Thursday, February 26, 2009

" live your life, no tellin' where it'll take ya, just live your life..."

It happened. It was only a matter of time. On the first day of my seventh week here in Australia, I went ahead and did it. I started a J-O-B! That's right! Finally. I have been on the job hunt for a long time and it finally came to fruition and I am so happy to feel purposeful again. I know that some of you thought that I was going to hop the next plane to the Outback and take a job there but I just couldn't do it. Sydney is a great city and I ultimately thought to myself, If I were at home and someone said, "Hey, do you want to go live at the Grand Canyon for six months?" I would say hell no! The new job seems like a good place that will allow for a lot of creativity and dealing with some unique people. I am excited. More details to come on that as I learn and do more on the job front. In other news, with all great adventures, things have to change and people leave. Every single one of the good ole' English kids that I have met have moved on. Whether it be back to the UK or up to Queensland, I am now by my lonesome without the constant sound of an accent that I have thoroughly enjoyed butchering. They have been great sports and the next time that I end up in the UK, I have tons of people to call up and not understand on the phone. Last night, a few of us went to the Sydney Tower. It is kind of like the Space Needle in Seattle or the CN Tower in Toronto. We went to the top and there are 360 degree views of the city and surrounding areas. It is so neat to see Sydney because it is surrounded by water and the harbour is amazing. Just to look out and take it all in is an event in itself. A great experience. I can not believe that I have been here for 7 weeks. My frame of mind is jaded because it seems like everything and nothing has happened all at the same time. It is weird to look around at my surroundings and the people that I have met and to think that 7 weeks ago, none of this existed in my world yet because of it, I am forever changed. A bit of deep thinking, I realize but noteworthy nonetheless. Well with that, it is only fitting that the initial group of people that I have met here have moved on because my life functions best in chapters and now, having started a new job, a new chapter has begun. Let's see where it leads me next!

(Me keeping English kids from falling out of the Sydney Tower.)

(You'd be surprised how popular I am in the UK!)

(5 Brits and a Yank!)

(Looking down from atop the Sydney Tower.)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

"...oh, taking your advice and I'm looking on the bright side and balancing out the whole thing..."

I am almost completely deaf in my right ear and have been for four days now. It is weird. I get these weird ear infections and my ear stays clogged for days and then magically, it will open back up. Every time I have to speak to someone, I have to lean in like a Grandpa and say, "Huh?" I am sure most people find it endearing. With that said, today I have had the most worthless day in years and it was great. I woke up, had some food, took a nap, watched SURVIVOR, had more food, and now I will be getting online and job hunting. This weekend, I had an interview with a resort in Ayer's Rock, which I recommend that you look up if you do not know what it is. It is basically this big rock in the middle of the Outback but people pour in to see it because it is awesome. I will have a follow up interview sometime this coming week and to be honest, if they give me the go-ahead, I may hop a flight and give it a try. Since before I arrived in Sydney, I have been on the "professional" job hunt. No one could foresee that the global economy would go crazy and maybe this is all part of my adventure. I need to get out and do something that I would not have normally done. Living and working in the Outback may just be it. Sydney is an amazing city and ultimately, it is where I wanted to base myself and live during my time in Australia but if it isn't working than I can't force it to work. If Sydney loves me it must set me free. So, we will see how it all goes. Also, if you have ever been in a situation when you are around a lot of people that have different accents, you will notice how inadvertently you start to mimic the accent or pick up the phrases. I have been hanging around quite a few English people and now when someone says "taking the piss", I do not think that they have to urinate, rather I realize that they are just making fun of a situation. Or, when someone says, "Oh, she is pissed!" I naturally think that she is angry but in all actuality, she is drunk. However, if she is "pissed off" than we are all in agreement with what emotion she is experiencing! I will change what I would say in a sentence since they don't understand the slang word that I may use. So, if something is "shady" or "sketchy", I would now have to say "dodgy". Sometimes now, when I see signs and the words appear to be spelled differently, I have to think, "Ok, how do we spell it or is that how we spell but I just can't remember?" I really love when Americans are at McDonald's and we ask for a "Fish Fillet" sandwich because we pronounce the word "fillet" in the French way [feel-a], whereas here, they say [feel-it]. These little differences are great because each day, you run across something that is new. So, it keeps you on your toes! Plus, I really like being the only American around a group of people sometimes because it gives you real perspective on how people view you. It is especially interesting when it is people from a society that is very similar, like the UK or Australia. We are all so similar but where there are differences it is amazing to see and hear them. Ok - so tomorrow is Monday and I am hoping that I get a call from a job somewhere. I have tried really hard and will continue to do so but there will be a great satisfaction if some place just calls and says to come on and get started. One of my favorite, former co-workers sent me an email with this statement and she hit the nail on the head; "You always seem to want to set your life up like you are playing dominoes - one after the other, in a row so you can see where each may lead and fall but it seems life is forcing you to put on a blindfold and walk - not knowing what will happen next or where it will lead." I think I may just be ready to take the walk and find out what chapter in life is next.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"...I remember when, I remember, I remember, when I lost my mind..."

What the F! What the F, I say. I'm going to be honest, I may have just officially lost my mind right this moment. Literally, within 2 minutes of each other, I received rejection phone calls from two jobs. Now, I can handle rejection. Look at my face and tell me that that is a face that has never met rejection! Oh, rejection and I have been best friends since 6th grade. Anyways, the two jobs both rejected me because they said that they employed Australians who are looking for work. Which I can appreciate and respect, I know it is a tough time but come the F on?! Why did you allow me to interview and waste my precious, precious time that I could have been napping or crying in the shower?! It is funny when I get rejected because now it is just expected. It is my thing. Next time that I am in an interview and someone says, "What are your hobbies?" I am going to say, "Watching reality television, traveling around the world aimlessly, and being rejected!" Even SURVIVOR has rejected me! Come on, I have applied seven times, can't Jeff Probst or Mark Burnett just pick me?! I am willing to live in the middle of nowhere and starve! Sadly, based on current events, that may be my reality all too soon! With that said, I have been thinking of some alternative plans and would appreciate some feedback. So, I have come here to find a real, professional, international job. Well, listen...that business a'int happening so far! Therefore, I am considering looking into getting a job at some far-flung Outback resort and living the crazy life for a little while. You know, just me, a didgeridoo and eighteen koalas singing "We Are The World". It could be fun?! So, leave a comment and tell me your thoughts. How would you assess this situation? Wait it out a bit longer, and if so, how much longer or just peace on up out this place and head for the Outback?

(This is why I need a job. Spare time is no good for me!)

(I'll be Hootie, you be the Blowfish?)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

" doesn't mean much, it doesn't mean anything at all, the life I've left behind me, is a cold room..."

You know, life is never what we expect it to be, is it? For better or for worse, there are always twists and turns along the way. Now, in coming to Australia, I made plans. I had interviews set up, I had an apartment mapped out, and much more and none of those initial plans panned out. Why they didn't happen, I don't know but I took it all in stride. I reassessed the situation and moved on. Now, I am here five weeks and still in the same boat. I have had interviews and I am waiting for word on several of them but my patience is wearing thin. The one good thing that I will take away from this experience, maybe even the first lesson is to stop planning so much. There we have it, I have learned my first lesson. Lesson One: Life will always pan out as life wants and not as you want. My whole life, I feel like I have made plans and very rarely do they go as planned. So, I am going to take a step back and still be prepared but less reliant on a plan that may never come to fruition. Along with my desire to plan everything, I very rarely live "in the moment". So, that is something that I need to take on too. Gradually, over the years, I have gotten much better but there will always be room for improvement. On a somewhat similar note, I was speaking with some new friends here who are from the UK and one of them said, "Americans work quite a lot and don't really take time out for fun, do they?" And even though we all know this to be true for some reason, hearing it from someone else hit home hard. Why the hell do we work ourselves into oblivion? Is it to buy all these fancy things that we don't need or is it just cultural? I am not materialistic and I don't own any fancy gadgets or anything over the top but I worked seven days a week. Why? I don't know. It just seemed like my self worth was wrapped up in making sure that I had a decent amount of cash coming in at all times. I felt like my day was worthless if I hadn't earned money in it. That is why, as I sit here and do not have a job, I feel completely worthless and I know that I am not but that is how I feel. I can't allow myself to have a really good time because I am devaluing myself due to my lack of work and that is bad. Ok, it is a two for one special tonight, kids. Lesson Two: I am not the things I possess or the job I have. An easy thing to say but a hard concept to follow. I realize that none of these lessons are groundbreaking but for me, it is a part of this process and why I came here. I am here to learn. Now with all that moaning and groaning about my life, I feel the need to recognize how lucky I am, as well and I do, so don't get me wrong. It is just when something is in your own head, it can take precedence. With that said, the bush fires are still bad here and these pictures below were sent to me showing how a koala ran from the fires and took refuge in a water bowl.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

"...oh, I'm letting go, so give me one more chance, to save me from this road I'm on, Jesus take the wheel..."

That's right. I did it. The lyrics above are from the song, "Jesus, Take the Wheel". It was time that I used them because someone needs to take the wheel. Maybe it is a bit confusing because Aussies drive on the other side of the road and Jesus isn't sure how to drive here yet but he needs to take the wheel. I started this week out jobless. The week progressed rapidly in which I had a recruiter put me up for two jobs. A third opportunity from last week presented itself and it is the best opportunity of all. The recruiter with the two jobs called and said that she wanted me to start one of them tomorrow and I was willing. She then asked if anyone had presented me with other opportunities and I was honest and told her of the one today. She then told me that she could not send me to this job tomorrow because she didn't want me to get a better job and then leave the one that I would have started in the morning. So, is honesty really the best policy? However, remaining undaunted, I go to the interview today and it went well. At the end, I ask her a few questions, including, "Is there a timeline on when I could expect to hear back from you?" and she answers, "March!" Now, I didn't know if this was some sort of military command or was she seriously telling me that I would have to continue to wait! But then, she says, "In March, I will review who I want to come back for another interview!" Hahahahaha, oh snap! So, this is my third interview which is only to secure me a spot at a fourth interview? Because that makes sense in a productive world, right? I took that jab to the heart relatively well and it makes me wonder if I just have a high level of emotional intelligence or if I am just devoid of emotion at this point. It may be a mix of the two. However, I do know this, I am not upset that I came here. Even as I rode on the train bewildered and unamused, I am so glad not to be in Atlanta right now. Not that anything is wrong with Atlanta but it was time for me to leave and make a change. So, I did and like I said, for better or for worse, it is on my own terms!

So, in sadder news, the Aussie state of Victoria is burning uncontrollably and 200+ people have died. It is really bad because the fires are just sweeping through really rapidly and taking everything out in sight. Tons of people are homeless and worst of all, they think that several of the fires were started by man. What kind of idiot does that stuff? Anyways, this photo here is of a firefighter who helped a koala who was running away from the flames and burned her paws. This picture inspires two comments from me; 1.) It is nice to see man and animal come together in a time of need and 2.) Are animals now too good for tap water?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

" never said too much, but still you showed the way..."

Real talk time. This heat is getting to me. It is putting me into a bad mood and then topping it all off is the job hunt. Now, technically, I have only been jobless for five days because I worked remotely throughout January but I have been plugging away at this for a month now and I am growing bored with it all. I don't know what else I can do? So, I am just going to keep trying and let this journey work itself out. So, onto more thought provoking concepts. The other day, the Mom at the house where I am living was talking about how one of her daughters was being bullied at school and how she didn't want her to be insecure and it made me drift off into deep thought land. I was thinking about how every time we feel stupid, ugly, fat, unworthy, or any other negative emotion that it is because someone, at some point, told us that. Someone else let us know that we were not good enough. I don't believe that in life, I would have ever woken up and just looked in the mirror and bashed myself, if someone else hadn't done it for me already. I guess when having this thought, it kind of worked two ways. On one hand, we should never let others' perception of us hold us back. Even though stopping that emotion is probably the hardest thing to do. But, on the flip side, we need to always be aware of what we say and do to others because you may forget that moment but it can live on in someone's life for the rest of his/her life. I was thinking about a time in Middle School when someone was really mean to me and how I can recall his name, his face, the words he said, etc. but if I found him right now and walked up to him, he would never have a clue that he even had known me at some point in life. It's just kind of weird to think about, I guess. For me, I have this big hang-up that I want everyone to like me. I get that this may not be healthy but when I deal with you, I want you to leave the situation and think something positive about me. I don't ever want to be a burden on anyone or make people feel bad about themselves when they are around me. I am sure that I don't always get it right but I try. I was also thinking about how I came here to kind of chill out and take on a new perspective in life. As I was having this thought, I was making a list in my head of lessons that I hoped to learn and then had to tell myself that planning for future learned lessons was what I was trying to avoid doing! I was planning out what I would learn. I am trying to go with the flow. Again, trying! Ok, so in Aussie news, there are bush fires burning all over the South and 65 people have died. It is bad. The South is burning and the North is flooding. This is a crazy land. In the morning, I have an interview with a recruiter for another job. I remain cautiously optimistic. At this point, I will take anything because I am tired of having the burden of looking for work. Ok, this heat is forcing me to go to sleep. Again, I would like to write an open letter to the country of Australia and ask why air conditioning is so rare to find! I will never understand it.

Friday, February 6, 2009

"...I miss the catch if they throw me the ball, I'm the last kid standing up against the wall..."

That job interview story was a good one, eh? I told you. That is my life but it keeps me on my toes. Want to know a better part? Yesterday, I was at the train station heading down to the beach and the "interviewer" walked right past me. In a city of 5 million people, this Mofo and I end up at the same train station. I almost had the urge to just run but luckily, he didn't recognize me since I wasn't in my suit and running while wheezing. It was a close call. So, on Wednesday I had another interview and it went well but I have yet to hear anything from the company. I hate being in limbo. For those of you who know me, patience is not my virtue. Accept me or reject me, just do it soon. Today, I had another interview which I just received a call for and it will lead to another interview on Monday, so at least people are calling me back. It makes me feel a little bit better about the fact that I willingly left two jobs in a downward economy. Who does that? This guy! My mom clowned on me today. I said to her, "I don't really want to go out and spend money" and she replied, "I wouldn't either if I were jobless!" Zing. Bam. Ow. Damn, Mama! She then laughed and tried to charm her way out of it. She will be forgiven - this time! Again, I remain relatively calm. Maybe it is because I am hooked up to a Xanax drip each night. In other news, the picture above is of Alana, 11 and Amanda, 8. They are the two little girls who live here in the house where I live. I tutor them in Spanish during the week and this was during one of our lessons. They were clearly engrossed in the learning process. So, today is Friday for me and I am debating on being social or not. Tomorrow, I am going to go to the beach and stay with some of my British people. They have willingly adopted me but I can't understand a word they say, so it works out well. I'm kidding. I understand every other word. Also, just to solidify how hot it is here right now; this weekend will officially make New South Wales, Australia the hottest place on Earth at 47 degrees Celsius or 116 degrees Fahrenheit. It is hot! They are anticipating that train lines will buckle from the heat tomorrow which means that people won't be able to get around as easily. I am not so excited for the heat. It is already miserable and there are bush fires all over the place right now. It is bad!

(I was instructed to make a serious face!)

(Apparently, I am not very good @ making people listen to me.)

Monday, February 2, 2009

"...while everyone's lost, the battle is won, with all these things that I've done..."

Today was too long of a day for just the written word to describe. Please pay attention to the videos to the side under "What Am I Doing?" and click on the newest one for a full description of today's crazy events. The day could have never been accurately relayed without video. I am painfully tired. That "interview" wore me out. Maybe it is because I ran like a madman away from a job or maybe it is because I was breathing like a fish flopping around on land. Either way, I was so #*$*ing happy to run away from that situation. When I woke up this morning, I really looked at myself and thought, "Ok, be positive and be open to whatever they say and just go with the flow!" Now, do you how far that got me people? Technically, it got me really far away from Sydney! I also felt borderline maniacal as I could not quit laughing on the train. I mean, today...this is my life! If something crazy can happy, it happens to me! Always! True story - I am the only person that I know who can be asked by a homeless person if he has any money on him while he is at an ATM! How the hell do you look at them and lie when placed in that situation? With all of this said, I blindly remain undaunted by the negative events of today. I still naively feel as if something will come along. I mean, something has to come along, right? So, there you have it. When I refer to being "stuckatseven", this day is the epitome of that term. Ok, now it is time for me to pass out from exhaustion. One more thing, I am officially no longer a LOMAn. I am grateful to have had the chance to work for Business Development through January but I am also glad to be done as Australia is a fresh start for me! All of the people that I have met at LOMA and through LOMA truly made it a great experience and I plan to keep in touch for many years to come.

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