They say that when a person moves out of home for the first time its life changing.
After nearly a month of living in Hamilton and experiencing all the things I have, I can totally agree with that theory. I have talked about how the new house has been going in little blips and blobs lately, but I wanted to write a solid editorial about the ins and outs of how things are for me now, so sit and read while I try and give it my best shot.
Life is pretty different these days, that is probably the biggest thing. I knew well before I moved that my life was about to change in a pretty big way, and almost from the get go the transition from Te Kuiti to here was fairly simple and easy to adjust to. I moved in on December 17th, which was my 22nd birthday also, so it was a pretty big day for sure. But I will admit that my first night here was one of the scariest and most nerve wracking moments of my entire life. It was just an end to what always was, and the beginning of something new, but while it was so exciting and comfortable, it was a gigantic leap to make without a doubt and when you begin thinking about things like your health and your disability, you just hope it all works out for the best I suppose and you just need to trust that the people who are looking after you will see you right through thick and thin, keep you healthy and the likes.
I am pleased to say that all my worries were for nothing. Because the transition has been so easy as I said, and the carers here are FANTASTIC in every sense of the word.
Perhaps the biggest change is how busy my life has become. Everyday it seems there is something to go and do. On the usual day I am getting out of bed at around 7 – 7.30, off for my morning run/ride by 8, having breakfast at 8.30, then in the van and on the road by 9.30 – 10 going off to do something. Grocery shopping, errands, days out here there and everywhere, random drives, visiting people, or off to the NZ Care offices to pick up the latest rosters, everything is go go go most days.
As someone with a disability which tends to suck the life out of you even on the best of days, you have to work hard and manage your energy levels. It can be maybe eating an extra wheetbix in the morning, or taking a longer shower that afternoon, going to bed at the usual time every night, planning ahead as best as possible so you know what to expect. I find eating fruit is helping me stay at full pace. Sometimes the phone will ring and you are wanted somewhere, you had planned on watching the cricket at that time, then the next minute you are in the van heading somewhere, it’s all very off the cuff and random. It’s difficult to manage the energy, but my body is adjusting to the new schedule and so far it’s keeping up as best as it can, so I am happy.
I live with 3 other flatmates. There is Chris, the other guy in the house, and then the two girls (or should I say woman?) Alyssa and Christine.
It’s actually quite good because for the most part, we are all doing our own things pretty much all the time. There isn’t a lot of sitting around the table talking apart from at dinner time, usually Chris is over at his sisters house during the day, and I am either in my room or out running errands somewhere, while the girls are watching TV or having their afternoon naps, with a few smokes thrown in here and there.
Honestly, they smoke like trains! Glad I don’t because it’s an expensive habbit.
I am a lot closer to Chris than I am to the girls for sure. Chris is a lot like me in many ways, and so far we seem to connect really well, and we have the same opinion on a lot of things.
Occasionally Chris will be playing PS3 in the room next to me and suddenly you will hear him shout “SUCK A BAG OF DICKS” or “MOTHER FUCKER… MOTHER FUCKING FUCKER” at his PlayStation. He is very passionate about a lot of things, and I really enjoy his company. Some nights I will just bring my laptop in his room and chill in there with him, listen to heavy metal while we both sit on our computers doing our own things, with casual conversation every now and then.
I guess you could say the girls are much more normal than Chris and I. Things are very quiet down their end of the house usually.
There has been so much going on that I could be here for hours, but for me the new experiences, even the boring or errand running ones have been awesome. It is just a big bunch of random, the other night we randomly decided to go to the lake and have dinner, I was in my PJ’s but I didn’t give a rats behind, I just threw a jersey on and romped up to the lake sporting my blue PJ pants.
One of the big things that made me stop and go WOW was just the other day, but for most people reading this it won’t seem like all that big a deal, but it was for me. I took my wallet in hand, drove down to the shops, went into PaperPlus brought some magazines and a calendar, went to the Supermarket and checked the lotto tickets, then drove back home again.
I did it all on my own, with absolutely ZERO assistance from anyone. It was just an awesome feeling afterwards, I really don’t know why. In the back of my mind I was thinking “have someone with you in case someone tries to steal your wallet”, but I wanted to at least try and see if I could get to a counter in a shop and purchase something on my own. It would have been fine if I got to the shop and discovered I couldn’t reach or something, I would have either asked for help, or just driven back home again empty handed. A waisted trip maybe, but a learning experience no matter the outcome.
It’s hard to say what is going to happen next, because on any given day you find yourself doing something new that you had never done before, but for me one of the big plans is going to University in March and studying the Bachelor Of Arts majoring in Writing Studies. That is the plan and I am getting enrolled soon. Anything and everything else apart from that will just happen.
Overall, I am so glad I moved to Hamilton and took what at the time felt like such an exciting yet risky venture to take on. Because it was risky, especially when you think about the fluctuations of my general health and well being, but like I said the carers here are absolutely fucking fantastic in every sense of the word, they are all kiwis which helps, and they really have become like family to me. I see them everyday, they look after me, but more so than that they have become such close friends already, they don’t just cook and clean, they eat with us and go out with us, experience everything with us, the good and bad, the exciting or indifferent. Most of them are young too which helps. As a disabled person I think that one of the big things you have to bear is trusting another human being, many cases with your life, it’s not easy at all to do, but meeting people halfway and maybe taking a little bit of a leap of faith has paid off in this case, and I couldn’t be happier about that.
I miss living with Mum and Dad, I miss my cat Basil, but I am lucky that Mum and Dad are up here visiting me almost every weekend. They really aren’t all that far away.
Do I think other people in my position could do this? Yes I do. The carers are that good, in many ways I am far worse off health wise compared to Chris, especially in my arm ability, he can’t even feed himself, but he makes it work… so I think that yes given an open mind and a bit of luck, it could be something perhaps some of the younger ones coming through can look into one day. I have done my dash, it will be different for them.
So, in conclusion. The move has been a major major success so far, and from what we have talked about and plans that have been made, it looks like the best is yet to come for all of us here. I am going swimming for the first time in over 10 years soon, that is another big event on the horizon. I can’t wait.