Today my guest on the blog is Jamie Baywood and her book Getting Rooted in New Zealand.
1) Where is your home town?
2) You wrote your book from diary entries, have you always liked writing?
I didn’t start keeping a diary or writing until I moved to New Zealand. Getting Rooted in New Zealand is a collection of my emails, memories, and dairy entries. It seemed natural to organize the book in chronological order in dairy format.
3) Can you tell our readers what made you choose to go to New Zealand?
Growing up in California, it was always my dream to live abroad. I found a work abroad company that helped young Americans get work visas in New Zealand and Australia. I had been watching a lot of Flight of the Conchords at the time and enjoyed Bret and Jemaine’s sense of humour and accents.
I had bad dating experiences in California and read in a New Zealand tour book that the country’s population at 100,000 fewer men than women. I wanted to have some me time and an adventure. New Zealand seemed like a good place to do so.
4) How long did you plan to initially stay in New Zealand?
I had a 12 month visa, but I literally had no plans.
5) What type of jobs did your work visa allow you to do? Would you like to see a change in this type of visa?
The visa I was on only permitted me to work temporary positions. This greatly limited my options.
As crazy as my job experiences were in New Zealand, I would actually like to return to New Zealand and give it another try working as a writer. It would be great to return to New Zealand to make Getting Rooted in New Zealand into a TV show.
6) I believe the cost of living shocked you, can you give us some examples?
It was mostly the cost of fresh produce at grocery stores like bell peppers and cucumbers were $5 each. It would have been ideal to have a garden and grow my own veggies.
7) Tell us about “Performing” stories from your adventures. Where did you perform them?
I was very lucky in New Zealand to meet a lot of talented people outside of work. I had the opportunity to write and perform for Thomas Sainsbury the most prolific playwright in New Zealand. I performed a monologue about my jobs in the Basement Theatre in Auckland.
The funny thing about that experience was Tom kept me separated from the other performers until it was time to perform. I was under the impression that all the performers were foreigners giving their experiences in New Zealand. All of the other performers were professional actors telling stories that weren’t their own. At first I was mortified, but the audience seemed to enjoy my “performance,” laughing their way through my monologue. After the shows we would go out and mingle with the audience. People would ask me how long I had been acting. I would tell them, “I wasn’t acting; I have to go to work tomorrow and sit next to the girl wearing her dead dog’s collar.” No one believed I was telling the truth.
8) How did meeting Grant change your views on meeting men?
I’ve always loved men, too much in fact. I didn’t escape California because I hated men; I left because I was perplexed by how to date. I had one boyfriend from the age of fourteen to twenty-three. There were a lot of life experiences and things I should have learned in high school and at university that I didn’t. After my first relationship ended I felt like a zoo animal released into the wild. I had no idea how to date and for a few years was completed bombarded by unwanted suitors in California.
By the time I meet Grant at the age of twenty-seven, I had fulfilled my dream of living abroad, been single for over a year and felt healed from previous heartbreaks. Grant had been in a long term relationship since he was a teen as well. He was more clueless about dating than I was. I found comfort in our mutual awkwardness. Grant was very different than the guys I dated in California. We spent the first couple months going on long walks and talking. It reminded me an old-fashion courtship. I knew very early into dating him that he would be my husband.
9) At the end of your book you were hoping to move to Scotland to find a college course, did this work out?
We didn’t stay in Scotland to study as planned. For unwanted complicated reasons, we had to move to England to study. I have just completed a one year MA in Design. Designing my book cover was my dissertation project. Grant is in middle of a two year MA in Landscape Architecture he will be done in 2014. We plan to move when his course is completed.
10) I know you a had a sneak look on the internet at holding a wedding in a Scottish Castle, did you fulfil this dream?
We got married in a little castle in Scotland at the beginning of year 2012. My husband wore a kilt. I was hoping for a white winter wedding, but we ended up getting sunshine in Scotland during the winter. It was a magical day; we had a rainbow over a loch, bunny rabbits hoping by us, birds chirping and a full moon reflecting on the loch at night.
Jamie Baywood can be followed on:
Getting Rooted in New Zealand book description:
Craving change and lacking logic, at 26, Jamie, a cute and quirky Californian, impulsively moves to New Zealand to avoid dating after reading that the country’s population has 100,000 fewer men. In her journal, she captures a hysterically honest look at herself, her past and her new wonderfully weird world filled with curious characters and slapstick situations in unbelievably bizarre jobs. It takes a zany jaunt to the end of the Earth and a serendipitous meeting with a fellow traveler before Jamie learns what it really means to get rooted.
About the author Jamie Baywood:
Jamie Baywood grew up in Petaluma, California. In 2010, she made the most impulsive decision of her life by moving to New Zealand. Getting Rooted in New Zealand is her first book about her experiences living there. Jamie is now married and living happily ever after in the United Kingdom. She is working on her second book.
I’d like to Thank Jamie for being our guest today.