Saturday, June 02, 2012

Graduation and Back

Remaining calm in the face of drama
I've just returned from two fantastic days in Wellington, where I was finally declared an alumnus (and not illuminatus, thank you, Dan Brown for making that word jump into my brain 20,000 times during the ceremony).

The trip was not without drama.

For a start, I read through my graduation documents at about 11pm the night before and realised I was supposed to uplift my gown by 11a.m. the next day. With our flight landing at 10.15, and Wellington having its share of capital city traffic congestion, I began a night-long fret fest about getting there in time. 

I'm not saying universities are crazy pedantic about everything, but I have noticed that if the staff finish work at a certain time, say 11, they will out of there at 11.000001 a.m. As no gown = no graduation, I kept the phone close and called the gown place as soon as they were open. The woman that answered made all the wrong noises, such as well, if you can't get someone to pick it up, there's not much we can do, then informed me that they actually close at 10.45. The 11 a.m. time is by which  they have vacated the university premises.  Awesome. She gave me the cellphone number of the manager, Pauline, and I called her, completely prepared to go into I Am Student Hear Me Roar mode. However she couldn't have been more helpful, offering to take my gown to the graduation venue, directly opposite our hotel. I was temporarily calmed.

All the while I was yapping on the phone, The Programmer was jumping around,  holding the front door open and swooshing his arm toward it dramatically. While dealing with my gown crisis, I'd used up precious minutes and we nearly missed our plane.  Imagine us stuck in traffic, me on the phone to Air New Zealand, begging them let us board it, even though it was clear that the we were going to be at least 10 minutes past check in time. The helpdesk person wasn't very encouraging, telling us to go straight to gate 51 and basically try our luck. By the time we got to the airport both myself and The Programmer were 85% convinced we had missed the plane. The atmosphere in the car for the last 15 minutes was tense doom and gloom, interspersed with a little bit of snippy conversation.

Once there, I jumped out before the car stopped moving and sprinted to the gate in my heavy coat and boots, and of course, it was located at the far end of the airport. I had time to reflect that it's definitely time to get back to some sprint training, trying to peel off my jacket and scarf just to avoid having a heart attack, or melting. I got there, puffing to the point of incoherence, waved my ticket at the Air NZ woman and she got on her walkie talkie thing and told me to get on the plane. One problem. No Programmer. 

He had parked the car and started out like I did, sprinting like an Olympian but with one difference. He had our bags and those suckers are heavy. After paging him four times, Air NZ chick was losing patience and I was deeply relieved to see a familiar shape strolling along in the distance. It turns out that once he knew the gate was the length of the airport away, he stopped trying to kill himself with cardio, having decided that there was no way in hell I could have got there in time to be allowed to board. 

Good on Air NZ, they let us on, and I was sooo relieved (also hot, sticky and thirsty). It would have been a strange sort of graduation for Mamasana and my Grandparents if the graduand had still been in Christchurch... ;-/

From that point things went more or less smoothly. Well, I did spend about half an hour with my trencher on backward (how embarrassing!), but never mind that.  Here are some pics from the day. There was also a  family nosh up (and slosh up, haha) in the evening but nobody took pics! I'll be back tomorrow with my current health focus and some fun foodie finds.

Pre-graduation lunch

On the steps of parliament

The parade, which goes from parliament to the civic square. That's our government building: 'The Beehive'

The parade, I'm in there 'somewhere'

with Mamasana and my brother

Getting 'capped'. Graduation robes = flattering, yes?

Next day walk around the botanic gardens

Lovely Wellington. It is quite a pretty city (As a Cantabrian, I must observe, however, that I wouldn't want to be in any of those pretty buildings in a quake)


  1. Woohoo! Congratulations! XOXO

  2. Yay! Congratulations on your big achievement. x

  3. Congrats!! Yay for AIRNZ... Jetstar are never as forgiving! Love Welli!

    1. I KNOW. We were so lucky, because our return flight was Jetstar. I've seen for myself their total inflexibility when it comes to tardiness... If it had been Jetstar I would have either missed graduation or paid $1000 to get us on a later flight that might have got us there in time for the ceremony.

  4. Congrats Sara, my special niece well done at the airport,

    1. It was so very close to being a complete fail! But.. all good. Was great to catch up with Monique too :)


I love to hear from you! Tell me what's in your brain, your heart or your dinner plate :D.