Settled in and back into the daily grind

Trip Start Jul 22, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Australia  , Victoria,
Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I've not forgotten you all i promise. I'm sorry I've not written anything for ages, as i hope you'll understand as you make your way through this entry, my life at the moment doesnt really make for the most entertaining of reads.

As i suggested last time, I now have a full-time job. I'm currently working in the warehouse of a sports equipment company. Sadly I got to the point rather to quickly of beggers not being choosers and when Casey's mum (who works in the company's offices) told me there was a bit of work there I couldn't turn it down.

It's not the most intelligent of jobs, the fact that I'm only there on a casual basis makes it worse as well, as they are [understandably] not inclined to train me on anything technical. Therefore i am packing boxes, or at more interesting times of the day making up kits, which entails counting pieces of equipment, for example tennis balls and making up a pack of them. It makes for great conversations after work; "today i counted cones/bean bags/table tennis balls/hockey balls/lacrosse balls" "that's nice dear".

However, I'm only now here for a week and a half before i start another job, no more interesting than this one, slightly more money, but one I feel Im selling out a bit in doing.

Im due to start at a call centre, where my job will be making phonecall after phonecall to shareholders of whichever company has outsourced to my agency that week, to tell them that another company is planning to takeover theirs, and wants to buy their shares in it. I've become a corporate whore. I hasten to add that this isnt a job i've applied for particularly, but one my recruitment agency has nudged me into. The work at the warehouse has dried up due to school holidays and id be out of work otherwise. Have I defended myself successfully? Well, I've not convinced myself, so i doubt i have you.

What else is going on in my life? Well, i've made a bit of a big decision regarding my living arrangements. Whilst it's been fantastic to have this house in Boronia to stay in when I first arrived. Dale and Jenna have been amazing landlords/housemates and ive been able to make up on time lost with Casey, I've decided to leave it to move into a hostel in the city centre.

A large part of this is the fear that i'm missing out on a lot of what Melbourne has to offer living an hour out of the City Centre. I've only been able to go for one night out there since ive been here, and its a chore to go in to do anything. Plus the job im starting is located there so it will quarter my commuting time. I also feel i need to get out of the comfort zone ive created for myself, and force myself to meet new people.

It is a big thing in lots of ways for me, im not particularly looking forward to sharing a dormitary and bathroom with others, or having to label all of my food, but as a short-term fix, it's definately something i need to do.

I feel I should in some ways talk about Australia rather than just me and my life, so here's a few of my random observations, some much more serious than others.

- Australia, although it pains me to say it, is quite a bit behind Britain in lots of ways politically and equality-related. It is a country that openly admits to have been institutionally racist in the past. Its has in the last 6 months apologised to its indiginous (Aboriginal) population for the way it has treated them in the past; snatching land and even children. To this day Aborigines are much more likely to be imprisoned, illiterate and unemployed, and die on average 17 years younger than their white Australian counterparts.

Australia's immigration policy has in the past been suspect as well. I discussed the ten-pound poms in my last entry, well 'blacks' were excluded from this offer of subsidised entry to the country, and more recently, its treatment of refugees and asylum seekers has been in the spotlight. Australian law dictates that that unless a person has a valid visa to be in the country, they are liable to detention. This includes people currently seeking asylum here, who are as a matter of course detained in razor-wired purpose built centres in the middle of the desert whilst their case for refugee status is considered, which could be a matter of years. Up until the changing of governments last year, this also applied to children, peaking in 1999-2000, when 1923 children were in detention. This has recently been described as systematic child-abuse by leading Australian psychologists.

Yes, I'll be the first to admit that i dont fully understand Australia's political history having only been here for a couple of months, yes I also completely acknowledge that Britains history is a hell of a lot more racist than what Ive discussed above, with slavery and imperialism; and to this day we routinely subject people to destitution if they have notbeen able to provetheir refugee status. However what i have noticed more over here, or maybe i just notice it more(?), is that casual racism and homophobia is completely accepted. Where in Britain there is legislation in place and certainly in the company i keep, certain language and and behaviour is unacceptable, over here it seems to be the norm. I dont think its a coincidence that to my knowledge I've not met a single openly gay person in the 2 months ive been here, and I notice when I see black people.

In Australia's defense, i have already admitted in this blog that i am quite heavily insulated where I am living and working, so i may be completely off the mark in this statements. Suburbs are notoriously white-middle-class all over the world, so i shall see. I'll keep you informed.

Continuing on this;I promise i'll stop bagging your country soon any Aussies reading this. I was amazed to read in the news this week that Australia's government is currently debating whether or not to legalise abortion. I had no idea that there were any enlightened societies left that still clung to the archaic pro-life stance. Fingers crossed that the Australian equivalent of Daily Mail readers wont stop your country coming out of the dark ages.

OK - back to more lighter subjects

-Colloquial newsreaders; I'd love to see Peter Sissons given an Aussie autocue. People here aren't assualted, they're bashed, police officers are cops, the national game is footie, etc etc. Love it, news for the masses, exactly how, in my opinion it should be. (without getting all media-graduate on you, I feel news should be available to all, at all levels, with the option of finding more depth when necessary)

-Number plates on cars. Bit of a bizarre observation I know, but there doesnt seem to be any crappy DVLA type laws in place saying what a numberplate should look like, so if you can afford it you can have whatever you like, Jenna has LIL JEN, and my personal favourite, evey morning i walk past an SUV with the plate UNLOVD. How very very sad.

-Sports. Theyre absolutely insane about it over here. I've now been to a couple of aussie rules football matches, the second one, which was put simply a quarter-final (it is a lot more complicated than that) but there was over 80,000 people there! I also have to note that despite those numbers i never had to wait for more than 2mins for anything. Compare this to the Britannia stadium, with with 16,000 people you have to choose between the toilet, bar or snacks at half time, there's not enough time for two of the above.

Ive also been to what they call a soccer match, which despite it probably being Australia's 5th sport, it still attracted 22,000 people. Not bad at all. The quality of the play id probably equate to the lower half of the British championship/upper league 1 but it is apparently getting bigger and better.

There's probably much more, and hopefully it wont take me 7weeks to write another entry. My computer is dying so i'll say goodbye and write again soon.

Take care

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