Australia: Part 3

A month in Australia and I’ve moved into my new place, the location is great, the number of cockroaches who also seemed to have moved in is less great but it’s all part of the experience. I’ve made a bit more of a plan for the next few months which is exciting, Sydney is brilliant but I’m aware there is a whole country to see which I’m looking forward to. In the meantime, I need to earn some money to be able to afford all the travelling I want to do so the job hunt continues, with more urgency everyday. 

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Being unemployed means lots of time for people watching which I’m enjoying, I’ve noticed there is always lots to take in when you’re in a new place but I think that perhaps the longer you spend somewhere, the more you notice it all. When you’re just visiting, you tend to rush through the days, trying to see everything and fit it all in. But when it’s more permanent and you have the luxury of empty days there is more time to observe the routines and the movements of a place. That being said, I thought I’d share a few things I’ve noticed since being out here, a few things about the movements of the city.

  • There is more small talk and fleeting connections. When people in coffee shops or supermarkets are asked how their day is going it’s met with a smile and a conversation instead of that subconscious british hostility we’re so used to.
  • They toast their banana bread which makes a simple but life-changing difference. This is the only place I’ve been where I feel like my love for banana bread is matched.
  • Bus drivers wait for people, if they see you running they won’t close the doors seconds before you reach them, they’ll hold on a minute. Generally everyone can hold on a minute, the sense of urgency that exists amongst us at home seems more rare here.
  • Early starts and early finishes. I saw a sign in a gym window inviting people to join a running group that meets at 4.40am. On Saturdays. The days end much earlier too with people eating out at 6 and heading home rather than experiencing the long summer evenings.
  • Coffees are tiny, it seems like caffeine is there to serve a purpose rather than be enjoyed. They have keep cups the size of espressos and most lattes you can see off in two sips.
  • The more cockroaches you see, the less fazed you are by them. Slightly concerning because I definitely don’t want to get used to sharing my kitchen with the uninvited guests but on day one I was squirming at the sight and now I’m batting them away like flies.

So a month of not working has been great, it’s been incredible to enjoy the city, but I’m ready for a job now, for more routine and structure and something to fill the days. So if someone could hire me now that’d be great. Please.

Instagram: @IndiaGarrett

Twitter: @IndiaGarrett

Work

I write to you from the other side of summer. Where alarms go off at 7.30 and coats are worn and day drinking is met with a more hostile attitude. For the past week I have been a working girl, spending my days gaining experience and insight of the real world, and I shall continue to do so for the next two weeks. Because there is barely anyone around to share the events of my days with, I thought I’d do so with you.

Some people say knowledge is power. I disagree. Having a recognisable company’s email domain is power. I get great joy from sitting at my desk writing adult emails knowing the reader has no idea that, despite the official looking signature and my sassy tone, I have no authority and my account will in fact be deleted in two weeks. I’ve had people give me their ‘sincerest apologies’ and tell me ‘not to hesitate to contact them with any further queries’. Sometimes I reply just to say ‘many thanks’. It is amazing how much more respect you’re given when people can’t see that you actually look like a fifteen year old.

The lunch break is a tricky area to navigate. Firstly there is the issue of when you take it. I’m normally ready at about 11.30 but I feel like I’d get a few judgemental looks from the rest of the office if they saw me heading off with my sandwich at that time. The difficult decision comes at 12ish. I have to choose whether I want to have lunch then and return to a longer, sometimes seemingly endless, afternoon or whether to push through until 1 so that I can return to my desk knowing that only a few short hours remain. In my experience the latter option is the one to go for. And remember, snacks are your friend. Secondly comes the issue of what to have. I would love to skip off to Pret everyday but unfortunately my bank balance doesn’t allow it. Instead I make a sandwich the night before and grab an apple, not quite the same but does the job. If you find it’s not filling enough, drink plenty of water. Your colleagues may become concerned about how often your toilet breaks are but at least you’re not hungry.

I’m now prepared for the question that’ll come twice a day, mid-morning and mid-afternoon like clockwork. ‘Do you want a cuppa?’. Entirely well meant, but for someone who is quite fussy with their tea (only green or mint, two thirds hot water, a third cold) it can cause mild anxiety. I find it best to assume that the only tea on offer is breakfast so in my case, I politely decline the offer. However as the week went on and the declines mounted up, I felt an air of curiousity surround my neighbouring desks, as if my colleagues had met someone from a strange land, and I knew there would be a follow up question the next time I declined. ‘So, do you not like hot drinks?’. I find it best to just say ‘not really’ rather than ‘I do, I’m just high maintenance’ and proceed to bore them with my beverage preferences (please see a picture of said preference in the header image).

The biggest hurdle of the day actually comes after I leave the office. On my walk home, I pass right through the town centre…not ideal for someone with no money and limited self control. I don’t think there was one day this week when I was home on time. I don’t know why, the shops were the same everyday.

So far it’s gone well, nice people and no major disasters, but I’ll keep you updated….

Instagram: @IndiaGarrett

Twitter: @IndiaGarrett

P.S Apologies for the lack of pictures, the only thing I could think of that would be relevant was iStock images of offices and no one wants to see that.