A Passion for Peace

Responsibility, respect and a loving connection with all beings and for this Earth we share.

Operation 'Make a Life in Australia' Has Begun

Monday I arrived in the Land Down Under. My bags decided to join me two days later. I woke up the second morning un-jetlagged and had a mini panic attack that I once again moved to a new country with no set job/friends/permanent housing/etc. My mom talked me down, saying, "You've been there 2 days. You are not expected to have a job yet." Still, I started networking meetings the following day, and everyone I've met & emailed with has been really positive and helpful, and suggest finding something before Christmas fever sets in when the country apparently shuts down to holiday on the beach. I hadn't realized how European the lifestyle is here: shop hours often 10-3 and closed one or two days a week, complaints about "working late" when staying in the office past 6. (Photo: Rush hour & typical modern architecture)

Melbourne is very, very, chill.

Not to say there aren't crowds, festivals, parks, interesting architecture, underground pubs, bike paths, hidden graffiti art, and loads of other interesting things to explore. In my limited experience of festivals (Spanish and Polish, so far), they seem to consist of small handicrafts (10%) and food and drink (90%). Australians like to eat, which is interesting considering how sticker-shocked I am at prices. Example: pecans grown in Australia $13/lb, lemons (in season) for $4/lb, even Target clothes start at $40/top. An ode to American stores--K-Mart, Safeway, Target, Borders, the list goes on--it's all here, for twice the price!

In addition to friends-of-friends and random newly-made friends, I have had some other love from this town. The first time I walked into a grocery store I was asked to do a survey on meat advertising, and 3 minutes of opinion netted me $5 (money is 1-1 with the US$ at the moment). Then two days later I met a nice local for a bike ride, and as I went to pay for a rental was asked to do a survey on the bike service, which has earned me unlimited bike access on those bikes-around-town for a week. I must look like a good little consumer. I've been taking advantage, cycling every day for hours, which would've cost more than $20/day and allows me to bide my time this week buying a bicycle. I've missed functional public transport, though the downside is one spends a lot of time in transit. So far that is more than offset by awesome hosts and ipod entertainment through fancy headphones from my newly-acquired not-in-Australia boyfriend. Two points to us for timing. (Photo: tram & downtown shopping area already decorated for Christmas)

My brother pointed out that this is my final frontier: I've now been to every continent (depending on how they're defined, and there are only baby penguins to work for in Antarctica). Thanks to support from wonderful people like you & friendly Aussies, I'm sure this will be another fulfilling year in the trenches. If Yogi Tea is right, and "Happiness is nothing but total relaxation," then Australia may be just the place to find it. (Photo: Busy Sunday in the Royal Botanic Gardens)

Posted byValerie at 3:56 PM  


Julie said... November 22, 2010 at 9:29 PM  
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