Another Busy Week

It’s been another busy week, worked around 55 hours with a 14 hour shift too.

Monday was my day off so I went out with a friend for a few drinks and had quite possibly the worst game of pool that Chapel Street has seen in a while. Tuesday, I was invited for a drink or two which turned into an absolute bender and had an early start on Wednesday at work. It’s a miracle that I was only two minutes late and didn’t chop another body part off.

All I’ve really been doing this week besides going out is going to bed and going to work. It was confirmed the other day that on the 26th I’m moving, hopefully rent-free, away from Melbourne for a bit. In the past three weeks I’ve only had three days off, I (hopefully) have two days off next week, and then should be working six days a week until February. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, though and will be taking my time on a roadtrip down the west coast afterwards.

The weathers meant to be really nice over my days off next week so I’m going to go to Mt Dandenong to do the 1000 Steps Walk – been meaning to do it for bloody ages but either the weather’s been shite or my feet hurt.

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In Need of a Rest

I’ve had a really busy week: my workweek runs Sunday to Saturday, for which I worked just over 60 hours, and today I worked another six. Most of the drinking, not getting much sleep, pissing around and working heaps has now caught up with me – I’ve definitely burnt the candle at both ends and now I’m just absolutely knackered. My sprained neck has flared up again this week, both my feet are buggered, my back hurts, even my chiropractor can tell that my liver isn’t happy. At some point soon I need to have a couple of days where I just relax – my only day off for the next week is tomorrow and possibly out after work both Tuesday and Wednesday so maybe that’ll come on my next couple of days off. For sure it’s been a fun and crazy few weeks but I seriously need to rein it in a bit.

I’m also hopefully moving in a few weeks for work – a month to six weeks or so, and then heading off on my travels. It’s meant to be a really nice place that I’m heading to so hopefully I’ll be a good enough driver to take a few day trips in the area. It’s not in Melbourne, but in the grand scheme of things, pretty close by anyway.

The start of this week isn’t looking too busy for week but come Friday it will be insane – I’m expecting something close to 60 hours again. It’s all hourly pay too, with extra pay on Sundays so I work all the hours that I can get, only a couple of weeks and the Christmas season will be over, then hopefully on the coast for a crazy-busy-hourly-paid few weeks.

Working through the Melbourne summer

The past week I’ve been trying to take it easy. The drink or two I went for last Sunday turned into more like a drink or eight, then got asked to come to work on my day off the following day. That wasn’t fun. There’s been a fair bit of work over the past week, 46 hours over five days then this coming week is meant to be the busiest week ever with me working over six days. Every day bar Sunday should be around the ten hour mark, but I’m expecting to be put on at least a couple of 15 hour shifts.

Today I had a driving lesson which went alright – I think I just need a few more hours on the road and then I can take a few trips around Victoria. Around/after Christmas I’m hoping to do some trips to Phillip Island and the Mornington Peninsula, but I don’t trust myself to drive back from a wine trip to the Yarra Valley.

With Christmas coming up, we’ve had some Christmas music blaring out of the kitchen. Thankfully not the kind of music I’d be listening to on the radio, but instead I’ve had Mr Hanky the Christmas Poo stuck in my head a fair bit. With the hot weather last week, the kitchen hit the 35 degree mark, the same as what I was planting melons in. It’s meant to piss it down the whole of this week, then we’ll get some nice weather next week.

I’ve decided that I’m going to take a trip, probably for around three weeks, around some of Eastern Europe, and also Iceland before I bugger off to Asia for a long term trip. Last year I had two winters, so it’ll be nice to have two summers next year.

From now until Christmas I am working a lot more than usual, so not really up to much.

Last week I managed to burn my forehead at work, but besides that and the amount of Harry Potter comments I received, my new job is going pretty well. The job is getting prepared for functions and dinners so definitely not so stressful – I’ve had a fair few comments now from friends about how chilled out I seem compared to a couple of months back.

Apart from work, I’ve caught up with some friends – been to a rooftop bar, some places around the city and to a friend’s place. Last weekend I went out for “a quiet one” and ended up going to bed at 4pm the next day – it took me a good five or so days to recover from that one but was well worth it. During the week I saw a friend who’s going back to the UK next week so was nice to have a catch up and to have dinner in China Town with her before she goes and I’ve also been to the pub a couple of times as well. Yesterday, I went to a Spring Festival Market in Ballarat with some friends which was really nice, today I’m meeting a friend in the city for a drink and tomorrow I’m just going to chill.

 

Work Work Work Work Work

I’m halfway through a 11 day workweek.

For Monday, I said I was going to be a tourist for the day. I woke up at 1pm so that wasn’t really going to happen. Went to the CBD instead and did some shopping for when/if it becomes summer this year. It looks hopeful though, as today and yesterday were pretty hot. Tuesday, I started working with a friend of mine who I worked with last year which has kept me busy for most of the week.

Wednesday was my second shift at the races and it was actually quite fun. For the first time since March I had to put suncream on before my shift, for which I worked at an open bar and thankfully not planting melons. It’s fun until you realise how you wish the roles were reversed – drinking at the open bar instead of working for it, but it was a nice workday. And I went home and cracked open a beer so it was all good. My social life is actually starting to pick up now as I have a fair bit of time outside of work.

As I have a lot of time off, I’ve been wondering what to do with myself as I don’t want to go back to just working and sleeping. There’s a rock climbing place around the corner which I think it’s aimed at children; despite the fact that I am still sore and bruised to shit two days later it is pretty good and I can make it up to the top of a few of the walls so I’ll be making a habit out of it.

After finishing work today I thought I’d pop to Abbotsford Convent and the park nearby – I didn’t stick around for long as I’d get sunburnt but it’s definitely a place that I’ll visit on a day off and not in black skinny jeans.

 

For the week ahead, I’m working every day until Saturday – I have the next few evenings off so I’m going to be out for a couple of them at least. Thursday morning I may climb up a few walls again before work, Friday I’ll chill before work and I’ll find something to do on Saturday.

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.

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.

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.

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.

26 Days a Melon Packer Left

I didn’t post an update yesterday because I spent 8 hours at my get-fired-if-you-turn-up-hungover job packing melons with a hangover, and I wanted nothing more to lay in bed with a pizza and watch movies when I got in.

Work has really picked up this week – I think that I’ll be able to save $1000 from this weeks’ payslip. Packing melons is getting really boring so I’ve been told off for pissing around at work; I’m going to have to behave myself for the next couple of weeks at least so that I can get out of here quicker.

During the week we’ve had a couple of piss-ups; Saturday night as usual which was pretty decent, though we had to pre-drink down the park due to the alcohol ban and Thursday night.

By now you would think that if my living conditions were to change, they could only get better: currently I’m in a three bed room the size of Harry Potter’s cupboard under the stairs with no door to a six bed dorm, so effectively it’s a nine bed dorm. My stuff was organised in such a shit state that the owner just looked at me and said “what. the. fuck.” We have no air con – instead there’s fans that blow hot air around the rooms, WiFi has been banned unless you want to be robbed in daylight to use it at $2 an hour and I could probably go on for a while. The room next door has had their outside/front door confiscated because someone in the upstairs took a spring off their door – the owners got pissed off and wanted to prove a point. There’s now what is supposed to be a garage which has been turned into an eight bed dorm with no toilets, showers or kitchen so now our already overcrowded kitchen that I was under the impression I shared with seventeen other people I now share with 25, with two tea towels to last the day. There is also two bathrooms to share between all 26 of us.

I’m not too sure when my next day off is – tomorrow is day seven in a row and I’ve heard that rain is due so hopefully Wednesday we’ll be off. I’m going to stay a couple of weeks longer here because although I do just chat shit about it, I have grown to like it here and I also need to get extra days done as I’m pretty sure that if my visa application gets investigated, days that are two hours long that I’ve counted probably don’t count.