Friday, February 26, 2016

Craft Beer Prevails!

Such exciting news I have to share!
(Potentially only exciting to me and simply news to you, but I don't presume to know what makes your heart take flight.)

I, Lauren C M Klansek, have a job.

Oh yes, a paying job, with a weekly schedule, and coworkers, and bosses, and I AM SO EXCITED.
I haven't even told you the best part- though you don't have to be a literary genius to figure out my foreshadowing title. My job is at Founders Brewery Cafe. Emphasis on the brewery.

Story Time:
Gather round kids, I have a tale to tell.
When I applied to work at Sun King Brewery this was my relationship with beer:

I REALLY wanted to work there, so in an attempt to seem like I had beer knowledge I googled
"Beer making" and "Beer terms" and "Beer slang"
As it turns out they just wanted to know if I could fill a cup with beer and be nice to people.
Check and check.
After working at Sun King for 6ish months I couldn't get enough. (Not of beer, I like beer but I can definitely get enough of beer) I couldn't get enough of the people I was working with. I think I just love being around people who love beer. Or maybe I just really love being around people who are going after something they believe in. (Most likely the latter). Definitely the latter, something I learned about myself while working at Sun King is that I live to bring other people closer to their dreams.
End story time.

That story got deep. The point I was trying to make -i think- is that I am SO excited to work in a Craft brewery again because even though I'm starting by just serving beer I get to be around people who created something, and they worked hard to make their vision a reality. Also this family-run brewery has been doing this work for 160 years, so I'd say it is important to them. 

Before going in to my new job for the first time I researched all their beers. I looked up reviews so I could know how to talk about them and what they're supposed to taste like. (Similar to my beginnings at Sun King I've never actually tried their beer). When I went in today this is what greeted me:

Familiar? No? THEN GO TO SUN KING AND LOOK AT THEIR STOOLS. Those beautiful orange stools. Tomorrow I'm going to the store, and in celebration of income I am going to buy meat that does not come out of a can. And then I'm going to attempt to use a grill, which quite possibly could be a disaster. 

Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

5 items: 1

Lets begin by thanking whoever in Portugal and Ireland are reading this blog. 
 By the way I loved Ireland, some really superb people live in your country. 
I've never been to Portugal, but I have no doubt your citizens are also excellent. 

Begin Post:

I travel with about 5 irreplaceable Items. 

All of them have stories, and some of those stories are embarrassing.

Here is a Picture of Item 1:

Everyone knows you need your passport in airports for international travel, but what I failed to realise is you need it for travel within the country too. (cue eye-roll of every seasoned traveler ever) 

Yeah.. So being the responsible young adult I am I thought "I shouldn't take this out with me, it is much safer here in my cabin. Good thinking Lauren *mental high five*" 

This moment added 3 hours to my travel time and subtracted about $150 from my bank account. It also managed to increase exponentially my frustrations. How you ask?

Though I wreak of charm, and had parents with the willingness to vouch for my legitimacy, the train station woman in Tokyo refused to exchange my Rail Pass Voucher without my Passport. No copy would suffice, meaning we had to travel 1.5 hours back to Kruizawa and 1.5 hours back to Tokyo to catch the LAST train for a 6 hour ride to Hiroshima.

You may be thinking, silly Lauren, you really should read the fine print. Yes, silly Lauren. As it turns out, even if my unbelievable likability had worked on the train station woman EVERY SINGLE HOTEL required our passport on check-in. Japanese people follow rules, and they may be very nice about saying no to you, but they won't stop saying it.

For the record, I've not had to use my passport at all in New Zealand, but I doubt this is a strictly Japanese requirement. ALSO it helps to have a thin cover for your passport, and if it has your incredibly good looking family on it then you achieve bonus points in the game of travel. 

Don't forget your passport.

Bonus material!

I said I would be posting the link to my life choices for your viewing pleasure so
If you are observant you may notice I added a new column called "Code Camp." I am attempting to learn the basics of coding on a website called Free Code Camp. Why you ask? Because I said I want to learn something new, it was suggested to me, and I like learning. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Twenty-five dollar ticket

He read my face and asked me if the ticket cost too much. Then we talked about Movies, and books, and broccoli with oil and lemon, and how 4pm is too early to eat dinner anyways, just grab a snack and come with.

And that's how I ended up sitting in the blazing sun, at the midfield line of a New Zealand Vodafone Warriors VS Australia Dragons Rugby match with two Israeli guys who knew just as much about Rugby as I did. Much learning (mostly speculating) happened on those sidelines. No there was no Haka. There was however a helicopter, and a lot of GIANT men with GIANT legs and tiny shorts. There was also a significant amount of losing on the NZ side.- which was particularly embarrassing because their giants were definitely gianter. 

Rugby is not football, so allow me to translate for those less-schooled in the sport:

"That was a good try" = "That was a good touchdown"
"The attempt was good" = "Fieldgoal!"
"Smash him!" = "Defence! Defence!"


So after sustaining excessive sun exposure and asking the kid next to me why they were group hugging- and receiving a reluctant and certainly judgemental response- we walked away with the rest of Nelson to our home where we decided to play soccer and now my feet and ankles are sufficiently bruised.

The next day they invited me to go to the beach where the dream was to play volleyball.* Instead we took on the responsibility of saving an injured bird** and played no sport.

I really considered not having- an arguably necessary- cultural experience because it cost me $25. I would have missed out on two days of having friends, laughing with people more genuinely than I have in weeks, explaining that girls do in fact play soccer in America, learning the way to the beach, and watching a seagull have diarrhoea (this is apparently the english way of spelling diarrhea).

Thanks Idan for talking me in to eating a late dinner to watch a Rugby game.

That is all.

*Regev is a setter for a prominent Israeli team, so upon seeing the amateur playing we were joining he opted out of the experience. 
**pictures and video to come

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Yay for people

I have stayed with and met some of the best people possible.

Grant and Jenny opened their home and their garden to me, helped me get a bank account and drove me places to try and find a job, without me ever asking. 

Karen opened up her home and introduced me to tuna toasties. Her and her husband gave me amazing travel advice and inspired me to get moving. 

Virginia the German hung out with me on her day in Rotorua and waited for me while I accidentally took a super long hike.

Gonny the Dutch woman shared a bottle of wine and a can of spicy pringles with me. 

Claudia and Markus the Austrians shared their story and gave me a ride back to my hostel when it was raining

Bill shuttled me to my next destination and made me feel like a world-class human

Blake the canadian climbed a mountain with me

The two Welsh girls I met in National Park (sorry can’t remember their names) had a beer and a burger with me and didn’t make fun of my horrific sunburn. 

Angela and Matt Opened up their home and their fridge to a wayward traveler who had no idea where she was going next. 

Derek the American took time out of his day to buy me lunch and show me around the National Museum, just because. 

Nerene and Dan let me escape from people for a few days, take full advantage of their garden, and their netflix, and asked for nothing in return. Except feeding their dog. 

Since leaving Wellington I've met even more unnecessarily generous people. 
I met Sue the nurse on the ferry and she offered to help me out if I ever go to Christchurch, the bus driver who waited for me to get food when I was unbelievably hungry, the managers of the hostel I'm WWOOFing at, the other WWOOFers I'm sharing life with. I continue to meet kind and helpful people from all over the planet. The world continues to get a little smaller and I'm just in one small country. Yay for people. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

When the tide goes out

I possess what I sometimes believe to be a rare skill of looking at a situation and seeing most of the possible outcomes. Some call this pessimistic, I call it realistic. I always hope for the magic, but I know there is a possibility the mundane lives somewhere in my plans. I am well aware I will likely run in to it's big boring face and have no choice but to accept the call to live quietly for a little while.

I suspect this is a common pattern. The magic doesn't just suddenly disappear, it slowly fades, ebbing and flowing, until you're standing on vaguely moist ocean floor wondering when the tide will come back in.

When you start it's easy to make your experience an adventure. Everything is an adventure at the beginning. Everything is newer, greener, bigger, better, and stranger than what you just left. You're riding the waves, swimming out further than you should, and using up all your energy treading water before you realise what was once up to your earlobes is now to your shoulders, then stomach, now waist, and soon you look down and see you missed that one spot shaving on the back of your left ankle.

Look a picture!

There is a book called Wherever You Go, There You Are. I have not read it, I probably should since I'm referring to it, but really I just like the title. I imagine the book says some variation of what I'm about to share, but in any case, please remember I have in fact not read the book. This is strictly title talk. This is all also my opinion, and you should know by now I am no scholar.

Moving doesn't change your life. People change your life. Insights, experiences, conversations, comfort zone relocation, these things change your life. Moving to a new city, state, country, continent, this does not change you. Because when you show up in this new world you are the same you. You are just as adventurous, spontaneous, boring, loud, sad, obnoxious, or ridiculous as you were when you left your former home. Your priorities are the same, your scars are the same, your baggage weighs the same whether it's measured in kilos or lbs.

I knew this, I know this. I left being very realistic about how I might feel moving to a different country. I knew I would be the same person in a situation I could only roughly sketch out in my mind.  So now here I am, I go to bed before 9pm. Yes, i said before. I wake up around 6:30 and do the same thing every day. I want a job, and to sleep in the same bed for a month. I want to make a friend. I want to make some money. I want to learn something new. I brought my priorities to Nelson, NZ. As it turns out my priorities look a lot like the mundane. I like the mundane sometimes though. I miss balancing 3 jobs and school and a quiet social life. I miss how boringly predictably fun it was.

I'm in Nelson New Zealand and here I am. Same old me. taking some time to do the same old things I was doing before.

And another one!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


So when I got here I was given my keys to the hostel. This is the lanyard they were given to me on:

Fernweh is a German word. If you've been reading and you haven't bothered to look it up then you are very lazy. 

I'm not superstitious, I don't get worked up over ladders, broken mirrors, black cats etc. But this feels a little too crazy to be a coincidence. Tasman Bay Backpackers feels like the right place to be right now and I don't think coincidence brought me here at this time. It feels more important than coincidence. I'm really excited to find out exactly what that means. So far it means a cool new Lanyard.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Live Better

Whoever in Poland is reading this blog you are awesome. 

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

So I told you with the peanut butter post that I would be making some changes.

I've recently discovered that I tend to let food rule my day. I eat relatively well, but lately I've gotten pretty lazy when it comes to making good food choices. (In my defence, I have to carry everything on my back and it has to last, so fresh food hasn't been much of an option). So last week I started feeling weird, I was eating tons of salt and drinking tons of water. I couldn't stop myself from having sugar and snacking on pretty much anything. SO I felt pretty terrible. The idea of not being able to resist a craving is unbelievably annoying to me. A craving to me feels like an addiction and I don't want to be addicted to anything, SO I decided the only way out of this self-trap is to radically change my pattern of behaviour. And I mean my entire pattern.

If you know much about me you know I enjoy a challenge. I like competition, and if I can't compete with someone else then I'll just compete with myself and be happy with that.

AND in the spirit of Accountability I'm letting you lovely folks be involved in the process. So Below is a link to a google doc where I will be inputing my behaviour data daily. I'll re-post the link every so often so I don't talk myself in to thinking no one will know I'm not following through.

Some questions I know you'll have:
1. Why no eating before noon? Many reasons, Partially for practising self-control. Partially for some health benefits of having a specific window of eating time and only eating when you are hungry. Mostly for the challenge of making it to Noon before I have my first meal.

2. What is Duolingo? It's a really awesome language learning app that I suggest to everyone. I'm attempting to learn french at the moment, I've also dabbled in German and Spanish.

3. How long will you do this? You'll notice on the google doc I only have 21 days, I intend to go longer, but 21 days is my re-assessment point. If I feel horrible or have any other negative effects then I'll re-evaluate my commitment.

So there you have it, Check out my progress

p.s. squares with little yellow corners have notes in them. Mostly excuses for my behaviour.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Me and Boo

I briefly mentioned that I spent a lot of time with a black lab last week. Boo was my only face to face social interaction for almost 6 days. I really wanted a break from people, and God gifted me boo.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The peanut butter problem

This past week I've had a lot of time to reflect. A lot of time to myself, and a lot of time to eat a lot of peanut butter.

Yes this post is about peanut butter -and so much more- just kidding it's actually mostly about peanut butter.

If you have spent any amount of time with me, and if peanut butter was in the immediate vicinity, and if it was free for my consumption then you should know that I may have a small problem.

When I say a small problem what I mean is a full-blown addiction.

The reason I'm writing about this is indeed because I've spent the last week house-sitting alone, just me, a black lab, and an entire jar of Pic's crunchy peanut butter. Two of those are still in the house. So in the spirit of accountability I'm making it official that I'm letting go of peanut butter.

(I'm letting go of a lot of things, but this may arguably be the most character building.)

I didn't make new year's resolutions because I guess I didn't feel like it. But, I do this thing occasionally where I want to make a major change. Sometimes I start a new workout program, cut my bangs, start wearing a different pair of shorts*, give up a food group, or change my morning routine. This time I'm going for a complete shift. The shift is starting with peanut butter. Peanut butter is at the surface, and a completely new system of living well is underneath.

I think that's worth sharing I guess.

*If you spent any amount of time with me in the last three years you'll understand how big of a deal this is for me. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

It was a Marrow

I found out the name of the vegetable Bill gave me, it is called a Marrow. Only here is the thing, the Marrow Bill gave me was grown in his own garden probably with compost and whatnot and it was giant. So don't be fooled by the pictures, Bill did not hand me a packable cucumber sized vegetable, Bill gifted me an awkwardly fat Marrow.

Here is a picture of an uncomfortable looking me:

for the record I had no reason to look uncomfortable other than the fact that I hadn't washed my hair in a few days and I was unreasonably tired.. This picture of me is so bad it needed to be shared. (By no fault of the photographer) 

SO quick life update for you.

I have spent the last week in the suburbs of Wellington. One day I went in to town to visit Te Papa, and explore the area. This is how walking along the coast, in Wellington, on a summer day feels.

I stayed with an american family- who houses Bethel College students- for a few days. They have a giant dog and a tiny baby. One is loud and one poops in the yard. They gave me a bed, fed me, and let me do laundry. One of those was more necessary than i care to admit.

Here is a picture of an uncomfortable looking Great Dane:

Now I am house/dog sitting for their friends who live closer to Wellington in a Hilly Bay town called Lower Hutt. (They also have a fresh human, but they took it with them on their trip.) I will be here until next Thursday (America's Wednesday) when I head across the water to Nelson which is on the tippy top of the south island. And here comes the exciting part:

I will be working for accommodation for at least 3 weeks (hopefully longer) in a hostel in Nelson. I will also be looking for another job to do in the evenings so I can afford to stay here longer. It is ALSO my desire to acquire a bike, and then find someone who has a garden who wants to feed me from it.*

As for now I am hanging out with a black lab, going for long hikes and bike rides, learning how to drive on the left, (WAT) and taking advantage of the fact that the home owners said I was welcome to anything in their garden and fridge (hello vegetables and bread, nice to see you again).

That is all for now.

Here is a picture of an uncomfortable looking baby:

* It's hard not to be spoiled by organic and home grown foods here as having your own garden is common and the food is SO GOOD. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Last Week

Hi there

As mentioned in the last post, I've spent the past 6 days Backpacking in the North Island. Below is a simple video containing pictures from these adventures.

The beginning contains pictures of natural hot pools in the Rotorua area. Lake Rotorua is actually a Caldera, or in other words a massive volcano which erupted and then collapsed in on itself. Rotorua smells like rotten eggs, and though I removed the audio in the making of the video, most of my commentary includes 1. how unbelievably hot it was and 2. how stinky it was. 

In Rotorua I made friends with my roommates, shared a bottle of wine and a tin of spicy Pringles, taught them about geocaching, went geocaching, and promised to invite them when I decide to bike across America. 

THEN you see three lakes. I met a german girl and we traveled together to these lakes.

I accidentally took an extensive hike and we swam in the first lake pictured, Lake Tikitapu or Blue Lake. Right next to it is Lake Rotokakahi or Green Lake which you cannot swim in because the Maori believe it is holy. Next is Lake Terawera.

Here we met an Irish girl who was traveling for a year in New Zealand alone and stopping random places along the way to work and make friends. 

Next we see more hot pools, a Maori Village, more hiking tracks, blah blah.. and then we get to Black Water Rafting in Waitomo. Here you will see just some of the many attractive pictures of me Absailing in to  the depths of a cave, riding in the dark on a donut inner tube under thousands of glow worms, and overcoming claustrophobia in very small spaces.

Next comes Bill, Please refer to "This is Bill"

Then I ride a train, meet a guy, from San Francisco, and his mom. Pictures from an incredibly long and surprisingly difficult hike and THEN


you glimpse in to my experience of climbing Mount Doom. or Ngauruhoe (NAIR-UH-HO-EE)
I may not have made it to the top if I had not made a Canadian friend at the bottom who was just dumb enough to climb it with me.
It was not easy. In fact, it sucked to climb. However it was amazing, and completely worth the struggle. Then I completed the trail in between three volcanoes and down to the other side all in about 9 hours. My feet may have suffered permanent damage that day.

The pictures at the end were taken first, but I forgot about them until I had edited the first part, and for the sake of my sanity I did not start all over. Those pictures are from climbing Mount Maunganui in Tauranga on my New Zealand Birthday.

So there you have it. An extremely thorough description of a less than 4 minute video. I am now just outside of Wellington staying with a couple who I know through other people (because that is my life). Who knows what the future holds! I guess you'll have to wait and see.