Thursday, April 26, 2012

Roomate Roulette

By Kathleen Broadhurst

Yesterday was a full on type of day, full of running to catch trains, strange people and disappointing conclusions. I started the day optimistic, with three roommate situations lined up to look at I figured something would go, I was wrong.

The First house: Caught the long way into East Brunswick to look at a room in a house with a singer/songwriter. She seemed the coolest of all the people when we talked on the phone and it was the closest to my friends in Northcote. After catching a train, the wrong tram and then the right tram I asked her what stop I should get off on and got “ Ooops I totally forgot to tell you I already gave the room to somebody else!”

Awesome. Thanks for telling me…. now that I’m three stops away. She invited me to come over anyways, because the girl she chose isn’t a long termer and you never know. So I went over and had a cup of tea. She was really cool and we ended up talking for about and hour. Too bad.

The Second House: Between houses one and two I had about two hours to kill and seeing as the second room was in a really cool area I decided to grab a chocolate and a seat at a café. I’m still not sure how cafes here work ( something I should get up on quick considering that I’m looking for café work), its not your standard counter system, you pay when you leave not when you buy and they often bring you your coffee.

After a relaxing hour reading and writing I ventured forth to the next stop. It was a beautiful apartment in an old brick townhouse, the room had a fireplace and it was literally a stones throw from the main street where all manner of interesting stores and people reside. I liked the people well enough, a bit stuck up for me but negotiable. Friendly certainly. They told me they would tell me in the morning.

The Third House: I could tell I didn’t want to live there before I even rang the doorbell. It was the room without walls, a curtained off section of the main room. I shouldn’t have wasted their time. Two couples living together looking for a fifth wheel to live in their living room, vegetarian kitchen, non-smokers. Not so much. Though they were very nice and I got on with them fairly well. Leaving their place I was further convinced that it wasn’t for me because the area was, while not unsafe, unsure.

This morning I woke up to a text that said “ sorry we’ve found somebody else”. Rejection sucks, even, perhaps especially, from strangers. But it was probably out of my budget anyways.

Today is for the job interview, hopefully that is more successful than the rooms. I guess its back to the drawing board- or in this case, Gumtree.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Road Less Traveled

By Kathleen Broadhurst

Heading down South with all my bags, listening to Old Crow Medicine Show and dreaming of writing fantastic novels that sweep people up and away with the beauty of this land. I’ve got a book poetry book and a gardening book and my pencils. Fiz has landed safely State side, Thank God, and is headed back to our ancestral tromping grounds at around 80mph.

I got up early this morning, folded up my bedding, kissed the cat, left money on the counter and put my bag on. I ended up leaving behind pretty much everything that wasn’t stolen. Had I known I couldn’t carry it, I would have sold it. Tent, air-mattress, bedding, comforter, pillows. I slowly lost pieces of them last night as I started packing. The comforter I tried for the hardest. I folded it up, strung rope around it, Asia-style and was prepared to carry it’s fluffy mass on board with me. It had other ideas and escaped its bonds after about 5 steps. So it too got left behind.

As part of my Australian water saving initiative I cut my hair.

Its something I’ve wanted to do for years and damn! Its looks awesome, I could have gone shorter. The response has been 100% positive. Contrary to what you would have thought you can see my hair more because it’s down all the time now instead of up in my tight-ass-librarian bun. It looks good messy. I like it.

Prospects in Melbourne look good.

I’m beyond excited to throw myself into city life. I found three shows in the next four days that I want to see and have signed up to do an Edible Weeds Walk with these awesome folk who are responsible for the amazing Permablitz movement. Urban Permaculture “hells yes”!

I have 3 roommate interviews tomorrow (at least I only need to get gussied up once.) and will be running around trying to convince people I’m awesome to live with, which I’m not totally convinced of, but I’ve come a long way since college when I specifically requested a single. Living with people doesn’t scare me anymore, sharing space has grown on me.

As for the interviews themselves, it seems like a date crossed with a job interview, you’re never sure when to tell them you smoke. Just in Job interviews you are selected on your merit, background or credentials but not just on your personality and dish-doing traits. A rejection in this case is probably a bit more personal. Thinking about it though, people should interview their dates about their dish-doing ability. It would save so much trouble further down the line if you already knew somebody was slob or a neat freak.

I’m excited, exhilarated even by my new adventure. I know it may seem selfish, or indulgent, or taboo but I’ve never felt so free, loved and supported. The train moves below me, rocking me slowly and sliding on its metal tracks I feel like I’m levitating through the Australian countryside. And you know what they say, those poets, about those roads less traveled. I hear it makes all the difference.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Up Next

By Kathleen

So now the clock is ticking, Fiz is leaving in two days! Which means I’ve been in a  rush, finding out places to live and jobs and such. I think I’ve applied to more jobs in the last five days than I have ever in my life… combined. I’m told 2-3 weeks is about how long I should expect to wait to land something. Finding roommates is a new and interesting challenge. Some people don’t get back to you others have keywords in their listings that are red-flags. I look for alternative sounding names and words and steer away from things like “ rent includes Foxtel”. I’ve heard back from a few places so we’ll see if that gets me anywhere.

This is all new to me, so its pretty exciting and bit unnerving all at the same time. Being away from each other is going to be a new travel challenge but one that I feel confident will work out. The real question now is where I’ll be.

Melbourne is tantalizing. Maybe my views of it are a bit rosy because it was our first western city after all that drama in India, or perhaps its because it’s alternative and musical and artistic, similar in some ways to home. One of my best Aussie friends lives there and of course… there is the permaculture, hippies and restaurants that are by donation in old convents.

Sydney is also wonderful though. The city is beautiful, the weather is warmer and here I have a place to crash for at least a few weeks. Across the street is a pair of warehouse communes that hold music nights and parties, down the road a tattoo artist and up the street a guy who makes his living renovating historic homes while his wife writes.

Both offer possibility both offer adventure and friendship. Let the dice roll.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Tipping Point

By Kathleen

The last two weeks have been grueling. I’ll spare you the details but lets just say that the amount of fuel we each had left in our tank was badly depleted by the course. It was one of those things. All permaculture courses are intense, I’m convinced it has something to do with thinking s holistically for two weeks straight, you start to see everything with Permaculture glasses, even yourself and it usually prompts people into action of some sort.
The same is true of this course.

For Fiz, who’s been dragging, these last two weeks were the tipping point. We all need to know our limits and respect them. Being in a couple means bending and flowing with your partner, but sometimes we reach the limits of our ability keep going.

Thus, it has been decided, seeing as I wish to carry on traveling and Fiz wishes to go home that it makes the most sense for us to do so. We’ll be paying the price of not being able to see each other everyday but this is something probably best not to compromise on.

So for all you readers at home, Fiz will be headed your way next week. For those of you who wish to keep reading, I’ll be staying here and blogging about my solo adventures in Australia.

At the moment we are on the VLine train headed form Melbourne back up to Sydeny, where we will kick it with friends and enjoy a week in the warmth before Fiz heads on home. Then… well I don’t know.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Permaculture Blues

By Kathleen   

Permaculture is a special thing, it is at its heart about the interconnectedness of all life on Earth and on balancing those individual systems together for the common good. Putting on your “Permaculture glasses” means that you are looking at the world as an interconnected unit, and keeping the principles of Permaculture in mind. Every time I have had been involved with a class or a course or a workshop on or about Permaculture, strange things have happened to my brain.

This course has been no different, furniture is being moved in my head, I’m taking out old habits, examining their worthiness and keeping or discarding them. This course has been a bit challenging for me. Not for the obvious reasons, like sitting all day after being used to 9 hr work days outside, or getting my academic brain back on after being on the road for a while. It’s more subtle than that. It’s the frustration that occurs when you want to go deeper into something and are for whatever reason, prevented from doing so. It’s the excess energy that builds when you are excited but have no way of expressing it. It makes you a little crazy.

Still it is good for the mind to review basic principles again before getting into the main design of things next week. The land we are on is quite pretty, a campus of a Steiner school complete with natural buildings and gardens, compared to Panya it seems weirdly clean. But the food is good and so is the company.

Still don’t know what is happening with our car. Our buyer turned out to be a scammer and we haven’t had any more bites yet. Hopefully we’ll be able to move it quickly. But hey, I’m letting it go. It all works out in the end.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

From Sydney to Here

By Kathleen

We’ve been taking up all our blog space with our woes of the car. Right now with the Permaculture course on, I don’t have too much to say… or so much to say but none of it terribly relevant. So in order to not bore your pants off. Here’s some photos of our drive up to Sydney, where we over-nighted at a small quaint town with the name of Moss Vale and stumbled upon a magnificent waterfall. And some photos of Sydney, where we thoroughly enjoyed our hip surroundings and our car met its demise. Enjoy!

Looking into Kangaroo Valley

Unexpected waterfall!

This is the lovely couple who is renting us some space.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Eulogy for a Sweet Commodor

Jammin' at Christmas

By Kathleen

Commodore, your have been with us now for four months, through thick, dusty, Tatura, on smooth, paved roads. I remember when we first got you, you had some issues sure, but what is on the inside counts more than your baby-sea-foam-green exterior, and inside you were huge.

I remember that first drive up the Hume Highway, making it from Melbourne to Kempsey in three days to get to the blueberry farm and a job. You seemed a little sick even then, but we nursed you along.

I remember sleeping in you for the first time and freezing my ass off because cars really don’t have great insulation. Illegal parking on Christmas day and getting you fixed up in Shepp. I thought you were better then but I guess not.

Now you are sitting in a driveway in Sydney. You were our plane ticket home and now you are a pile of metal.

So dear sweet commodore, I put you to, rest… well not exactly. I put you for sale on Gumtree.

Until further notice we will be in Australia.

Now to get to the Permaculture course that like 1000k away in Geelong…

We'll miss you Commodore!