Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Soooo I have a lot of changes!

I have some dramatic changes that ya'll may not all know about.

About a month ago...I quit working as au pair... I was apparently a bad fit. SO. What do you do when you are unemployed and on the other side of the world? Call in all your friends and see what happens.

I was luckily on skype with Rachie face (love you) when all this went down. Quickly we called Guy (owe ya big time!) in New Zealand. Turned out I was able to stay with one of hisw friends daughters in Sydney. Nadine and Dan took me in, rearranged there whole house so that I could have the babies room, so wonderful of them. I owe them soooo much.

I stayed with them for about a week, and learned all sorts of things about Aussie sport and food and beer. We also shared some Dr. Pepper (yay!) and other American things, like country music!

Meanwhile, I was searching for a job on the internet. I was offered a number of positions as an au pair in a variety of different places, like Toowoomba, Tasmania, Perth, and who knows where else. I also applied to be a cook on a cattle station, and for some pub jobs.

There was this odd job that kept popping up and appeared to be a great opportunity... but it was in the middle of nowhere. Dampier, Western Australia to be exact. Nadine and I spent many hours on Google Maps walking around the streets of Dampier, and came to the conclusion that the town was pretty much squat. The job was as a barmaid. I have lots of drinking experience and limited barwork, but hey its not rocket science.

Every night I kept tossing around the idea of moving to this town, and finally I just accepted the job. It was for a minimum of 3 months, but the pub paid for my flight there, as well as, room and board and considerably high pay. They also like to higher backpackers, so I expected a hugely international scene.

Two things I was worried about. One. I needed a responsible service of alcohol license. Solved! 6 hours in a classroom and I was set. Two. There was absolutely no legit trace of this place on the internet, the whole thing could have been selling myself into human slavery. I called the US consulate to double check that it was an okay place to work, but really just ended up jumping in with both feet.

I eventually found myself at the airport with considerably less luggage. I was going from the winter of Sydney to a tropical climate (yay!). It was a great day when I arrived in Dampier, a coool 80-85F. Wonderful. The pub is less than 100m from the beach. Which I LOVE. I have so much to report on my new job and my new home.

Basically Google Dampier, its a mining town with all iron ore and salt deposits as export. Imagine west Texas... kind of. The gist is all fly in/fly out workers with some locals peppered in. Its a industrial town, but I like it.

The job. Its tough, but fun. Its a bit more than barwork... I do everything. Housekeep, Bartend, Waitress, Dishwash, Bus the tables. If it needs to be done in a pub/hotel I guarantee you the girls that work here do it.

The people. A good few of us are backpackers, Irish, American, and English are all we have. I am the only Texan! And boy they get a kick out of my accent (it's also great for tips... a smile and a how are ya'll doing? goes along way!) The staff is all girls too... kinda what I expected for a mining town.

That's all for now, It's bedtime ya'll!
I promis I won't be a stranger any longer... but know that I am having an absolute ball.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Happy as a Clam

Today I decided to venture into Sydney.

I will start at the very beginning. I was woken up at 5am by a crying baby. yay. I went back to a restless sleep to reawaken at 8:50 am. Problem. Train for Sydney leaving at 9:34. EEK! So I threw on some comfy (and fabulous) suede boots, my gorgeous white dress coat, a sweater dress, and my go-to ostrich and crocodile Bolingo Bag... I thought I could get a ride to town, but I wasn't that lucky today. SO in my fabulous outfit I went through some fields (and the morning dew) and as I was speed walking to the train station (about at 25 minute walk) I saw the train I meant to catch pass me. GREAT.

Well I decided to make the most of it. I turned back to town to get a delicious mocha at an adorable cafe, and a croissant from an award winning patisserie. I called my travel guide Rachael :-) only kidding, but she did help all day with the logistics of my train. I arrived back at the station, assuming I would purchase a ticket from a teller... not an automated teller!! Mind you this is my first train ride other than a NY subway, San Fran trolley cart, or a tram in Mexico city... all of those rides I was also supervised. So I worked out which train to ride, and when it arrived, and where to switch. Eventually I left my tiny town of Bowral to head to the big city!! (I attached a picture of the automated teller machine and the train station I started at!)

My day that began at 5:30am finally got me to Sydney around 2pm. UGH. But hey! It happens. As soon as I got to the city (about three trains later) I walked to my bank... it was closed. REALLY?! At this point I had been laughing at the ludicrous day so far (someone needs to make a movie of my life).

Well the other planned stop I had was the phone store. I had all the documents I needed to open an account: my Aussie bank statement, my passport, and my visa. WELL don't try to use a bank statement with a PO Box on it because that won't do. (Of course at this point I am expecting failure... I think at about 10am I called Rachael and asked if it was too early to start drinking? I mean its 5 o'clock somewhere right!) Luckily, the phone guy was charming and helped me out by opening a prepaid account that could transfer to a contract! YAY!!

Now that I had this new phone number that would take 15 minutes to activate, I decided to walk to the Opera House. GORGEOUS. I took pictures, and called everyone from home while sitting and staring at the picturesque Sydney Harbor. It was one of those perfect days you dream about, with perfect little white puffy clouds in the sky, the light wake in the bay, a light breeze. Absolutely lovely. I think that was the moment that I said, you know what I really can do this... I can live thousands of miles away and be perfactly happy. I think this was a pinnacle moment in my adventure.

So I took pictures, ate some deliciousness at a cafe overlooking the harbor (loved it... I attached a picture) and consulted my train logisitical coordinator Rachael who informed me of the departing trains I needed. Happily, I bought postcards for everyone at home. Then jumped on the first train home.

It was on the second train I got really happy. I got asked on a date!! YAY! I really don't think I'll follow thorugh with it. But, come on I have a new phone I want to give out the number! We chatted a bit (he was Italian and lives in Sydney) his stop was very soon after boarding. Eventually I made it back to Bowral.

The entire trip I was determined that I would end the trip with a bottle of wine. So once I made it back to the home station I walked several blocks to the only liquor store I knew of. I talked to the clerk and he recommended a wonderful shiraz (Australia is known for them) called George Wyndham. I also told him that this was probably the most intelligible conversation I have had since my arrival. Then he was shocked that my friendly self didn't have friends! He asked for my number and we are going to coffee with his girlfriend and sister tomorrow. THANK GOODNESS!

So I am happy as a clam eating my steak salad and drinking my bottle of wine. I miss everyone terribly. But I love it here.

Friday, July 23, 2010


Okie here goes my attempt at a dictionary.

1. How are you going? = how are you doing?- thus "go" often replaces the word "do"

2. Jumper= Sweatshirt/Sweater/Jacket used in a sentence... It's cold out, I think I need to put on my jumper

3. Thongs= flip flops, yes some people in usa say thongs but they know what flip flop means, here they don't

4. Cuddles= hugs (they call them hugs too, but usually is cuddles)

5. Knickers= underwear (its more commonly used than the word underwear)

6. Air Con= Air conditioning

7. Chocky= Chocolate

8. Hot Chocky= Hot chocolate

9. Lolli= lollipop

10. Baby Chino= frothy milk with cocoa sprinkled on top, often bought at the coffee shop (maybe we have them in america... but i don't have a kid to take of there so i dont know)

11. 4 wheel drive= generally suvs

12. Ute= utility vehicle. australia's piss poor excuse of a truck. or the australian el camino as i like to call it. (see attached picture)

13. Cross trainer= the elliptical machine at the gym

I think that's enough for now. I'll expand it as my trip continues.

So some updates. Its friggin expensive here. Things that would cost mere dollars in america cost tens of dollars. Everything except public transportation is expensive!! Food costs crazy amounts. I just bought a magazine for ten dollars. The other day I bought a book for eight dollars and then a hot chocolate cost me 8 off for milk and chocolate?

So here is a problem I have been facing. No Australian bank account... ugh. Problem finally solved today! I got my card in the mail so I can begin acting a little more regular in my purchases and not as spastic when I get to the checkout.

Which brings me to my next point... so in the US they usually say credit or debit at check out? here you have cheque (spelt that way), savings, and credit... then after you select that you have pin or signature. So tip for travelling do credit and then signature. pin won't work. trust me. I have had many frustrating experiences,becuase everyone wants you to use the pin.

Tomorrow I have an adventure up to Sydney planned. So you will all get to see lovely pictures hopefully... even though I broke my camera (I have my trusty iPhone) I'm boarding the train at 9:30am my time. Maybe while I'm wandering around Sydney I can find some free wifi to call the fam!! I have finally skyped with all of my family now. Dad, remember speakers on :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010


This was just to hilarious for me to wait until I have time for a full post.

In Australia they arent allowed to smile in their passport or drivers license photos. BIZZARRE!
No teeth are allowed to be shown in the picture. Yeah. Buncha Crazies.

Quick update on my life as an au pair. I have been potty training a two year old and got shat on yesterday. Yeah. Great. (more on this later) Other that that it has been cold here.

I have much more to share (like a wish list WINK WINK and I still need to do a dictionary of slang... probably tomorrow!!

Miss dad, rach, and strudel tagen... XOXOXO to all of Tejas!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

YAY I have internet!!

I have been without Internet for ohhhh about 5 days. Mind you no international phone plan, or a local phone.... so my calls home have been expensive... sorry dad!! I'm heaving a blasty blast.

Okay Australia updates.

Vegemite... I've now determined is repulsive.
Toilets have two push buttons... like a half and a full flush
Pickles... they really don't have dill pickles :( but I'm making due
Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches... they don't eat them regularly
Kangaroos... they are as obnoxious as deer in Texas and people often hit them (but I am yet to see one, really!?!)
Internet... they have a maximum download. its quite bizarre, and no one seems to think twice about it. we have 25 gigs at home

And most importantly... driving on the wrong side of the road!!!

Here's my experience. I'm a pro. My biggest hiccups are the blinkers. These people blink at every opportunity. Even reversing from a parking spot in a parking lot. So I really have to work on it. Also they have an inordinate number of traffic circles. I am going to need to sketch a diagram and upload it to explain the blinking patterns required for a right hand turn. Geez its complicated. The good news is. Since I'm dyslexic, all the backwardsness suites me!

I have more language updates, but I'll do that tomorrow. So you can familiarize yourself with the Aussie lingo and slang!!

Um my unimportant life updates. I've been here a week. I joined the local gym. I've been doing a ton of reading about 4 books since I arrived. I will soon have a phone. I think all the hot Aussie men are hiding. K LOVE EVERYONE!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hello Friends and Fam

Hey friends and family!! I am happy and safe at my new home. It was a crazy way getting here but I made it. It is ridiculously cold, about 7 celsius... or 44 farenheit. I adore the two girls I am looking after. I don't officially start until Monday, until then I am settling in.

I have all sorts of adventures to look forward to. We are going skiing in a month or so in the Blue Mountains of Australia... yeah I didn't even realize there were mountains here.

I have some pictures to upload, but I managed to break my camera on my way here... typical. Next week i will be getting my Aussie number which has unlimited international texting. YAY!

There is a fifteen hour time difference, so I am in the future compared to everyone in Texas. Its kind of exhuasting with the time change, but I am slowly adjusting. Luckily my watch has two faces so its easy for my to figure out the time in the homeland.

I miss my strudel tagen very much. I hope everyone gives her love everytime they see her!!

Just general fyi: Fosters is not Australian for beer.

More updates to come now that I have regualr access to internet! XOXO