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.

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.

 

Planting Watermelons Like There’s No Tomorrow

Work this week started off with chilli picking; the first job that I’ve had so far that isn’t on a watermelon field. It’s work that no one really wants to do as it pays $2.50 per kilo and most people pick 25-30kg which means that I’ll get paid around $100 for 16 hours work. I got paid a bit less than four and a half times this for the same amount of work in Melbourne.

Our first day on the farm, the farmer met us at a petrol station to take us to his farm and the next day we got pretty lost on the way there. It took 45 minutes, half hour on the phone to the farmer and two phonecalls to the hostel to get there, almost running over a dog in the process. One of the things that no one really warns you about for farm work is that there aren’t really any toilets on the farms – this time a year ago I was tasting port in Portugal, and at the start of the week I’m advising a friend on where the best place to pee on a field is. Still living the dream.

After two days of having my head in chilli plants and my hayfever going wild, I was so, so happy to be back planting watermelons. The happiness did not last long, though. As there have been a lot of people leaving over the past couple of weeks, a small group of us are working double as we are having to do our work, then helping the fifteen  or so new people. Thursday, I would say was either the joint worst or second worst shift of my life (going out on the piss three nights in a row and the fourth day was a menu change at work and I am never ever doing that again). It got to the point where I had been working for nine hours and had done so much work that I could have cried if I had to plant another watermelon for someone else. Luckily, someone else was on hand to help me help someone and to listen to me chat shit about watermelons. It turned out that I planted somewhere around 6km of watermelons all day Thursday. On Friday morning someone forgot to wear their shoes to work. When I had a day as shit as it was on Thursday, having something like that to laugh about was well needed.

During the week it was one of my roomates’ birthday so I cooked seven of us a lasagne, not going to lie it was pretty bloody good. It was also pancake day so three of us had pancakes for dinner – first course chorizo and cheese, followed by chocolate and salted caramel.

I found a mascot for our work van; an air freshener probably wouldn’t help whatsoever when you consider how bad we smell by 8am most days. In the supermarket, I saw a sponge in the shape of the watermelon emoji for $2 with a string around it. We’re going to hang it from the rear-view mirror in the car as though it is an air freshener and see if the farmers humour us.

Today I am definitely feeling as though I went out last night. As per usual, most people staying at this hostel went out and got absolutely twatted.

After almost three years, my tablet has finally broken. I decided to opt for a small laptop instead of a tablet as I find that it’s just easier to use a laptop. For a while I have wanted to change the layout of the blog to something a bit more professional looking which is pretty hard to do on a touchscreen, so over the next coming weeks I’ll be giving onewomanonebackpack a makeover.

88 Days a Slave: 78 Left

The past week has had its ups and downs in this hostel. For me, it’s been good as I’m now only in constant minor pain and have had a pretty fun night out.

We had a day off work because it was more ‘too hot’ than it usually is to work and that night was so hot that I’d been sweating as though I had done a workout in my sleep. The was also a day where we had to farm barefoot (and hopefully not come across any brown snakes) as it had pissed it down and the field was a state.

Towards the end of the week I confessed to someone whilst bent down and covered head to toe in sweat, suncream, mud and mosquito spray that I’d rather be good at something like languages and not bending down to shove a couple of thousand plants in holes. Just with a couple more choice words thrown in.

A lot of people here are leaving, thinking about leaving or have left, which is a bit bittersweet. On one hand, I’m used to seeing the same faces every day but it’s moving me up the priority list for work.

Queensland – Farm Work

After a 43 hour journey, mostly by bus (never again), I arrived in Queensland on Friday to start my farm work to extend my visa. Tomorrow I start work, no idea what I’m doing yet, but am quite excited to stop slacking off and to top my Australian bank account back up.

There’s Internet in this hostel that I don’t think is meant to be free (sorrynotsorry), but it seems like I can connect for a couple of hours or so until I get kicked off. This means I’ll be updating this blog a lot less over the next four months, at least. With all the shit that is gong on in the world, and the media’s constant reporting of politics, I’ll be glad to not be using the Internet much.

Fraser Island, the Whitsundays & Airlie Beach 

At the moment, I seem to have no battery or free wifi, so this is a short one unil I can update properly.

Over New Years, I was on the UNESCO heritage site, Fraser Island. It was a good trip, spent in lakes or fearing for our lives on off-road driving tracks.

I went to the Whitsundays and it went the complete opposite of how it was meant to. Quite like something out of the Inbetweeners TV show.

The weather in Queensland, ironically dubbed as the “Sunshine State” is horrendous and I am stuck in Airlie Beach until at least Tuesday.

Thinking about it, not that much goes wrong on my travels, but the past few days have gone spectacularly wrong.

Melbourne: Week Eight

I had a three day weekend which made a nice change – I decided to go to the food market in South Melbourne and found some amazing produce so I’ve had a fair few nice dinners. I also went to the National Gallery of Victoria which seems pretty good, but I think I’ll be returning on a day when I wake up with a half decent attention span.

During the week I did the same as usual: a lot of chilling and a couple of nights I went out for drinks. Over a few days a lot of the familiar faces in the hostel left so there’s a lot of new people who I probably should try and get chatting to, which should make the next week or so interesting. Hopefully there will be no nutcases.

This week I have another three day weekend so I’m hoping for the usual – a few drinks, maybe a piss up and some chilling.

Melbourne: Week five

This week has been pretty full on with work: almost 70 hours over seven days. I’ve done 80 in five before, but after being off for most of the year it has been more difficult to do these hours than I remember. The highlight of my week has been giving myself a half-centimeter long splinter whilst putting chicken on a wooden skewer, the most genuine “f– me sideways” escaped my mouth. It was so impressive that I had someone witness me pull it out of my hand.

During the week I haven’t really done a lot, I tend to sit in chatting to people in the hostel during my evenings. Currently, I’m sharing a room with literally the craziest person I’ve ever met, to the point of asking reception what day he’s moving out so I can count down. It’s been quite frustrating to tolerate but when I have the conversations about hostel crazies it will be gold.

Tomorrow I am expecting to spend most of the day in bed, then I’m working Tuesday to Friday,  with the weekend off.