Work, Work, and Let’s See…. More Work

I sincerely apologize for my lack of an update on this blog! How long has it been, a year? Ten?

Unfortunately, my absence has not been because I’ve been really busy doing super awesome cool things. I haven’t posted simply because all I do is work. I work full-time and when I’m not at work, I’m being super lazy at home [by watching TV or a movie, surfing the web, reading a book, or sleeping]. So very glamorous, I know.

However, this is all about to change. I’ve been at my workplace for nearly six months which means, because of a visa restriction, I legally have to quit. August 24th is my last day at my first full-time job [and my first job in Australia]! This job has taught me so much about patience, Aussie culture, responsibility, and cooking. I got to know a lot of people who work there very well and will miss getting to hangout with them every day.

I plan on taking some time off to work on some personal things before I attempt to reenter the job market. This means that I will have time to *actually* blog again. Wahoo!

Stay tuned for some real updates!

In the meantime, here’s a photo of Brent’s dog bathing in the sun. Oh how I miss summer! Enjoy!

1512419_10203283011387749_6188942649374637474_n 

I Got A Job! & Other February Things

Image

As most of my Facebook friends know, I GOT A JOB! I was interviewing and working a trial shift at the end of January, heard back that I got the job at the beginning of February, had my job induction in the middle of the month and (finally) began working two days ago.

I’m working full time as a Front of House Manager at a brand new, gourmet and healthy alternative fish and chips shop. So far, my bosses and staff have been an absolute joy to work with. My first two shifts consisted entirely of running errands, cleaning, mopping, scrubbing, and setting up shop. I can’t wait for the store to open so I can try all of the delicious-smelling foods they’ve been cooking!

Honestly, the best part about getting a job and making money now is that I’m able to afford plane tickets to Hawaii in June to see my family. Excited!

Other things I’ve done in the last month:

Image

  • Celebrated the Seahawks winning their very first Superbowl! I’m so proud of my city. Brent and I got up early (the Superbowl aired around 9am in Melbourne) and drove to the grocery store to purchase Budweiser beer ($4 for a bottle), Skittles (THE BEAST), hot dogs and buns, and Doritos. ‘Murica.

Image

  • Went to ACMI’s Spectacle exhibit in the city where we watched countless music videos, learned all sorts of neat facts about the music industry and how music videos have changed over time, and saw cool props used in some popular videos (my favorite: pictured upper right, from OK Go’s This Too Shall Pass).
  • Experienced multiple days of over 40C/110F weather, and my first bush fire warning.
  • Joined a tennis club! Brent’s mum invited me to be a part of the tennis club that she plays in. I hadn’t played regular tennis since high school and have been wanting to get back into it for some time. So far, I’ve played two doubles matches: won the first, lost the second. I’m really excited for the season to continue!

Image

  • Celebrated my 23rd birthday by eating delicious Thai food and boozy drinks at Melbourne’s Cookie (which had been on my to-do list for a while) and getting drunk in the city with Brent and his best mate. An A+ celebration.
  • Learned how to drive a manual car on the Aussie road! Alone! Without killing myself or anyone else!

Image

  • Visited the Bathing Boxes in Brighton, otherwise known as my new favorite place in Melbourne.

As I was about to hit ‘Publish Post,’ a spider started to climb on my arm (!!!) and I had to kill it (after screaming, of course). The fun part (HA) about living in Australia is realizing that any spider could have the ability to poison and kill you (I should probably learn the difference between ‘normal’ spiders and ‘OH SHIT RUN THE HELL AWAY’ spiders) … actually, it seems that ANYTHING (bush fires, snakes, jellyfish….) in Australia could kill you.

Until next time, folks!

Christmas In Australia

I know that it’s been a while since my last post and that I’m in need of catching you all up on life here in Australia. I’ve been thinking about writing this post about Christmas for a few weeks now and I’ve finally gotten around to it!

735229_4875245650683_713479383_n

I’ll start with some background of a typical Christmas for me in the States. My immediate family lives on the west coast while almost all of my extended family lives in the midwest or on the east coast. I’m lucky if I get to see any relative of mine once a year, if that. My family (mom, dad and sister) start the Christmas celebrations by having a crab and shrimp dinner on Christmas Eve. My sister and I set out cookies and milk for Santa before bed then we usually call it a night before eleven o’clock. We wake early on Christmas morning to open presents in our pajamas with Christmas music playing on the radio. Santa always gives my mom a couple packets of scone mix for Christmas and after we finish opening gifts, she’ll make a batch of scones for a late breakfast. We spend the rest of the day lazing around, enjoying the holiday and our new presents. We finish the day off with a delicious steak and mashed potatoes dinner that my dad slaves in the kitchen all afternoon cooking.

As you can see, most of my Christmas celebrations have been very relaxed. This Christmas in Australia was much different.

Unlike my family, Brent’s extended family all live in the same state. The weekend before Christmas, Brent’s family and I drove a half hour to a Christmas party that his dad’s side of the family was having. This was my first taste of Aussie Christmas. It was a muggy and warm day, not surprising considering that it’s summer. There were fifteen people, including a few children and one baby. We all stayed outside for the most part, drinking beer and enjoying conversation. Because I was the newbie, I was asked all sorts of questions (including how my family celebrated Christmas). Brent’s aunt, mother and cousin served up lunch to all of us.

Screen Shot 2014-01-24 at 1.29.44 PM

On everybody’s plate, there was a Bon Bon (or Christmas Cracker). Before eating lunch or dinner, everyone takes their Bon Bon in their hand, crosses their arms in front of them (making sure that they’re holding one end of their Bon Bon in one hand and the end of another person’s Bon Bon with the other hand). After counting to three, everyone yanks each Bon Bon. All of them are filled with paper crowns that everyone must wear throughout the meal, while only some are filled with little gifts. After everyone wore their crowns, it was time to chow down on lunch (and then dinner).

christmas pudding

On Christmas Day, Brent’s mum’s side of the family came over after we (his immediate family and I) finished opening gifts. We all celebrated the holiday by drinking beer, eating lots of food and giving gifts. Another Christmas Tradition that both sides of Brent’s family practiced involved the Christmas Pudding. I had never even heard of Christmas Pudding before traveling to Australia (I know, I know – so cultured). The pudding is made by actually boiling pudding and then adding about a bucket of brandy as well as lots of dried fruit. The alcohol keeps the pudding preserved for up to a year! The fun part about Christmas Pudding is that the chef puts in a few five-cent coins. Whoever ends up getting a coin in their slice of pudding (and nearly breaking their teeth) is blessed with good luck for the next year. Because Brent’s aunt is so sweet, everyone at the table ended up being blessed with good luck for 2014.

Hopefully with this good luck, I will find a job this year!

Fifty Days in Australia!

Today marks the fiftieth day since I moved down under! Since it’s been a while since I last wrote, I thought that I would make this post in bullet form.

Here are some of the things that I’ve been getting up to these last fifty days:

  • I’m still on the unemployment train. I took a short break from applying to jobs for about a week (it’s hard to deal with so much rejection) but I’m back at it once again. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Image

  • I was lucky enough to be invited to a large dinner party at the Mexican restaurant Taco Bill, located in the city. Since we had a sweet party package, happy hour was extended, we got to hit a piñata and we had the *lovely opportunity* of being force-fed tequila and lime juice. It was a blast!

Image

Image

  • Brent and I cooked Thanksgiving dinner for him and his family. This was the first time that I have ever cooked for Thanksgiving and given that it was Brent’s (and his families) first Thanksgiving ever, we were a little nervous. The menu looked like this: turkey (of course), stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, and pumpkin pie. 

Image

  • I saw my first big and scary spider! I was outside on the porch with Brent and his mate, when I saw a Huntsman spider on one of the poles that held up the roof. Despite them having a creepy appearance, they are apparently quite harmless to humans. Still – just thinking about the spider again gives me the heebie-jeebies. 
  • On Thanksgiving day, Brent and I signed up for a virtual holiday running streak. The deal? You have to run one mile every day until New Years Eve. Today marked day 18 (halfway!) and thus far, I have only broken the streak twice because I was ill. Nineteen miles in sixteen days ain’t so bad. Running has sort of taken over our lives. 

Image

  • I had my first theatre experience here in Melbourne. A couple of weekends ago, I saw Short + Sweet at Chapel Off Chapel in the city. The play had six odd and entertaining acts. The venue was great, I hope to go back there soon!
  • I’ve decided to try and take up crocheting. So far, not great. I am so untalented with yarn!

Image

  • Unfortunately, on the day after Thanksgiving, Brent’s cat Comet passed away unexpectedly. He was totally healthy, to our knowledge, before he died. Such a shame, he was a fantastic kitty.

A great and crazy fifty days! Here’s to the next fifty!

Week Three in Melbourne: A Birthday, A Job Search & A Zip-Line

Image

Brent turned twenty-three this week! This is the first time that I have ever gotten to celebrate his birthday with him in person, so it was kind of a big deal. I cooked him up a big breakfast while he was still in bed. I also got to sing happy birthday to him with his parents which was great! These all seem like such trivial things, I’m sure, but to me it meant a lot. I can’t wait to be there for his next birthday.

Image

Besides Brent’s birthday, nothing too thrilling has been happening over here in Australia. I attempted to hand out my resume in person a few days ago (and was told that I had to apply online at every single place instead). I’ve applied for (and been rejected from) so many jobs during my three weeks here that it’s starting to take a toll on my self-esteem. I’m realizing how naive it was for me to believe that I would get a job easily here. I guess all I can do is continue to grit my teeth and trek on with the applications.

Image

As I said, it’s been a quiet week. Let’s see, what else have we been doing?

Brent and I went on a couple of runs (which I’m proud of). He’s been trying to fix up his car so it’s drivable again. I am extremely behind on NaNoWriMo (but am determined to catch up and finish on time). We’ve been spending a lot of time at a playground nearby , usually around dusk so there aren’t any children around. There is a zip-line (Aussies call them ‘flying foxes’) which is by far the best part of the little play place. Basically, we’ve been trying to do various fun and free things here in Melbourne, which is challenging to do. And until I find a job, I’m going to have to continue being frugal!

Week Two in Melbourne: Halloween & The Melbourne Cup.

It’s been an eventful week for me here in Melbourne!

I’ve always been an avid Halloween celebrator and I made it my goal to celebrate Halloween in a country that less than 10% of its’ natives choose to acknowledge (okay, I made the stat up but this is based on the things that Brent has told me). Brent and I came up with a couples costumes a few months ago: Walter White and his beloved Blue Meth (inspired, of course, by the series finale).

IMG_4838Brent had been growing a beard for over three months before this magical moment, making his costume bare even more of a resemblance to the fictional drug lord. We found all of our costume attire at a local thrift shop.

The two of us got dressed and took a train up to the city. We had (free) tickets to go to a club but a certain someone forgot to print them out (hint: it was me). So instead, we frantically googled and searched for Halloween parties happening in Melbourne CBD. We settled on a bar near Melbourne Central station. It was a little chilly outside, especially for me (I was wearing a short dress). We made it to the small bar and were instantly overwhelmed. The bar was decorated for Halloween and EVERYONE was dressed up. For those who did not know, the drinking age in Australia is 18 years old. This had never phased me before but as soon as we walked into this place, Brent and I felt…. old. We had walked into a crowded bar full of rowdy, drunk, young people dressed up in costume (I might as well buy a rocking chair and cane now, am I right?). Anyway, we decided to skip getting drinks at this bar and search for something a little bit more casual and relaxed. Maybe we would’ve enjoyed the first bar if we had prefunked prior to going but it was pretty unbearable completely sober.

halloween1

Brent took me to a bar within the Melbourne Central station, which I was a little apprehensive about at first. But the bar turned out to be exactly what I was looking for! There was a wide array of people, old and young. Costumed and not. We shared a few pitchers of beer and enjoyed people watching. We were even offered free shots of tequila (YES PLEASE)! The night turned out to be a lot different than what I was expecting but I had a great time nonetheless. I hope Brent did too, especially because so many people recognized his costume!

halloween2

The second holiday that we celebrated this week was Victoria’s infamous Melbourne Cup! For those who don’t know, the Melbourne Cup is a fancy, popular horse race. One day each year, all of the city of Melbourne get a day off for the Melbourne Cup because it is considered a holiday. Although Brent and I didn’t gallivant to the city wearing fancy hats, we did celebrate with his family in our own little way. Brent’s mum put all of our names in a bet at her work. I had $2 going for horse number 10, for example. The actual *big race* only lasted three minutes. We gathered around the TV and watched the horses sprint their little hearts out. …and that was it. A very bizarre holiday for yours truly. I definitely would have appreciated it a bit more if I a) was employed (and got the day off) and/or b) enjoyed horse racing.

We also spent a few hours of the day bushwalking in the sun. The middle picture there was when Brent and I had to walk through a swarm of flying beetles.

bushwalking

We finished off the evening with some wine (for her) and beer (for him).

Aside from celebrating these two holidays, I had the lovely opportunity to meet a few ladies from Melbourne this week. I ate brunch in Moonee Ponds with Sam and Sandy earlier in the week and ate dinner (and ice cream) with Amy, Sam and Nat last night in the city. I feel very blessed to have moved to a city with such awesome and accepting people.

melbourne

Lastly, I’ve been keeping quite busy because November is National Writing Month. There is a writing challenge that happens every November each year called NaNoWriMo. The goal of this competition is to write an entire novel in one month. You must reach 50,000 words in that amount of time, which equals out to 1,667 words a day. I have tried to “win” this competition a few times in the past but have never succeeded so I thought I would give it a go this year, since I’m still unemployed. I’m proud to announce that, although I am a little behind on my daily word count, I am still in the competition!

So if you don’t mind, I’m going to get back to writing my story!

tumblr_mvkijdMcxU1st7iu1o1_500

Week One In Melbourne: I Made It!

Image

Today marks day SEVEN in Australia. I can’t believe that time has already gone by so quickly. Besides the actual process of physically moving here, the last week hasn’t been the most exciting.

Image

On WEDNESDAY (the day of my flight), I finishing packing and trying not to cry (didn’t work out too well). My mom and I went through one last walk around the neighborhood with my dog. Then, after more tears and saying goodbye, my parents and I were off to the airport.

The weather in Seattle had been very foggy and very grey but on our drive up to the airport, the sun started to peak out. I took this as a sign: I am going to be okay. I checked in my two bags and hugged my parents goodbye. I flew from Seattle to Melbourne, with a layover in Los Angeles.

Day One

After 24 hours of traveling, I officially entered the country of Australia!

The funny thing about traveling from the States to Australia is that you lose an entire day flying. I left Seattle on Wednesday and landed in Melbourne on FRIDAY. Unfortunately, my bags didn’t make it onto the international flight so I arrived to Brent’s house with basically nothing. We spent the rest of the day relaxing.

IMG_4766
My bags eventually made it on SATURDAY. Even my brand new fancy wineglasses made it without a scratch!

I spent the rest of the week applying for jobs, attempting to spend as little money as possible and keeping quiet/supporting Brent while he studies for finals. I signed up for a bank account and I bought a used phone on eBay. I broke my Nespresso machine because I didn’t realize that it wouldn’t be able to convert Australia’s difference in voltage. I’ve been walking a lot with Brent. We watched The Shining and Room 237. Brent and I have been spending a lot of time together and are getting used to being physically around each other again.

IMG_4786

IMG_4799

I’m doing my best trying to stay positive about the job search. It’s hard having nothing to do and basically no money to spend. Hopefully next week I will have more exciting news!

Now, Brent and I are about to get dressed up for a night out because it’s Halloween! My first Halloween out of country and Brent’s first time celebrating Halloween. Happy Halloween!

IMG_4798