29 December 2014

Wellington After Dark

           Happy Holidays, Joe Wellington followers!

           There has been a lot of discussion about Joe Wellington the past few weeks as 2014 comes to a close. With the holidays here, I’ve been traveling and enjoying time with friends and family. My wee family of three feels very blessed that my parents have travelled from America to visit and tour part of this gorgeous country we call home. And really, it also means we have live-in babysitters!

            A few weeks ago, my husband and I were able to have a date night (rarely do we get to go out in the dark!) and venture out for a night in downtown Wellington. It’s been a long time since I’ve really allowed myself to enjoy the nightlife- I got most of that out of my system when I was in my early twenties- but in the past eight years I’ve spent much of my time focused on education, career, and then starting a family. So when the opportunity to go out without a little toddler hopping along was presented to me, we didn’t hesitate. We didn’t really know what to do or where to go and while my husband was eager to socialize, I saw this as an opportunity to search for Joe Wellington.

            First stop to help ease us back into date-mode: Husband's office Christmas party. I was excited to attend the festivities because his company switched offices and I’d heard nothing but good things about the move. I also just plain like the people I’ve met there. Not only does my husband work his dream job, but he’s met some kick-ass people. One co-worker who he's always spoken highly of was willing to show us a couple of the nightspots we’d wanted to try. Unfortunately, Joe Wellington was not at the party so we had to continue on.

            Second stop: My husband’s co-worker and his partner met us at the Library Lounge and Bar. It was packed with wall-to-wall people and BOOKS. If given the choice, we could have picked a spot on a couch or table and still be encircled floor to ceiling by any book genre to match your mood- nonfiction, romance, and mystery, literary or even travel guides. As an aspiring author, this is my idea of the ultimate relaxation spot. 

Just one of the many books surrounding me that caught my eye at The Library Lounge
We were placed on a waitlist for a booth but there was no wait in getting a drink at the bar. We chatted and listened to the piano lounge singer while sipping our super sweet-tasting Christmas cocktails. Still, even with all the literature surrounding me I managed to scan the room for Joe Wellington. Hopeful he was hiding between a pile of books, I am sad to say I didn't find him among the pages. 

            Third and final stop: Hawthorn Lounge. We accompanied our friends through a plain doorway and up a narrow flight of stairs that offered no sign to inform us of our whereabouts. Stepping into a crowded and bustling room with a bar, I felt like I was transported back to a 1920s speakeasy.  The bartenders wore shiny silver vests with bowties and rapidly but meticulously mixed their signature drinks.

            It was here that I told our friends about Joe Wellington and led them to this blog and my Twitter page (@EWallerCarlino). A creative artist herself, my friend was instantly enthusiastic about the search and vowed perseverance in finding him. She tweeted some photos I had on Twitter that got a bit of recognition but no leads. It’s those extra pair of eyes (and tweets) that will help find my long-lost friend. 

            Most people offer encouragement, stating that New Zealand is a small country so finding him shouldn’t be too difficult. Yet, here I am a year later still searching. One Twitter follower commented on a tweet, suggesting that perhaps Joe Wellington doesn’t want to be found. While that very well could be true, all though definitely not the outcome I want to accept, I feel like I must keep trying.

            Some say his last name must not be Wellington. Truth is, since I have no documentation (weird for someone who has heaps of journals) of him, I admit that is definitely and most likely accurate. So now what?

            With bright Christmas lights lining the dark streets, laughter and chatter of the holiday season stimulating me as my beloved and I sauntered down Courtney Place, I am reminded amidst the commotion of why I continue this journey.

           Joe wasn't any place I went to on our date night, but every store I've entered this holiday season, every stroll around town, every crowded farmer’s market or restaurant I frequent, my eyes remain open to whatever is to be found.

            The gems I find along the way, the positive outlook in all of this, is that I’ve new friends who are eager about this search too, and willing to spread the word about it… and maybe (I hope!) even add a blog post of their own findings while searching for Joe to this site (contact me if you're interested!).

            While it’s easy to feel defeated once again, I continue to keep my eyes peeled for Joe Wellington because I never know what I might uncover, who I might meet, and what experiences might enrich my life while looking for my long-lost Kiwi friend.

            So... what can Joe Wellington do for you?

            Happy New Year, Friends. I wish for you a lifetime of searching, never taming the curiosity and wonderment of the day. I wish for you a year of discovery, of meeting new people who believe in your vision, and to honouring your passions. 

            As for me? I will continue to look for Joe and honour the joy discovered along the way.

            Stay tuned into the New Year as my search for Joe Wellington continues with a tour to the South Island of New Zealand!