tour, and a couple of friends and I went to their first night. It was rockin’! I only know about them because I’ve been home recently, and they’re only just starting to get known worldwide. My point: the audience was largely Kiwi, bro.

This is why I love New Zealand and what I noticed with all my fellow Kiwis in one room:

The rats-tails and mullets. I don’t know where else you will see such disgusting hairstyles, but let’s just say I hadn’t seen either in London till Thursday (and I’ve been here a while).  Just as it is a great accomplishment for a man to grow a mustache, the same goes with mullets and rats-tails. I will never understand why, though I will always appreciate it (but I’ll never date a man who owns either). Getting this picture amongst a heaving crowd wasn’t easy, but it was well worth the effort:

The friendliness. So many smiles, so much camaraderie. We all had something in common: we are from a far-away country at the foot of the planet, and have found ourselves in one of the biggest cities in the world. There was a silent ‘I salute you, cause it ain’t easy’. We are a kind nation of chatty individuals. We say ‘thank-you’ to the bus driver and smile at anyone who makes eye-contact.

The dancing. There was no awkward sways or ‘bopping’. There was just intense rocking out. Everyone was MOVING, all the time, and it was awesome. I may have lost all inhibitions and went nuts, along with everyone else…

The drunkards. Within the first 5 minutes of arriving, a very tall man fell over in front of us. It was only 8pm. The southern hemisphere have a reputation (this side of the world) for binge drinking, and it can’t really be denied. Maybe I just don’t go to the right type of gigs enough, but I’ve never seen this happen before. (To be fair, I’m not very hardcore at all so it could happen a lot, I don’t know).

Everyone knew everyone. It happens all the time. To quote my friend Jenny when we arrived – ‘I wonder how many people we will know.’ You go anywhere with Kiwis, and you’re bound to know each other, or at least have mutual friends back home. It’s a small world in a big city. A completely random guy recognised my friend Jo because her sister went to the same gym as him in NZ. Jo and her sister look very alike, but that’s pretty funny! He came straight up to her and said, ‘Hey, do you have a sister called… ?’  Then two of my long-time friends back home tweeted/texted me to say that I should go and say hi to their friend, who happened to be the bass player in the band. I got a picture for them:

All in all, it was such a fun night! I love where I’m from, and I know I’ll go back eventually. It’s green, it’s beautiful, it’s authentic and special. It’s the best country in the world and it’s my home. But the rest of the world is still pulling at my heart strings and waiting to be discovered. I’m not ready to call it quits yet.

I’ll leave you with one of my favourite songs by Six60. Enjoy!

Home is Where I Am


I’m stuck in this emotional rut, you see. This rut of being happy somewhere, but struggling to accept it as ‘home’. This rut of wondering where I will end up, whatever that means. This rut of planting my roots where I am and being here now.

This rut, it scares me. Because I don’t know the answer and I won’t know until the very last moment, when I really need to know. God often works on a ‘need to know’ basis with us because that’s what requires faith and perseverance, and that’s what produces more faith and good character. I don’t know about you, but I desire faith and good character more than anything else. I’m not saying that to sound great, I really truly mean it. Because my whole life will benefit out of the overflow.

It seems unfair and like God is cruel by holding back but if we knew everything all the time, it would be insane on the membrane yo! Did you ever see the short-lived series ‘Flash Forward’, where through a global disaster everyone saw their future? It messed everything up because we’re not meant to know. We’re meant to be here now, do it well and let tomorrow take care of itself.

I think too much about how everything will work out, about how this contributes to that, etc. Yet I always end up at the same conclusion; I can’t do this alone and no man or friend can do it for me. It’s a God thing, it’s always a God thing.

All I know now is that the UK is where I have been since being a real adult. Actually, it’s where I became an adult. I don’t know what it is to be an adult in New Zealand. I do know what it’s like to be a school girl, a daughter, a sister, a friend, but not an adult.

I left so naive but so ready, craving adventure, growth and life experience. It was meant to last a year but life got away with me, and that year is coming up to four. Four crazy/beautiful years that have broken me, rebuilt me, and broken me again.

Only now do I realise that this is home. It’s always been about location for me, this struggle of having my heart in two places and never really allowing myself to settle. There was always a reason or person that was my excuse for being here. Now it’s just me and I still want to be here. Damn it, I still want to be here and it frustrates me. You may not understand but hopefully you do.

I went ‘home’, and immediately become the daughter, sister, friend again as if I had never left. But I wasn’t the school girl, I was the working girl that plays grown-up everyday in London. And it’s not pretend, it’s real. I’ve changed and I’m not mummy’s little girl anymore. That’s a pretty hard adjustment for any mummy and little girl.

So yeah, I did leave and there were moments when I was home that it felt so alarmingly obvious to me and everyone else. There were moments where New Zealand felt so foreign and that makes me sad, because it means accepting the end of an era that probably ended a long time ago.  My childhood home was just that – the home of my childhood; my mother’s abode. My adulthood home? That is what I’ve created and that isn’t in New Zealand. That’s here, I am here.

I don’t know what I want for lunch let alone where I want to settle. But it’s time to settle this year, here. Because it’s right. I am not displaced, I am purposefully placed, even if I don’t know why.

Say it with me: My home is where I am, my home is where I am.

Do you know how I feel? Have you ever had to leave somewhere or something behind, and say goodbye to an era?

Rat Race

I recently went to New Zealand and moaned a lot about London to my friends and family. ‘The people are mean, the weather is rubbish and I spend half my life on public transport.’ Wah wah wah… Can someone spell NEGATIVE?! It didn’t make me so excited to come back, and I didn’t exactly sell it to my friends.

The people can be mean (such a childish word). Not mean as such, more rude. I see it most at rush hour when I’m travelling to work and the trains are ridiculously packed. Everyone needs to get somewhere and if you’re moving at a less-than-speedy pace, you’re officially a pain in the arse. I’m one of those rushed people, I’ll admit it. It’s definitely a rat race, the question is do I really need to become a rat too?

Yesterday, I witnessed some smug and selfish behaviour on the tube. Nothing particularly bad, just not friendly. I made a mental note to not be like that because frankly, life’s too short to fight for a seat on the train.

Then this morning happened. Funny how God catches you out like that. This obnoxious man (that’s me being nice) got way up in my grill, then blocked a seat from me so he could have it himself. Where was the chivalry, or even just the respect of my personal space?

I am very aware NOW that it isn’t a big deal, but at the time I was pissed! I could feel his ego taking over the whole train carriage. Ugh. I was so annoyed that I literally wanted to stamp on his foot ‘by accident’ when I got off at my stop. How old am I again? Oh.the.rage.

Anyway. Enough of that nonsense. My point is this; while in my tirade of fury, I remembered what I decided yesterday. I was being a rat over not getting a seat, which is plain silly in the grand scheme of things. So I took a deep breath and chose to get a grip…. It did take a while.

I am part of the race, but I am not a rat.

The day I came back to this crazy city after 3.5 weeks away, it felt good. I loved my time in NZ, but when I got off the tube at my stop, I felt I was home. I kept referring to it as ‘home’ when I was in my true home, because for now, it is. In theory I hate it, but the reality is that I just can’t help but love it!

What I’ve learned is to take the bad with the good, because the latter definitely outweighs the former. The arrogant seat-stealers are the minority, and though we don’t really make eye contact on the tube, we’re not all so bad.