We've been in Picton for about 2 1/2 months now and are so happy we chose to this as our next "home"! Things were rocky at first. We spent the first few days working for accomodation at a hostel but quickly discovered that the amount of work (20 hours a week each) was way to much for the accomodation provided (a mattress on the floor of a dirty apartment). And our new bosses, however friendly and nice to talk to, were a little crazy. We left after 3 days.
We found a furnished apartment just 5 minutes outside of town. It is actually an old motel but the rooms (with kitchens and bathrooms, of course) are rented out as apartments.
Its not much but the rent is decent and we are really happy to have our own place. The owners of the motel apparently own some farm land next to the building and apparently give their chickens and sheep free reign of the parking lot. Its pretty hilarious climbing into your car while a chicken approaches you to see if you've got food. (Sidenote: they can't tell the difference between food and fingernail clippings.)
In January, we began working at a 5-star restaurant called "Escape to Picton." We saw an advertisement that they were hiring and began work the day after our interview. After all our traveling and putting a deposit on our apartment we were pretty broke so we couldn't believe our luck at finding jobs right away. We found out pretty quickly, however, why there were vacancies at "Escape." The boss is a total nutjob and impossible to work for. The work wasn't bad though, and we did enjoy our other coworkers. But the boss was always breathing down our necks about something. It was way more stress than we needed.
One day, after another infuriating shift at "Escape," we stopped for a beer during happy hour at a cafe called Seabreeze. Just for the heck of it, we asked if they were hiring. As it turned out they were losing 3 staff members the following week and were, in fact, hiring. We couldn't believe our luck! We quickly gave notice at "Escape" and began working at Seabreeze the next week.
Since the end of January we've been working 40-60 hours a week at Seabreeze. Its been crazy but we're really enjoying it. Our boss is really laidback and fun to work with. And we love our coworkers. We work some morning/lunch shifts which involve making coffees (we're both trained baristas now, ha!), running food out to tables, picking up dirty dishes, working at the cash register, etc.
In the afternoons we work happy hour - pouring beers and glasses of wine. And in the evenings we switch to table service - i.e. we work as waiters taking orders at the table, etc. Its been an incredibly busy past 6 weeks but we are working hard now so we can do some more traveling!
We're planning on staying in Picton until mid-April when my sister, Sarah, is coming to visit. We'll be traveling with her up through the North island which we haven't seen yet. By mid-May we'll be heading to Australia for about 4 weeks! And after Australia, we'll be coming home! I can't believe time is flying by so quickly!
We haven't done much traveling outside of Picton since we arrived (we haven't hardly had any time off!) but we have taken a few day trips and I promise to write more about those trips soon!