You Live and You Learn – Or In My Case, You Don’t

Once again, I have sick note for work. And yes, it’s because I cut myself.

I was promoted at work a couple of weeks ago to run the kitchen at work; I kind of see it as the same job I had in London – just on a bigger scale, people to manage, and more shit to deal with. The next couple of weeks are going to be challenging, but if I can get my shit together and turn things around with a team behind me it’ll be great.

Last Thursday I managed to sprain some of the joints in my neck (I don’t know how) which I worked with for five days (again, I don’t know how). On Tuesday morning I was tired to the point of not being able to hold a conversation for more than two minutes and was pumped for a day off, which I was told I looked like I needed one – there hasn’t been a day where I’ve not been at work for three weeks. I was at work, cutting a block of palm sugar which is pretty tough and cut the sugar as well as part of my thumb off. To be honest, it didn’t look or hurt that bad so I just had it bandaged up pretty well and worked on it for five hours before getting sent to the doctor. I even managed to make a plate of gnocchi which ended up on the instagram page during the time I was bandaged up. The thumb was pretty well bandaged up to stop the bleeding which took around a day, but have a sick note to reduce the amount of work I do which hasn’t exactly been abided to.

The next few weeks are going to be work heavy – it’s a good career opportunity that is in front of me, and in a while I’m going to see if I can get sponsorship. I’m working upwards of 50-hour weeks at the moment; it’s tough but if I work towards the goals that I’ve been set then I’m pretty sure that I can do a good job of it.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve not done a lot so it’s a short update.

Last week over my days off, one which I spent in bed, I went to the Aardmans Exhibition at the ACMI which was pretty good. There’s a few things that Aardmans have done that I’ve not really heard of, and have only really watched Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run –  it’s quite interesting to see how they develop the characters. Since I started travelling, I’ve met some people from up north and I wonder what their accent reminds me of. It took me watching Chicken Run to realise that the accents remind me of the movie, so now every time I meet someone with that accent I struggle to keep a straight face because all I can think is “I don’t want to be put into a pie… I don’t like gravy…..”

 

I also really could not be bothered to cook one night last week so I went about 40 minutes out of my way to Queen Vic Night Market – there’s a lot of food there, and mulled wine, but for me it’s more of a place to stop by for some food on the way home from work.

Over this weeks days off I was intending to do something productive and touristy. One day I shit you not, I slept for 18 hours, and Thursday I managed to sprain some of the joints in my neck whilst doing nothing which I’m still recovering from. It’s not ideal to be recovering from that with work, especially with being advised to not move my neck. I also got a promotion this week at work after being there for three weeks which is great, just heaps more responsibility.

Not Missing the Days of Melon Farming

I’m pretty much going back to working a lot. I’m now on my third week, love the job but I seriously struggle to get out of bed before midday now. As I have been working since February with no holiday, I feel as though I need to go to Bali or somewhere, lounge around and get sunburnt.

Other than work, on Wednesday I went shopping – I got paid so it’s nice to be able to buy some winter clothes. I’m definitely missing the weather, the people and just the shit that we got up to in Ayr but a lot better off down here, even if it feels like the joints in my knees are going to freeze over. Thursday, there were a couple of friends from Ayr who were visiting Melbourne, so it was nice to catch up with them over a $5 pizza, just like the Sundays up north.

Over my days off this coming week I’d quite like to do something productive, although it’s a bit hard to get up in the morning after five days straight of 7 to 12+ hours on my feet. I’m going to try and get into the habit of sleeping in when I start work late – midday/3pm and doing something on the days off, rather than having a repeat of this weeks. I’ll make it to the Aardmans/Wallace and Gromit expo over the next week, the Queen Vic Night Market and one or two other things. In a week or two I may go to Wilsons Prom – the most southern point in mainland Australia (I think) with the tour operators who I did the Great Ocean Road and Grampians with last year, just hoping the weather is good for it. I also want to make it to the Mornington Peninsular, meant to be one of the best hot springs in the world.

Work Work Work Work Work Work

Since last Sunday I have worked every day besides Wednesday and it seems like the perfect career opportunity. It seems as though things have figured themselves out to get me into Melbourne at the time of this job opening – I could afford neither Bali or Japan after my farm work that took way too long and on the street that I’m living on one of the chefs in a restaurant directed me to the Facebook page of where I found my job. Hopefully this is a sign that I’m in the right place and things will work themselves out for the best here.

The new workplace I’m optimistic that I’ll enjoy my time and make some career progress – my trial shift involved me cooking steaks and I didn’t know I could cook them so bloody well. There’s a lot more responsibility for me as the job came with a promotion from my previous position in England; tomorrow I’m running dinner service.

Today was my “day off,” meaning that I covered a shift for someone that I know, then went back to the St Kilda area and went straight to work. I should have two days off in a row coming up so one day I’ll go to the market, see what ingredients I can get and see if I can get a dish on the specials at work. The other day off I should be meeting up with some friends who I haven’t seen in a while.

 

First Week Back in Melbourne – Time to be a Grown Up

This week has probably been the week that’s put everything that’s going to happen until January into place. The job hunt has been successful, I’ve settled into the house and drank a fair bit of wine.

I was looking to work with the agency again but as it’s winter they’re not busy so they’ve said to look elsewhere and to keep in touch just in case. To cut a long story short, I got a job which I’m so impressed with – it’s a really respectable position in a great restaurant, the team seem to be great and I know I will be able to save a decent amount for travelling next year. It’s a lot more professional than my previous jobs – more responsibility than what I’ve been exposed to before. It seems now that the places that I’ve worked previously are starting to get me noticed and the placements and work experience that I did when I was younger are starting to pay off. My hand is still buggered from a drunken injury from a few weeks ago – will probably take a fair few days to finish healing so the next few days will be interesting.

Today, I worked a shift that I saw advertised on Facebook. It was a short shift in a cafe, not difficult at all and really laid back. I’ve mentioned before that my job pays well out in Australia, especially in comparison to the UK. I would’ve been happy with $20/hour and was expecting around $22. It ended up being $50/hour; I seriously thought they were bullshitting me at the end of my shift. This time in Melbourne I’m going to be a bit more grown up with my money; todays shift is enough to pay for a flight to Bali and still have money leftover.

Outside of work related things, I met up for breakfast with one of the girls who I met in Ayr and had a 50 day Snapchat streak with. It was really nice to see her and to be able to shit-talk about Ayr. When she’s in Melbourne for a while we have plans to get pissy on a wine tour of the Yarra Valley together which I’m excited for, we’ll probably do a fair bit together. Tonight I think I’m going to go out for a couple of beers, but as I start a new job today this literally means a couple of beers and nothing like the average night out in Ayr.

Back in Melbourne

It is so cold here.

So on Wednesday last week I flew back here. It’s a long story but a few of us figured out that our money-grabbing hostel owners owe us a fair bit of money which quite conveniently took far too long for them to sort out. So now I have to keep in contact with Ayr to see if I can get like $200 back. Cheeky shits.

I spent the first night here in the same hostel as before; apparently I’m dubbed as the “super guest” as I’ve spent a lot of time there. My first full day I looked at a flat I had arranged to see last week. It didn’t look too bad on the internet, however, the only way I can describe it is something that I really shouldn’t say on the internet. It was a two bed apartment, there was no living room because there were two beds in it – the size of the two bedrooms and living room was comparable to my studio flat in London that just housed me, and this flat had I think twelve to fifteen people living there. Absolutely no chance was I going to live there.

After returning from the CBD to St Kilda, I had a look on Facebook and had arranged a flat viewing for the same day, and I’m living in it now. I’m sharing a room with two other girls, I think there’s around twelve people living here which is alright. If I were living out here full time, I’d like at least my own room, but this is better than what I’ve been living in over the past five months.

When I was younger, a girl in my year 5 class moved to Australia, and I have her as a friend on Facebook. I messaged her in the airport the other day, she invited me to stay the night round hers and have a few (several) drinks with her partner and neighbour. It was great to see her, a bit strange to hear her accent, and to find someone that can swear more than I can. I enjoyed the night and we’ll be meeting up again.

Apart from that, I haven’t done much over the past few days apart from going to buy some winter clothes because it is so bloody cold. I’m talking cold as in I wouldn’t be surprised if a penguin walked through the front door and made itself at home. One of the things that I’m looking forward to seeing in the CBD is the Wallace & Gromit expo, though it is on for a further three months so it’ll probably have to be done on a Tuesday or something in the middle of August. There’s also a Van Gough expo at NGV, but I won’t pay $30 for it.

There seems to be no work available for me this week which is a pain in the arse, and if I don’t get a phonecall on Friday for work, I’ll have to start looking to get a job in a restaurant nearby as I can’t afford to sit on my arse and not get paid for it. It’d cock up my plans for going to Japan next month if I do that, but will have to wait and see what happens.

Leaving Ayr

The past five months has been quite the experience. It’s been fun and I’ve had some really, really good company as well as a high number of hangovers. I wouldn’t change much except maybe the alcohol bans, having less personal space than Harry Potter’s cupboard under the stairs and getting a pay rise, but doing it once is more than enough for me.

It started off pretty brutal – eight hour shifts in 35+ degree heat with no shelter with a crippling back ache. There’s one day I remember looking at someone, probably to make a comment about how hot it was, and her face was just layers of sweat at 8.30am. The first couple of weeks were horrendous, but after the first couple of weeks and getting over how shit it actually is, as long as you can have a laugh it’s ok.

I probably owe the hostel around $3000 in fines for rules that I’ve not been caught breaking and managed to get my $200 bond back. One Thursday night we went out and ended up having a pool party for an hour at 1am, breaking six or so rules in the process; how we didn’t get caught is beyond me. I’d write a bit about the hostel and how it’s run but I will completely go off on one and end up writing an essay about it.

A couple of things that I learnt: if it’s Monday and you think you’re coming down with something after a heavy weekend, it’s probably a two-day hangover. I think most importantly, it’s about seeing the bigger picture and powering through. Next year I want to travel through New Zealand and Asia, and my second year in Australia I intend to earn a lot of money to pay for it, so I’m better off staying here for the extra year than going back to England. I’ve never wanted to work on a farm and over the past five months I’ve had some of the worst shifts that I’ve ever worked. When I’m chilling out in Thailand or visiting some Lord of the Rings sets in New Zealand, I’ll look back on the crippling back aches, almost being sick in a field on a hangover, sunburn, early mornings and RSIs in my wrists and hands, and it’ll be worth it. Looking back, I know I moan about it a lot, but I’ve had a great time and met a lot of friends who I’m sure I’ll see again.

Some things that I’m really not going to miss: boxing melons, planting melons, getting moaned at for something to do with melons, being in pain from some sort of melon-related injury, having less personal space than Harry Potter’s cupboard under the stairs, being threatened with my $200 bond, alcohol bans… the list could go on. I’m going to miss the times that I’ve spent the people who have grown to be close friends over the past five months.

Farm Life – Almost Over

Not a lot has gone on over the past week, just melon packing as per usual. We’ve been working mainly five-hour shifts which is quite annoying as I’d like to earn some money. We had one day where we had four hours’ worth of break on a seven hour day but they paid us for five so a bit of money was earnt just sat doing nothing.

This weekend was my last one in Ayr, as well as five others; I was tempted to ask for Sunday off and claim that Jesus spoke to me and told me to go to church, but I’m pretty sure I know what the two-worded answer would be. Friday night was ok but the hangover at work on Saturday wasn’t great – a four hour shift felt like eight. Saturday night I acquired another roundabout themed binge-ury (I don’t learn, I know) on my hand which is now bandaged up, I got to work this morning and the first thing my boss asked was about going on a night out last night. Picking up melons for eight hours with an injured hand isn’t much fun.

I’m booked up to go back to Melbourne next Wednesday night, and I’m hoping to move into a flat on Thursday if nothing goes tits up. I’m determined to not live in a hostel for any longer than I need to; I’ve said before that I have less personal space than Harry Potter’s cupboard under the stairs, that I share with cockroaches so I think even a tent is better than this.

88 Days a Slave, Completed

The 88 days of glorified slave labour have been done, though I have to wait until next weeks’ payslip to apply for my visa, so I have to stay here a week longer than expected. I’m a bit paranoid about applying for the second year visa as there is actually no clear information on the immigration website about what counts as a day, but I’ve been to work for 88 days so hopefully my payslips can prove that.

Over the past week we have pretty much just packed melons and my opinion of it hasn’t changed. This morning I walked outside and someone told me that I looked like shit, then I got to work and had to ask my supervisor how to put the melons in the box so was pretty clear to them that I had a good night out last night. My title of being the only backpacker to not throw up on a Sunday at work on the farm remains.

This weekend has been a two night bender – both Friday and last night we went out and got absolutely twatted. When we first got here there was this obsession with jumping into the hedge that goes all the way around the roundabout on the way to the pub and we decided to do it again. It turns out that there is a metal box on the other side of where I jumped and I am now sporting the worst bruise that I’ve ever had, on my arse, after landing on it – it has started to turn black so maybe I’ll get that seen to on my day off tomorrow. It’s quite lucky that I landed on my arse and not my back because I would be in a really bad way. Not even five minutes before that I also fell out of a shopping trolley (sorry Mum) but that was injury free.

Also I’m quite surprised that there is not another alcohol ban. We behaved ourselves in the hostel but someone managed to shit the bed in the only available bed in their house that someone was meant to check into yesterday. The mattress was taken outside to air – apparently the person being showed around had to walk past the disaster zone; I don’t know what I’d be thinking about the hostel if that was me checking in.

Tomorrow I am off which means that I need to download some TV series from Netflix onto my phone in the library and Tuesday is supposed to be busy again at work. I’m now leaving on the 30th – I was looking at going to Tokyo straight after but that’d mean spending five hours on a bus to get to Cairns, then staying the night, getting to the airport then arriving really tired and having to find my accommodation. Instead I think I’m just going to go when my job in Melbourne is finished so I have more money and something to really look forward to.

Two Days a Slave to Go

I’ve been working over the past nine days straight so not really a lot has gone on besides dealing with melons. If all goes to plan, I shall be out of the hostel next Thursday which I’m really, really excited for. Over the past week at work I have been banned from working next to the backpackers from the hostel, I think because I talk and laugh to keep myself from going insane. Earlier today we were talking about when we were going to finish with hand signals from the other side of the machine and got told off so trying to separate us hasn’t done much to help. After a few weeks of working at the farm we had a speech about how we were all slacking off and are all replaceable, but now I think we just get humoured. There’s one or two other things that I’m banned from doing at work as of the past couple of weeks but that’s a story for another time.

Wednesday we went to the cinema to see Wonder Woman which is one of the best films that I’ve seen in ages. It really wasn’t what I was expecting; it was a WWII film with the main character being a superhero. Once I have WiFi again I’ll definitely be playing catch up with Marvel films.

Last night we went out on a piss up, pretty much the same as every other Saturday that we go out – luckily we only worked for three hours today so we could get a solid afternoon of bed rest in to recover. I downloaded Netflix and have started watching the next series of Orange is the New Black; it’s a bit of a pain in the arse to download a whole series with our situation with the wifi, so today I had to sit on the floor outside the library whilst my laundry was on to download a few episodes.

If we work until Tuesday without a day off then I’ll be done with my days. It’s been a bit difficult the last couple of weeks mentally because, I’m not going to lie, I don’t give a shit and I never want to see a rock melon again.