Lake Cobbler / I’m no longer a bum
Brunswick, Victoria, Australia
via Blogger http://ift.tt/1khtrYR http://ift.tt/1khtpjM
I’ve already been in Australia for 7 months now- 4 months in Perth and 3 in Melbourne. I think I’ve pretty much lost my status as a traveller. I recently got a full time job as a barista in this ridiculously busy cafe. It’s my first full time job! I make terrible coffee for people in suits and get away with it because no one wants to make a 17 year old cry. Yay!
But there are days when I think to myself, “I gotta get the fuck out of here”. And when the opportunity presents itself, it’s pretty hard to say no.
What I’m trying to say is…
I’m going to Japan in May!
2.5 weeks to work my way from Osaka to Tokyo and catch my flight there back to Melbourne. Oh good Japanese food how I’ve missed you!
However, the biggest news I have to share is probably the confirmation of my next flight. On September 8 I fly from Melbourne to Manila where I’ll get 19 hours to explore the city. From there, I’ll board my flight straight to Vancouver.
That’s right, kids, I get back to Vancouver on a Tuesday evening.
And we all know what Tuesday nights mean in Vancouver…
See you all at the club ;)
To the person who stole my camera:
Congratulations on your new DSLR!
It was a Christmas present from my dad three years ago. I had just come back home after 4 months of university in Kelowna. My camera and I have been inseparable ever since. We always travel together.
It’s been snowboarding with me on fresh powder up on Big White. It’s witnessed countless joints lit and captured the after-effects of one too many beers. Every party, it always ends up in the bathroom where 6 or more people press themselves up against the wall and pose like top models. Many locals all over China have wrapped their fingers around its body, trying to figure out which button to press to take a photo, only to snap unflattering images in terrible lighting. I remember at the Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang when I had rolled my ankle, tried to walk down the stairs and fell, smashing my camera on the ground. That’s why it rattles when you shake it. That’s why the corners are dented.
But it never gave up on me. It’s survival only made me feel like it was an extension of my body, constantly being bashed and bruised but never breaking or stop functioning. I wore it diagonally across my body and pretended it was ninja gear.
Let me tell you something…The only thing worse than stealing a camera is stealing someone’s child. To me my camera is kind of priceless. Unfortunately for you, it’s kind of a shitty camera and hardly has any resale value. I hope every picture you take ends up being blurry.
I’m just grateful that I take naked photos of myself only on snapchat.
I can’t quite remember how many resumes I’ve handed out and emailed in the past couple of weeks. It must be something like 25 or 2 million. I was feeling pretty helpless (not to mention extremely poor) and was about to give up and go work on a farm when one day I receive an offer for an interview. One call-back was all I needed. I would be starting 4 days later.
|Eating spaghetti with a wooden spoon|
I spent the majority of today planning my travels for the next couple of days. It was a beautiful Melbourne summer day but I found myself in the library scribbling feverishly on scrap pieces of paper and drawing landmarks on maps. I was planning a 9-day hitchhiking/camping trip with nothing but 10kg of carry-on. I had the camping basics, about 3 outfits, and a small bar of soap.
I arrived at the airport expecting the worst - missing my flight, having overweight baggage, facing immigration issues, being lectured about allowing my visa to expire, etc. While queueing for check-in, I saw that they were weighing carry-on and started imagining the ridiculous fees I would have to pay. After presenting my passport, the guy at the counter took a long look at his screen and told me that I didn’t have a valid visa to reenter Australia. We walked over to the service counter to sort my shit out and they were able to move my return flight up 5days so I would come back on the 13th, the very last day that my visa would be valid. I paid my charges and walked right through the gates to security without having my baggage weighed. My entire travel itinerary was now irrelevant but hey, I was safe!
Or so I thought.
My pulse quickened when I saw the big immigration sign. There was still one more stage to clear before I could get on the plane. I felt the surveillance cameras could see me nervously biting my lip.
The woman at the counter must have pressed some silent button because within moments of handing her my documents, another woman in an even more legit immigration uniform walked over. I heard one say to the other, “…they gave her this ticket at check-in and she was just going to walk through!” And they both made a face and laughed. I felt like I was the subject of some terrible inside joke.
Remember how I said my visa expires on the 13th? Well, it does… But it also becomes invalid the moment I leave the country. Fortunately she only clicked a few keys on her computer and sent me on my way. It surprised me so much that I stood there for a couple of seconds before asking, “that’s it?”
I sat down by the boarding gates to eat the Kit Kat that I had purchased out of anxiety. Just as I got to the last bar I heard my name being called to the boarding gates. Oh man I’m going back to Canada, I thought. But it was only to tell me that my credit card payment didn’t go through.
It wasn’t until the pilot had announced that the cabin doors were all closed and we were ready for take off that I finally found the strength to breathe again.
"Good evening, ladies and gentleman. On behalf of the flight crew I would like to welcome you on Jetstar flight 171 to Christchurch."
See you later, Melbourne.
Or so I hope.
(And hey dad if you’re reading this, please don’t freak out. I’ll call you later :))
The day Chak left for Vancouver, I left for Torquay, home of Quicksilver and Ripcurl, a surfer’s paradise located 97km from Melbourne. A little while after we dropped him off at the airport, we started the drive towards Will the Botanist’s beach house. It was windy and the trees along the coast of the ocean were all slanted. Caution: if you have sensitive eyes, shield them now because this post contains pictures of very white men.
|Warm baths on the beach|
|Lachy picking up the phone|
|Chihiro and Masa|
|Martin, Gus, Lachy|
"You sound like you’re a long way from home".
I handed the last bag of groceries to the lady and responded, smiling, “Yeah, I’m from Canada”.
It was Christmas eve and everyone was frantically trying to finish their last minute shopping. South Melbourne Market smelled of bread and freshly-squeezed orange juice. The owner of the bakery beside me was once again yelling “half price sourdough! Everything half price!” Customers came up to me holding punnets of strawberries, pointing at the mouldy ones like it was my fault they were rotten. These were smells and sounds of just another day in Melbourne. Christmas was definitely not in the air.
Once in a little while, a man dressed as Santa would walk by with his big red sack. His red suit was covered in white specks of dust and the whole thing looked like it had been sewn together 20 years ago. He trekked along the footpaths in his black rubber boots in 30 degrees. Down the block, a young boy set up his busking station. For the next 2 hours, off-key renditions of Christmas carols would be heard.
I had a skype appointment scheduled with my besties who were having an early Christmas dinner together. Right after work, I stripped down to my tank top and spandex shorts and raced home. Golden quotes of the night from Intan include the following:
1. “I take the ground hog to see him sometimes. I mean… greyhound.”
2. “My face looks weird sideways.”
|"My face looks weird sideways"|
|Earl grey cupcakes with fresh strawberry frosting|
|Chak and Will the Botanist|
|Party favours from my party cracker|
|Present from Julie and David!|
|Raffy passing out after his Christmas meal|
|Walking home at 2:30am|
Two Wednesdays ago I found myself running out of options. The Couchsurfing website was down and the place I was crashing at was no longer available. Chak would be arriving soon and most places didn’t allow couples in a room. Perhaps it was finally time to find a hostel and spend some money. I had been riding on my luck for way too long.
|Melbourne, city centre|
|Red sand at The Cranbourne Botanical Gardens|
|Cranbourne Botanical Gardens|
|Cranbourne Botanical Gardens|
|Cranbourne Botanical Gardens|
|Mosquito net, wombat, blending in with the locals|
|Brunswick Town Hall|
|Sydney Road, Brunswick|
|Brunswick Street, Fitzroy|
|Look who I found!!|
|Melbourne Noodle Market|
|Broccoli casserole, beer mac and cheese, pumpkin feta rocket salad, Dr. Pepper ham|
|Gertye, Me, Nick, Rodney, Mike, Melissa, Ruby|
|Melissa Ray, American Olympian|
|Gunther, Me, (Jon), and Michael|
|Hills, hills, and more hills|
|Taken by Gunther|
|Gunther walking the plank|
|Attila doing his thing|
|Jeff looking better than ever|
Dear faithful readers from Canada, US, Oz, and Poland,
I know a couple of you guys are dying to get some photos from me, but it’s end of semester and it’s been CRAZY.
Yesterday I had one of the best days of my life.
My whole life I’ve been blessed with the ability to find joy in the worst situations and laugh at the most mundane statements. But yesterday I found a little more joy, and laughed a little bit harder.
Yesterday I fell in love with the ocean.
|Niall hopping over some waves|
|"I caught a fish!"|
|Sunset on the horizon|
|Hanging out in the Atlantic|
|Attila and I|
|Niall and I|
|My point of view|
A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met.
This was evident the moment a stranger offered me a place to live.
Back in Vancouver, I’ve been known to organize parties that are way too big for me to handle, lose track of my guests, and never do the dishes because I’m passed out drunk on my bed. But my friends keep coming back for more, and they keep on washing my dishes and carrying me up to my room, tucking me in and making sure that I have a huge glass of water beside my bed. This year, I lost my cleaning crew.
But that whole day of prep and one hour of cleaning today was definitely worth the trouble. Despite never having made a gluten-free vegan pumpkin pie, the boys’ constant worry that the party would be a sausage fest, and that I was only slightly acquainted with half my guests, it turned out to be a wonderful evening. We had a mix of Ausssie, Irish, German, Hungarian, Swiss, American, Finnish, Pakistanian, and Candian. The majority of this group had never celebrated Thanksgiving before and I’m still shocked that pumpkin pie doesn’t exist outside of North America. Poor souls.
|Chocolate cake, pumpkin pie, apple pie|
Last night after leaving the pub, I headed over to the Perth train station to meet up with my couchsurfer. It was about 11pm, and I had a bit of time before he would arrive so I grabbed a local newspaper and propped myself up on the railing. 10 minutes later, this boy walks by and says hi and asks me how my day was going. He had just missed his last bus home.
I watched him light a cigarette and inhale the fumes. He smoked like he had done it a million times, yet it looked so awkward, as if the cigarette was too big to fit between his teenage fingers. Only when we stood up did I notice he was the same height as me. He had a young face, beautiful eyes, and curly brown hair with blond streaks. He had not eaten for 2 days.
I decided to walk over and sit on the ground beside him. Michael was 15 turning 16, still in high school and had already done more drugs than I ever had. He had just come from his best friend’s funeral. She hung herself because her classmates had been constantly making fun of her.
"I’m gonna get back at every single person that did this to her."
"By beating their heads off."
I tried to find the right words to say but I honestly could not come up with a solution. Put me in his situation and I probably would’ve shit kicked everyone in that school.
For my creative writing class, I’m currently working on a piece that discusses the dreams that kids have and that we lose as adults. Suddenly realizing that I was sitting beside a 15-year-old, I asked,
"What are your dreams?"
He didn’t even hesitate when he answered “I want to be a singer”. I asked him to sing me something and he agreed. I asked him if he wanted to study music and his eyes lit up. But when I started talking about university, he looked down and said there was no way he could afford it. I told him I was pretty much living paycheck to paycheck, but I’m still able to do what I want because I wanted it so badly.
"Are you on Facebook?"
"Add me on Facebook. I can’t live without Facebook.”
I could hear myself going no, please no, oh my god no.
I tried to convince him that there was a world outside of the internet, outside of Perth, that was just waiting for him to discover. He asked if he could go home with me. I said I couldn’t take him, but walked him over to the police officers. We said our goodbyes and I went to catch my train.
I only spent an hour with this kid but I can’t stop thinking about him. I hope he’s okay.
After a minor mathematical error on a routine report, a worker’s boss tries to belittle him in front of his peers. Angrily, she asks “if you had 4 zucchinis and I asked for 1, how many would you have left?” Quickly he replies, “if it was you who asked, I’d still have 4 zucchinis”.
|Linguini, tomatoes, zucchini, oyster mushrooms, green onion, soy sauce, olive oil, fresh basil|