Tuesday, September 13, 2011

BrisVegas = Home...for now!

And finally, an update! It's been a very busy, emotional, stressful, interesting last month.

I've now officially "moved" to Brisbane, I've miraculously found a wicked place that is in a wonderful location and I was full on job HUNTing! All of this happened under what I called my "Productive and Panic" mode. So much has happened in the last little while and I'm finally at a point where I can write about it. But first, my little side trip...

My most expensive weekend ever - $ydney.

THEME- It's a small world after all :)

I took a fun road trip with my lil brother Nick to Sydney. Here's a lesson I'm going to share - Do NOT have a patch, drink alcohol and smoke at the same time and then go for a 12 hour road trip the next day. It is unbelievably terrible for your system. Ironically instead of seeing Daryl (one of my closest friends from Vancouver) I end up staying with Charbi (who I met on my clean up dive in Thailand) and partying with Kat (met in Bolivia) and Tony & Mark (Same Same but Different Laos crew). Does the world ever get better than spending time with friends from all over the world?!

  • $5 martinis at Darling Harbour. Yum. Probably the cheapest thing from the trip.
  • Celebrating Mark's birthday by doing a pub crawl with the gang! Although he smoke bombed at 9pm!! May have been the J├Ąger shots...
  • Making the most of the crappy weather and trying to take wet tourist jumping shots outside the Sydney Opera House! Outcome = not so successful
  • Sitting for 5 hrs at the Lowenbrau in the Rocks drinking Mango Weizen with the girls. 
  • Buying a bottle of wine and drinking it from a brown paper bag on the ferry from Manly to Downtown Sydney. Yup, Charbs and I = classy broads. 
  • Teaching my Solid 7 theory and going Solid 7 hunting. 
  • Hearing: "Charina, people travel the world just to meet a person like you.  Aw!!"
  • Experiencing the Birkley Housemates dinner with Shandi and Uno. 
  • It was the rainiest weekend in $ydney so far this year.
  • Finding out that my waterproof winter jacket is NOT waterproof. Mom, terrible! I can't believe that's what you brought for me!!
  • $ydney is ridiculously and terribly expensive. That's what my VISA says. 

                                 Classy We Know                                       How cool is that? 

One of the rainiest days in Sydney ever! But we made the most of it. I'm pretty sure the bottle of wine on the ferry helped us! We rallied oh yes we did!

We stayed so long in this bar that we ended up on their website!

Sitting at the Rocks with great friends, gigantic mugs of beer.

Happy Birthday Mark! Next time you've got to last past the 5th Jager shot!! :)

Dunno why it has that nickname, but apparently 
Brisbane = Brissie aka Brisvegas.

After a glorious 6 weeks with the girls - Shout out to Nina, Jacqui and Heidi, it was time for me to find a place, build some roots and figure out exactly how different Australia is to Canada. Being the 3rd largest city, it's very similar to Vancouver at around 2 million people. It's got a town feel to it with big city amenities and a river that winds through the whole city. It's divided into tiny neighbourhoods - of which I'm still trying to learn but the public transportation seems impressive. They have a City Cat that takes you around the river, a train system that links the whole area all the way out to the Sunshine Coast in the North and the Gold Coast to the South and buses that seem to impressively run on time. I live in an area that is a kinda hybrid of Commercial Drive meets Gastown. 

View of Brisbane from Kangaroo Point

One of the many bridges that cuts through the winding Brisbane River

The Sydney girls coming to visit.

Man made "swimming pool". It's the "beach" of Brisbane in South Bank.

HOME sweet HOME!
So now I've moved into a cute 1 bedroom shared accommodation in New Farm, that is stumbling distance from all the bars, walking distance to downtown and close by all the necessities. I also completely lucked out with my quiet Japanese roommate, who is actually a completely cool chick (I panically asked her to move in with me after talking to her for 15 mins! Not usually my style, but so far so great!). It's a wonderfully cosy place that kinda reminds me of university! We have a little kitchenette, where I've been cooking up a storm already, a balcony that looks out into our neighborhood and lots of window to let in the sun.

WORK - I think I'm not backpacking anymore...
I had been maniacally job hunting - I had forgotten how daunting it is to cold call, apply online and walk into businesses. But it's wonderful to get back into the swing of things. Slowly but surely, I'm learning that there are tons of differences with work culture/expectations...it's coming as a bit of a shock, but so far, aside from being way too impatient, I've been fascinated by the process! But it's coming along and I'm hoping to find something good and excited to actually experience Australian work culture. We'll see what is in store for me - back to the corporate world or working at some funky cafe. It seems that despite 1.5 years of traveling, my default setting is appparently to apply for stressful jobs! Mmm, now what does that say about me?!?! So perhaps, I'll actually broaden my horizon and see what else this country has to offer...that or I'm back to recruiting again. Seems they love recruiters here...which is great considering it's my background. Do you know, they even have a recruiting companies for recruiters?! Insane but hey, plenty of potential opportunities there.

So fast forward to mid September and I'm now trying to get use to being at an office 40 hrs a week in a suit. I'm working as an "Associate Consultant - Engineering and Infrastructure" - basically sourcing for Engineers (which, by the way, if you guys know any experienced Civil/Electrical/Mechanical Engineers in Mines, Infrastructure, Oil & Gas, Roads, Water I'd be interested). But I digress! I'd be lying if I didn't say that I haven't had my freak outs but the 13th floor view overlooking the Brisbane River, being "productive", learning about new industries and most importantly my bank account is happy that it's getting replenished! 

WaterFront Place - where all the recruiting magic happens.

First post work drink. Much needed and deserved! :)

Notable awards of late:
  • Best Non-date Date - Goes to Nina - We went hiking in the bush, walked around Montville, a quaint town with cute shops and a phenomenal view of the valley. We shared a glorious late lunch with a bottle of wine in a garden while listening to live music with one of the most angelic voices I've heard.  We bought mini desserts, fresh strawberries, champagne and drank it on the beach. We then headed to O'Malleys to people watch and met the most random interesting characters. There was the unplanned long hike at Noosa Heads as well!

  • Best Nickname Giver - Charbi - Teletubbie.  Nuff said. 
  • Most Oblivious - Me. It's amazing how I can still be so shocked and surprised by things. It's kinda cool. Sorta. 
  • Best Umbrella - 4 Seasons. Classy and you seem to find them randomly in bars everywhere in Sydney.
  • Coolest Slang - The Aussies. It's all shortcuts: Arvo - afternoon. Devo - devastated. Derro - derelicts. Avo - Avocado. Sandwich - Senga.
  • Wicked Random job - I helped a friend wax and buff his plane.
  • Best Friend - Daryl! He came down for the weekend and spoiled me with awesome treats (ie. we ate way way too much and too well ;) It's been over 4 years since we've seen each other and we made sure we made the best of it by celebrating over great food, champagne cocktails and way too much wine! Thanks buddy!!

  • Best Dessert - JellyFish - Bread and Butter Pudding with Truffle Anglaise and Salted Almond Ice Cream! Yum!!
  • New Fave - Fireworks from a Bridge! Daryl was here for the  kick off of the Brisbane Festival and we saw the fireworks from my neighborhood. 

  •  Healthiest moment - Running Bridge to Brisbane. Nina and I rocked. I ran it at 36:27 - I'm pretty proud considering my smoker's lung!

So as you guys can tell, life is coming along in Brisbane. I've started to meet people, I'm getting out there, I have a job, a home...I'm definitely trying to make the most of it here!

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