My Final Days as a Sydneysider

19 05 2011

Item’s I have learned today.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again… Australian’s LOVE shortening their words, they apparently ‘can’t be bothered’ to pronounce the entire thing… I know it’s REALLY DIFFICULT to say something like “sunglasses” (sunnies over here).

avos – avocado’s

rellies – relatives

bizzies – biscuits – cookies – Cookies are called biscuits here, doesn’t make asking for tea and bizzies seem like such an strange request

Oh and a fun one –
Simple – mentally slow/stupid. Said along the lines of “is he a bit simple??”

So as weird as it was to try and get used to Christmas being in the middle of summer, it’s even more strange to have the fall begin in April. It’s starting to get cold, and more so then that.. it’s dark by like 5pm! Just when it starts to get light back at home. I can some what get adjusted to it in April/May.. but it will be REALLY strange in July and August. I will have my first ever WINTER birthday (in August).. even just writing that out seems odd.

Today is my last official day in Sydney. I leave by train early in the morning for the last leg of my working adventure here, heading back to Melbourne.
I have done my best to get a few more touristy things in. Which mean’s this will be a boring blog to all those who live in Australia, but do I care? Nope.

Photo from  Nothing Like Australia.com

Photo from Nothing Like Australia.com


Having, already seen Cirqular Quay, Darling Harbor, Toranga Zoo and the Opera house, I branched out a bit more.
First was a walk through the Royal Botanical Gardens. According to the
http://www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au (the official Royal Botanical Garden’s website):

“The Royal Botanic Garden is a botanical and cultural oasis, a green sanctuary in the heart of the great city of Sydney.
The Garden covers 30 hectares and everywhere you go, you will see reminders of the city’s beginnings. Established in 1816, the Garden is situated on the land of the Indigenous Cadigal people. This was where Australia’s first penal colony was established in 1788 when 11 ships, the First Fleet, carrying over 700 convicts, landed here. This is just a glimpse of the fascinating Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.”

Photo from swiftcitytrips.com

Photo from swiftcitytrips.com

It is quite beautiful, you have these lush gardens surrounded by water with Sydney in the background. I think I walked through 2 different weddings in the 3 hour period I was there. Popular place!

Next was St Mary’s Cathedral, located just outside of Hyde Park.
According to their website – http://www.stmaryscathedral.org.au/

Photo from  sydney-traveltips.com

Photo from sydney-traveltips.com

“St Mary’s Cathedral stands in the centre of Sydney as a Christian statement of grace and beauty. Generations of artists have bequeathed to it their magnificent gifts in stone and glass, designing a unique space of solace and prayer within this vibrant city. This Cathedral represents the spiritual origins of the Catholic Church in Australia. It is one of Sydney’s most treasured historic buildings and one of the finest examples of English-style gothic churches in the world. William Wilkinson Wardell, the 19th century architect, dreamed of a gothic structure shaped from the local yellow-block sandstone on which this city is built. The building was finally completed 100 years after the architect’s death. The Cathedral is dedicated to Mary Help of Christians”

Photo from sydney-flick.com

Photo from sydney-flick.com


It is the largest church in Australia.
I went on Easter, though not being Catholic, I made sure to check it out outside of the scheduled Masses. I was blown away by it’s beauty and took a few minutes to reflect and be thankful for things around me.
Photo from clmm2011.org

Photo from clmm2011.org


Located right after St Mary’s Cathedral and on the way to the Royal Botanical Garden’s is the Art Galleries of NSW. Now my favorite part about the Art Galleries ??? The FREE Admission (have i ever mentioned how RIDICULOUSLY expensive Sydney is???)
Photo from laingsimmons.sobox.com.au

Photo from laingsimmons.sobox.com.au


As the website says “established in 1874, the Art Gallery of NSW is proud to present fine international and Australian art in one of the most beautiful art museums in the world. We aim to be a place of experience and inspiration, through our collection, exhibitions, programs and research.”
Photo from laingsimmons.sobox.com.au

Photo from laingsimmons.sobox.com.au

Their collection consisted of
modern and contemporary works with dedicated galleries celebrating the arts of Asia and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art.
I must say I was quite moved by some of the aboriginal artwork.

My final piece of Sydney to share is Hyde Park.
Located right next to the CBD, it was honestly my favorite part of the city to walk through, calm, surrounded by a cave of trees. It was always my calm before the storm.. and honestly, I will miss it.
Hyde Park

hyde park

hyde park

Well Sydney, it has been fun, but it is now time to move on.





Anzac Day – word for the wise – the game played is not called “tulip”

2 05 2011

Item’s I have learned today-

The Big Smoke = a big city

Devo = devastated

grog = alcohol

I had a first in my life experience last week.. a 5 day weekend, although one of the UNFORTUNATE joys of being a contractor… my 3 days of holiday had to be taken UN-PAID (meh). The fact however, that there were 3 public holidays in a row was still pretty nice. Friday was a good friday, which classifies as a day off here, Monday was ANZAC day (details below) and Tuesday was a substitute for Easter Sunday. I could seriously get used to 3-4 day work weeks, it was kind of heavenly, except of course for the lack in pay.

So Anzac day (Australian and New Zealand Armed Corps) is similar to Memorial Day for us, although the way it is celebrated is quite different from home. It is listed as a day of remembrance for Australia and New Zealand for those that fought in Gallipoli, Turkey in WWI but has extended to honor all those who gave their lives in military service.
The day starts off with a dawn service (which of course, I slept through), followed by a parade in each state capital. Now here’s the kicker, after the parade the way to honor the soldiers is basically to go to the pub. I’m not joking.
Anzac day is the ONE day of the year where a gambling game called “two-up” is legal. Two-Up was an old past time with the soldiers. It took me a little bit to understand, though the rules are relatively simple. I will attempt to explain in pictures.

It starts with putting money on your head.

It starts with putting money on your head.

So let me set the game up – involves a coin, heads/tails and MONEY

The Two Up Group = Balmain Style

The Two Up Group = Balmain Style


Everyone starts around in a makeshift circle. If you want heads you hold the bill you are willing to bet close to your head.. followed by screaming “20 HeaD!!” “50 HEAD”” whatever your dollar amount is. Those that want tails hold their’s above their heads and scream “20 Tail” and so on.. until you have found someone who wants the opposite of you.

Sounds confusing…. but the basic version of the game is.. if you are willing to bet 5 dollars… you hold 5 dollars to you’re head and yell for heads.. and EVENTUALLY someone will come and say 5 for tails, If you are heads you keep the money,…. if you’re tails you pass the money along (to whomever bet heads) and pray for tails.

Lots of people making some change bendin decisions - do i bet? how much?

Lots of people making some change bendin decisions - do i bet? how much?

Next comes the coin toss.. It is either completed by the two what I called “officiators” (of course I didnt bother to read up and figure out what their names are – this ISN’T an f’ing research paper- – thank you very much). So THOSE Guys as we will affectionately call them, will either toss the coin or it will be some person who wants to try his/her luck and money. The crowd can be pretty rough if you dont throw it high enough/far enough/inside the circle/etc. It didn’t end up being compliment-fest for the actual coin throwers… and that’s kind of an under-statement.

giving the guy thats about to toss the coin some advice

giving the guy thats about to toss the coin some advice

So here’s the final rule.. if you wanted heads and the coin came up as heads.. the money was yours… if it was tails.. then you were screwed… and vice versa. Every single pub was pretty much taken over by the game. After I got the basic rules, it was a lot of fun to watch. A first I was a little overwhelmed by the amount of money being shuffled about. A friend gave me 10 dollars that I managed to turn into 20.. but that was it.. I was completely content to be 20 dollars up.

Imagine though, if on memorial day weekend, the national pass time was to go to the pubs and gamble? This is what I have heard the soldiers and veterans love. They will go to morning service, do their marches around states capitals and then after words.. head to the pubs.. to play two-up with the rest of us.. which I do have to say looking back on it was a pretty great experience.

I’m sure I am doing a ridiculously horrible job at describing the game, but honestly I think the best part about it was that EVERYONE – old, young… DIDN’T MATTER.. everyone was there to try and win everyone else’s money in what really was the most light hearted round of gambling I have ever seen.

As far as holidays are concerned.. I gave this one (i know.. dont shoot me) two thumbs up.

melissa and i

melissa and i


the betting and then.............

the betting and then.............

.

hopefully some sort of winning

hopefully some sort of winning





The Ins and Outs of Sydney Life

23 04 2011

Items I have learned today:

Relies = relatives

Ringins = I will bring more people with me.. said along the lines of “I’ll even have some ringins!”

Aunty = ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).. little weird reading emails and seeing things like.. good job Auntie!! (wtf???) yeah…

Pashed = kissed

So…. I am now living over in Marouba Beach with Shea and working at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. I work in the Audience and Consumer Affairs department.. which means the first week I got the honor or “deregistering” duplicates/spam emails as well as logging the same complaint 500 times.. that WAS FUN. Ugh. In any event, now into week 3 I now have the honor of responding to emails about programming myself. So I spend the day telling people what shows are on and where they can watch them online, or that we may SOMEDAY repeat them so make sure to check out our online tv guide. GLAMOUROUS I tell you. But, I do enjoy that I’m back working in media again, even though it’s a slightly different role than what I did at the Seattle Times back home. It’s also kind of cool they they actually film and tape shows at the same building I work at… not that I know any of the people filming.. but still.

Leena has now left Sydney (off to adventures in Thailand, Hong Kong, then back to Australia). In her last few weeks here, Shae, Leena and I attempted to be tourists, and by that I mean we went to Toronga Zoo (the zoo in Sydney that has absolutely GORGEOUS views of the city). Now practically every where you walk in this particular zoo they have signs about their “breeding programs” and THEY WEREN’T KIDDING. In the approximately 4 hours we were there we saw monkeys kiss one another in areas that probably should not be kissed.. as well as two huge a** turtles going to town.
Pictures follow.

Leena, Shae and I after seeing a bird show

Leena, Shae and I after seeing a bird show

Giraffes

Giraffes


Inappropriate monkey love

Inappropriate monkey love


Maria meets the gorilla

Maria meets the gorilla


Can you tell what's going on here - I heard a turtle orgasm - SICK

Can you tell what's going on here - I heard a turtle orgasm - SICK


A spider monkey - smiling for the camera

A spider monkey - smiling for the camera

Gator or Crocodile.. one of the two. and a little too close for comfort

Gator or Crocodile.. one of the two. and a little too close for comfort

I have a court date in a week.. this is to take psycho roommate to the Australia version of small claims court (called the tribunal) to see if I can get my $1200 bond back. I am REALLY not looking forward to seeing him face to face again.. but… what can you do. Think positive thoughts people.

And let’s see what else is new? I went back to Melbourne for a weekend to see the formula one race.. and pretty much decided then and there that it’s home.. so I will be moving back to Melb in June (for my last 3 months in Australia).

The Formula One race was cool, but having never been to one before, nor really followed it on tv (my mother is an AVID fan.. by that I mean watching it at 5am back at home).. I was NOT expecting there to be 58 laps. It’s not like you can even see the cars when they drove by! I attempted to take pictures for the first 10 laps or so.. then gave up, and even though we found a spot right NEXT to the track.. I just ended up watching the big screen next to us.. it made it a LOT easier to follow.

Photographic proof that I was at the Australian Grand Prix

Photographic proof that I was at the Australian Grand Prix

Leena, Jon and I at the track

Leena, Jon and I at the track


One of the cars going by during one of 5002 laps ;p

One of the cars going by during one of 5002 laps ;p

So I’ll spend one last month here in Sydney, complete with a fabulous date with the Australian Court System.. hopefully that will be my last big adventure in this city! I’ll wrap things up at ABC, hang out for a bit and return to Melb by the end of May. It’s not that I don’t enjoy Sydney, it’s that I miss Melbourne… and Sydney is RIDICULOUSLY expensive. I earn less here, have to pay more taxes (because I cant get my living away from home allowance) and have a higher living expenses which equates to = Maria saving up Nothing. But I will enjoy my last month here, and do my best to see and explore parts of the city that I haven’t discovered yet, but I must say.. I am really looking forward to returning to Melbourne (and people from Melb who might happen to be reading this… SHUT IT.. I don’t want to hear any ‘I told you so’s)…

Until Next Time………





Nightmare off of Crown Street aka Living with the Psychopath

2 04 2011

Item’s I have learned today:

-I think Sydney bus drivers secretly get a thrill from driving past you and NOT picking you up. Unless you do a full on arm wave at the exact appropriate time, don’t even think they are going to stop for you

-Sydney does not believe in garbage cans apparently.. you are lucky if you can find them once every 2-3 blocks (where as Melb had them pretty much every 20-50 feet)

-The cockroaches FLY here.. I sh*t you not.

-bond = a deposit that you pay when you move into a house/apartment.

So I appologise in the delay in updating this thing, and the amount of swear words I will use in the posting of this particular update. A lot has happened in the last few weeks, not least of all packing my things in approx 1.5 hours (which I think is world record considering the amound of sh*t I brought over here with me) moving to a friends couch for a few days (THANK YOU KEI!!!) and then relocating to Marouba beach (thanks to Shae and Leena!).

I am now safe and sound across the street from Marouba beach in Sydney, but I should divert back to about a week ago when I lived In Surry Hills (about a 20-30 min walk to the city).

So it all started when I moved into a place with two roommates. We will name one Bob and the other John. Now Bob supposedly has “chronic fatigue syndrome.” Apparently his version of chronic fatigue syndrome has the exact opposite effect, meaning he sleeps approximately 4 hours A WEEK, and acts bat sh*t insane the rest of the time. Now when I moved in, I could tell he was slightly odd. Nice, harmless (or so I thought) and slightly odd… oh how my first impression was wrong!

So the first inclination I had that something wasn’t quite right in that tiny little messed up brain of his, was when he decided to start a “charity.” Vodaphone (a mobile phone co over here) had a contest where you when 60,000 for your charity of choice. So he decided that he himself was going to be a charity. So he spent like 1 week completing the paperwork, and shaved (yes SHAVED) what was either the vodaphone logo or some design to represent his “charity” onto HALF of his head. I couldn’t even look at him. Imagine a full grown australian dude, with half a head of hair, and then some f*cked up logo design on the other side. Has everyone seen ‘a beautiful mind’? Our living room pretty much looked like that after his nightly “planning sessions.”

Here’s a few pics:

this was actually one of the cleaner days

this was actually one of the cleaner days

ANYWAY. So I gave him notice at the beginning of Feb that I was going to be moving out in March. I was stupid to not just have him take my march rent out of my bond, and retardedly, I paid for the whole month of March. So Bob, in addition to his ‘chronic fatigue disorder/insomnia’/being his own charity thing…. is also is a hoarder. Our second shared living area was completely filled with all of his piles of Sh*T. We couldn’t even move around in there, because it basically became Bob’s storage area.

Just what a living room should look like - sigh

Just what a living room should look like - sigh

Really comforting yeah?? Totally a place I could call home.

ohhhhhhhhh the luxury

ohhhhhhhhh the luxury

So, its gets even worse. Last week, Bob decided that we needed a new dishwasher. Our current one was working just fine, but whatever. So he’s goes on this website, gets a “free” dishwasher, uninstalls the one we have, and now we have a random dish washer chilling in our living room. In the process of doing that, he f*cked up the kitchen sink and the hot water won’t turn on.
Now, I really don’t think its abnormal to want hot water in the kitchen. On one of those rare occasions were I do actually cook, I want to be able to OHHH i don’t know, wash my hands.. or sanitize the area I’m working in. It’s really not that foreign/ridiculous of a concept. But apparently to Bob, it was ludicrous. “Why couldn’t I just use the dishwasher??” Also apparently asking for it to be fixed was WAY too demanding. Instead of contacting the property managers (like he should have done, and which was what I expected him to do when I noticed that it wasn’t working). He decided to just “fix it” himself. Meaning – he ripped apart our kitchen, tore out the cubboards, ripped apart the pipes, and left a pile of sh*t in the kitchen.

The fixing up of the kitchen

The fixing up of the kitchen


What a good plumber he is!! #annoying

What a good plumber he is!! #annoying

So from here on out, I start to get some what scared of the guy. During the following week, he proceeds to write me ridiculous notes, print out a picture of me rip it up, crinkle it up and throw it down the stairs, inform me that he has become a multi-millionaire and that he would consider giving me my bond back if I sweeped the kitchen. According to him it was all my fault that he destroyed the kitchen, because I was the one that asked that the hot water be fixed.

Long story short – his behavior got worse, so much so that I started packing at noon on a Sunday, and was at my friend Kei’s place by 2:00pm. I got out of there just in time. He left to go to an electronic store to try and get them to ‘donate to his charity’ and I left while he was gone. That evening he apparently went through fits of manical laughter to hysterical sobbing, so much so that my other roommate ‘John’ locked himself in the room and called the cops. The cops and paramedics arrived, and as far know John has been in the hospital since.

After I moved out, I asked Bob again about when I would get the return of my bond. I had to pay $1200 to move in there, he wrote me back with this:

“I have no savings, quite the opposite, in fact. At the start of the year I was in just under $100k of debt. Last Friday, $160k. Sunday, $200k.

Ant’s rent came in 12 days late, meaning I had an eviction notice, and could not sign a new lease.

You wanted the hot water tap in the kitchen fixed. I couldn’t request the landlord fix it, as I was *WAY* behind on rent and not on a lease.

I requested that you use the dishwasher, instead of have me fix the hot water, a number of times.
You insisted that I fix the hot water, so I did, in the process having to rip out half the kitchen. and had to replace the dishwasher.

I asked you to sweep the kitchen, a number of times. You refused. Repeatedly. How am I supposed to rent the room with the kitchen in the state it is?

You said you could not afford the rent, then went out and bought smoked trout from Tetsuyas etc etc. And left it in the fridge to make me feel like shit while having to go to salvos and vinnies to beg for food.

Last week I dropped in and out at least 2-3 times a day, in the hope that the kitchen might have been swept (OK, and to feed spike, before I took him away). Nope.

On sunday night/monday morning, Ant got me committed to the Psych ward at St vincents hospital. I have only just managed to talk my way out of acute care into sub-acute care, which means I have access to a computer.

Also it means my toilet now has a seat and is not made of steel.
And a few other perks. Like access to an open air area, and not *ALL* the furniture in my room is bolted down, just some of it.

I offered you some work, and tried to relieve some of the stress in the house. The reason I have not been able to sleep this month is that I am living in fear of becoming homeless, and losing what little I have less.

You can join my list of creditors, but until you sweep the kitchen like I asked, where is my motivation to help you at all?”

GHJKDGAJKHDJKAHDKHAKDHKAHSK
So, I’m pretty much screwed out of $1200, which for someone like me is A LOT of money. I worked very hard to save money aside to be able to come here and travel, and am still putting money away to be able to carry out the rest of my traveling plans.. losing this money pretty much just sucks. And do I really give a flying F what type of toilet seat he has now???? And why the hell are my groceries ANY of his F*ing business. I have filed something at the tribunal (the oz version of small claims court) but the fact of the matter is I don’t think Bob has the $1200 to return it to me.. even though I gave to him little over a month ago.

So anyway, this has been the reasoning behind the neglect of this blog. It’s been a rough couple of weeks, everything is better now.. I’m slowly but surely getting settled into my new place in Marouba, and have a wonderful new roommate Shae, and am working on putting Bob and all of his issues behind me.

Until next time all….





Settling into to Sydney – with a little bit of Mardi Gras

6 03 2011

Items I have learned today:

DNM – Deep N Meaningful. This generally refers to some profound talk/conversation that people might have, although i haven’t quite sorted out if it’s meant sarcastically yet.

-In Sydney the dress code for girls = dresses. Which goes over REALLY well for someone like me who HATES dressing up. Or if you don’t wear dresses, then heels. AWESOME. sigh. My mother would be happy at me pretty much being forced to discover my “feminine side.”

So it’s been two weeks now, and I would say I’m settling in a bit better. I have decided that I can’t afford to stay at the place that I am living. I LOVE LOVE the location, and my room is great (huge window/natural light) and there are cats

See Exhibit A – Spike and I chilling on my bed
Photo0059

But, I would pretty much be able to save $0 here as the rent is really expensive. So, house hunt round two has started.. hopefully I will end up somewhere just as fantastic.. keeping my fingers crossed.

I have also started working, but the wages are lower than in Melb and I’m having to pay more taxes. I have income now (which is a very very GOOD thing), but I will still have to budget a bit differently than before if I hope to travel again.

Leena is here (for another few weeks anyway, her visa is up relatively soon and she plans to travel soon). Leena is this fantastic, AMAZING girl that I met with while working at Hastings (Hah, I’m only pretty much putting that so she will actually read this blog.. yes, I’m retarded I know.. haha, love you Leena! – the ironic thing is, she still probably won’t read this anyway) So, I have had company and someone to begin exploring Sydney with.

I have also made friends with one of my recruiters, Atwa. So slowly but surely, I am no longer a loner. But, I still don’t fully feel settled here yet.. but then again, it is ONLY the end of week two.

Last weekend was Mardi Gras.

Syndey’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras started in 1978 and has become an iconic event in the gay community. I had heard about it all the way back in Seattle. It started off as a demonstration met with police violence, and has ended up evolving into one of the largest celebrations in the world. There were 200,000 other people in attendance with me from all over the world on Saturday night, and I believe around 8,500 parade participants. People lined up all day long, and the feel and energy in the crowd was AMAZING and insane. But, of course.. typical Maria, my feet started hurting after standing too long so we left some what early.

Here are some pics:

Leena and I just outside the crowd

Leena and I just outside the crowd


Love is Not a Crime Float

Love is Not a Crime Float

So how it typically worked would be a truck/float would drive by with whatever message, followed by hundreds of people dancing in back of it, as I mentioned the energy was contagious.

A choreographed routine

A choreographed routine

Someone pepping up the crowd

Someone pepping up the crowd


Gayola Crayons walk by

Gayola Crayons walk by



Showing Some Love

Showing Some Love


Banana Love

Banana Love


This was "Princess Di, The Queen, and Prince William and Kate" showing their suppor

This was "Princess Di, The Queen, and Prince William and Kate" showing their suppor




Leena and I amongst the festivities

Leena and I amongst the festivities

It was a great evening.. followed by us heading over to Kings Cross to check out a place called Hugo. It reminded again how I could really get used to living here…. hopefully… eventually… at some point soon.

🙂








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