Antipodean life has been good - back in backpacker mode and loving every minute of it! Things have slowed down a bit, but still going according to plan. I stayed at my brother's for nine days and then headed over to Danielle's to give him a break. So far I've just been doing work for my friend, James
...but with all the help I've been getting from the church and friends in general, it's just a matter of time till something official turns up. I talked to some environmental advocates about working with them for $22/hour, a guy from church offered to put me in contact with a friend in the mines and David's neighbor, who works on the rigs, gave me some advice on my CV then took it into work with him. Zsusha's sister, who works for Oz Minerals, also gave me some advice on working in the mining industry.
While I was at the Grace Emily today a girl named Lexy came over and started talking to me about Australia. She mentioned that she had $40k invested in her PHD and actually has to pay it back if she ever makes more than 35k/year. This explains how Aussies can go to school for free because I was starting to get the impression that the government just funded it outright. After talking about a few job ideas for me, including retail, Lexy pointed out that I wont likely get paid less than $22/hour because of my age.
At one point Aaron decided to go elsewhere so we left with his friend James to a place called Crown followed by a kebab place and a hungry jacks.
I used my coupons so we could buy a bunch of burgers and, after eating, we walked until we discovered a trolley (shopping cart) and I pushed James around in it a bit :P
Today I went to Tim's for tea where we ate a potato dish called Cottage Pie (cottage because its made with beef otherwise called Shepard's Pie if made with lamb) and had ice cream for desert. After eating we all went to a home meeting, had more deserts (I was pretty much shaking from my sugar high at this point), and headed back to Tim's. I then headed back in the dark wearing Danielle's blinking vest, because it's illegal to ride without lights (let alone without a helmet) at night here... the tyres (tires) on my bike could also be in better condition - the threading that holds them together is coming apart and the wheels are wobbling a bit...
Today I went to church and then over to Michelle's for lunch. We ate pork, egg, beef stew, and bread rolls then watched some cricket on the tele. Cricket is a very unnecessarily drawn out game. They don't do three strikes your out... they do 300 strikes your out then the other team goes. This takes a full 8-hour day as opposed to the series games where they play until all the players are out... which generally works out to four days. Even if one team scores 1000 points right off (no coming back from that) they have to keep playing... and, unfortunately, there is no sportsmanship. If one team sees that they are losing they give up and just punt the ball for the next three days while everyone watches and boos from the stands.
Today I went to the Grace Emily Hotel again to meet up with Aaron and Danielle. After an hour they finally showed up and we had a few beers. I got rid of a fair number of coins in a short period of time which helped make my pocket a bit more manageable (this happens when coin currency goes up to $2). While we were there I spoke with a guy who teaches psychology and is currently researching the mathmatics of life like in the movie "A Beautiful Mind."
After Danielle left Aaron bought us a couple more ciders and we talked about the values that people place on family vs friends. Aaron brought up the point that some friends might act more like family than family, but my opinion is that family is one of those things where you might not realize what you have until it's gone, so it's best to try and appreciate it while you can. After a bit Aaron left because he had to work in a few hours so I watched some live music. One band played some rock music and the next played very playfully - interacting with the audience and joking about the harmonica being a weird brand. They covered CCR and after they were done I decided I was ready to head out.