Thursday, May 10, 2012

Working Girl


By Kathleen Broadhurst

My alarm goes off at 5am and there is a nothing but darkness and a 20min walk to the train. I get to cafĂ© and sit and write with the lights off for a half and hour before I open. I’m looking forward to moving into my new place this weekend, the train is closer and the it’s a shorter trip. There is a solid hour where I think that I’m crazy for getting back into this world of caffeine addicts and barista artists.

Then my co-workers show up. Overall they are lovely and my boss is wonderful. The head barista has changed my opinion about baristas he’s fun and friendly and after 18 years of pulling shots is a master. Watching him work is wonderful, it’s always interesting to see somebody who is really good at what they do. I’ve been learning a lot about coffee, it’s more of an applied science than an art with exact measurements affecting tiny details. For me as an American who grew up on Dunkin’ Donuts it all seems a bit much but it’s still cool.

I love this city more and more every day. Riding the train is one of my favorite parts of being a new urbanite. I like the graffiti and the grey concrete and the tall sky-scrapers in the distance. It’s like a big dystopian fantasy, gritty and real.

Melbourne itself is a lovely combination of old Victorian architecture and modern buildings. I’ll post some pictures as soon as I get to taking the camera around, but it’s such a monster and I feel a little silly looking like a tourist in a place that I’m calling home.

I noticed something the other day on the way to work as I was staring up at the glowing neon signs of the CBD. ANZ, Commonwealth, NAB, all banks. Historically when you look at cities, the taller the building the more power it had. In Italy families would vie for the tallest tower and hence the biggest show of power. For millennia kings and queens have been erecting monuments as testimony to their strength and all throughout the Old World the steeples and minarets and pagodas of religion have reached for the sky, dominating skylines as they scrambled to touch God.

Our city skylines are dominated by banks, by the symbols of trade and materialism. It’s not a metaphor. It’s worth thinking about.

I’m excited to move into my new place tomorrow, even as I fight off a cold, but I’ll be sad to leave my friends’ home. Australians are generous in general but these two may just be the most generous people I know. They have helped me find my feet and held my hand as I stumbled onto this new road. I can only hope one day that they come to visit in the Sates so I balance out the books, even a little bit.

Making new friends here makes my connection to here stronger, but I am always aware of those who are still at home. They walk with me, phantoms of my imagination. I see a shirt I think of you, I hear a song I think of you, I have an amazing time at a club I think of you. I rid the train and think of you. You are all in my thoughts. Friends make life worth living.

Now to make some dinner!

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