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Being touristy and getting down to business

May 7, 2010

Palm tree in Botanical Gardens

So much has happened in the two weeks since my last update! I went through a week of work and, unfortunately, found that I really just didn’t feel suited to the job. Eight hours sitting at a desk making call after call after call was wearing down on me, physically and emotionally, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to go on like that for much longer. So I made the decision to quit (I hate that word) while I was still in the training period, avoiding any further complications that may have arose if I had decided to go another week and become an official employee.

Now I’m back to job searching, but I am happy with my decision and I think I will ultimately find something much better suited to me, that I will enjoy more (or at least despise less!) and that will provide me with some good experience. I have some hopefuls but I’ll get to that later. On the upside, Oscar and I seem to have traded places and he had an interview Wednesday morning for a sales job. He was hired on the spot! And he’s had training since yesterday and will have one more day of it on Monday before diving in and become the breadwinner for a bit 😉 I did get my paycheck today, though, so that was very nice!

But backing up a bit, as I said the weekend before last was ANZAC Day. On Sunday (ANZAC Day) we walked around downtown and saw everyone out in their military uniforms. The city was extremely crowded as the parade had just ended (and the rain with it!) and everyone was heading out for lunch and drinks.

Seeing How to Train Your Dragon in the IMAX

We had been told we should head to a pub and play a game called “Two-Up” which is some kind of coin betting game that is only legal to play on ANZAC Day. We weren’t really in the mood, though, so we decided instead to do some touristy stuff (and stay inside as it was mostly rainy, with the sun coming out only on occasion).

First we visited the Museum of Contemporary Art. I had visited it last time I was here and really enjoyed it, especially a special exhibit they’d had on that was a room full of hammocks that you could lay in, with lights flashing around and Bob Marley playing. Unfortunately, there was nothing quite so interesting on this time. Only two exhibits were open, as the other two or three had just closed the week before, and one was a kind of strange video collection and the other was called “Pirates” or something like that but seemed just a random collection to me.

Worlds biggest IMAX!

Then we were having a hankering for chocolate so we headed to the Lindt Chocolate Cafe for some milkshakes (a little overpriced though for the not-so-great quality). In true Sydney-like fashion, the sun continued to shine even when it started raining!

We then decided we were craving a movie and headed over to the IMAX Theatre. We had 20% off coupons, which meant that seeing How To Train Your Dragon in 3D at the IMAX was actually cheaper than it would’ve been to see in the regular theater! Plus, the IMAX in Sydney is the largest screen in the world (or at least the largest IMAX theater in the world, not sure but either way it’s impressive!), so that was an added bonus. We sat in the top/back row and had, I think, absolutely the best view you could ask for! And of course I loved the movie, so it was a great end to a great day.

On Monday I still didn’t have to work yet, since it was a holiday, so we decided to go to the beach. We went down to Coogee Beach and laid out to catch some sun, but unfortunately it was just chilly and windy enough that sitting on the beach in our bathing suits just wasn’t pleasant at all. Too bad, I really wanted a tan! Instead we decided to take a walk I had been wanting to do for a while between Coogee and Bondi.

Chillin on the Coastal Walk

The Coogee to Bondi (or vice versa) Coastal Walk is a six kilometer walk along the coast, and it is spectacular. There was a paved pathway, but we decided we wanted to feel a bit more adventurous and walk along the rocky cliffs right on the coast. It was beautiful, with amazing views of the ocean, and we had fun finding some interesting photo opportunities!

In one area we found this hole in the ground on the edge of a cliff which had a perfectly situated ledge underneath so that you could climb under and stick your head (or other appendages) up out the hole. We had some fun taking silly photos of our discombobulated heads appearing to lay on the edge of a cliff (that or we somehow mysteriously got stuck inside the edge of a cliff!). A lot of people walked by looking at us in wonder or laughing at our antics, but it was fun.

Just a head sitting on a cliff!

Along the rest of the walk we spotted many other fantastic sights. Of course, every cliffside was a gorgeous outlook. We walked back incredible houses, which of course had unbelievable ocean views, that we lusted after and dreamed of one day owning. We passed a huge, beautiful cemetery whose residents obviously wanted eternal ocean views as well.

We also discovered a ton of new beaches. Squeezed in between cliffs between the two über-popular beaches of Bondi and Coogee are some remarkable, and sometimes quite empty, other beaches! We saw a lovely isolated little beach cove free of people but full of abandoned boats. We passed a very family-friendly half-beach, where sand beach became concrete beach and the calm, protected waters were safe for child swimmers. We also saw what could possibly have been the longest/widest/deepest beach I’ve ever seen — it was quite narrow/short, squeezed in between two cliffs, but the beach went back for forever!

Pretty isolated beach

All in all it was a truly wonderful day, and the weather was absolutely lovely as long as you were clothed and working up a bit of a sweat walking up and down the hills along the coast!

So it was a bit sad to follow that up with my first day at work…and I pretty much summed it up before. But working at a call center, even raising money for a good cause, has a LOT of ups and downs — and in my case probably more downs than ups. Plus, for those of you who know me, I can give myself enough ups and downs on my own without the help of my job!

Every couple hours you get a few minutes of joy at finally convincing someone to donate more money, but otherwise it’s a lot of downs: people saying mean things to you, hanging up on you, accusing you of this or that. There were still certainly plenty of nice people who apologetically said no, but I was surprised how many charitable people are a bit less kindly on the phone!

Oscar and the waves

Anyways, there’s no need to dwell on that. In fact, it seems that I most definitely (well, fingers crossed) made the right decision at the right time. Today I had an interview for a retail “educator” position in a really cool athletic apparel store that’s opening a new store downtown next month. It has a really cool culture, you get free yoga classes, and the manager/my interviewer is from Northeast Ohio also!

In fact, we had quite a lot in common and the interview was really more of a fun conversation, almost like having coffee/tea with a new friend. My next step is a group interview next week, and if I make it through I would start working probably the week after that, training and helping set up the new store which is set to open at the beginning of June.

Right before/during/after my interview, I received a call (well, many actually as he was apparently quite eager to get a hold of me!) from a recruitment consultant about another job I had applied for. This one is a two month contract at a huge international company where I would primarily be coordinating the design and development of a marketing and merchandising manual. I have an interview for that on Tuesday, and it also has a lot of perks.

Coogee Beach

For one, it’s a huge company and would be a really amazing experience to add to my resume, with a really great final result to be able to show for my work (as opposed to many of the internships I’ve done which were mostly just menial tasks!), and also it is in a location right near where we are moving! How perfect! Plus it pays pretty well and could really open some doors for me. So I will be spending Sunday and Monday (we’re planning to spend the day at Manly Beach on Saturday) preparing a LOT for that!

If I get either position I will be really happy. They both have a lot of benefits and would both be a million times better than working at a call center!

So after my interview I walked through the Botanical Gardens to come home, spotting cockatoos and flying foxes (including some perched in a beautiful tree with pink blossoms — I regret I didn’t have my camera with me!), and I couldn’t help but smile at what a wonderful day it was. Things have definitely been looking up, and after next week it will be like a whole new life! We will be in an awesome new apartment, will both be working at decent jobs, and will probably even have some more new friends to hang out with! (In case I haven’t mentioned, we have been hanging out with this one group of people on the weekends but you can never have too many friends!)

Lone palm tree in the Botanical Gardens

In addition, we (or really I should mostly say Oscar) have been doing some more cooking lately, which is wonderful. We made some kangaroo steak the other week, but unfortunately it wasn’t quite as good as I’d remembered it being so I don’t know that we’ll do that again. Oscar also prepared a chicken couscous dish that was absolutely amazing and that we probably overstuffed ourselves with!

On Wednesday we decided to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with some Mexican food. At first we went to check out the two nearby Mexican restaurants hoping they’d have some kind of deal, but they told us they’d actually had specials the past two years but no one knew what it was so they weren’t doing it this year. I guess Cinco de Mayo is only known in the US because of our proximity to Mexico! So instead we did some grocery shopping and made our own burritos which were delicious!

Well, that’s all for now. Next Friday we move to a new apartment (with internet!) in a new area, so look for an update then with the full lowdown (I’ve been holding back a bit) on what it’s really like where we’ve been living for the past month and a half! (Search Underbelly: The Golden Mile if you’re dying for a hint!)

Hungry for more about the city? Check out my reviews and tips for Eating Out in Sydney.

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6 Comments leave one →
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