My interview with Jamie Baywood, author of Getting Rooted in New Zealand, is my worst ever! NOT because of Jamie herself, but because of me. I could NOT get past the fact that she just m-o-v-e-d from California to New Zealand. A-L-O-N-E!!!!!!! Every time I got ready to write down a question, I could NEVER get past why the heck would you do that???? Hey. Don’t get me wrong, I have NOTHING against the country of New Zealand. I mean I thought I was crazy to pack up and move over 1,800 miles away to a new state. I just couldn’t fathom moving to a totally new country.
Luckily for me, Jamie understood my problem and forgave me. Thank you Jamie.
So check out the blurb for Getting Rooted in New Zealand and then my mini-interview with Jamie Baywood.
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.
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. In my mid-twenties, I had bad dating experiences in California and a dream to live abroad. I read in a tour book that New Zealand’s population had 100,000 fewer men than women. In the attempt to have some ‘me time’ I moved to New Zealand.
How much of the book is actually based on your life and adventures in New Zealand?
100%. I didn’t start keeping a diary or writing until I moved to New Zealand. I wrote to keep in touch with friends and family. I saved the emails that eventually became my book. Most of the book was written as the events happened; it just took me a few years to work up the nerve to publish. To write my book Getting Rooted In New Zealand, I relied upon my personal journals, e-mails, and memories. Some of the names of the characters and organizations, but not all have been changed to preserve privacy. In February 2013, I organized my stories into a cohesive narrative. It went through several rounds of editing and then I published in April.
What was the craziest you or your character Jamie has done (outside of moving)?
I was very lucky in New Zealand to meet a lot of talented people. 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.
Wow. I’m sorry, but that’s funny. I mean looking back....You have to admit that’s funny.
"Just like “biscuits,” the word “rooting” has a completely different meaning in New Zealand than it does in California. In California, one would say they need to get rooted when they settle in somewhere, as in, to put down roots, to ground themselves. After living oblivious to the New Zealand definition for five months and while brushing my teeth with Liam the other night, I told him, “I’m really excited to live in this house because I really need to get rooted. I traveled all around Samoa for a month before I came here, and the first place I lived in New Zealand didn’t work out, so I had to move. I’m excited to stay in one place long enough to get rooted.”
Liam’s eyes almost popped out of his head, and he just about choked on his toothbrush. He spat out his toothpaste, staring at me out of the corner of his eye. Finally he spoke, “Jamie, are you hitting on me? Do you know what rooting means here?”"
Purchase Getting Rooted in New Zealand from Amazon.
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.
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