So I’m almost officially NOT unemployed, after three very long, leisurely months. Obviously I had to get a job sooner or later, although I preferred the latter. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t have a strong passion for serving tables – ha. I applied to a few jobs online and got a few responses but I’ve been looking for something that pertains to what I’m studying. I mean, it would always be ideal to get a job that goes towards what you’re trying to do with your life, and extremely ideal to NOT serve again.

Of course, serving jobs are the easiest to come by, especially if you have experience. And this definitely holds true in Australia. I decided to suck it up since it has officially been a month living here, and go drop off my resume. Like I’ve mentioned before, I live in a good area that’s close to a ton of cafes and restaurants and shops. I figured at least one of them would be willing to hire me, especially if I applied to every single one.

So I set out last Friday with 8 resumes printed. And by the way, this isn’t your normal 1 page American resume. This is a “CV”/”Curriculum Vitae” (or something?) that’s about 3 pages long and goes into deal what skills you have acquired and how you use them, what companies you’ve worked for and what they’re all about and so on and so forth for 3 pages. The first place I went was this Italian restaurant that I’ve seen always pretty packed and they said that they would call me in a few days. The next 2 places I dropped it off at gave me an interview right then and there. The 4th place I went to asked me if I could come in and do a “trial” the following week. Then I dropped two more off for shits and giggles and they weren’t hiring anyway.

I figured I may as well call it a quits for the day since it had been relatively successful. I got a call about an hour after getting home asking me to come back into one of the restaurants I had dropped off my resume. Showed up and they pretty much offered me the job – only it wasn’t a part time/”casual” job that I was looking for, but full-time. By the way, these crazy Aussie’s have this thing called “casual” work which I guess is pretty ideal for travelers – something along the lines of being “on call” pretty much the entire time..something along those lines. Anyway, as my sister, Mallory, put it perfectly – I didn’t come to Australia to work full-time, let alone working full time serving. Not down. So I kindly declined.

So now I’ve gone to 2 “trials” – which sounds weird but I suppose it makes sense. They basically just throw you in and see how you do. You get half-assed trained and they see if you sink or swim. I suppose it’s quite an effective way to hire adequate servers. Unfortunately I sank at my first trial – sorry I can’t bring drinks to table 25 when you haven’t told me which table is 25. And that I don’t recognize all of their 50 Australian wines. Anyway, the second trial went quite well and they even put me on the schedule! Mind you, it’s when I have class and now I have to get it covered (they had me fill out the availability form and I’m pretty sure I did it backwards….put an X every AM & PM I could work – which is all of them except for Monday & Tuesday AM’s. I, of course, got scheduled Monday AM), but that must have meant I did something right!

It’s at this super cute Italian café about 3 minutes walking from my house. All the food looks delicious and everyone that works there seemed pretty chill. It’s your basic café job so I would work the register, bring out food, handle cash etc. Nothing crazy. Unfortunately (isn’t there always an “unfortunately”..) the pay is pretty shitty, or as the Aussie’s say, “the pay is pretty shit” (apparently “shit” is an adjective here as well). I get it, the minimum wage here is way higher and $12 an hour might not sound bad, but they don’t tip here. And so $12 really isn’t the best of deals. Especially when other places had offered me $15 and I thought that was “shit”.

Anyway, I’m going in for another trial this Wednesday, along with an interview Wednesday morning as well. And this one is for a big kid job! It’s an Event Marketing and Information Assistant at this not-for-profit company, BrainLink, which is an organization aimed at funding money for different kinds of brain disease patients. Pretty much the PERFECT job because I’ve been working with non-profits AND it’s an event position AND not to mention it pays $30 an hour. Oh AND it’s only 8 hours a week, which is perfect for a person (me) that wants to travel a lot!

Sooo to sum everything up à if you have serving experience, you’ve got a GOOD shot at finding a job in Australia relatively easily. And I’m pretty sure being American, where customer service is our number one priority, doesn’t hurt either. Don’t let employers trick you into working “close to full time” when they actually 100% mean FULL time as in Thursday – Sunday for 10 hours a day, and no, I doubt you get breaks either (I’ve heard people don’t get breaks). Pretty much, if you’re able to be picky and don’t want to get screwed over – don’t settle. I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before but employers don’t really care about you because you’re expendable. You kinda just gotta turn it around sometimes, especially if you DO have lots of experience, and realize that there are plenty of job opportunities if you work hard to find them so make sure you have your priorities straight.

Obviously, my priorities are something like fun, traveling, relaxing, then maybe school, perhaps working after that ;)

You’re life is what you make it. Stop bitching about your stupid jobs and either get a new one, maybe work towards what you got your degree in or do something exciting. Obviously I’m not right on my way to being super successful and getting a great job but that’s not what I want to do right now. My first priorities are having fun and traveling and that’s what I’m doing.

A few other tips -- If you're planning on looking for work, make sure to apply for a Tax File Number (you can just google it and apply online) because it takes about 1-2 weeks to get in the mail and you need one to work, otherwise you get taxed the shit out of. Also, look up Aussie Resume Builders online. I used one through Deakin, but it gives you the format of how they want it to look, which is pretty different to how I've been taught in the states. OH & just FYI - they LOOOVE our American accents and our culture so show some personality : )

 
Brighton Beach. Laser Tag. Healesville Sanctuary. Melbourne Zoo. Moomba Festival. Movies.

Heard about Brighton Beach and how they have all these cute little beach sheds along the beach and so Nate and I went last week. It wasn't the most amazing beach, but the sheds were super cute. It didn't even take too long to get there. We live in a super convenient location right next to a train station that goes pretty much everywhere, sometimes with a few layovers. Brighton Beach was about 40 minutes from us. It might seem long but it's not bad if you consider the lack of parking you have to do. AND it's SO cheap to get around on public transportation. I have a "MyKi" card and a concession card (student discount) and it's $4 a day, for wherever you want to go. I discovered a couple weeks ago, though, that if you pay for a few weeks in advance, it's even cheaper. So it's only like, $2 a day for me, or $50ish a month. Which isn't bad, comparing it to the $60 I spent a week on gas back home.
We also went laser tagging at DarkZone. It was definitely, by FAR, the most intense hour and a half of laser tag, or maybe just LIFE in general hah. There were maybe 35 or so people and we all were on 3 separate teams. It was pretty much all college students and the venue was HUGE. I think it was 3 stories or so and everybody had a home base that they had to protect. Definitely the best $15 I ever spent.

I've been DYING to hold a Koala Bear (& possibly kidnap it & bring it home) so Nate and I went to the Healesville Sanctuary. Unfortunately it's illegal to hold koalas in Victoria so I'm gonna have to go to Queensland to find one haha. Healesville was AWESOME though. It's not your typical zoo, though, where everything is super caged up and separated. All that separates you from most of the animal is a simple fence where they're just hanging out so you can pet them and feed them (2nd pic is me feeding a wallaby!) We visited the animal hospital right when they brought in an eagle with a broken leg and wing. We got to watch them care for it and one of the doctors showed us the eagle's x-rays. Yesterday, we also went to the Melbourne Zoo, which was more like your standard zoo but still more open than the zoos I'm used to. I've only really been to the San Diego Zoo, which is like, world famous & humungous, so these zoos are a lot different. They're just so much more open and all of the animals are way more active, which is the best part.)
The Moomba Festival is an annual Festival set right in the city on the river. They have a waterski tournament going on the entire weekend and fireworks every night. And then of course all your typical games and rides and food. We didn't go on any rides because it was like, $10 a person to go on anything, but we had fun just walking around. I saw someone with a huge. purple plush Sac Kings basketball and they told me they won it so we searched everywhere for the booth. By the time I got there, there weren't any Kings balls left :( The fireworks show was awesome - they had it synced with famous opera music and it was coming from the middle of the river.
I absolutely LOVE this city. Despite how expensive it is, there's so many things you can do, and a lot of things you can do for free. Like the Moomba Festival - you might not be able to ride any rides for free, but at least it's free to go. I feel like there's just so many hidden secrets about this city you can only find if you decide to just wander around, or get lost, like I have on a few occasions : )
I've been fortunate enough to get lost and find some AMAZING graffiti, a beautiful bike trail along the river and the random [not-on-purpose] humor these crazy Aussie's have everywhere.
God i LOVE this city.
 
When I first came here, I tried really hard to save money and not splurge on unnecessary things, especially since the price of everything is pretty much double. I was literally eating a piece of fruit for breakfast and lunch and then maybe eating something decent for dinner. But then Nate came and we fell into the habit of cooking nice meals, because we always did back home. I think we've gone to the grocery store about every other day.

But I decided last week that I wanted to go out and eat as much as possible because isn't that the point of why I'm here? I mean, I'm obviously not here for the sole purpose of eating, but I mean going out and exploring the city and trying new places and eating new things. Granted I probably haven't tried that many NEW things, but we've gone to plenty of restaurants and bars. I've been saving up for this trip for quite some time so I may as well spend the money I have:)

A few people have told me to check out a few places so we've been trying to go to as many of them as possible, while of course, finding some hidden places on our own. We live right down the street from Camberwell where's a TON of little cafes and restaurants and bars and so we've been trying to go to as many as possible.
There's a TON of cute little Italian restaurants on all these little side streets in the city. We found one a week or so ago and ordered this Antipasto plate (1st pic) that was AMAZING - it had EVERYTHING on it; chicken, sausage, calamari, salmon, cheeses, bread, etc. There's also a ton of Asian restaurants of course too that are pretty cheap. We looked for a place on Yelp to celebrate Nate getting a job (a banking job with NAB - National Australian Bank - soo proud of him!!) and Movida got really good reviews and it was in the $$ range ($ being cheap, $$$$ being the most expensive) so we went. It was a little Spanish Tapas Bar and it was AMAZING. Unfortunately, every $5ish tapas plate was LITERALLY one bite. And a tiny bite at that. I guess I'm just going to have to get used to paying $20 minimum for dinner.
Alcohol here is also insanely expensive. It's depressing really. This is actually Captain on SALE here. Sooo sad. So we've basically been drinking a LOT of wine. Bowler's Run is a life saver -- $3 for a bottle! We went to Costco yesterday because if there's cheap alcohol ANYWHERE in Australia, it HAS to be at Costco. Wrong. I'm pretty sure prices are the same, if not more, despite the Costco lady on the phone saying that their prices were quite a bit cheaper (liar). Costco was the ultimate FAIL, although we did come home with a delicious (& huge) jar of chocolate covered raisins : )


 
So I've failed to write for a few weeks so I have a good amount of stuff to write about:) I figured I would kind of separate the entries so I wouldn't just have one realll long entry. The past few weeks have been amazing! Nothing too crazy, but a lot of exploring, wine, eating and more settling in.

I didn't even mention in my last entry that I had started class (I guess we can see where my priorities are ha). They've been relatively interesting. A couple of the lectures are rather boring, but it could be in part that I can barely understand anything the professor is saying. I swear Australian English can be a completely different language than American English.
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This is my "wishlist" that I made, since Deakin's website doesn't really have the same tools that I had from SDSU. They're actually pretty mellow about the classes you take. You can pretty much switch into any "tutorial" or "seminar" you want. By the time I had tried to get into my Philosophy class, it was full and so I just emailed the teacher and he said to just come to class. And then when I got there he just had me sign my name and that was it! They have tutorials or "tuts", which I compare to break-out sessions. You basically just discuss what the teacher talked about in the Lecture. And then there are seminars which is basically a lecture slash tutorial and there are practicals.

I would say that the work load is definitely quite different then how college was back home. They definitely have a lot less assignments, but each of them are obviously worth a lot more. I was kinda nervous at first because I already had a presentation the 2nd week of school, but it was super easy. It was for my philosophy class and I don't think I have spent less time preparing for a presentation and the teacher told us that we got a 9/10, which is the highest score he gives. Not too shabby:)

The first day of school was actually quite frustrating. I wrote down my "timetable" (which is what they say everywhere instead of a schedule) and the classroom number would be Lecture Theater 13 or something but it wouldn't say what building it was in. And so I would walk around campus looking for it (luckily this campus is TINY. People here think it's a rather large campus but I would say that SDSU is about 6 times bigger) and ask people, anyone really, if they knew where it was and nobody did. As if it were every adult/student I asked was their first fricken day there as well. I was late to every class I think but so were a bunch of other people. Timeliness is not the Aussie's best attribute.

But anyway, I don't think my classes will be half bad. I think I only have one test out of all my classes and the rest I have 1 or 2 essays per class and then a presentation. I was trying really hard in the first 2 weeks to make sure I was doing all the work and readings and what not, but I tried this week to not care about it all hah. Sounds weird, but I came here to travel and explore and be immersed in the culture and I don't even need the classes to graduate anyway. I'm going to go to [most] of them because they're interesting and I want to learn about Australia (one of my classes is "Australia Today" and it's for international students to learn about well..Australia today. I'm also taking an Australian Politics class so I'll be learning a fair amount of practical things:). But it's my LAST semester as a college student and I definitely think some senioritis is called for:)

 
When I first arrived in Australia, they told us at our International Students trip that we would experience emotions on the "W Curve". Which, initially, relieved me because I realized I wasn't the only one that was having adjustment issues. I have a tendency of putting up a front like everything is okay and I'm having the time of my life at all times. Not the case when I first arrived, which I have already explained. But anyway, Got through the culture shock and have been going through the recovery the last week or so. Nathaniel finally got here so I'm sure that was part of it. But even if he wasn't here, although I'm obviously glad he is, I think I still would be okay.

Anyway, I moved out of my sh*thole of a house, pardon my language. You know how I said before that the hard part was finding someone to fill my room? Wrong (again). The hardest part was finding a place for both me and Nate to live in. I decided I wanted to be closer to the city & basically just out of the middle of nowhere (AKA Burwood). So we went through the grueling process of searching for places and calling/texting/emailing dozens and dozens of people. We finally found a place that was a tad bit expensive, and when I say a tad bit, I mean extremely and ridiculously expensive, yet BEAUTIFUL place in Hawthorn. It's an amazing location right by all these shops and restaurants and bars and shopping and EVERYTHING. It's about 15 minutes to Deakin and only a 10 minute express train ride to the city. MONEY. (Literally, a LOT of money hah.) But it was soo worth it so we decided to go for it. If we both decided to do housing separately, we'd each be paying more, so it's really not that big of a deal that I'm paying almost as much a WEEK as I did for a MONTH of rent at my old place in San Diego. It's on the 4th floor at the top of the building, has a huge balcony/patio, the whole place is huge & clean and new and beautifullll.

So we moved in and that was yet another arduous process. We had to take multiple trips to the new place from my old place via TRAM and lug all of our luggage on and off and walked miles and miles (okay, Nate did most of the carrying). And so the last 2 days have been spent making our room a room. Because, oh yeah - this room wasn't furnished either. So we made due with an air mattress for the first couple of nights and then decided to finally hit up Ikea - yup, they have it here too - and break the bank a little bit. We didn't do half bad either. I feel like a broke college kid all over again:) We also had a great time lugging back a bed (in a box of course because it's Ikea. But it's stil a bed, which is very heavy) and a bedside table along with other random stuff. 

I also opened up a bank account here finally (& a joint bank account w/ Nate - yikes! Our bank teller thought it was very exciting that it was our first time opening a joint account together. OOOH, and the savings accounts here give you 5.5% interest. RIDIC. If you ever come here, get an account where you can withdraw or transfer all of your money from your home country to Australia and just keep everything in your savings so you can earn interest). We've finally cooked some real meals for ourselves and have groceries in the fridge for the first time in months. This is also the first time in 3 months that I've had a real closet and a real room. I've been moving from San Diego to the bay to Sacramento to Vegas back to San Diego to Australia and had roughly 14 different residencies all together. So it feels nice to finally not live out of a suitcase.

A few great discoveries I've learned the last couple days: Australia has Groupon! They also have Yelp, which is equally as exciting! We found a couple good asian restaurants and markets that were pretty cheap (the only cheap thing we've found in Australia). We walked around the city yesterday for the first time and discovered how HUGE it is and amazingly beautiful as well. & Nate made some delicious rootbeer floats with Captain Morgan, A&W & cookies 'n cream ice cream - BOMB:)
 
I realize I just posted a blog entry, but I'm actually writing about fun stuff now & I felt like it was appropriate to start a new entry.

So as I said in my last entry, I've finally gotten over being homesick. I suppose the combination of finally making friends & going out & finally doing stuff, did the trick. I went out to the city at night for my first time and it was BEAUTIFUL. It's like a different world at night. There are people along the streets doing artwork or throwing fire. The water reflects the lights back and illuminates the city. When I got there, I finally felt like, this is what I came here for. 
We went to a bar called "Ponyfish Island" and it was gorgeous. It was right in the middle of the water (I know, I get it, island) and was a pretty mellow bar. There are tables that line the edge of the bar so you can overlook the water. I hear that it's gorgeous during sunset so I'll definitely have to come back. All in all, there wasn't a cover charge, drinks weren't too crazy expensive & I was digging the atmosphere. Not bad for my first bar:)
This week was also O-Week (Orientation Week) at Deakin. Which is where you come on campus and go to Host Welcome Sessions, Meet the Faculty, Lab Safety Sessions & most importantly, where you get free food & other free stuff. I honestly tried to go to my Host sessions but I just couldn't get it right. I thought it was one day but it was another and I thought it was at this time but it was earlier.. But I hear I didn't miss anything too important. I think they're more aimed at first year students. Which I suppose I am, but I've been in college for 5 so I think I'll be okay. Anyway, they also have O-Week parties which sounded like they would be fun, but I went to one and I didn't think it was really worth the $30 they were charging. I went to the "Beach Party" which was held at a club in the city. I went with my friend, Kyle, & his roommate Syd. We ended up drinking a whole bottle of rum to ourselves so that may or may not have had something to do with any fun we had. 
I also went to the beach for 2 days straight. We went to St Kilda's, which was really nice. Super clear water, semi-rough sand, minimal waves. There were a TON of people there and it was blazing hot. I spent most of the first day reading at the little outdoor ice cream/sandwich shop under the shade. I just finished reading the Hunger Games series and it was AMAZING. I'm so sad it's over. Anyway, the beach was really nice. Just a little too hot for my taste. People tell me that there are multiple holes in the ozone layer over Australia and I definitely believe them now. The sun just feels sooo much hotter here.
I also went to my first soccer game! (Told you I've been quite productive). And yes, they also call it soccer here. Their team name is actually the "Socceroos". Our $10 concession (AKA Student) tickets got us on Level 1 a few rows up right by the goal. Which, I didn't mind at all. I guess it's better to have higher seats, perhaps on the sides so you can see what's going on better, but I enjoyed our seats. I really wanted to catch a ball but it only even came near us when they were warming up before the game started. Anyway, it was Australia's national team playing Saudi Arabia. I guess it was a qualifier game for the World Cup but Australia already qualified, so it would determine if Saudi Arabia would. It was definitely a lot more mellow than I thought it would be. I guess soccer isn't too crazy here in Australia. Saudi Arabia, however, were crazy. They were singing and chanting the entire time. They lost, though, which sucks because the next 2 years before the World Cup doesn't even really mean anything for them now. The end of the game was the only time the Aussie's were even loud at all. They did their "Aussie Aussie Aussi, OI OI OI!!" chant a few times and that's as crazy as they got. Anyway, it's been a GREAT week. School unfortunately starts next week, but let's be real, I'm not really here for the "studying" part, just here to be abroad:)
 
I've officially & FINALLY gotten over the homesickness. I tried reeeal hard to hide it before, anyway. I probably cried for the first 48 hours straight and then off and on for a week after that. Along with missing everybody back home, I absolutely HATED my living situation. But that's why I wrote "if you don't like something the way it is, change it, or change the way you look at it".

Long story short, I hated my house - it's old. It's dirty (& being in a different country has really brought out my germaphobia-ness). It's dark. & it smells. I unfortunately had already paid $1800ish which really converts to over $2000 US (first month & a half of rent + bond). So I had to find someone to fill my spot. I also had to find somewhere else to live. Finding somewhere else to live seemed to be the hard part but luckily, a spot opened up at the International House, which is kind of dorm like, in the sense that it's all students and closer quarters, although it's in more apartment style buildings. But they're newer and nicer and I was down.

So it turns out, the hard part was finding someone to fill my room. After posting my room on Gumtree (their version of Craigslist..a not as good version of Craigslist...I miss Craig) half a dozen times, I was ready to give up and the IH said they would only hold my room until the end of this week. And so I figured I was stuck here. Until this guy, Steve, wanted to come check it out after I posted the last ad I said I would post for this room. My landlord happened to come right when he was checking it out (my landlord loooves to come here unannounced. & she also loves to use her own key to get in and invade our privacy) and they ended up getting along great and that was that - he signed a contract & now I'm FREEE :)

So now the challenge is finding a new place. Yes, the IH is ideal and I have friends there, but Nate gets here tomorrow and I feel like I can only sneak my boyfriend in (AKA have him live there) for so long. It might be different if I got to know my roommates and they were all fine with him staying a while, but I can't really just show up with two of us. So today I am off to look at places closer to the city in the Richmond/Burnley/Hawthorn areas. I'm hoping they work out & I figured if I'm going to be paying so much (IH is NOT cheap), I may as well be in an area that is closer to the city & to potential jobs we [hopefully] will get. YAYY for change & things working out :)

My family told me I should just suck it up and maybe the place will grow on me. But I've just been miserable here. Miserable as in I don't walk around the house without shoes. Miserable as in everything in the kitchen is sticky because all the cabinets and drawers are so old. Miserable as in I barricade myself in my room and I have a slight (okay HUGE) fear that Huntsmen spiders are about to attack me. So why stick with miserable if you can make some changes yourself? Okay yes, the place got a little less miserable after a while, but still bad nonetheless. If I'm going to be spending maybe a year in this country, I'm gonna do it RIGHT and make the changes I see fit.

& PS - if you are a future student that will be studying abroad in Australia & going to Deakin, do NOT use Burwood Student Living unless you want landlords that act like your parents (she legitimately has come to my house unannounced about 6 times now, has gone through our stuff and told us to clean up after ourselves, calls us at 7/8 in the morning etc). I guess I got the shittiest house and there are nicer ones that they rent out, but I wouldn't want to live here because of the landlords, PERIOD. Just a heads up:)