Art & Aupairing in New Zealand

on April 12, 2017

**Note from Sarah: I’m still off on my travels, so I’ve asked my childhood friend Stephanie to write a guest post for me this week! Y’all are very lucky – Steph is such an interesting lady, who is currently living in New Zealand! We grew up in Michigan together, and for as long as I have known her (probably… close to 20 years now?!) Stephanie has been artistic, creative, and surprising! I’ll let Steph take it away…

What is it like, fresh out of art school, living as an expat? Art and aupairing in New Zealand from a Michigander artist living in New Zealand.

Me at Organ Pipes on the Mount Cargill scenic reserve

Not too long ago, Sarah asked me to write a post for her blog (which I enthusiastically accepted quicker than my brain could fully process what exactly that would entail). I know next to nothing about writing blog posts, but I was told, “it could be anything about New Zealand that you want,” or even some other idea of my own! And then I thought about how I left my laptop back home in Michigan… I’m still not entirely sure how I’ve gone almost 8 months without one! Despite all my shortcomings, the stars aligned and things somehow worked out.

So, here goes nothing…!

What is it like, fresh out of art school, living as an expat? Art and aupairing in New Zealand from a Michigander artist living in New Zealand.

Somewhere between Queenston and Glenorchy…

First off, I’m two years out of college with a BA in Studio Art. After having lived in Michigan my whole life, I embarked on a new adventure overseas almost eight months ago working as an au pair to three kids in Dunedin, NZ.I would love nothing more than to talk about the ups and downs of life as an au pair, but thats an endless topic and I wouldn’t know where to start! Then there’s the matter of the beauty of New Zealand. How does one even begin to succinctly write about a country and do it justice in one blog entry?! (This is where I send Sarah an SOS because I’m in over my head!)

What is it like, fresh out of art school, living as an expat? Art and aupairing in New Zealand from a Michigander artist living in New Zealand.

View of the harbor from my host family’s house

But then it hit me: look to what you know. So I began skimming through my sketchbooks – hoping some sort of topic would reveal itself – and I realised that the pages themselves were what I was after. As a visual artist (and a technologically challenged human currently typing on a German keyboard) I need to show you my thoughts, raw and unedited.The pages I have curated include:

  • a list of things I’m thankful for, written a couple months after moving here which includes a quick sketch I did of the harbour
  • the first “kiwi slang” I learned
  • a small moment of clarity and purpose in life with kids
  • a snippet of a Thursday afternoon with two of the kids accompanied by sketches (by me)
  • and lastly, some thoughts/ramblings on thinking about art and its purpose vs. just letting go and doing without thinking (sketch also by me).
What is it like, fresh out of art school, living as an expat? Art and aupairing in New Zealand from a Michigander artist living in New Zealand.

a list of things I’m thankful for

What is it like, fresh out of art school, living as an expat? Art and aupairing in New Zealand from a Michigander artist living in New Zealand.

the first “kiwi slang” I learned

What is it like, fresh out of art school, living as an expat? Art and aupairing in New Zealand from a Michigander artist living in New Zealand.

a small moment of clarity and purpose in life with kids

What is it like, fresh out of art school, living as an expat? Art and aupairing in New Zealand from a Michigander artist living in New Zealand.

a snippet of a Thursday afternoon with two of the kids

What is it like, fresh out of art school, living as an expat? Art and aupairing in New Zealand from a Michigander artist living in New Zealand.

some thoughts/ramblings on thinking about art and its purpose vs. just letting go and doing without thinking

This last one in particular is something I have been battling with as an artist right out of undergrad. I’m still unsure of who I am as an artist and have been struggling with what to do/ determining the subject of my body of work. Artist block is crippling at times, but all you can do is push on, right?

Pin it for later…

What is it like, fresh out of art school, living as an expat? Art and aupairing in New Zealand from a Michigander artist living in New Zealand.

 

Steph & I are linking up with Lauren of Lauren on Location, Van of Snow in Tromso, Isabel of The Sunny Side of This, and Marcella of What a Wonderful World for Wanderlust Wednesday!

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  • These sketchbook entries are AMAZING! What a wonderful and creative way to collect your memories, thoughts and feelings.

    • I know – Steph has been like that since we were little kids, such an amazing artist in all areas of life!

  • Love your sketchbook. And the New Zealander slang. I personally love hearing the word jandals. That must have confused you a bit when you first arrived! #WanderfulWednesday

    • Hahaha yes Jandals is a new one for me!! I’m sure it took Steph a while to learn all of that lol

  • My dad is a Kiwi and I’ve been back to visit relatives several times, and I’m always just swept away by the incredible beauty of this country. What an adventure to be having!

    • I’ve been drooling over her instagrams since she moved there almost a year ago! I knew it was a gorgeous country but it’s truly astounding!! You are lucky to have family to visit there 🙂

  • What an amazing way to document an experience, what pen do you use? I love your pages!

  • Brooklyn

    I was an au pair in Australia! I only ended up spending a week in NZ but it is by far the most beautiful country I have ever seen. Working there would be a dream!

    • Ooh lucky of you! I’ve never been to NZ, I would love to go someday, especially after seeing Steph’s photos.

  • Young And Undecided

    What a wonderful post! Your sketchbook looks so interesting! I am planning on moving to NZ at the end of this year so i loved reading the slang you have learned!

  • Lucy Elizabeth Lourdes Pearson

    Love these sketches; what a great creative outlet!

  • What a wonderful record of your time – I so wish I could chronicle in this way!

  • I’ve tried keeping a journal so many times, but it’s just never really worked. I’d always start and go for a while and then it trails off until I ultimately just give up. I think that’s part of the reason I started a blog in the first place, to have something to remember my time abroad and travels by! This journal is incredible though and is going to be so awesome to look back on! Keep doing what you’re doing… eventually you’ll figure it out! 😀

  • Rebecca

    What a beautiful journal! That’s really something you can look back on years later and be thankful you took the time to create it. Sounds challenging but rewarding!

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