That one time, a year ago

by Laura Findlay

Dear Zoo,

This time last year my fiance and I loaded his Toyota Trueno with four months worth of my stuff and drove down the West Coast, headed for Hokitika. It was a glorious winters day and we took the Coastal route. The huge waves and Nikau Palms made it feel other-worldly. I remember feeling scared and excited in equal measures – I really had no idea what was in store for me! I worked in Hokitika, in small but exceptionally busy and vibrant, library with four staff (including me) for four months as their Youth Librarian, running all the programmes for children, including outreach, maintaining and buying the youth collections and working on the desk.

A year later, I say with some regularity, that I was meant to make that scary voyage into the unknown. I’m not a very spiritual person but I believe that the stars aligned last June. Working and living in Hoki was one of the best and one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I spent a lot of those four months feeling quite homesick and missing my family but I’m really glad that I stuck it out because I learnt so many things.

Some of my favourite parts of living/ working there: doing storytime and experimenting with programme ideas, doing outreach, planning school holiday programmes and other special events, Roald Dahl week was a highlight, reading lots of amazing books including most of Kate DiCamillo’s and Lab Girl by Hope Jahren, the wide roads in Hokitika and going for big walks and looking at all the interesting houses, having lots of fun times with a variety of visitors, almost dying of happiness every time Rowan came to visit and going on crazy adventures up and down the West Coast with him, the amazing ladies I worked with in the library who were so kind and funny and shared my love of chocolate, the really crazy waves at Hoki beach, looking at houses and thinking about buying one for under $200,000 (!!!), doing lots of fun, crafty displays in the library, the strawberry milkshakes at Stella, going to the movies in their 400 seat theater (once, completely by myself), exploring lots of mine remnants on the WC, seeing lots of new calves, getting an amazing parcel in the mail from my bro in Europe (and any other time I got mail), the redonculous rain on the roof at night and surviving several ‘storms’, staying tucked up in bed reading on the weekend, a really awesome trip to Palmy to attend a children’s librarian conference…okay I’ll stop there. It was such an amazing trip!

It’s weird that a whole year has passed and this year I’m not going anywhere. Since then I’ve done a few more papers at uni, done more CL stuff at my home library, gotten married (!!!), and spent a lot of time thinking about last winter and how this winter is different. It’s good to be at home with my peeps but it was equally good to go on a crazy adventure.

What are you up to this year?

Yours at home,