Monday, 14 June 2010

Phase 2

We have been in Brisbane for less than four weeks, yet if someone told me I’d been here for four months I would probably believe them. From the moment our plane touched down at Brisbane International Airport at 8.30pm on Tuesday, May 18, it has been go, go, go.
Things got off to a shaky start, reminiscent of our arrival in 2008 when we turned up during Australian Open fever and had nowhere to stay. This time round we had arranged to stay with Lloyd, an old college friend, for the first couple of nights, until we found our feet. However, Lloyd had got confused and thought we were arriving on the Thursday. So, at around 10pm, we had to find somewhere to stay in a city we barely knew. Not the start we had hoped for! Anyway, we ended up in Bunk (a giant backpackers full of ‘young’uns’). Not really our cup of tea, but at least it was a bed for the night.
Later in the week we did actually manage to stay with Lloyd and he also lined up a job interview for me with the boss of the cafe that he works at. By the Friday I was working at Atomic Coffee on Albert Street in the CBD. At this point I should talk about the horrific start to that Friday.... By this time we were back at Bunk (it was like a magnet, we kept getting dragged back to that horrible place) and I was due to be at Cool Beans (another cafe owned by Lloyd’s boss) for 8.30am. It was pouring with rain and I had totally underestimated how long it would take to get there from the backpackers. By the time I arrived, nearly 10 minutes late, I was hot, sweaty and soaking wet. Not the first impression I had planned. Darren, the boss, doesn’t mince his words. He made it clear that I was late and that he wasn’t impressed and also that Anthony, the boss of Atomic Coffee, had been expecting me 10 minutes ago! Things were just getting better and better.... Darren gave me garbled directions to the cafe and I headed out into the rain, again. When I eventually arrived at Atomic I was chucked straight in the deep end – pouring shots for the head barista during the morning rush! I have had some barista experience from working at Dolce and Gelato, but nothing prepared me for the pace at  Atomic. The rest of that morning is a bit of a blur, but let’s just say I must have done something right because they asked me back on the Monday.
Since then I have been working full time, Monday to Friday. The cafe is at the bottom of a giant office block and most of the customers are city workers, meaning that it is pointless opening at weekends. I spend most of my days off catching up on sleep as, to be at work for 7am, I have to catch the 5.45am train (or 5.15am when I start at 6am!). It’s tiring stuff but they pay well, so I can’t really complain. The people I work with are all very friendly. At the moment there’s a bit of a staff change-over going on, as quite a few people have left, but the newbies seem nice from what I can tell. Not that we get much time to chat, as it’s so busy all the time.
During our first week in Brisbane we went to visit Barry, Sue and Shane in Redcliffe. Barry and Sue used to live in Clinton Road, opposite my parents, but emigrated about 25 years ago. We stayed with them last time we were in Brisbane and thought we might stay this time for a while. However, Redcliffe is about an hour out of the city, which would have made job hunting virtually impossible. Barry and Sue were just packing up to go to the UK for 10 weeks, so it was nice to catch them before they left. We will hopefully see them again in August when they return. In the meantime Shane has offered to show us a few places, so we’ll probably meet up with him again soon.
Shortly after we arrived we were walking through Fortitude Valley and bumped in to Dan’s old school friend Joe, who moved over here about four years ago. Although Joe knew we were in Australia, we hadn’t yet told him we were in Brisbane, so I think he was pretty shocked to see us. That weekend he invited us to his house in Red Hill, where he lives with his girlfriend Steph, for a BBQ. Also at the BBQ was another of Dan’s school friends, Robin, who Dan hadn’t seen for years. They all had a right old catch up, gossiping about everyone they knew from the good old days and discussing what they were all up to now. After the BBQ we headed into the West End to watch a fantastic band – Chocolate Strings. They are classed as a ‘funk’ band, whatever that means! To me it sounded like a mix of jazz, blues and a bit of reggae. But, whatever it was, it was awesome and I even bought a CD afterwards.
After a week of hostelling both Dan and I were more than ready to find our own place. Being surrounded by drunk 19-year-old travellers when you have to get up for work at 5am is not fun. Anyway, we hunted around on Gumtree and made a shortlist. The first place we looked at was is the gorgeous area of Paddington
The next day we took a bus to Morningside, to view the second house on our list. Again, the area looked really promising, but I didn’t get my hopes up after last time. However, this house was lovely. A brand new development, made up of small townhouses. Although the room we would be living in was considerably smaller than the one in Newtown we didn’t mind, as the rest of the house was perfect. We didn’t say yes straight away, as we had another house to view that evening. However, after the third house turned out to be a party venue, we immediately said yes to the one in Morningside. We moved in to the house on Ison Street the next day. It felt so good to unpack and relax. The 20 minute commute doesn’t even bother me, because it’s worth it to stay in such a nice house. Plus I get to read my book on the train, so the time passes really quickly.
The house also occupies the owner, Anna, and two Brazilians – Miara and Larissa. All three are friendly and chatty and have given us lots of useful information about Brisbane. Miara is leaving soon unfortunately but, as her and Larissa share a room, I don’t think anyone else will be moving in.
This Monday is a public holiday, courtesy of the Queen’s birthday, so I think Dan and I are going to head out of the city to do some exploring. I think it’s hilarious that the Aussies have a day off for the Queen’s birthday yet, even though she lives in the UK, we don’t celebrate it at home. Personally I think Australians use any excuse for a holiday! Not that that’s a bad thing of course....


John and Tryna Feesey said...

Lovely to catch up with you via the blog,thankfully after a shaky start things are looking great for you both; the townhouse looks very nice and trendy and the journey to work is relaxing for you Jo - hopefully there is a bookstall nearby for you!

I don't envy your early mornings and busy days Jo, but at least you've got the weekends off to enjoy, hopefully Dan's new job is Monday to Friday as well so you can make the most of your time in Brisbane together.

Looking forward to your next blog and photos.

Take care and love to you both.

Tryna, John, Stephanie and Danielle xxxx