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  • Writer's pictureAlicia Dione

Car Park Freedom

Quarantine Day #2


With every day I am feeling a little better. One thing I am finding hard when I wake is to not immediately go on my phone. Back in the UK I had a rule that the first hour after waking up was sacred and not to clouded by social media. I am proud to say that I managed to uphold this rule 80-90% of the time, with results that saw me happier and more productive throughout the day. However, here in beautiful NZ, my first thought when I wake at 5:45 is the people I said goodbye to in the UK and the messages and stories I have waiting on my phone. I do think that going forward I need to commit to time for myself in a similar way to the phone free hour at home. Even though the circumstances are different now, a new routine is going to be a big help in achieving happiness in my new home.

Honestly, I’m not a morning person and catch me with the wrong topic of conversation or tone of voice early in the day and it has the potential to off set my whole day. I’m very susceptible when I first wake up (I'm working on it). I like to think that when God made me, he had two bottles in front of him to add to my being. One was labelled ‘early riser’ and the other ‘night owl’. Now, I know the general consensus is that 'God' or 'The Universe' don't make mistakes… but I’m pretty confident that whoever they are, they poured in the whole bottle of ‘night owl’.

I would like to be an early riser for many reason, but the most appealing ones are; I like the idea of getting so much done before midday and I like having my body in tune with the rising and falling of light levels. (I have always found that light has a strong impact on my mood). However, my productive hours normally kick in around 6pm, always have. I remember when I was back in school trying to study for exams, I would procrastinate like no-ones business from 9am-3pm, but as soon as the light started to change outside, the darkness setting in, the sky changing from blue to orange, I could study. All. Night. Long.

That’s one of the great things about the jet lag. My eyes drift open at 5:45, my feet take my hands to the window to create a view point to the deep blue and twinkling sky. As I curl back into the white linen bed and soft pillows, I watch as the far off mountains become clearer in the pink, white and deep blue of a dawn sky. I have energy, energy I have never had in the mornings before. Being present in conciseness this early in the morning would usually make my stomach roll with nausea. But as my body stays I touch with my home's clocks, I am granted this ability to rise with the best of them. To experience the dawn, to appreciate the definition of early.



You Can’t Trust Anyone

I thought I knew him. I thought I really knew him. The hours spent together, the laughter, games, arguments and debates. The tears after a long shift. The battles I’ve fought with him by my side. I really thought I could trust that he was who he said he was.

It all started when I received a message from my mum telling me that Meat Loaf had died. I should have cherished the moments that followed as they were the last time I would see Ben, my partner in crime, the way I thought I would see him forever. I announced the news to him and he was lost on who Meat Loaf was, not a problem. I began to sing the absolute belter “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now”. (A Celine Dion song I know, but written by Jim Steinman and covered by Meat Loaf and Marion Ravn; and in my personal opinion… arguably better than the Celine version).

It was 4 minutes later that I got the news that would change the way I viewed Ben forever. I sang unaccompanied by music for the first minute. Then, I connected my bluetooth speaker and played the song for all four walls and him to enjoy.

Ben, had NEVER heard this song.

In a frantic panic to save my relationship, I then followed it up with “Bat Out Of Hell”... nothing. Then the Celine version of "Back To Me Now"... nothing. This is when my life changed forever.

Going forward, my main worry is how I am going to break the news to his parents? Not that our relationship is now inevitably doomed, but that their son is such a disappointment. I can't believe it.

...and scene.


The news that our covid tests were negative really put a swing in my step! We were given blue bands, immediately booked some time slots and were bound for the amazing outdoors. Before leaving the room, I made sure the curtains were closed as the sun was piercing the glass and heating the room by a degree a second... not great foreshadowing for my gray, pale and winter struck skin. As I pushed the button for the lift to take me to Summer, I realised that it had been over 72 hours since I had experienced fresh air! Thank God for these blue bands is all I can say because my skin was beginning to go transparent, veins were literally starting to become clearer under my skin... ew David!

I never thought walking in a circle could feel so freeing! The sunbeams danced on my skin and the fresh air cleansed my lungs of the air purifiers, fans and artificial air flow. My muscles gained mobility as I stretched my legs infant of me with no heavy bags, or trollies, or narrow corridors holding me back. It was 27 degrees out there but the light breeze kept me from stifling as the skip in my step grew with each lap of the carpark. Round and around I went with the brilliant Katherine Ryan and her outrageously funny podcast in my ears. Air has never smelt this sweet from a parking space before.

As time drew on I knew that I was getting into trouble. I had been five minutes late to my outdoor time as I was securing the room's future coolness, and in the end I decided to leave ten minutes early. I know, I should have been cherishing every second, but my winter ridden skin is not prepared nor equipped to be dealing with 27 degree weather and a non-existent ozone layer. And to tell you the truth, I look quite silly reflecting the sun like a God damn vampire whilst wearing stifling hiking boots. I really wish I had ordered new trainers the second we had arrived at the hotel, but that would have required some seriously sensible foresight in a frazzled and exhausted state of mind, after the longest journey of my life. My feet went straight into freezing water the second I got back to the room, my big toe still recovering from surgery just 2 weeks ago. Godspeed trainers. Godspeed.


Sad news

I have been reading all of the comments that are still streaming in from the travel group online. I knew that there were many people unable to get home to NZ like there are people unable to get home to other countries all over the world. However, I don’t think I understood that there are lots of people who were not NZ born and bread who are making it to NZ before NZ citizens.

I have to be honest, I don’t really consider my route into the country the same as other peoples. I’m not someone coming because I wanted to travel here for fun and I didn’t select my time here to be in the pandemic. Ideally I wanted to do 2 years in the UK and then make my way here in my own time when it was safe to do so. However, Bens promotion pushed our timeline up and the pulling force to NZ was strong because of the type of work he does. Visa application after visa application was denied because our ‘proof of relationship’ was not strong enough. (In this day and age there should be other ways to prove the legitimacy of a relationship without a wedding or children).

MIQ was unobtainable because there were so few places. I remember the 1st time we logged in to be randomly assigned a place in the queue; there were 4000 rooms up for grabs so we logged in to find out where in the queue we had been placed and we were 17,891. We waited up for 5 hours, all through the night in the hopes that somehow we would make it to the front of the queue and get a room in MIQ, but that never happened. We repeated this process over and over, one time we even made it to the front of the queue but the system glitched and removed all of my information off the booking. By the time we re-entered my details, (at 3am), the slot was gone and we were back to square one.

Other reasons that our entry to the country is slightly special is that due to the nature of Bens work, getting him here was time sensitive. However, I did not know (like I do now), that there are lots of people who do not have all of these extra ‘urgent’ reasons to be in the country, that are beating NZ citizens to MIQ rooms and leaving them trapped wherever they are in the world. Away from home. Away from loved ones. Away from everything they know and hold dear in a very trying and alien time.

This news makes me sad and it also makes me wonder if I really have any right to be here. Yes, I am a qualified Midwife which NZ is crying out for. Yes, I am triple vaxxed and am doing my time in quarantine. Yes, I am here to support my partner who is fulfilling a critical role here in NZ. (That was advertised for months on end with zero applicants). No, my coming with him didn't use up an extra space in quarantine. The rooms are the rooms, whether you are one person or a family of four. At the end of the day though... as much as getting here was far too long and extremely stressful, I do wish that the people who call this place home had beaten me here.

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