Tag Archives: australia

In which the human lizard becomes a farmer

Before I left London to spend a year living in Melbourne a friend said to me, “Make sure you don’t go falling in love and deciding to stay.” I replied with a chortle and a “Don’t worry, that’s not going to happen.”

It happened. On my second day in Australia.

I am here on a one-year Working Holiday Visa but you can add on a second year by doing three months of ‘regional work’ during your first year. Immigration has a list of postcodes that they consider ‘regional’ and a list of jobs that they want you to do, which are basically all farm work.

So, after Christmas I will be driving out into regional Victoria to work at an olive grove for a month. It’s going to be hot, it’s going to be really hard work and there’s a real chance of meeting some snakes and some pretty scary spiders. The things we do for love.

I’ll be blogging a bit more regularly than normal while I’m away, so do check back for some hilarious olive-related anecdotes. I bet you can’t wait.

Same same, but different

In many respects, Australia is not all that different to the UK. Especially when you live in a big city like Melbourne, where even the weather is the same.* Sometimes however, I’ll be going about my business and something will remind me that I am a very long way from home.

Barbeque’s Galore

Entrance to Barbeques Galore on Bridge Road
You can’t tell from the photo but this is a huge shop. Just for barbeques.

The language
On a few occasions, I’ve had to resort to Google to find out what the hell has just been said to me. Some examples:

  • How’re you travelling? – How’s it going?
  • Who do you barrack for? – Which team (usually AFL) do you support?
  • And then she just cracked it/cracked the shits – She wasn’t very happy and expressed her feelings. Strongly.
  • Sanger – sandwich
  • My friends are still bagging on me for that – I did something stupid and my friends are taking the piss. I probably deserve it.
  • Chrissie – Christmas. This is being used already and I hate it.

Myki cards
The Myki is a shit version of the Oyster card and it makes me miss London every time I swipe through a station. I do find it reassuring, however, that everyone in Melbourne hates Myki cards, not just the tourists.

Variety packs
This blew my mind a little bit. What the fuck is it doing?Kellog's variety pack opening in a unique way

The prices
Melbourne is up there with the world’s most expensive (or exy, if we’re getting into the local slang) cities. Earning Aussie dollars makes a big difference though, and it’s a magical moment when you realise you’ve stopped converting everything back to your home currency and then crying into your £7 pint.

And finally, traffic lights
The traffic lights here go straight from red to green (omitting the all important red-amber), so there’s no time to get ready.**

* I haven’t done summer here yet though. Summer will be different.
** I keep pointing this out to people but no one else seems to think it’s a big deal. It’s a huge deal.