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  • Writer's pictureAlicia Dione

Rude Awakening

I am determined to keep with this early riser thing now that I’ve got it going. 6am and the alarm went off, 20 minutes later I got up to open the curtains nice and wide to find that the view of the mountains was gone and I was now looking at a high rise in the middle of a big city. A loud city. The noise was unbelievable! From late in the night all the way through till morning the noise never stopped and first light seemed to give the ‘go ahead’ to everyone with a stonker of an engine to rally past the street directly at our building's feet. All in all I don’t mind the change, coming from a small town it's probably healthy to experience big city energy once in a while and I know we won’t be living in city centre when we finally find a place to live.

We had a true rude awakening at 07:10. Ben was snoozing heavily beside me and I was posting the amazing adventure of last night on instagram. I have never been the biggest fan of 'the gram', maybe I just never really had something of worth to post. Well… that’s not true either, I just didn’t see the need to share it. Now though, now I want to share every second of this worldwide adventure with anyone who wants to come along for the ride. Covid has made travel and adventure non-existent for so long and for so many people that I almost feel obligated to prove that the rest of the world is still out here! The rest of the population are sill living their lives and waiting for you to explore their lands once the opportunity strikes...

*Loud, Piercing Alarm*

I shot out of bed to see if there were any clues as to what this noise indicated. My first instinct was a fire alarm but you have to remember; we are in earthquake and tsunami territory now and they were the first things we were briefed on in the car ride from the airport. I opened the door to the hall way to see if there was anyone around or any smoke to protect ourselves from… there wasn’t. However, an alarm is an alarm and we were in a high rise on the 6th floor. Plus if the fire was under us there was no guarantee we would make it out the front door.

“We need to get out of this building”. I stated with urgency to a discombobulated and sleepy Ben. Grabbing my jumper and looking for socks, Ben took a few seconds to follow my lead and pull on some clothes. I pulled on my big white jumper whilst still trying to find any bottom layer that I owned, but it was hopeless. Lost in a sea of possessions and suitcases, there was no way I would find what I was looking for. Making the decision that Bens boxers would have to do as my bottom layer and in the absence of finding any socks (I hate that), I pulled my trainers onto my bare feet (ew).

As Ben pulled on his shoes, I briefly looked around the room to see what I should grab... documentation. A wallet containing all of our visas, vaccine passes, passports and so much more. I snatched it off the table, grabbed my MacBook and phone and headed for the door.

“Have you got the room key and your phone?” I asked a Ben who was stumbling towards the door still half unconscious with nothing in his hands. A few seconds later and we were out the door and hurtling down steps, sleepy and calm but urgent all the same. There was a family of four in front of us with two small children. The younger of the two had been paired off with the dad, the mum (already ahead) had the child hoisted up on her hip and was on a mission. The toddler holding the dads hand, did not see the urgency in this matter and his small and scrumptious little legs barley reached down each step. He also seemed to be showing quite a bit of interest in walking towards the wall when he reached landings as opposed to rounding the corner to descend down further steps.

Unable to explain to his two-year-old what a fire alarm was and unable to magically make his toddlers legs long enough to tackle the steps, he took a hold of his baby boy and carried him the remaining five and a half flights of stairs. He was adorable. I’m not someone that thinks all kids are cute and some of them are outright annoying. I’m sure as I get older my maternal instinct will grow stronger and cloud my judgment on the massive burden that children pose to your life, but all I thought when I saw this little face was: “well aren’t you just the cutest”. For the rest of the stairs, this little man and I had a smiling competition until we reached the lobby. At this point the alarm had been going off for two minutes (tops) and the sound of sirens were already in the distance.

Follow my instagram to see more of the action 😉

The response time was off the charts! Hunky NZ men with masks and oxygen tanks jumped down from their hero-red fire truck as a second truck rounded the corner. We all watched in anticipation as there was no smoke coming from the building and people were still filtering out. As I watched people exit the hotel wearing the bare minimum, I observed what they had deemed 'important'. One man had brought his work laptop (on which he immediately checked if he still had WiFi and informed his work that he would either need the day off or be late. Another woman was carrying her dog, probably the most important little buddy to save in the whole building if you ask me 🥺. And there I was, clutching a folder of papers that proved my identity and ‘right’ to be in this country, proof I had done my time in quarantine and a laptop.

Twenty minutes went by and we were told that it was safe to re enter the building.

“What was the reason for the alarm?” I asked the man from reception.

“Someone overcooked their bacon on the 8th floor”.

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