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Kangaroo Spotting

30 31 32 36 32 36 32 36 32 36 32 36 32 36 32 36 32 36 32 36 32 36 32 36 32 36 32 36 37 38 Kangaroo Spotting: May 2010

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Give a Little Love, Get a Little Love

You will find that you'll meet the same people in your new life but their faces and names will be different;” in an email from Mom.

Way to go with the wise advice Mother figure!! (She still considers herself a transplant in Buffalo after 30 years). But hey, three hours or three days away from home- I guess I’m starting to understand.

The other night while Matty and I were snug in our new down comforter I started telling him about how happy I am with my new life. And in the next sentence I was in tears talking about how much I miss my friends.

NOTE: There is a benefit to Matty not understanding the wild emotions of a sensitive girl. He was confused and wanted to know if the last thing he said before the waterworks is what upset me. A very innocent; “Have you thought any more about your plans on Friday night?”

When forced to talk about my wave of feelings I discovered that even though I LOVE my new life- I wish I could somehow merge it with the old one, or at least share it over a bowl of Pho or glass of Spanish wine.

Luckily Matty and I get along fabulously. He is truly my newest best friend. My little meltdown happened coming off about 48 hours of non-stop Matty/ Dawnie time. We are as in sync as an old married couple but with the passion of youth. I could not have designed a better partner for myself, myself. But sometimes you just need time with the tried and true.

I’m just craving a little connection to home. Want to sneak around dirty bars talking about life with Sara, or cook a meal with 22, or run around with Erika. And do what ever else I like to do with everyone else.

Very thankful to have so much love in my life.

OCD, Our Other Roomate

One day my Mother asked me why all of my friends have a touch of OCD.

'Not sure,' I answered. 'Maybe it's because I get it- sort of?'

She jokes about how I was 'boxed up and color-coded' before she moved me into my first (and only) dorm room. Come on Mom, the boxes weren't really color-coded.

Matty is the most domestic-yet-still-manly dude I know. He can fold like a GAP employee and lines up his shoes, ties and belts. He thought I was god's gift when I took him to Target and bought him a belt and tie organizer. I prefer a good, organized, mess.

You can see the pile I folded in the background.

The best thing about Matty and his obsessive little friend is that he never puts it on me. He likes his stuff neat but could care less if mine is sloppy.

The only time I get chastised is when we're making the bed together and I either a.) mush the comforter into the duvet or b.) don't pull the fitted sheet tightly enough. I end up laughing while he straightens.

"I don't want to end up with air bubbles Dawnie," he tells me.

People tell Matty that he has ADD, confusing it with ADHD, because he has tons of energy. Trust me, a person with ADD could never pull this off. It takes concentration to keep things as neat as he does.

Guess which Shelf is his...

I love our third roommate. It allows me to explore the depths of my own OCD at times, like scraping the margarine on an even layer. Kindred.

Thank You New Friends

Good things are happening.

Friday I have an official interview with the Left Bank HR people. Better wear my best restaurant blacks and make sure the tat's are zipped up. Shout out to my new Canadian friend Amanda. I owe you an adult cocktail or a few of those energy drinks you dig. (Don't judge, you would too if you had her hours).

Another shout out due to my Aussie girlfriend who hooked me up with a catering gig- which came through yesterday. I have my first official job on 29 May.

The tax return came through and the Mom banked it immediately. Looks like I'll live to spend another day.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Still in Limbo

The interview Saturday turned out not to be an interview. More of a formal 'handing in of resume.'

The manager told me that since the restaurant is owned by Emirates, I have to have a formal interview in their head office in the CBD. Sounds pretty serious.

I've already had two phone calls from two different people telling me that they are planning to schedule an interview. I think that one of the people said something about having me behind the bar for this coming weekend- but I couldn't really understand his Aussie accent- sounds lame, I know.

I did the phone equivalent of smile and nod but at this point I'm still waiting...

In other news it's Autumn in May- a bit different.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Queen Victoria Market

Got my first returned phone call from a recruiter today!!!

The friend of friend meeting I had earlier this week is already paying off. The woman who called back was from his suggestion. Hopefully my hilarious note helped get her attention.

Somehow I missed the call while on the tram on my way to meet my American girlfriend, Kim at the Queen Victoria Market.

Still I was stoked. Called back and left a message. Kim was running late from an interview so I ducked into a coffee shop for a soy capp and a scribble in the dusty ole journal I brought along.

After writing till my hand ached (so much more used to typing these days) I read over some old entries.
This is the journal I meant to keep while in Sydney last year. It’s funny because where I am in the job-hunt/ career search is exactly where I left off when I left Sydney in January. It’s almost like going home to Buffalo was just a matter of making sure a few doors remained closed, and saying some more sincere goodbyes. Testing the strength of a new love and such.

So here I am- no points for taking a break. Time to dig the heels in now that I’m the slightest bit wiser about how things work her in Aus.

I got home cold and tired but completely excited about blogging, filling Matty in on my day and making a yummy dinner with my fresh market fish and herbs.

Just then I got a text from the Canadian- she put in a good word for me at the restaurant she works at and I have an interview on Saturday. The place looks Swank as hell: The Left Bank. I'm so ready for this.
(These doughnuts are insane!!!! More like fried dough with a little sugar on the outside and warm gooey strawberry jam on the inside. I blame Kim. They were her idea.)


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Every Day is a Learning Experience

I woke up today so cozy that I didn’t want to get out of bed. Once I did- I got an infuriating email from my Mom.

It was her response to me pouring my heart out about my financial woes and admitting for the first time how desperate the situation is. I usually gloss it over with Matty because there is nothing more embarrassing that being broke when you’re fully capable of working. I was in tears as I wrote her that email.

My large tax return is yet to show up at her house and even farther from finding it’s way to my bank account. I hate that I even asked for her to lend me some of it in advance but I did. I have credit card bills and student loans.

My Mom told me to “Get creative. Be a nanny or housekeeper.” So does that mean I should live with some random family in Melbourne and send rent home to Matt? Is that getting creative or defeative?

I haven’t babysat since I got my lifeguard certification at age 16. I don't have "professional nanny" experience for strangers to leave me with their children.

Maybe I want to be validated for a second. I don't want to hear; “It will all be okay, just stop stressing about it.” When you tell someone to stop stressing it always works right?

Moving on in my inbox, note from my friend working in Nigeria who urgently needs web-content. Thank you work gods!

Then I check Facebook. Last night I took a chance and posted a link to my blog and website. The response was amazing! People took the time to read and even write to me about it!

Maybe it’s a fragile artist’s ego but the praise motivating. I feel like a different person from the one who was angry at Mom this morning.

Maybe I shouldn’t blame her for giving me tough love. She is the one who made me as strong as I am today and able to take on these challenges. Weak moment, sorry Mom.


Craft A Network and Find your Circle: Making Friends in a Foreign Land

Last night Andy’s birthday get-together was on a week-night and I wanted to watch TV.

We don't have digital cable or a DVR...seems these technologies have not yet made their way to Australia.

I sucked it up and went to the party.  I'm determined to make the most of all social situations even if I'm not in the mood.

The party was unbelievably productive for me on a social level. I met two really cool girls. One Aussie and one Canadian who both racked their brains to think of job leads for me. How nice is that?!?

My fellow North American even suggested that I come by the restaurant she works at on weekends as they are looking for servers (at this point I will do ANYTHING.)

We chatted away about everything from jobs, to hockey, to her continual search for size 11 shoes- as it turns out she is 6’1”! Difficult to tell when we were sitting down next to one another.

The Aussie girl works at a charity, and my ears perked up. The first time I volunteered it changed my life.  It can be such an amazing way to network, showcase your strengths and make a difference.

Update: Both of those women are still in my life.  They are two of my closest friends in Australia and have become an integral part of my network. Five years on, we are 'real' friends.

Most of the people I met or connected to in those early days are either still in my life, or have introduced me to people who are or both.

The point is- when you move someplace new, make an effort.  Even when you don't feel like it.  You never know who you might meet. 


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Where are all the Jobs Up in this Piece?

Meeting with the friend of the friend was very helpful. He ripped my resume apart in the nicest way possible. And I mean that without any trace of sarcasm.

Like my career path, the resume needed to be focused. The guy practically told me I had to make a decision between marketing and writing. Funny isn't it? Moet or tuna-fish sandwiches. Money or Love?

Regardless, I've given the document a little tweak and plan on sending and resending it out again. He also gave me some contacts at recruitment agencies. I'm getting really good at writing snappy letters to recruiters to make myself stand out.

Maybe I'll be a professional cover letter writer. A professional anything would be good at this point...as long as it earns me a paycheck.


The Farm

It's amazing how concrete disappears when you're just minutes outside of one of the few major cities in Australia.

An hours drive means- clear, fresh skies and miles of farmland where animals outnumber people. By a lot.

Breathtaking and completely different from where I grew up in the burbs. Sometimes I can't imagine Matty growing up here. I think it makes him a more well rounded, complex person and I feel the same way about me and living in Europe.

He was amused that my dog, Bella, slept in my bed each night. To him, animals belong outside. It's funny- how we think differently based on our worlds. I guess it makes us a more complex and interesting couple.


Monday, May 10, 2010

On the Prowl

I have to say job hunting in a foreign country is the pits. But I won't say no to anything.

For instance- friend of a friend of Matty's has agreed to meet me for coffee so I can suck up and get some advice. Don't get me wrong this is a positive thing, not a humiliating thing.  I'm just in a negative mood.

So far- just a few automated rejection emails from jobs I've applied to online. A few un-returned phone calls from recruiters and random contacts. Frustration.

I'm down to my last 20 dollars but have a lot to be thankful for. The weather is beautiful and it's the winter season. I can walk to a Bikram yoga studio from our apartment- I may not be able to afford to go right now, but that won't last forever. The flat Matt and I are renting is beautiful, bigger and better than anyplace I've lived on my own. And I'm with the love of my life.

The best part is though- all the stress, all the worry about financial independence is worth every minute I spend with Matty. Gawd bless him for putting up with my mood swings at this fragile time in my life. I mean, I just got off the phone with my Mom and lost it. I miss her. There's drama at home that I'm not there to shoulder. And on top of that all she talks about is my doggy- whom I've abandoned. Not home sick but just feeling the holes that those I love could easily fill with a look or embrace. Now it's emails and timed phone calls. More impersonal and digital.

No matter how I look at it- even when I allow myself to feel. Really. Bad....It's still worth it.

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Friday, May 7, 2010

Apartment Hunting

Apartment hunting today.

Here’s a gripe: Apartments are only open for “inspection” for 15 minutes at a time! Huh? You can easily get stuck in traffic and miss a whole viewing. This happened to us.

I should be more positive because we really, really love one place in particular. We stalked it from the outside, the location is absolutely perfect. A secretary at the realty company told us the wrong day and time to view it but unless the inside is rank, we want the place.

It’s a split level, technically 2 bedroom apartment with the master bedroom upstairs and an office/ studio (in my mind) upstairs. We want it so bad that we’re considering bribing the realtor. No joke.

So of course we roll up to the inspection (which is at 5pm on a weekday) and there are like a dozen people standing out front. Matty's immediately cockily convinced we’re the front runners.

"Look at these people," He says. "We've got it in the bag. Look at THOSE people," gesturing to the overweight pair across the street.

“Can we be positive please?” I snap.

"Are you stressed baby?" He asks.

It’s already after 5pm and the crowd collectively shuffles. Most look like they had to leave work early and rush here.

The realtor is talking to someone on either her cell phone or the intercom but it’s difficult to make out what they’re saying.

I’m leaning on Matt because I forgot my jacket and the sun is sinking along with my hopes.

The tenant was a no-show to let us all in.

“Are they fair dinkem?” Matt asks aloud.

We hang back while people flip out on the realtor.

Matty mentions that we were the people who were told the wrong time and in fact that this is the second time we've shown up to look at the place. All politely, all while smiling.

Spark of recognition. She remembers.

She proceeds to tell us that we can fill out applications ahead of time and that she may be able to get us a private viewing before the next one is scheduled. Bingo.

Matty is already planning where to put the furniture but I’m a little more cautious. I'm so afraid of being let down.

Always on the ball however, as soon as we get home from dinner at The Panama Dining Room Matty is online downloading applications and making me fill one out so he can turn them in the next morning.

Next day.

We show up at the apartment as the realtor parks her car. We immediately start kissing her ass and thanking her for showing it to us privately. Matt throws in a “man some people got a bit cranky with you the other day, how terrible!”

“Yes what those people don’t realize is that I remember them at the next showing and simply smile and cross their names off my list.” Ouch!

Even though the place was left messy, we loved it.

You don't have to hide your excitement like in the US. She asked us what we thought and we told her.
"Great, your applications have been pre-approved on the basis that you like the place. When would you like to pick up the keys?"


I'm a Melbournite: Day 3

We arrived in Melbourne on Friday morning after about 27 hours of travel.

The weekend was a whirlwind of guests and visitors who wanted to see us, BBQs, movies and jet lagging out on the living room floor.

Monday and Tuesday I only left the apartment to go to the supermarket and the gym. Today I’m forcing myself to go into the city on my own while the boys are at work. So far so good. I actually found where I wanted to go- a Starbucks on Collins street (that is actually no longer a Starbucks at all): its difficult to compete in a market where the coffee is generally outstanding anywhere you go.  I am learning about Melbourne and it's coffee snobbery and I find it charming.

Matty told his boss that he is resigning this morning. We’ve started looking at flats, I’ve applied to about seven jobs on seek.com and it’s all happening. The wheels are in motion. The only issue I’m having is jet lag makes me emo. I want to have a job- yesterday, and I miss my friends.

Melbourne seems manageable enough for this girl with a limited sense of direction. This is positive. I have never spent time here without Matt so I know how important it is for me to forge away on my own. It is a battle and I will win.

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Jet Blue to NYC: 22 March 2010

There is a frustrated girl pacing in front of me having a heated discussion with her boyfriend; “What do you want me to do John?” She says, exasperated.

I’m sitting by huge windows in the Buffalo- Niagara International Airport that look out onto the gray, rainy day.

My headphones go in because I’ve been that girl too many times and I don’t want to hear it again. People talk and talk at each other, never getting anywhere. Trying to impose their desires and futures on one another even when they clearly don’t fit together. I’ve been guilty. But not any more.

I’ve been waiting for today for the last three months, or more specifically for my whole entire life and all the lifetimes before this.

The love of my life, my perfect partner just boarded a flight from Melbourne Australia to New York City. A little eager, I am flying down today as well, a whole 24 hours early because I simply need to be in route when he is. Spending one more girl’s night with my best friend Sara is a bonus.

Tomorrow at this time I’ll be the one pacing. In front of those sliding doors from the international terminal I know all too well.

He will have flown all this way for me. To come get me and bring me home to Melbourne. But first, to meet my family. He wants to show them that he’ll look after me when I’m far, far away from them.

The day may be grey and rainy but I feel a sense of blissful peace. I won’t allow myself to be too excited yet or I’ll completely burn out on adrenaline. Just trying to live in the present, knowing I’ll get there eventually- without having to skip or rush any time in between.

Today is really the first day of the rest of my life- just as any day realistically is. But today for the first time in my life I have a plan- abet a loose-ish one. But there is something I want and I’m on my way to get it.