Thursday, May 31, 2012

Las Vegas: funny story

I was swapping "war stories" with some people from the industry last week and suddenly remembered this one from years ago.
I was working for an escort agency in Las Vegas at the time.
It was a tricky business,as prostitution is illegal in Clark County and escort agencies (over 120 pages of them in Yellow Pages) operated as an "escort/companion" providers only.
If you called one of those, or what looked like a private girl (it was all agencies, no privates advertised in Yellow Pages), the dispatch (who sometimes pretended to be the actual WG) would not discuss any sex-for-sale related activities with you. They would inform you that prostitution was illegal and quote the price of $120 (going rate at the time) for a "dinner companion".
This made our (WGs) job extremely difficult. Clients just assumed that when we turned up in their room, it was all-a-go for romp in the sack for $120.
Nothing could be further from the truth! $120 was just for us to show up. ALL of it (that's right,ALL) was going to the agency. In order for us to make any money, we had to negotiate the price with the client (who was already unhappy when he realised that $120 bought him nothing at all).
Also, we had to call the agency straight away and either confirm the receipt of the money or tell them that the client doesn't want to go through with the booking. In case of the latter, we had to be back at the agency's office inside 20 min (we were driving ourselves, there were no "company drivers",as no one gave a hoot about our safety), otherwise it would be assumed that we did a "side deal" with the client and $200 would be taken out of our bond.
Also dispatch put a lot of pressure on us to collect "their" $120 regardless of whether or not we could make the deal to make money for ourselves. AND they expected us to tip them after we've done the booking! If we didn't they wouldn't give us plum bookings in the future.
We had to be very careful discussing the services as well: Las Vegas Vice did sting operations often and they were quite elaborate. One mistake and we could end up in jail on felony charges (solicitation of prostitution). And believe you me, agency would not be bailing us out. In fact, they would fire us, pretending that we were operating on our own and violating company policy of "no sex". Ha!
It was very stressful work and not by any stretch "easy money".
Anyway, I got a call from the agency one day directing me to go to one of the major hotels.
When I arrived at the room, I found a male escort from the same agency already there.
He quickly brought me up to speed. Apparently, the client wanted to fulfill his long-time fantasy.
It involved the client cross-dressing, myself and another escort to have sex with each other (to turn the client on), then each of us having sex with the client.
Clearly, it was fairly complex undertaking that was going to cost the guy quite a bit of money.
That's where we run into a problem: the guy either didn't understand or stubbornly pretended not to understand about the extra money. He was adamant that he paid us $120 each and now we were going to go ahead with the booking as described above.
Both myself and the male escort took turns trying to explain the reality of the situation to him, but he proceeded to first apply the make-up on himself, and then slipped into a pair of dainty lacy panties,bra,hold-up stockings and thigh-high boots (all colour coordinated in pristine white).
Agency kept calling our phones, but,as there were two of us there, they were giving us more time to try and cajole the client into forking over some money (we've already got $120 each from him).
After about 15 min it was clear that the client isn't going to budge.
Now we were facing the difficult situation of exiting without much commotion (we HAD to keep the money,as the agency knew we got it  and would demand to have it, which means, if we gave the client his money back, we would be out of pocket ourselves).
It was a high-rise hotel and we were on the 16th floor. Which means we had to go down a VERY long hallway to the elevators and wait for those (not too fast in big hotels).
We couldn't run down the stairs, as it would take ages and there was always a chance the client would call hotel security, meaning they would be waiting for us on the ground floor.
I've never met that particular male escort before, but thank God, he was "quick on the uptake", as we had very little time and opportunity to discuss the exit, but had to act as a team.
We've decided to take a chance and assume that the client wouldn't want admit the fact that he was engaged in illegal activities (solicitation of prostitution) to the hotel security and/or police and that he wouldn't want to be seen in that saucy get up.
So when he was busy zipping up one of his boots, we bolted for the door. As we were running down the hallway (man, it WAS long), we heard the client starting after us, yelling threats and obscenities.
Thankfully, in about 2 seconds, he realised the reality of the situation.
Last thing I saw when I furtively looked back was him throwing one of his white thigh-high boots after us.
We were still on edge waiting for the elevator, as we were not out of the woods yet.
Thankfully, we got out of the hotel intact and unmolested.
We returned to the agency and paid them the money (not that we got a "Thank you" for it). We made no money whatsoever ourselves.
At least nothing bad happened. It could have gone all sorts of wrong.
The client could become violent. Hotel security could been called. Depending on the story presented by the client, we could been "trespassed" from the hotel (very bad thing to happen, as it was one of the major Las Vegas Strip hotels and we would never be able to enter it for any reason under the threat of arrest) or even arrested by LVPD.
But all is well that ends well and I had a chuckle telling the story to my friends the other day.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

We will always be strangers (foreigners,prostitution and immigration)

A thread was started on Adult Forum ( a few days ago: one of the members (male) wanted clarification on the laws re. entering New Zealand for the sole purpose of sex work.
As it stands, it is illegal to do so. This law was adopted to curb human trafficking mostly.

What it means, an individual cannot apply for a visa and state "sex work" as the sole purpose. They also cannot be a sex worker while on a visitor or student visa in New Zealand.
However, once a resident or a citizen, individual is free to do whatever work they choose (or none whatsoever,as case is with some people).

The thread was actually well replied to by several members and law was quoted, so I thought it was all clearly explained.

But then one of the members made a comment asking me if I was Russian. As my handle on that Forum is "YanaTheRussian", I thought question a bit odd, but replied: Indeed, I am.
Next thing I know, there is a private message in my inbox from that same member. Here's how it read "So...hoe=w do you get to work in the sex industry then? (Didn't want to ask this in public forum" <SIC>

When I saw that, I became speechless for a minute.
Clearly, the person assumes that because I am Russian, I am here temporarily on a visa. It never even occurred to him that I might actually be a Kiwi (which,in fact, I am).
The lack of proper greeting (no "Hello",etc, no name/signature in the end) shows profound disrespect (or maybe just plain old lack of manners).
It is obvious that he assumes I am working illegally (as he "doesn't want to ask this in a public forum").
Also, I am not entirely sure if "hoe=w" was a typo or if it was meant as a deliberate insult.

This guy simply cannot comprehend that there are "Russian Kiwis", "Chinese Kiwis","Indian Kiwis",etc. To him, if the person is of a country of origin other than New Zealand, he is a visiting foreigner, a stranger.

This attitude is not at all uncommon. Although I have a lot of wonderful, open-minded friends who were born and bred here, in New Zealand, and who treat me as equal, there are plenty of those who do not. To them I will always be a stranger in their country. New Zealand is not as open minded as people would like you to believe.
This attitude is nothing new to me: I've encountered plenty of it in US and, to some degree, in Australia. I've long since learned to deal with it. But every once in a while, it does get to me.
The fact that when I say "I am from Russia" people assume straight away that I am "fresh from the boat" does grate. Often I am treated as a "stupid foreign chick" just because I speak with an accent. Often I get booked because guys assume I would provide them with unprotected sex, seeing how I am from a "poor country" and will be glad for the opportunity to make *whatever* money.. Pffft... It gets old after a while (and it's been a long while).

Fact is, I am Russian because I was born  and spent my early years there. I haven't been back to Russia in a very long time.
I am a US Citizen and hold a US passport. I am also a New Zealand Citizen and hold NZ passport. And,yes, I have a Russian passport as well and am a Citizen there,too. Multiple Citizenships are allowed and they are nothing new (I will be getting Australian passport as well :).

I've moved to New Zealand from US because I wanted a quieter life and to be surrounded by nicer people (the latter is a "hit-and-miss",unfortunately).

I've never taken advantage of NZ, but rather contributed to the economy.
I.e: I have NZQA verified education of Level 7, which I received elsewhere (so didn't take advantage of NZ student loan scheme) and brought my expertise here. I am a qualified clinical psychologist and advanced level hospitality Manager.
That's exactly the field I worked at when I first arrived to NZ: I was a Restaurant Manager in a very fast-paced upscale restaurant. New Zealand does not have any career hospitality professionals (the handful there are all came from overseas)- hence Hospitality jobs being on both short-term AND long-term skills shortage list of Immigration NZ.
The owner of the restaurant I worked at in Hawkes Bay was American and she was tearing her hair out (sometimes literally) in frustration, as all the applicants were high school kids who's experience in dining out was limited to McDonald's and Rosy O'Grady's. They simply did not have the knowledge to even comprehend complex dishes, yet alone describe them to the customers.
I've spent over a year in that restaurant doing average 150 PAX PER SHIFT (multiply that by two for the day),writing  procedures manual, implementing  protocols for weddings/functions and training the staff.
I also worked in another restaurant that won Cuisine Magazine Award that year (60% of the award is judged for food, 20% for service and another 20% for ambiance). I am very proud to have served Chef Sara Simpson's food to the judges of the Cuisine.

During that time I didn't work in the sex industry at all. I've only decided to do sex work exclusively in the last couple of years,as it allows me the flexibility to pursue my other interests and provides me with adequate income at the same time.

I do my bit for economy, as I spend fair amount of money here (some of which comes from my rental income in US). All those beauty treatments,massages,pretty clothes/shoes do not come cheap. Not to mention thousands and thousands of dollars Air New Zealand got from me: I travel a lot and use Air NZ exclusively, as I am a Koru Member.
No, of course I am not saying that I am a major contributor, but every little bit helps and consumer spending is what drives the economy,especially in these uncertain times.
I have never taken advantage of New Zealand welfare system in any shape or form, either.
Now that I do sex work exclusively, I operate  as a business and have an accountant and pay taxes.

I know there are small-minded people everywhere-there is no escaping them. But it does annoy me when people make assumptions based on THEIR lack of understanding.

Take the guy who messaged me, for instance: he could ASK if I was a resident/citizen first (which would be perfectly fine), but instead he ASSUMED that I was not, only because I said I was originally from Russia.
I wonder if he asks the same question of the girls from,say,UK? Because they ARE, in fact, foreigners in NZ until they go through proper immigration process and become residents. Or because they are white,have English-sounding names and English is their first language, they "belong" while the rest of us don't?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Reviews and how objective and subjective they could be

I've been wanting to write about this for ages, so finally got around to it. Touchy subject, I must admit and opinions are very much polarised. So I expect some will strongly disagree, but that's the beauty of an open Forum: everyone is entitled to say their piece :)

Forums and, specifically,reviews, are great tools in our business.
Former help punters and WGs alike socialise and talk about things that are often taboo in "real" world, promote, advertise, share opinions,etc.
Latter help people form opinions,weed out the "fakes", praise the good ones and, ultimately, save a lot of cash and disappointment.
However, it's a double-edged sword. We are only humans: often our personal opinions are very subjective,clouded by personal agenda or simply a result of poor communication and misunderstanding.
I advocate reviews, but I think they should be kept objective and not go into every last lurid detail (it does take the mystery of the encounter away).
Here's what I think should be described:
-Whether or not the girl was ready at the appointed time (i.e. did she answer the door/phone (to give a hotel room number) straight away and was ready to proceed with the booking (vs. asking for more time to prepare and rushing around the room setting it up).
-Were the premises easy to find and the distance described (i.e."3 min from CBD" for example)
-Whether parking was easy or should extra time be allocated for this
-Whether the premises were clean (they either were or weren't-simple)
-Whether the premises were easily accessible (did the girl just buzz you in or did you have to get the keys thrown at you into the "yellow snow" from the upstairs window-not joking, this is actually described by a punter "Osiris" in one of his threads on Adult Forum)
-Whether the girl matched the photos in her ads and was, in fact, the same girl (in case of some Asian places)
-Whether the price matched the advertised one
-Whether time frame booked was met, more or less ( not 5 mins each way, but for, instance, if you clearly booked and paid for an hour and was rushed out after 30 min).

Anything more than this and we would be entering a very subjective territory, all in shades of grey.
For instance, energy levels, chemistry,etc largely depend on individual client, time of the day, time of the month, what's happening in both parties life, mood,etc.
Sometimes something that one person views as extremely valuable, other disregards as off-putting.
There was a thread on Adult Forum ( where the guy posted a quick review of a very successful WG in Auckland. That particular WG was reviewed very favourably many times before. This review wasn't bad per ce, but the guy didn't enjoy the experience due to specific services/requirements of the WG which most other punters viewed as "outstanding" and "great value for the money". Well, it just wasn't that guy's cup of tea and,yes, his opinion was subjective.

I've had one such review a couple of years back, when I first started working in Wellington.
I've copied and pasted an actual review and will insert my comments in-between the sentences/paragraphs

Had a spare couple of hours after work, so called AB, Yana was available whom I booked straight away (have had my eye on this lady since her pics on AB website)
After a longish walk, she greeted me at the door dressed in her "day clothes" I was her first appointment & she was running late.
What actually happened is this. That day I was scheduled to start work at 6pm. I was working from AB premises on Pirie St,which was clearly advertised. Back then I lived on the very top of Mt.Vic-right on the Lookout (yes, there are houses there). I was sitting at home, fully dressed,made-up and my work bag packed,checking my emails for the last time before I left.
Lilly (AB's owner) called me at 5:15pm to inform me that someone insisted on booking me at her Thompson St location for half an hour.
Now, just to make the situation clear: at 5:15pm traffic is truly ugly on both Mt.Vic and,especially, around The Basin. Clearly, the client wanted to make things convenient for himself (or to save taxi money), so, instead going to Pirie St (where I worked), he insisted I meet him at Thompson St (location is now obsolete for AB).
I grabbed my bag,jumped in the car and rushed through the traffic,as I didn't want the client to wait in front of the locked door (no one was at Thompson St location). I wouldn't say I drove recklessly, but I did do things I wouldn't normally do: overtaking other cars closely and running "orange" lights.. I kept checking my watch and was getting stressed-I hate being late.
I did make it to Thompson St on time (which was half an hour BEFORE my scheduled work time)
and first priorities were: turning on the heater full blast (it was dead of the winter in Wellington and no one has been in the place for the whole day),checking that the linen is fresh and there are plenty of clean towels.
When the client rang the doorbell, I  opened it with a smile. Yes, I was  not wearing my "hooker" clothes, BUT.. I  had black miniskirt on, and over-the-knee socks w/sexy boots. I also had a red top with zipper front on and made sure to pull the zipper down enough to give him a good peak of my "assets" before I opened the door.
So, here's the whole "subjective" thing in the first paragraph alone:
-I was not at all "running late". In fact, I came in half an hour early on shift to accommodate his last minute request  in a location that was convenient for him  (but not at all for me)
-I was concerned with his comfort, so worried about the heater and the sheets/towels .
-He didn't say I was dressed badly or unsexy-he just said "street clothes" (note that he didn't describe them), but the way it was said implied negativity
-He made no mention of the fact that I was fully made up with my hair done (I had long hair back then) because that would be saying something positive, which he didn't want to do.

Anyway into the shower I went after departing with my hard earnt <Sic> cash, back to the room & gave some sort push & poke massage.
Again, NOT exactly what happened.
Almost immediately upon entering, this gentlemen proceeded to start a conversation  criticising my employer (Lilly). It was not done in a "matter of fact" or "good-natured" way. He was putting Lilly and AB down pretty hard.
Yes, Lilly had her share of challenges and not everything at AB was always perfect, but, firstly, she operates on a "lower-priced,high volume" model, which means certain things are going to happen from time to time due to the nature of that model

(and many punters accept/deal with them in exchange for much ,much lower price of service) and, secondly, if you are not happy with the establishment, the owner,the rules,the staff and the way it operates,the question begs: why are you here? It's a free country and the choices are abundant, so you can take your "hard earned cash" elsewhere,surely?
That's another thing: his mention of his "hard earned cash"-as if my  (or any other WG's) money is earned oh so easily. I always wanted to ask him if I ever saw him again"Have you tried pedaling YOUR ass for a living? Just to see how "easy" the money is?"
Anyway, I was not at all getting into an argument with him, but did reply to his statements about Lilly. I tried to explain to him how this particular business actually works and,although admitted to shortcomings, pointed out that a lot of times it was actually the clients who caused confusion and mayhem , by not turning up for appointments, or turning up a taking the first girl who opened the door instead of the one they booked,etc. I've described all that in my other post.
I must admit, I have a strong personality that comes through no matter what I say or how I word things. It's not that I am rude or pushy-those who've met me in person know what I mean. I long since gave up trying to pretend I am meek or submissive- I am not and there is no hiding it.
A lot of clients seek that and willing to pay good money for it, but others don't like it at all.  Clearly, that particular guy falls into the latter category. I guess, he expected me to nod my head and bag Lilly along with him. It was not going to happen.  He wouldn't let go of the subject when he returned from the shower,despite of my trying to steer the conversation into a different direction. Again, I softly (truly) tried to explain to him the challenges Lilly faces on a daily basis .
I tried to sooth the guy with a massage.
About that. I've been complimented on my massage skills many times. I am a qualified masseuse and usually try to apply a combination of the techniques due to the limited time (Swedish,shiatsu,a bit of Thai and a bit of pressure point).
I always ask the clients about their preferred pressure and techniques as I go along and adjust my mustering accordingly. All this guy had to do was ask me to stop or change the technique/pressure, but he didn't. He laid there seemingly enjoying the experience.

On rolling over her mouth rolled a condom on my pleasure zone and she began to suck the life out of me, this seemed to go on & on
Here he described in negative terms what usually considered a very good thing: I was giving him a very enthusiastic blow job. I daresay, I've done it many,many times before and know what I am doing (was complimented on it plenty as well). As BJ is often something that partners/girlfriends tend to skimp on, I give it a very good,lasting effort (no teeth,though,never). I don't want the client to think that I am trying to "short-change" him.
Communication is the key-I can't read minds. If he didn't enjoy it, or thought it was too long, all he had to do was ask me to stop and switch to something else. Simple,really. Yet he laid there, his dick VERY hard, seemingly enjoying himself. Another example of how a good thing was given a negative tinge.
eventually she stopped poured a bucket of lube on & mounted me (it was like fucking Mt Victoria tunnel, she had so much lube on & I'm not a small boy)
Yes, I ALWAYS use lube,because : a. I have a pretty tight vagina(no kids) and it hurts otherwise  b. Condoms break without the lube. c. Us,girls, can get all kinds of nasty little problems down there if we are not sufficiently lubricated,having as much sex as we do as per requirements our chosen profession. I mind the amount though and there is always plenty of friction (testament to which is the fact that he stayed VERY hard and came pretty quick-we didn't even have a chance to do other positions-I normally try to do at least 3 different positions)
Her moans/screams were just as false as her tits, her body is in good nic <Sic> though.
This one is just funny: yes, my breasts are enhanced and all he had to do was ask before booking if that's not what he enjoyed (that pesky communication again) and yes, I was faking, but what do you expect when the guy just lays there like a log on his back,moaning with pleasure with his eyes closed and he's done nothing at all for me or to me,but blew his load in under 10 min..LOL..
Don't get me wrong: I am in this business strictly for client's pleasure and I have no issue WHATSOEVER with them focusing on their needs,but then don't expect full-pledged show from me in a half an hour booking (that's the reason I don't even do half an hour bookings now that I work privately-there is no time to establish a rapport and"create the magic")
She is ex FI,K & Bon Ton
That last one he just made up,as I've never told I WORKED for Bon Ton. I was trying to run a parallel for him between "low-price,high volume business" and upscale model, siting Bon Ton as an example. Also it seems he edited the post at some stage,as I remember seeing him saying that I was a "$1000/hr Las Vegas escort",which is fiction as well. Yes, I worked in Vegas as an escort, but we didn't even charge by the hour, yet alone  $1000 (I've touched on it in my other post

). Basically, the guy only heard what he wanted to hear.
At least he HAD to admit that my body is in a good shape, there is no way to make THAT sound negative...LOL..

Overall 4-5 out of 10, would go back a very average service.  
Hmmm...  4-5 out of 10 and yet he says he still would go back.. Funny that, seeing how, according to the review, he didn't enjoy anything about the service and didn't like the establishment,etc to begin with..   

Well, here you have it: a review clearly twists the facts and puts a negative slant on positive things, all because the client didn't like the WG to have an opinion and to defend her employer :)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Musings about New Zealand police priorities (stalker saga reflections)

I've written about my unfortunate experience of client turning into a seriously deranged stalker here
I pretty much let the whole thing go, as I realised that police would do nothing about it unless my cold dead body is found somewhere. I am not being melodramatic-this is what I was told by the police.
However, an incident that happened last night had me thinking about the whole affair again.
Let me sketch a background to the story.
Just after Christchurch earthquake I've made a decision to live half in New Zealand and half in Australia. That meant that I was not physically present in my apartment in NZ for six months out of the year.
I am a realist and hated to waste all that money (as it is I am paying two rents year around: one in NZ and one in Melbourne).
So I've decided to curb the costs by going into a flat share. Back then I lived in Wellington and for number of reasons wanted to be on Mt.Victoria, which is highly sought after area and getting a place in there is not easy.
I found a flat that was Ok-ish: it was old and not insulated, carpet was very old (over 20 years for sure) and it stunk of cat pee,as the main tenant (woman named Sophia) had 2 cats.
But it suited my basic requirements and I wasn't going to spend much time in there,as I travel a lot for work even when I am in New Zealand. So I signed up.
It was all good in the beginning There were three of us sharing the place: Sophia,myself and a guy whom I hardly ever saw and never heard-he was that quiet.
Sophia was a lady from US ( she was born elsewhere, but US is where she spent most of her formative years and her 20's). She said she was an actress (as I found out later she was,indeed, albeit not very good or successful one,though-she never seem to have a steady job or even trickling stream of roles) who constantly complained about not having any money.
Sophia talked to me about some horrible ex-flatmates she'd had and tried to become my BFF (best friends forever for those who doesn't know this abbreviation) straight away.
Although I had nothing against her, I've made it very clear that I prefer my own company most of the time and really don't want to socialise. Sophia assured me that it was fine.
But that was just the thing with Sophia: she did what she wanted anyway, constantly pushing the envelope and looking for angles.
Sophia is all about Sophia: self-serving,quite manipulative and very conniving.
I didn't want to be rude (it's good to be friendly with your flatmates when you're gone for weeks at a time and your room doesn't have a lock), so despite my original request for privacy, Sophia would come into my room and start conversations that went for over an hour sometimes. Every time I tried to wrap it up, she'd say "Yeah,yeah, just one more quick thing" and on it went..
She tried to get me to do her nails (I am a nail tech, but don't do any one's but mine these days) "at cost" (meaning she wanted to pay for the product only, NOT my time)-it took some effort to let her drop it-she just won't take "No" for an answer.
She had me do some minor errands for her. That's why she wanted to be "friends"-so she could ask for favors, as "friends" do.
I told her she could come into my room when I was away and borrow my clothes and drive my car. I didn't have a problem with that. I should have known that you can't do it with people like Sophia: give her an inch, she'll take a yard.
When I got home from being overseas for 2 months once, it was obvious that someone was staying in my room. First of all, someone's laptop and other things were on my dresser, the bed was messed up and certain decor items were moved around,as if "out of the way".
I have paid Sophia full rent for 2 months in advance before I left AND I texted her a day prior to me coming back asking to free up a refrigerator shelf for me, so,as you can imagine, I was more than a little unhappy with the state of affairs as I found them. Not only Sophia let someone stay in my room without asking me, she didn't even bother covering it up or tidying up my room (I always leave my room clean and immaculate when I go away,as I like to come back to organised,orderly environment).
Besides, I had a lot of personal information stored there and didn't like the idea of some stranger going through my things.
When I confronted Sophia, she made up some bullshit story about a friend "just leaving her stuff there" while she went to South Island. I've met the girl in question briefly just before I left and clearly recalled her saying that she had to leave her flat in a week's time and had no place to stay... So, I guess, Sophia offered her my room,as they were trying to make some movie together.
I actually wouldn't mind, probably, if Sophia ASKED me AND given me some rent credit. Also I would expect the room to be cleaned and everything restored to the original order for my return.
But she did none of that: just went with what she wanted to do.
That was pretty much the "straw that broke camel's back".
Things deteriorated rapidly after that. Sophia would go away for days at a time, leaving her cats to pee and poop everywhere (like on the doorstep of my room).
Every inch of that flat was filled with Sophia's stuff (she is a hoarder)...
Carpet stunk worse and worse.
I also have to point out that flat was actually 2 bedroom, but Sophia moved into what was meant to be a lounge. This way each of us had our own room and we had no common space except bathroom and kitchen. That suited me fine,actually, BUT... It was clear that Sophia is taking advantage of  myself and the other tenant by charging us most of the  rent and paying nothing or next to nothing herself (she never did show me the original lease for the flat, signed by landlord/owner).
Sophia wasn't big on cleaning,either,claiming neck problems..
I started looking for another place. Plenty were available, but none really suited all my needs/requirements. Besides, I didn't want to go from one bad situation to another.
So I went back to Melbourne undecided as to what to do.
As luck would have it, one of my Auckland friend's flatmate suddenly gave a notice and he offered me her space. I accepted gladly,as it was much better situation for me: beautiful house with not a trace of cat pee,located close to CBD. My friend and I have a lot in common and get along splendidly.
So I've made a decision to move as soon as I got back to NZ.

When I talked to one of Sophia's ex-flatmates (chance meeting) she described Sophia just as I have perceived her: manipulative,pushy,self-centered. She also said that Sophia has not returned her bond when she moved out (3 weeks rent).
Sophia is also a demagogue (she's been in and out of therapy for the most of her life and knows a lot of psychological tricks,key phrases,etc) and wants to discuss things till the kingdom come just to get her way.
Example: her poor boyfriend tried to break up with her at least a dozen times and just couldn't (he is a nice guy) because she would say things like "I don't accept it", "You feel this way because of your own problems and you project it on our relationship",etc,etc. She would draw him into really lengthy discussions or simply just go over his place (despite him saying "I don't want you to come over") and go to bed or lure him into having sex with her.
Her boyfriend of two years prior to that told her it was over at the airport,as she was getting on the plane back to US (he lived in Australia), told her NOT to come back , moved his new girlfriend into his house, yet Sophia DID go back and stayed in his house along with that other woman! She is like a bad decease: you can't get rid of her. That other guy simply boxed her stuff and shipped it to NZ when Sophia had to leave (visa requirements) thus ensuring she won't have any reason to set foot in his house again.
In view of all that I've decided to move out quietly, just taking my clothes and some personal things. I would let Sophia keep 2 weeks worse of security bond and my furniture,furnishings and decor items (none of that was very expensive and I value my sanity and well-being above all else). This way I didn't have to talk to Sophia and get dragged into one of her endless discussions. She was coming out of the deal better than when she went in: 2 weeks rent to pocket,fully furnished and decorated room which she could rent at even higher price. She probably had 3 dozen candidates before I even reached Levine.
I've left the key and the note taped to the door saying that I've moved out and took everything I wanted with me, the rest was hers.
However, in my haste, I accidently forgot a package of intimate female products. It was a very unique and specific product, not available in NZ or Australia. I brought ample supply of it with me from US. Sophia asked me about those once and was very keen to get some. I gave her one.
I had a couple of those "Instead" cups in my purse, so it wasn't until 2 months later that I've realised that I forgot my entire supply in a drawer in Sophia's flat in Wellington.
I immediately searched online, and to my chagrin, found out that,although the product IS available for sale on multiple sites, no one, and I mean NO ONE would ship to either NZ or Australia.
I've texted Sophia, requesting that she mailed me my "instead" cups (the product in question) and told her I would pay for shipping.
Well, Sophia decided to be her bitchy self: she claimed that she "didn't have them" and she "cleaned out my room". Please note vague terminology: she didn't say "I threw them away", which would be an outright lie and she is too clever for that.
I replied saying I found it hard to believe she threw my stuff away, knowing her propensity for hoarding and,again, asked for my cups to be shipped to me.
Sophia didn't reply until the next day, saying that she "donated my stuff to Salvation Army in Newtown". I had to laugh. "Are you seriously telling me that you donated intimate feminine menstrual product to salvation Army?" I asked. I told her I remembered that she really liked my "insteads" and wanted some. I also told her not to let things get ugly and to ship my cups to me.
Sophia and I were flatmates for a year, during which period she witnessed me utilising Dispute Tribunal and Court system to settle my claims/disputes with people. Yes, things got very unpleasant or "ugly" sometimes during these processes (like when court required that my ex was served with papers in person at her work place). So Sophia knew EXACTLY what I meant when I said that.
That was last week. I've never heard from Sophia and I knew she wouldn't return my cups out of spite, so I didn't contact her anymore.
Instead, I dug into the world wide web some more and came up with even better product that IS available in both NZ and Australia. In my mind the issue was settled.
Imagine my surprise when I received a phone call from a police officer last night. He said he was calling from Wellington Central police department and he had Sophia there in tears, "very concerned". "Concerned about what?" I asked "And what does it have to do with me?". Carl (police officer) proceeded to tell me that the text I sent her "wasn't very nice" and he is giving me a warning and is verbally "trespassing" me from Sophia's property for 2 years. Carl sounded somewhat threatening and he told me I would be arrested (!!) if I would come near Sophia's flat in Wellington.

Right...Few issues I have with this.
Yes, it is Carl's job to INVESTIGATE a claim made by an alleged victim. However, he did not "investigate" anything: he did not ask for my side of the story, he didn't even asked what I meant by "not let things get ugly". I also doubt he asked Sophia what she does for a living (she is an ACTRESS,remember). He simply made on the spot assessment of the situation based on some neurotic drama queen's unsubstantiated claim and interpretation. He felt it was necessary to go as far as "trespass" me over the phone... All over what essentially boils down to two girls arguing over a pack of tampons,really.
However, when I walked into a police station in Napier (and later into Wellington Central) trying to file a complaint about a person who was a KNOWN, DOCUMENTED stalker, person who was previously arrested, person who broke into my house on numerous occasions,person whom other people testified of seeing spying on me, person who obtained a LOT of my personal information (including my hand-written suicide note and my personal bank account details), police didn't even want to file the claim at ALL at first and later,after they grudgingly did so, told me that I would have to serve the trespass notice on him MYSELF IN PERSON. I was told that to be of legal force, trespass notice cannot be mailed or served by anyone other than myself. No one offered to call the guy and "trespass" him for me.
Go figure...

I did ask Carl,the police officer, how NZ police makes that executive decision of whom to award full help and protection available and whom to dismiss and he had no answer.

Needless to say, I wasn't a happy camper. In fact, it took few glasses of wine and a lot of "calm down" talk from my flatmate before I relaxed.

Something really special,beautiful and amazing did come out of this (totally unrelated to police,NZ or my flatmate), but that's another story :)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Christchurch-earthquake aftermath

On my way to Thailand two weeks ago I've spent half a day in Christchurch. I haven't been there in over 2 years, so this was the first time after all the earthquakes that devastated the city.
It was Sunday afternoon, Russian Orthodox Easter, so I took a bus from the airport to CBD (or what's left of it) and walked to the Russian Orthodox Church for the Easter Service.
I took a long walk around CBD-it was heart wrenching. Most buildings are laying in ruins, streets are blocked off and closed to traffic... Especially unsettling was the eerie silence that is now dominant in once bustling heart of the city. I didn't even recognise the layout anymore, as everything has changed.
I've written about Christchurch earthquake shortly after it happened
and things are looking pretty grim.
After the service I was invited to join in the Easter Feast (razgovenie in Russian) by the Priest and his wife. Their entire parish was present. We had our meal in the dining hall just behind the small Russian Orthodox Church built decades ago by original Russian migrants.
I asked people how they coped. Not easily, they said. Nerves are shattered and everyone is on edge, despite calm outward appearances. Priest's wife (we address them as "Mother" in Russia) told me that it was bad enough to be without electricity, phone and running water (they used their garden as a toilet) for 6-9 weeks, but with all the aftershocks certain habits developed. For instance, without even thinking about it, totally on "autopilot" she checks that the path to the front door is unobstructed  before she goes to bed.. She compulsively checks seismic reports online and considers the depth of the recent aftershocks... She makes sure there is enough dry food in the house at all times.. She makes different decisions regarding purchases (both small and large).. She purchased the map and carefully marked all the blocked off streets, and now spends about 5 min before each trip figuring the route..
Basically, their whole life has changed, they are in a state of constant awareness and "preparedness".
As a psychologist, I know that it's very taxing on one's mind and body. This "failure to switch off" causes extreme stress that builds up and affects all  functions of a human body.
I asked them if they are considering moving someplace else. "Mother" told me that, firstly, it's not that easy to get a parish in a different city, but, most importantly, they put a lot of effort in building this one and wouldn't even contemplate leaving their people, their flock behind. She said  "What, are we suffering the most? Of course not! There are people who are much worse off and we need to be here to lend our support to them. Besides, we love this city, we won't abandon it".
She told me one of their parishioners died in CCTV building and other families were badly affected.
I've said it before: Russians are very stoic. We endure and we don't complain. But there are plenty more of Kiwis and other nationalities who are staying put in Christchurch and going on with their everyday lives despite the challenging environment and all the stress.
My hat is off to them! Please accept my sincere admiration. I have a lot of respect for people who do not crumble and show immense strength of character in the face of most devastating circumstances.