Can it all be beer & skittles??? First off, the number 40 is a fantastic number. Why do I speak about 40? A couple of shielas at work (without much grass on the pitch - i.e. young uns) are a bit stunned that I can hang with them as well as talking the "corporate" stuff. They pegged me for being in my late 20's or early 30's, so hence the question - what's in a number?
If you are of the same vintage as me, you should be feeling a million bucks for a whole range of reasons. One of the best ones is that it means that you've passed more than a few "mere mortals" in regards to milestones -
o Joan of Arc (19) - French Chick
- Cooking Accident (burned at the stake)
o Billy the Kid (20) - American Larrikin
- Lead Poisoning (gunshot)
o Sid Vicious (21) - Sex Pistols Front Man
- Medical Incident (heroin overdose)
o Tupac Shakur (25) - Rapper, Singer, Poet, Civic Leader (whatever!!!)
- The 'Hood Natural Causes (drive by shooting)
o Alexander the Great (32) - Conqueror Of "Known" World
- Mosquito bite (malaria)
o Bruce Lee (32) - Kung Fu Dude and Sometime Chinese Food Delivery Driver
- Allergic Reaction
o John Belushi (33) - Blues Brother
- Movie and/or Rock & Roll Natural Causes (OD'd on cocaine & heroin)
o Bon Scott (33) - Deadset Pisshead (AC\DC Lead Singer)
- Rock & Roll Natural Causes (choked on his own vomit after a big night on the piss)
o Jeffrey Dahmer (34) - Food Taster
- Karhma (bludgeoned to death in prison by fellow inmates)
o Bob Marley - Ganja Exponent
- Tap Dancer (cancer)
o Vincent Van Gogh (36) - Paint Slinger
- Dark Demons (suicide by gunshot to his chest)
o Amelia Earhart (39) - Pilot
- Navigational Issues (still searching - like most women)
o Martin Luther King, Jr (39)
- Civic Leader - Lead poisoning (gunshot)
o Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (39) - Al Qaeda leader
- U.S. Enemy Natural Causes (Shock & Awe)
Believe it or not, it's been exactly 3 months since I departed the United States of A Miracle, so how does a 40 year old speak upon the first 3 months of returning to ones homeland??? With his usual blunt, and at times brutal, truth and honesty.
The first three months back in Australia has been more than a roller coaster. I'd have never guessed that it would have been so physically, mentally and emotionally taxing. Let me give you a tip for free - do not move alone. Full stop, end of story, thank you and good night.
Thankfully for me, I have a great network of mates, but moving is such a personal and solitary thing. Putting things into perspective, moving across town is merely an inconvenience compared to moving towns. This in turn is less stressful than moving countries. Luckily I've moved between English speaking nations and can only imagine what would happen if you couldn't get your laughing gear around the lingo.
The excitement of moving to a new place, meeting new people and experiencing new adventures is tempered by having to deal with the bureaucracy that underlines government "service" around the globe.
I'm proud to say that I did my bit in eliminating office obesity and got a few government workers fit by having them jump to conclusions, run off at the mouth and allowing them to exercise their feeble minds. Most people have a photographic memory and a lot of these individuals simply didn't have any film!!
I've travelled more miles on the run around, jumped through more hoops than a Cooper's assistant and near sent the Post Office back to the stamp printers for more stock by the amount of correspondence I've had to endure and paperwork to fill out.
In the end, I would walk up to a government official and envision what terrible fate awaits them if only I could just get a hold of their pencil. I think those thoughts kept me focused on getting what I needed. Plus the fact that I kept smiling at them, even though they were doing their hardest to get on my goat. It was good to see them unnerved by my beaming smile, when any reasonable person would be going off their trolley. Little did they know what a vision of splendour a 2B pencil on the retina can do for ones sanity.
How's Townsville you're asking. It's a coastal town of about 150,000 and touted as the Capitol of North Queensland. In some ways it's trying it's hardest to come across as this thriving vibrant metropolis, in reality there is no way that will ever happen when the place basically closes down after lunchtime on Saturday, save for the hardware stores. Sunday it's basically a ghost town except for a couple of markets. It's not a knock on the locals by any stretch, but if it's what you are used to, then it's what you are comfortable with.
The locals attitude of "she'll be right", wanting to help and with a real openness are real Aussie traits that I think the typical American will never embrace. It simply comes down to the majority of Aussie having the attitude that people are good people until proven otherwise. Conversely, Americans are real wary from the outset as they don't want to feel like they're getting done over.
Case in point - I was in a shop looking for a cable snake last Saturday and the fella helping me said they didn't carry what I wanted. He then suggests a couple of other competing businesses to try, with one in particular. He even rings them to see if they are open, so I don't have a wasted trip. This is not an isolated incident as it's happened half a dozen times over the last 3 months. Never happened the entire time I was in the United States.
By far, the hardest thing on me has been the emotional journey. No, this isn't one of those "lay down on the couch" kind of deals, it's simply stating the truth.
As most of you know, I'm a pretty hard charging kind of personality and have no patience for incompetence, mental midgets, slack arses or anything that interferes with what I want to achieve.
I've come over here with a set plan either buying a block of land and building myself or doing another renovation job. I have no preference on either option but building your own place as a few added benefits like having it your way. The first kick in the arse was the costs of doing what I wanted. Land prices and reno worthy houses are at prices that scares my wallet so much that it doesn't want to see the light of day. All of the sticker shock has everything to do with Australia's resource boom i.e. mining boom.
The average median household income for the suburb of Mundingburra (no I didn't make that one up) where I'm living is $53k. The suburb is seen as middle to middle-upper class. The mining industry is paying $60k for cleaners or $120k for mechanics and you can see why the median house cost for a starter house in Townsville is $300k. Blocks of dirt start at $150k while shitbox condos are going for $250k plus.
I have a fair deposit to plonk down, but seeing that I have to see out a 6 month employment probationary period, the banks won't touch me. I have the drive, ambition and want for having my own place, but circumstances are both hindering and frustrating those efforts.
I've prattled on for enough and have stepped of my soapbox and I promise the next update has my usual fun and festivities.
Stay Happy ;-)