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.
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.
You can’t tell from the photo but this is a huge shop. Just for barbeques.
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.
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.
This blew my mind a little bit. What the fuck is it doing?
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.