My whiney post last week must have rang a few bells somewhere in the Universe. After I posted, I sat down at my laptop and continued the job hunt. And about 2 hours later, I got a call from a job recruiter that Joel’s aunt referred me to. She had a few openings for me, and invited me in for an interview. I did well, and almost immediately she found me a temporary gig as a marketing assistant for a Very Well Known Cosmetics Brand.
SCORE. SCORE SO MUCH.
I’ve worked in marketing before, but always for small companies. Places where there are fewer than 3 people in the office at any given time. And yes, I’ve watched Mad Men and I’ve always daydreamed about working in a Big Established Company’s creative department and the people I would meet and the amazing wardrobe and badass-femme attitude I’d have.
But, as I went through my day today, in my $20 mock-blazer made of flammable materials, my $10 skirt made of possibly more flammable materials, and my $5 stockings that caught a run with the first pair I put on, surrounded by women with flawless outfits and makeup, I felt more like the before shot of Andy from The Devil Wears Prada.
Especially at lunch time when the Put Together and Perfumed took out their lunches of sparse spinach salads and tiny tupperwares of pumpkin and quinoa salads, and I lugged out my awesome sandwich that Joel made for me, filled with meat and cheese and vegetables. HELLO, OFFICE. ALSO I DID NOT SHOWER THIS MORNING.
First Days, amirite? I hate first days. It makes me miss the days of retail, when you had an orientation day full of training before they released you to the wild. It’s frustrating to sit there at a desk and not know what’s going on, with people who do know what’s going on who are all way too busy to explain things to you. And, as I’ve learned, the people who do know what’s going on are a different degree of detached when they realize you’re a temp, and giving you in-depth training is a bit of a waste of time.
So today was a bit stressful at times. But, it won’t last forever. In 3 weeks, I’ll be on to my next assignment, where I’ll hopefully know the temp ropes a bit better. As it is, I’m looking forward to gaining a bit more of a foot hold in this company’s processes. It’s a real, city office, with a real, branded product. So that’s a whole new experience in itself. And it’s exciting as it is a little scary. And I get that all important Australian experience to put on my resume. Most important, though, I get to bring home a paycheck and contribute to our life here. Even if it is temporary.
Also, I took the bus to and from my job by myself, and I felt like a real grown up.
After two weeks of holiday bliss, Joel has gone back to work. Which now means, I have to go back to work.
I’ve been pretty fortunate in my life that I’ve only been unemployed twice. And both of those instances coincided with me moving. And, as I’ve moved once again, I face the daunting task of job hunting. Fun!
And if Job Hunting in your own country is fun, you should try it as a Non-Resident. I’m facing some hurdles. Mostly that my Work and Holiday visa only lets me work at any job for 6 months at a time, which means I’m limited to retail, food service, or contract work. I haven’t worked retail in about 8 years, and I haven’t worked food service at all. Second, it appears as though most stores have already finished hiring for the holidays. I applied to about 14 different places online, and I went out yesterday to drop my resume off at bookstores and other shops in the mall, but only once place took my application without telling me “We’ll keep you on file.”
Not having the security of a job gives me a prolonged anxiety attack. And leaving Joel to bear the brunt of the financial burden while I’m jobless notches up that anxiety attack. I know he’s happy to help me while I’m looking for a job, and I’m thankful for that, but free-loading makes me uncomfortable (which stands in direct contrast to my Peter Gibbons like dream of doing absolutely nothing).
I know I don’t have the right to complain yet. It’s only the start of Day 3, and I have a lot of searching help from Joel (and even some of his family members). And I still have savings. But, my savings are to keep me afloat in an emergency situation–not for every day living. I keep having flash backs to 2012, when I ran out of savings and blithely sent off resumes as I lived off my credit cards. And by “lived off my credit cards,” I mean, shopped endlessly for clothes and bedding and going out every other night and buying expensive plane tickets and electronics. Then I curl up in fetal position eating donuts and watching Sex and the City.
I have to keep reminding myself that I was a different person then. In 2012, I was depressed and hating myself and I couldn’t find any real motivation to make things better. Things are definitely different this time around. Yes, I’m wearing sweat pants and watching Sex and the City and I’m blogging, but this time, there’s about 99% less self-hatred*! And even though I’m in a different country, I have to make moves. It’s time to hustle, Kanye style.
After all, I came out here with a purpose, and that purpose is to make a life with Joel. And that won’t happen if I stay in bed glued to HBOGO.
You know, as much as I’d like it to be.
*that lingering 1% is because I still want to watch SATC. One day, maybe, I’ll be able to evolve past my terrible guilty pleasures.
On Tuesday, Joel and I met up with his friends Hugh and Shaya, and their buddy Benny, and we took off for the beaches in Bundeena, a town in the Royal National Park— a park so big, it would take you 2 days to walk its entirety.
Benny is Hugh and Shaya’s foster dog, and he’s 100% adorable. Except for when he got car sick and puked directly into my lap. It wasn’t just a little bit of vomit either. He unhinged his jaw and expelled the entire contents of his stomach, in an almost solid mass. It was like a demon had overtaken him. I felt so bad for the little guy. Not to be deterred by a car-sick pup, we pulled over, cleaned everything up, and made our way to the beach.
The weather was absolutely perfect for exploring. Bright, sunny, warm, and super breezy. We landed at Jibbon beach and took the trail through cliffs, rocks, and brush. Australia has some of the prettiest beaches ever, and I’m still reeling over the views. We saw way too many old men nude sunbathing on secluded cliffs, and a cranky old man who was taking pictures of the ocean scolded us and said he was going to report us to the authorities for having a dog, but apart from that, we had a really good time.
As I was taking pictures of the Blue Bottles, the cranky old man tried to have us arrested for having a leashed, calm dog with us. Which was funny, because we were about 10 minutes away from our car, and he was at least a 20 minute walk away from the authorities. So we decided to leave. And we made our way to Bare Island.
Bare Island was intended to be a defense island, but it’s now one of the most popular locations in Sydney to scuba dive. Even though there are sharks and eels and lots of venomous/teeth filled creatures living there. It was damn beautiful, though. Joel is determined to get me to scuba, but I’m not sure. Scuba is like sky diving to me. I’m incredibly down for it, but I’m also beyond terrified of it. I’m sure I’d be fascinated once I’m down under the water, but it would probably take me 2 hours to get into the water, like I’m sure I’d have the best time falling through the air, but I’d have a crippling anxiety attack in the plane.
ANYWAY. Bare Island is a lovely place to visit, filled with rocky, craggy surfaces that I couldn’t get photos of because I was too busy trying not to slip and fall to my death. I am a graceful giraffe, after all. There were also gorge-like walls that surrounded the water. I got chills when I stood in front of them and thought how where I was standing used to be under water. With megalodons. And other sea monsters. /yikes
After Bare Island, it was getting late and cold, so we grabbed a late lunch/early dinner of fish and chips at Coogee Beach, and watched as the seagulls vied for our attention. Benny took turns falling asleep on both of us as Hugh drove us home.
And I got home to some unruly Adventure Hair, and a surprisingly little amount of sunburn.
Australia is a beautiful country. And I’m floored that I have so much of that beauty basically in my backyard.
It’s been an ordeal of packing, good byes, visiting, more packing and more good byes, but I’ve finally made it to my new home. And so far, it’s wonderful.
After a week in Los Angeles, I checked my bags with Virgin Australia and boarded my flight.
It’s a 16 hour flight from Sydney to Los Angles. The last time I visited Sydney, my flight back was perfect. I had the entire row to myself, a good dinner, and I stretched out and slept for 12 hours with a pile of pillows and blankets. But my flight back was atrocious. I was in the middle seat in the very last row of a completely sold out flight, and I only had one Xanax. Xanax? Yes. I used to be a nervous flyer–one of those people who would sit absolutely still lest I knock the plane out of balance–but now I’m asleep before the plane takes off. I’m fine with planes. What I’m not fine with is being bored and awake on a flight. It seems that long flights bring out the ADD in me, and no amount of movies, books, over priced mini-bottles, or tabloid crash can keep me occupied for more than a couple of hours. And while I have no problem falling asleep before take off, I always wake up when the attendants come by. Or when there’s slight turbulence. Or when the person beside me is snoring. So I take Xanax before flights to sleep through the entire experience and just be done with it.
Anyway… after I evaluated the conditions of the flight (delayed, cramped, stuffy, smelly seat mates), I decided to take my one and only Xanax immediately. I put my head phones in, pulled my hoodie down over my eyes, put my pillow up to my chin and made the “I’m sleeping, please don’t bother me” pose. But, the flight attendants woke me up for everything. Drink? Snack? Post-drink snack? Dinner? Drink? Are you sleeping? It was awful. And for 14 of the 16 hour flight, I was like a caged cat stuck between two sleeping giants.
So I wasn’t really looking forward to this flight. I pulled a packing ninja move, and crammed 3 large carry-on’s into 2 (packing my life for the win), with one bag dedicated to in-flight entertainment (including a stack of gossip trash–my last taste of America), pajamas, and a refill of Xanax. I was in luck, though, as I once again had the entire row to myself, a semi-good dinner, and a good round of sleep. I watched a beautiful sunrise around 5 AM, and sat glued to the window as we made our descent. I filled out my customs card, and felt a little spark as I got to the duration of visit section and checked the “12 months or more” box. 🙂
After waiting in the customs line for about 40 minutes, I grabbed my suitcases from the carousel. I juggled the two suitcases and my two giant carry-ons as awkwardly as possible, as everyone else stacked their luggage on smart carts. Being American, I had the “I’m not paying $7.50 for a damn luggage cart when my suitcases have wheels.” and it wasn’t until I was waiting in line for the second round of customs and my suitcases flipped or my carry-ons fell off that I realized the luggage carts were free. I felt like an idiot abroad until a Japanese woman trying to wrangle 4 rolling suitcases and a handful of stuffed animals got in line behind me. /solidarity
I got through the dog sniffing line (the dog got really excited when he smelled my suitcases, and the security guard asked me if I had cats at home. ha), and was finally released into the airport. I don’t know what possessed my luggage, but I couldn’t keep them rolling straight behind me. Since I couldn’t get wifi in the customs area, I had no way of contacting Joel to find out where he was. I was wide eyed and bushy haired and struggling with my luggage when the crowds literally parted and I saw him standing there, with the biggest grin on his face. My heart about burst out of my chest. We ran to each other, my bags flying everywhere. He grabbed me in a bear hug and I started crying. I swear, I’ve never felt so lit in my life.
We waited in line for a taxi, and we were finally on our way home. Joel handed me my keys, and when I opened the door, he had Welcome Home! streamers hung over the door ways. As soon as I dropped my bags, the place felt like home. Like there was no place else I’d rather be. It was good to be home.
After I settled in for a bit, Joel gave me my birthday presents: a Fuji X-M1 camera with a 16 – 50 mm zoom lens, an Italian leather journal with my name hand embossed on the cover, a real fountain pen, and some damn awesome socks. I can’t tell which gift I’m more excited over. I love stationary. And I love fun socks. And I really love using a real camera. So, basically, I’m really looking forward to adding quality pictures here. While I wear my pizza socks. And doodle animal creatures and scribble my name 800x with my fancy pen in my fancy journal. So good!
Joel’s mom sent over a welcome gift of wine, chocolate frogs, and notebooks, and a sweet card. It was such good welcome to my new home. Our new home 🙂
We went out for breakfast and coffee, and sight seeing.
Our suburb, Balmain, is about 15 minutes from downtown Sydney, and is filled with shops and restaurants. And if you walk in any direction, you hit water. It’s so nice.
Even when it’s freezing. Because spring just happened here, but the winter temps haven’t left. And I knew the temps leading up to my arrival had been between 50-60*, so I wasn’t too worried. I just didn’t take into account how close we are to the water. And how breezy it is here. A normal 57* here feels like 40* back home. For the last 6 days, I’ve regretted leaving my jackets and scarves at home to be shipped here later. And being in fall like temperatures without boots and a coat makes me feel naked and vulnerable in the most yuppy-can’t-even-deal way.
We ordered fancy pizzas for dinner, and had a Nicholas Cage movie marathon until I fell asleep at like, 9 PM.
We got a really good deal on adding an extra line to Joel’s existing contract, and I got the 5s phone for a really good price (and an even better price since the USD is currently stronger than the AUD). I’ve been Team Droid since they came out, but I have to admit, life with a new phone is a hell of a lot easier. I mean, beside the 4+ hours it took to set everything up because I couldn’t remember my iTunes password and I kept having issues with my Gmail security. But now, I can make calls, and my apps load within mili-seconds, and my phone doesn’t turn off randomly or give me massive delays when typing. And it has a fancy gold case. Like a mix between RuPaul and C3-PO. I’m pretty happy. Even if my bank account is a little lighter.
We had lunch at the top of the Museum, and we watched a storm roll in over the harbor, and I had a Waygu beef sandwich that was life changing.
We got home and had taco night and I watched my first rugby game. Sports bore the shit out of me, but I kinda admit here, that rugby is pretty sweet.
The next day, we had an adventure to Ikea that started off amazing and ended almost terribly. But that’s another post unto itself.
My first few days in Sydney have been a blast. I’m slowly getting unpacked, our apartment is coming together, and Joel and I have awesomely over-indulged in sweat pants hang times. I’ve been able to chat with friends from home a few times, and I’ve even worked in a Skype with my family. I’ve had a few Idiot Abroad moments, and I’m learning the in’s and out’s of public transportation and Australian pronunciation (the names here are drowning in vowels). I miss everyone back home, but I’m really happy to be there. After all the waiting, all the time apart, and all the planning, I’m finally here. And it’s like I’ve never left.