My boyfriend and I had an interview in Christchurch for a managing position in a hostel the other day. It would be a pretty sweet set up and we are crossing our fingers, legs, toes, and anything else that crosses to get the position. The thing is, we wont know if we have the job for a week and then if we get the job, we wont start it for two weeks. We spent the day after our strenuous two hour interview looking up short term jobs/ work for accommodation. Rather stressful.

After a few red herrings, we decided to throw caution to the wind and drive to a work for accommodation hostel in Hanmer Springs, a bit over an hour and a half. We arrived- not thinking to call the place ahead of time, to find that the owners were not there and that the hostel was full for the night. Ok, so plan B- find a place to stay. Anyplace to stay. There are maybe more hotel/motel rooms, campsites, and cabins than actual houses in this town (it is a spa resort/ water park with hiking and a ski season). To weed through it all we found the information kiosk. We called a few places and finally found two beds in a backpackers hostel called Jack in the Green. It was a small, tidy place with a cozy fire and a friendly cat! We settled in and were glued to the two chairs directly in front of the crackling fire. After a few minutes of petting, I was then happily trapped under the cat for a good few hours.

Eventually thirst for a cup of tea drove me to disturb the feline rest that we as humans are always envious of. We then chatted with the regulars at the hostel and saw a notice on the board about a Quiz Night at a local bar/ cafe/ restaurant. Why not. I have been craving a good Pub Trivia ever since my boyfriend told me about his families adventures over Christmas. He enjoys them as well, so off we went to tackle Kiwi trivia.

We arrived in a nice little, but rather expensive, cafe WhatEver! to be greeted with a very warm smile. We told the owner our interest in participating in trivia night. Knowing that wo people don’t usually have enough varied trivial knowledge to do very well (especially when they are the same generation), he asked if we wanted to attempt it alone or to join a group. Join a group was our unanimous response.

After our show of enthusiasm the owner introduced us to a wonderful group of 6 50-60 year olds and one younger man. They were happy to have a representation of the “younger” generations. After the initial questions of “why are you here?” “what are you doing” “how long?” and “where are you from?” They as a unit started to try and find jobs for us. They gave us a plethora of suggestions of places to look for work.

The Quiz Night itself, was incredibly fun and both my boyfriend and I were able to contribute answers that the original team wouldn’t have known (so they claimed), which was great fun. We won two rounds out of six. With each round the winner gets to go claim a prize via a drawing. I was chosen to represent the table and won a $20 bar tab. One of our team mates then gave me a $20 for the coupon so that we didn’t have to use it. Once all of the rounds were done, alas we didn’t win nor have a crack at the $450 jackpot. But we did come second and the $20 went towards our two beers. So much fun. Incredible people.

We slept soundly that night and woke the next morning invigorated and with a list of places to ask about work for accommodation/ jobs. We hit the pavement at about ten and hit 8 places. At each place not only were the people we talked to nice, but a few of the hotel/motel owners we spoke with were exceptionally kind. Our first stop was the hostel, Hanmer Backpackers, we had originally come to Hanmer Springs for. There we spoke with one of the owners who seemed rather hesitant because we were only looking for 2 weeks and the position was really only for one. She was also had trouble wrapping her mind around a couple not wanting a private room. She took our numbers and we left not sure of where we stood. The next few places handed us forms or applications and said that they would for sure be looking for work over the summer and then gave us names of other places to check. It was a chain of information. One place would tell us to check another, and then they would ask for a CV/ have us fill out an application and then point us to another place as well. We took a break to print CV’s at the library and the woman in the library started looking online for positions available as well as gave us another two places to check out. The final place we looked at before returning to Hanmer Backpacers (to try and book two bunks) actually called two other places for us. It was a husband, wife and mother of one of the owners. Each were suggesting places to call. They saved us driving around town even more! Before we left, the husband and wife were telling us that in a few weeks they were looking at a caravan to house work for accommodation people like ourselves and wished that they had it now. They even offered us odd jobs around the place if we did find a place to stay while we were here. Amazing. I was truly blown away by the genuine kindness and the real desire to help us out. It boggled my mind.

We returned to Hunmer Backpackers to ask about a room, the hostel we stayed in the night before was full. The owner, Yoko, welcomed us again and asked us to coffee/ tea with her husband, Tristan. My boyfriend and I just wanted to ask about rooms, but it turned into a “how can we make this position and time frame work for both us and you”. After some thinking aloud and asking opinions, I was offered the work for accommodation position, yet the two of us have bunk beds for 14 nights. In exchange I am to help around the place for 3 hours a day (one hour more than usual and no days off for the second bed and short term respectively). Awesome. Such an unexpected and welcome ending to the day!

In celebration of our good fortune, we went on a hike. It was a short enough hike, but it was rather steep and slippery. There was a gorgeous waterfall at the end and a downhill journey back to Arlene(our car). I still cannot get over how helpful and nice nearly all of the people we talked to today were! Thank you New Zealanders!!!!!!

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