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.

 

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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.

Nine Days a Packer To Go, One Workweek Left

 

On the work front it’s been less busy so we’ve had a few days off that haven’t been complained about; I have no problem working ten plus days in a row, but when it comes to only packing melons for hours I get way too bored after not even ten minutes of day one. Sometimes it gets so boring that I sometimes start wondering, sometimes for hours on end, how much I don’t give a shit. Over the past few weeks, people have been outside in fields, picking and getting tans. On the melon farm, we’re just inside and getting muscly hands and fingers. Brilliant.

I set a date on when I’m getting out of here: 22nd June. The plan is to get a flight to Melbourne, take the weekend off, then start working again. I need to remember to let the hostel know that I’m leaving three days prior so that I don’t get fined $200 (surprise!). I’ve also set a date to go to Japan in August so I’ll be booking that when I’m out of here/

On Wednesday a group of us from the hostel went to see the new Pirates of the Caribbean film. It was pretty good but not as good as the first three. This coming week we’re off to see Wonder Woman and there’s a late showing of the film on backpacker night so even if we’re working till 8pm, we can catch it. We have to try and not get busted bringing our munchies from Coles into the cinema this time.

So. Many. Rules.

Also, the alcohol ban has been lifted after three weeks of it not being 100% kept to so now there’s a pretty empty crate of what was 30 beers under my bed. We went out to celebrate on Friday night after some drinks at the hostel and I only had an hour and a half’s sleep so work wasn’t much fun on Saturday. I now hold the title of the only melon packer who started in April who hasn’t been sick at work after a night out.

I’m hoping for no days off between now and day 88, and am applying for my second year visa in two weeks’ time. It’ll be a really, really good feeling when day 88 is over and done with. Although people say never say never, I’ll never be in a rush to work on a farm again.

More Bloody Melons

Sixteen days left.

This posts going to be a short and sweet one; I haven’t done much, not even managed to go out on the piss. Just packing melons. The payslip for this coming week will probably be our best one to date as we are next off on Wednesday, making it ten days of 8+ hour shifts in a row. Sometimes we have to pack when it’s dark outside so we have to balance packing and avoiding/killing mosquitoes which is as fun as it sounds. I can’t wait to be done with melons.

I think I forgot to mention it on last weeks’ post; I counted the amount of boxes I packed of 8-10 melons. Before the first break (3 hours) I packed 274 boxes – somewhere around 2500 melons sorted and packed.

I’m happy to be having these long shifts and long weeks so I think I’m spending five more weeks here depending on how much work there is before heading off to Melbourne – I would quite like to go somewhere first. I have my old job back whenever I choose to get back which is nice.

This coming week, or more like day off, I have heaps of laundry to do and need to go to the library and be an adult for half hour or so. Besides that, I’m going to see the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie on Wednesday and am going to go out on the piss on Tuesday.

23 Days a Melon Slave Left

It’s not been a very big week – our last week of melon packing lasted eight days, then we had three days off. Us being us, we saw this as the perfect opportunity to drink for three nights in a row. I couldn’t manage to go out on Saturday night because I just couldn’t do it so instead I stayed in and watched movies. Today we did a nine and a half hour shift packing and us backpackers were so slow. Somehow, we didn’t get into any trouble for it, though I did have the supervisor moan at me for being shit.

I’ve had another melon-related injury to add to my suspected RSIs. There’s a conveyor belt above where the melons get dropped and I needed a huge one so I leant over and pulled one from the back. It got caught on the conveyor belt and the melon rolled over my wrist – it was so painful. Almost like the film 127 hours but more like 1.27 seconds.

Yesterday one of my roommates (one of the most annoying people I’ve ever had to put up) and someone who I’ll refer to as psycho bitch came in at 2pm whilst I was attempting to watch Transformers with their music on literally so loud that I couldn’t watch my movie and someone next to me was attempting to sleep. I found this as the perfect opportunity to have a bit of a foul-mouthed rant at them to turn their shit off and got told off by them for being rude when they were the ones being inconsiderate in the first place.

At 3am this morning, they came in from a night out, turned the lights on which I turned off straight away and made a shit load of noise. I expect it for half hour or so on a Saturday, but they went on for an hour and a half. Our new roommate was getting so pissed off so as I am a native English speaker, I went out to tell them to shut it. Apparently before I got out of the room, Psycho Bitch was covered in tomato ketchup and was punching the fridge. I told her that she needed to be quiet and she went mental at me, to the point where I thought that I was going to punch me and you could hear her from one of the other houses. She questioned me as to how she was waking the entire hostel up. I complained to reception this morning before work and one of them heard me so I had a nice little dispute with a roommate. Since coming home, Psycho Bitch and none of my roommates bar the ones I like have spoken to me which is very very nice, though I do now have to stop breaking the rules so blatantly as one of them will dob me in.

This coming week I’m not too sure how busy it will be in terms of work; I’m hoping it’ll be busy as not only do I want the money but also to get out of here sooner rather than later. We think that the next few days will be busy as we weren’t working because of the rain, but if we do eight days in a row again at the same rate as today it may be a 53 hour work week.