Wednesday, 18 March 2015

R.E.S.P.E.C.T - is this really you and me?!

Look at this.  I absolutely adore this photo!  How happy and relaxed does my boy (on the right) look?  I can't believe the big fella has been gone over a month already but suffice to say I stopped worrying about him when this popped up on my Facebook feed a couple of weeks ago.  He loves his new city, thinks his classes are 'sick' (that's extremely cool for those not familiar with teen speak) and has made a heap of wonderful new friends.  Which was a huge relief for this mother to hear as just a few days before he had slept in and missed both his powhiri (official welcome) and his campus tour, hence had absolutely no idea what he was meant to be doing or where he was supposed to be.  'I don't think I'm cut out for uni life Mum', came the woeful message.  'Of course you are', I replied, with more conviction than I felt.  'All you have to do is get your arse out of bed in the mornings!'  And then spent the rest of the day fretting that perhaps my beloved eldest wasn't indeed cut out for uni life and had dreadful visions of him spending the next three years wandering campus, friendless and miserable or having to drive all the way down there to bring him back.  All day I worried about my gentle giant, out there in the big world alone, so far from home and not knowing a soul, yet I managed to refrain from texting him every five minutes throughout the day until 9.30pm that night when I could take no more and asked in fear and trepidation if he was OK.  'Oh yep I'm all good now, I'm on the piss with my mates haha', came the reply.  I've lost count of how many times I've heard that since!

Being seven hours' drive away is far enough but when I left home and ran off to the other side of the world it was so expensive to ring home (around $50 - $60 for one phone call from NZ to the UK!) that Mum and I could only afford to ring each other once a month.  How times have changed.  Liam and I can talk as often as we like for no cost at all!  We have Facebook and texting to message each other, we can video chat on Skype and send each other silly photos via Snapchat.  Which comes in very handy when needing to check important matters in a hurry such as whether your milk looks close to boiling or if your broccoli is 'done'.  Feeling like a change from sausages, spuds and eggs, Liam decided to have a go at making macaroni cheese for the first time the other day.  'It says I need a medium sized pan. That's a pot ay?' the first text popped up.  'Yep!'  I replied, chuckling to myself.  A few minutes later I receive a Snapchat picture of the aforementioned pot with the beginnings of cheese sauce.  'Does this look OK?' the caption asked.  'Perfect!' I texted back.  A few more minutes passed until another text arrived. 'Ugh, the milk's taking ages to boil!' 'Turn the heat up a bit then', I replied. 'But not too much and keep an eye on it 'cos milk is a sod for boiling over'. 'OK', he texted back.  'Bless him!' I smiled to myself all indulgent-parent like.  Upon which another Snapchat image flashed up of a blackened saucepan completely devoid of liquid and a few sad pieces of what used to be macaroni stuck to the bottom.  Accompanied by the caption 'I think it's f**ked'.  Alas, there was nothing for it but to reply 'Yep.  That's definitely f**ked mate'.

Still, apart from that small mishap, my boy's cooking skills have improved in leaps and bounds and he is eating some pretty well balanced meals. In fact I think he's eating more vegetables now than I could get him to eat at home!  And I was rather relieved two nights ago that he knew how to put out a fire when one of his stove elements caught alight.  It was a little late when I received the text 'Holy shit my stove just caught on fire!' to realise this was a scenario we hadn't discussed.  'Jeez!  Are you OK?  Do you know what to do?!' I texted back in alarm.  'Yeah it's OK, luckily I read this thing telling you what do to when I moved in', he replied with a smiley face.  Well thank heavens for that!

Finding a job so far is proving a bit of a challenge but he's trying, both job hunting independently and through an employment agency.  As soon as he moved to the city he decided it was pointless having a car sitting at home for the next three years and sold it to his brother (that was interesting, we had to get a neutral mediator in to agree on the price!) And initially he thought the streets of Wellington would be paved with gold when he applied for a waiter's job advertised via Student Job Search.  With the pay listed at between $45 and $75 an hour for just a few hours a week, Liam thought his fortune would soon be made.  Until a more thorough application revealed that this job wasn't your average waiting on tables. No siree, if you want to be a waiter earning that sort of money you have to be prepared to get your kit off!  You could indeed make $45 an hour if you were prepared to prance around bare chested and bow-tied at various locations like a Geordie Shore wannabe.  As for the $75 option?  This too was available - as long as you agreed to attend stripping lessons!

So the hunt for a slightly more normal part time job goes on.  And of course there's the whole money juggling thing as a student, making sure you have enough money for food and most importantly beer.  There have been a couple of hard lessons learned (such as if you want to be able to eat you shouldn't really spend $100 on jeans in your first week when you only have $200 to begin with) and things like PS4 games have to go on your wishlist for a very long time because you never know when you're going to need money for important things such as pot scourers.  But on the whole he's managing extremely well.  I couldn't be prouder of him!  And somewhere along the line our relationship has had a bit of a shift and a couple of new things have crept in; namely a new-found respect and appreciation between us both.  Gone are the exasperated sighs, the bribes, the demands and the 'world owes me a living' attitude.  Instead it has been replaced by a genuine appreciation of the people who love him and anything that comes his way. Conversations between us are always pleasant and respectful and don't tell him I told you but we've even been known to say the 'L' word a few times!

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