The first time I went to Chapter Book and Tea, I was just exploring the Mt Eden Village. I liked the idea of reading books while drinking tea, a midway between a café and a library. I was more drawn to the tea collection than their books, though. I somehow stumbled upon their African Dream black tea and loved it so much that I used to tell everyone. That was more than half a dozen years ago... Perhaps drawn by nostalgia, I recently went back for another bagful of the dreamy tea leaves. For my winter reading nook at home... Image via Unsplash/Oleg Guijinsky
Chapter Book & Tea Shop 442 Mt Eden Road, Mt Eden, Auckland 1024
I know it's a start of another season when I get another playlist delivered to my inbox - for only the select few. I also know that the weather on the other side of the globe is warming up, unlike on my side of the world, because the tracks are a lot more upbeat than the previous winter ones.
It's my birthday, today. So have a good one this weekend, because I sure plan to!
Half price mussels with a drink on Mussel Mania Mondays is probably one of the favourite things about Auckland for our Breton friend N. It's become a ritual for him to come here for at least the first and the last weeks of his regular Auckland stays. I guess they remind him of home, though the huge meaty NZ mussels are nothing like the tiny black ones where he is from.
Poor A who does not realise the deliciousness of seafood had to make do with a burger while N and I attacked our pots of mussels. Mussels with a wide selection of Belgian beers... miam !
Satya is one of those places we go to over and over again. Indian is probably one of my favourite take away options that I've become hooked with after my senior years in high school. I pretty much have a favourite Indian restaurant in each of the cities I've called home in the past. Satya is my favourite in Auckland. It's Southern Indian, so a little different from the others' around Auckland. M was the first one who took me here, and I've been comparing all Indian takeaways to Satya's standards, ever since. Satya is definitely a flat favourite. Normally we get a chicken option and a vegetarian option. Recently we tried mango chicken with green beans coconut curry - yum! The weather's cooling these days, and hot Indian is an ideal company, for sure.
Satya South Indian Restaurant 57 Mt Eden, Mt Eden, Auckland 1024
When you are in a new country, new city or just a new surrounding in general, it's important to have a few people to connect with, who can help you ease into the unfamiliar territory.
How do you meet people and make new friends?
As we get older and start working, this seems harder and harder to achieve. W was worried that she didn't have any close friends in her new city, forcing her to always hang out with her flatmate - with whom she got along with, but W was craving diversity. As I start my last week at my current workplace and facing a new chapter in my life soon, I started to think over how I had made friends in the past in the numerous places I had called home.
Some ways you could make new friends as adults:
In Bordeaux, I was part of an expat community called InterNations. While it was a small community, it was an active one. We would explore the Bordeaux food scene, trying out different restaurants every month for dinners. Most of the time, half the members would be regulars, and the other half new faces. There was also a monthly after work drinks at a pub somewhere, where more people turned up. These monthly dinners and drinks were great for meeting new people from all over the world, as well as new French people.
I don't go to these very often, but my sister used to be part of several tramping Meetup groups, and she loved it. Each weekend, they would go walking in one of the many tracks around Auckland. They were big groups, too, around 70-90, so very popular. She had invited me along, but I'm nowhere as fit as she is! Perhaps when she gets back into it, I'll start tagging along more.
If you want to meet lots of people and learn a language at the same time, groups like Franglish are great. Franglish is speed dating for Francophone/Anglophones. You get assigned a table with a stranger. The rules are: French only for seven minutes then English only for seven minutes. At the end of the 14 minutes, you face another person, and repeat the process.
One of my goals for this year was to volunteer more. Volunteering is something I used to do in high school but not much since. I feel that it's started off great, but has dwindled into a corner fast. So far I've done volunteering at a music festival and a pop up theatre. Both were great experiences and you do meet many people you would not normally mingle with.
Join a sports team! It's good for your body as well as your soul. Indoor soccer and netball are popular options, and you can also team up with your colleagues. Some companies offer yoga classes - I'm hoping my new work will have something similar!
Your mates' mates
There are also evening classes or other afterwork drinks/networking events that you could attend. If all else fails, though, try asking your friends to introduce their mates to you. Chances are, you like your friends, so you'll like their friends, too.
How cool is this? The world's longest sea caves found by geologist Nicolas Barth while he was exploring our very own New Zealand! The Otago coast in the South Island has six of the ten longest sea caves in the world. Another moment of awe for the natural wonders that this country holds. Wondering how easy they are to access, I wouldn't mind exploring through one! Matainaka Cave, Otago Coast, New Zealand!
Yesterday morning I put toothpaste on someone else's toothbrush by mistake.
This morning I was surprised to find that my train had stopped at an unfamiliar station. Has there been a new station stop opened? It was the same old station. I had just decided to get on the train on the one before...
After a week of sleeping in a bed that's not my own, I'm onto sharing my small space with my sister, who is visiting this week.
This is Viv, a Kiwi girl who enjoys meeting new people and learning about new things - gaining experience is really important to her.
Having lived and worked in Auckland, Paris, Seoul, Melbourne, Bordeaux and London, she has just returned home to her beautiful Aotearoa/New Zealand.
An operations manager in a travel insurance tech company, freelance translator, food/travel blogger, amateur runner with restless feet for dancing and exploring, here is a snippet of Viv's daily musings.