Monday, February 18, 2013


Well if there’s ever been a whirl wind type of day, today was it.  It started off as a normal Monday as per my Monday’s in Toowoomba.  Up around 7am, into the shower, got dressed, had my eggs, helped Rachel get the kids sorted for school, tidied up… but this week, I stayed home instead of going into the office at RPMS (where I’ve been volunteering) since Dave is away, and there isn’t much going on this week at the office… Here’s a bit of background that hasn’t been overly elaborated on.

You generally hide from your parents when you’re broke.  For myself, and my sister alike, we have a hard time asking or accepting financial help from anyone.  It’s been embedded in our pits that we work our asses off for what we have, and we’re proud of our accomplishments and achievements.  When I met the Girdler family in January and arranged to come stay here to find work in the area, I was under the impression that finding work would be relatively easy.  NOT the case.  I counted yesterday night for reference today just how many resumes and applications I’ve sent out. SIXTY THREE.  SIXTY EFFING THREE.  That doesn’t even in clude the online Gumtree application! (Gumtree is like Kijiji).   Heard back from ONE. Talk about deflated… absolutely shattered.   The one I heard back from led to the interview I had last week for a boarding school supervisor job, which would have paid well and looked smashing on my teaching resume.  The interview was fantastic, and the Head of Boarding that led the interview fed me line after line about how thrilled they’d be to have me working there – I was exactly what they were looking for; I was well presented, well spoken, well travelled, enthusiastic, energetic, friendly and organized… JUST what they wanted for the girls… except I’m leaving in May to teach in Melbourne.   Yep, that’s right, I am leaving to teach in Melbourne in May, and that’s what my cover letter stated – so why bring me in for an interview? – Especially when the ad posted stated that someone was required only for one term?!  I was told that I would hear a response back by the end of the week or early or the Monday after (which I didn’t) and was over it quickly.   On to the next one.  I’ve been trying to be as positive as possible through all of this!  So, I have money in my Canadian accounts, but being so damn stubborn, and realizing the importance of that money staying put, I refuse to touch it - which puts me on the ‘scraping by’ backpacking lifestyle again.  I have been touched by an angel with regards to my living arrangements.  I have been living with a family that has become my family away from home; a family of five, with two cats.  I LOVE THEM, and have slotted right in to their daily family life here in Toowoomba.  I have a roof over my head, my own bathroom, have been sleeping in a king size bed, have constant company, and am only required to buy groceries.  WIN.  So where’s the loss?  Not being able to contribute like I want to be able to, and living partially off of my Visa card, which I know is horrible (and will make Matthew cringe to read that).  But such is life!  Today I relearned about the curves life throws at us.  Life pushes you to your breaking point, more to some than others.  To me, I’ve been lucky, and have only been at my REAL wits end a few times, one of which was last week.  I didn’t know where to turn, and was too proud to ask for financial help, while having Alex near beg me to accept his offer of even a few hundred bucks to get by until I found work.  Last week, you could have looked at me the wrong way, and I would have burst into tears, wondering what I was doing wrong, and why I wasn’t able to find work.   Between talking to locals and over time in Australia, I’ve narrowed it down to this… 1) I’m a backpacker in a town with few opportunities  2) I’m not a local  3) I’m not Australian  4) I’m not a resident  5) I SHOOT MYSELF IN THE FOOT BECAUSE I CAN’T LIE!  As wild as that sounds, it’s apparently how backpackers score jobs here.  They lie.  They lie about their prior experiences and about how long they can commit to a job.  Well, I can’t lie.  I haven’t picked or packed fruit before.  I haven’t picked cotton before.  I haven’t worked on a registered construction site before.  I am here to teach, and have a job already figured out and lined up for April/May.  What do they want from me?  Anyways, my honesty paid off today, as I finally landed some employment!   It’s very bittersweet, because with acceptance of this job, I have to leave the family I’m happiest with next to my own, but great because I have found a job that will expose me to the outback and will help me bank money quickly while acquiring my regional work required for my second year visa extension.  I leave Wednesday.  WHAT?!  (I need to add in here: Mama, Grandma Carol, Mom and Dad, your offers to help out won’t be accepted – so please don’t try!   I love you and appreciate the hell out of your generosity more than you can imagine, but I just need to figure this out on my own this time – This is a learning curve for me, and it’s one hell of an experience!! Don’t feel bad for me or sorry for me… you’ve all taught me well, and this too shall pass!)  So, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger – actually.  When I thought last week I was ready to give up on finding work for my second year visa, and was ready to just start teaching in Melbourne sooner, this came along.  Life finally said, “okay Amanda, I’m done taking the piss out of ya.  Here’s a dynamite job.”  I had finally made headway at the end of last week, by phoning up a recruitment agency (that I’d been in contact with previously) just to see if anything had come up.   Sure enough, there were two jobs available – a cook for a crew of eight farmers on a cotton farm, or a cotton-picking job!  I was totally in for either, and was waiting for a confirmation call this morning (Monday).  First thing today, I got a call that started off with “well, the cotton jobs have fallen through, and the contract with the farmers hasn’t been signed.”  Great.  Just what I wanted to hear.  Back to Guntree…  But then, the man on the phone (Simon) continued with, “but how do you feel about living on a cattle station in Queensland, helping out a woman who has done in her back?” – Okkaaaayyyyy…? What else?  Simon and I got talking, and he told me he would give the lady my phone number so she could call me.  She did early afternoon, and we spoke for just over a half hour.  She’s 57, and is from Alberta!  She married an Aussie, and has been here for quite a while!  My job will consist of helping out with house work, some gardening, some cooking, riding the horses and some farm hand work!  It’s good money, and accommodations and food are provided.  This is not a repeat of my WA experience at all.  After speaking to the lady at the farm (name withheld until I know if I may include it), I feel very excited about being there!  There are a few other backpackers there now, working with the cattle.  I’m really looking forward to helping her and her out!  I spoke t her husband today too, and he seems very sweet.  They are expecting company from Canada for the first half of March, and I will be helping keep the house clean and will help prepare dinner for them as well.

So, needless to say, flight is booked, and I'm all packed, with last minute things to throw in before I go.  I will be flying out of Brisbane on Wednesday, flying up to Mackay, and then being picked up and driven about 3.5 hours inland to the Wentworth Cattle Station!

I’m heartbroken leaving the Girdlers.  Several tears today, and there will be more tomorrow, and again Wednesday morning when I leave! They’ve been incredible to me, and like I said, they’ve become my family away from home.  Ava is currently sprawled out horizontally in my bed, as she insisted she sleep with me tonight!  Awwww, my little lady!

I will keep you posted on my new chapter!  This all happened so fast, I am still spinning…


MARTIAN SHOUT OUT: Kinley rolled over this weekend!  Back to front!  She's gorgeous.  Allison, thank you for being the best sister a traveller could ask for.  Always sending me videos and pictures of your growing little sweetheart.  I love you so much!  

PS: I had a laugh this week talking to Dad on the phone, when he referred to Kinley as my alien! ... It's Martian, Dad... My FAVOURITE Martian! :) 

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