I got up at 5am yesterday to catch a 7am flight to Auckland for my AMP Scholarship interview.
My interview wasn’t until 11.45am but I wanted to be there early. I didn’t want to be panicking in a taxi on the way into town, knowing how close my appointment time was.
At 33, I know myself well enough to know getting there 2 hours early is preferable to arriving just on time.
The whole day felt surreal. I got off the plane in Auckland and walked out into the airport to see a man holding a sign saying “Tessa Prebble”. I could feel a huge grin on my face as I walked up to him and pointed at myself, “that’s me!”
After my coffee and oversized danish, I sat in the cafe in the foyer of the AMP building and went over my speech. I was nervous. What would they ask me?
When it was finally time to go up to the 21st floor, I stood in the elevator, my fingers tapping my phone in my pocket.
When I got to the right floor I was introduced to the meeter and greeter who instantly made me feel at ease and chatted to me about the process.
It was like being in a bizarre NZ’s got talent competition. Ahead of me was a 13 year old ice skater in her skates and costume. After me was a chef in full chef’s outfit with a tray that I assume would hold some kind of culinary display. And there was me, with my cue cards and my 2 minutes of audio.
When I got into the room, it was like Shark’s Tank, only nice. The judges were warm and inviting and clearly knew a lot about my podcast already.
I stood up and started to give my speech and then I got to the paragraph where I say that Eva died and she was my inspiration and my voice caught in my throat. I stopped talking, hoping I could recover quickly, but soon I realised no, I wasn’t going to recover. I apologised and kept going. When my voice caught again I stopped and told them I had practiced this so many times and this had never happened. They laughed and that lifted me up and I finished the speech.
I played them two minutes of audio from Episode with Adonis and Zinzele where Zinzele is commenting on how strong Adonis is, and then I sat down.
They asked me questions about my listenership and where I saw the podcast going, and it was over.
I came out to a man with a video camera asking me how it had gone. I laughed and said it was good, except for the crying.
Then I had to head off downstairs to be filmed again. I managed to hold myself together and stopped myself from crying again when they asked me about what inspired the podcast. I really wish I had known about the filming, I would have worn just a bit more makeup.
And then it was over.
I flew home after having lunch with an old journalism friend and sat glued to the window as the sunset over the sea. The clouds were dotted below me and they cast shadows over the water as the top of them was illuminated by the orange of the sun. The photos I took didn’t do it justice.
Whenever I’m up above the clouds I think of Eva. It’s not that I think she’s there, (I’m not religious, but I do like to think she is somewhere) but there is something otherworldly about flying above those luminous, indefinable shapes. You feel disconnected from the real world and connected to something else. In between.
I thought of Eva and hoped she is proud of me, wherever she is. I thought of how much I have done in the last year and I felt proud of myself.
Thank you to everyone who voted for me in this competition. The category I got through in was the judged portion, rather than the people’s choice, but knowing you voted is still very important to me. So thank you!
I’ll be crossing my fingers and toes that I win one of the scholarships and can take the One in a Million Baby podcast to new heights.
And if I do win, you’ll be the first to know (after my parents and my boyfriend, that is).