Here is a recap month by month. Enjoy!
September: Five Months Till Australia "when you're mad just smile and nod."
I spent this month worrying about the plane ticket and the expensive tuition. I missed going back to college like all the other students. I quit my job at Burger King, which I frequently referred to as Burger Hell. I started a new job at McDonalds, wow what a transition. The reason for this was because I was constantly being harassed by a co-worker. I nicknamed No Balls or The Wanker. I found out that my grandparents planned to come to Australia in September of this year. It was this month that it occurred to me about flying. I was terrified of it. I kept seeing movies, where planes were crashing or there was a terrorist involvement. This fuelled my fear even more. I also started a paper route near the end of the month to raise some extra money for my trip.
October: Four Months Till Australia "Without the bad we wouldn't appreciate the good, with out struggle, we wouldn't strive for what we want."
This is the month that I contemplated time zones for some reason. I was now working at McDonalds it’s wasn’t much better than Burger King. Something’s were better, but some were weird. For instance the clocks at work were 7 minutes fast and they constantly ran out of things a frequent one being strawberry milkshakes. I was just starting and I was finding it hard to adjust to being a cashier. I met some quirky customers as well as really mean one.
Top six lies they will tell you when you are hired at a fast food place:
1. You will have fun.
2. The customer is always right
3. "We go by your availability"
4. The managers are understanding and are willing to listen to your problems.
5. "You must work at all times we don't pay you to do nothing."
6. To customers you are insert name of place here
After a while I was put I the back booth a part of the McDonalds drive thru. I was the order taker. Anyways one of the common problems with back booth was people would drive past my window. It was the most frustrating thing ever.
This was also one of the toughest weeks of the month because I found out I might not be going to Australia after all. Well I obviously did. Its weird thinking about that now. I had some troubles with student finance. Apparently funding was by program and not by school. But I didn’t know that. It was a really stressful and depressing.
November: Three Months Till Australia “I know what I am doing just leave me be.”
An old college instructor was upset with me because I was at McDonalds big deal. I also developed a fear of the freezer. I was terrified that I might get locked in there. Its weird I know. Getting ready for Australia was confusing as….This month I applied for my student visa. Which was granted. I had to apply online, in which I was asked character questions. I also had to get a physical. The Australian Idol Guy Sebastian was a motivation for Australia. Don’t ask… I also thought my house was haunted and my Grandma made me edit her boring Christmas newsletter.
It was in this month that my Grandma bought me a Tim Hortons coffee mug. I never even ask her for it, she just went and bought it for me. She said every time I drink coffee in Australia I will think of her. The reason for this is I mentioned how I seen a commercial where a Canadian was back packing through Europe and other travelling Canadians recognized him because of the Timmy's mug. I mentioned it as a joke. My grandma took me seriously and bought it. (For all you non-Canadian readers Tim Hortons is a restaurant chain in Canada that serves coffee, doughnuts, and sandwiches, just to name a few.)
Some interesting stories:
I came across a tiny bite left of a hamburger. The table was deserted. There was no coat or anything to signify that anyone was coming back. I took the tray with the burger and threw it in the trash. I came back to wipe a table. I was two tables away, when the customer came back. "Where’s my sandwich you? Who threw it out? He looks at me. I told him I am sorry but no one was siting there. He just wouldn't let it go. I just tried to ignore him. I mean its not like I could do anything. Until he came and bitched to another cashier. I had to go back to get a manager. It was embarassing. I apologized to the main manager. She said it was OK, that he was a panhandler and she has had to kick him out before. A free one was given to him because of it. Did he perhaps scam a sandwich? I will never know. But it was a nice touch that he made me feel like crap over it. He glared at me. I hate hamburgers now.
I was in back booth at work, there was a till malfunction. Somehow I had rung in 7,000+ cheeseburgers on the til. And I could not get rid of the order. All I was trying to do ring in a cheeseburger only ketchup. The customer wanted two 2 cheesburger meals, on one of the meals she wanted one of the burgers to be only ketchup. The manager came to try and cancel the order but it wouldn't work. There are two tills in back booth. I was sent to the other till. However, the tills are connected, so sometimes they switched orders. The gigantic gibbled order would appear at the new till I was on. So I had to switch to the other till. It did that three times. I kept getting a message asking me to pay $12,000+. I would loose people’s orders completely as well. And this all happened during lunch rush. There are two cashiers in back booth at lunch, but because the till was acting wonky, there was only one, which was me. Some stupid lady drove past me because they figured there was another cashier. I had 94,000 cheeseburgers on the order at one point. Management had to close drive thru down for approximately five minutes to reboot the system. Luckily it was all fixed. But it was frustrating. The manager had to give out free meals every time the orders got buggered up.
December: Two Months Till Australia: “Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way!”
It started off as a cold month but it eventually warmed up. I kept meeting Aussies at work. I took it as a sign I was meant to go. We received new uniforms at McDonalds they looked classier than the old ones. A co-worker made the point that they looked like Star Trek uniforms. This was going to be my first Christmas away from family. Depressing I know. Not much else to add except the onslaught of evil Christmas shoppers and my temporary roommate that I let stay with me over Christmas.
January: One Months Till Australia: “To save only what I need. To get rid of what I don't.”
This is the month I started packing. It was really hectic. I still don’t know how I managed to get through it all. To top it all off my roommate accuses me of having a borderline personality, after which our friendship deteriorated and I kicked her out. A new fear was added to my list, sharks. You think I would learn. Ah yes my computer crashed and I completely lost everything, including important papers for Australia. I was kind of annoying. I also made another friend. Seem weird to form a friendship with only a month before I left, but it was worth it.
Ten things I couldn't stand at McDonalds
1. Coupons, why do we need them? They kill trees and take up space in tills. Not to mention people can't read them properly and get mad at you when you tell them the correct way.
2. Families who order massively huge orders.
3. Cleaning lobby, people are such pigs.
4. Getting my break so freaking early.
5. Winter brrr.. it was cold the last couple of months. Duh I lived in Canada.
6. Not being ready for Australia and thinking about it all the time at work.
7. Customers who get mad when there is no breakfast left.
8. There would be times when there was no debit service.
9. People who can't read signs that say we have no debit machines.
10. People who think they know it all.
February: 17 days Till Australia: “I have arrived to the Land Down Under”
Three weeks of this month were spent preparing for my trip. It was stressful. My mom decided to come and visit me at the last minute. I am glad she did. Unfortunately I never gave her a hug good bye because out of confusion of leaving in the early morning. I forgot. Her van went on her so she wasn’t able to make it to the airport to see me off. It’s kind of depressing really.
When I finally made it to Australia I kept making comparisons to things back home to the point that it annoyed me. For instance they call McDonalds Maccas. I also thought I would die of heat because I left during a cold snap. It’s terrible really I joked around and said “wouldn’t it be funny if I left during a cold snap?” Irony I tell you. My first few weeks were hard and I developed homesickness.
I also met my new flatmates. Justin and Joan, well Justin first he was hardly ever home because he was working then near the end of the month Joan moved in. Joan irritated me to me so much she rambled on an on and was obscenely loud. Two days later they were dating it was really awkward. Hence, I moved out at the end of the month. To think I kind of sort of liked him. Eww…. I also got hit on by a drunken Aussie.
Things I have learned in Aussie so far:
-“Have a spill” or “Cool your heals” means have a rest
-In Oz my name is pronounced Melissar not Melissah.
-Money is heavier and bulkier than Canada. Bills are plastic and wont tear.
- Ketchup is called tomato sauce.
-People are obscenely friendly and will do anything to help you
-Walking around barefoot is common
-So is trying a grape at the super market. Well you’re not supposed too but it is acceptable, even if there is an employee is right behind you. Mind you, you can’t try a peach or a nectarine.
-“Beautiful” Means very nice or lovely. For example ‘These grapes are beautiful” Its not exactly the appearance.
-If they say you’re being a fuss pot it means your being a pain in the ass.
-Electrical Plugs are round, not square.
-Low 20s is considered cool weather.
-Words are abbreviated, such as air con as opposed to air conditioner, Uni as opposed to University.
-A swim suit is called swimmers.
- Aussies say rightio or all rightie a lot.
-If an Aussie says “You’ll be right” It means you will be OK. Everything will work out.
-They don’t have Herseys chocolate only Nestle and Cadbury. They don’t know what chocolate kisses are.
-Some times in order to understand an Aussie you need to listen very carefully or look right at them when they speak as they speak very fast. If not I have to ask them to repeat themselves, they don’t get angry about it when I ask though
.-Aussies laugh at me when I tell them I left from below freezing weather. They probably can’t imagine it.
-Things are more expensive here than back home. -Shopping was quite a shock cereal such as Rice Crispies are called Rice Bubbles and Frosted Flakes are called Frosties. I only know they were frosted flakes because I saw Tony the Tiger.
-Aussies drive on the wrong side of the road. I often hear them saying Canadians drive on the wrong side.
-They mix up Canadian and American. They often ask me stuff about America or say my home is America, but they think Americans are idiots. I think they mean North America not the U.S. If I am not sure I simply answer I don’t know I am Canadian.
-The restaurant Hungry Jacks is the same as Burger King in North America. I saw a commercial for a whopper that’s how I figured it out.
-McDonalds is called Maccas. Meals come in sizes, there is no regular or upsized. I was told to ask for a large meal.
-My hair is ten times curlier than home, whooh. All that humidity.
-Cheerio’s in Aussie are sausage not cereal.
My first week of University, the Aussies call it uni. I was really nervous. But it all worked out. I made a new friend her name is Amy, she is really cool. When we first met we talked about Bollywood and the differences between Indigenous people in Canada and Australia.
As previously mentioned I moved out into a new unit. Where I made new flatmates, Shane and Louise, (Louie) My previous flatmates Justin and Joan would not let my moving go. It was really irritating.
On March 20, Cyclone Larry was terrorizing Northern Queensland. They say it was a category five storm. I am good, seeing as I live in Central Queensland. Also recently there was Cyclone Glenda in Western Australia. I was even safer seeing it was in a whole other state. My family seems to think I can show them around Australia. I think they forget Australia is a big place. I am afraid I wouldn't make a very good tour guide. My Grandma who has no idea about geography was concerned for my safety.
I am finding my journalism classes easy, and sometimes repetitive. So far things were getting better I was getting over my homesickness.
On April 8, I went to Great Keppel Island with my friend Amy and the International Students. It was awesome fun. I received an excruciating sunburn, due to lack of sunscreen. Australian sun is way more powerful than home. It was so bad I went to the hospital. I burst into tears when the nurse at the out patients check in asked me for a next of kin and said it could be relative. Hmm... I have none here there all in Canada. My ex flatmate Joan volunteered to be my next of kin. I like to refer to my sunburn as a painful souvenir.I was also introduced to my flatmate Louie’s enormous movie collection she has over 200.Uni was also going well I had many assignments due but I got through it all. My flatemate Shane moved out, leaving the second biggest room. I also developed a new celebrity favourite Rove McMannus from the show Rove Live. He’s hilarious. I’ll miss the show when I go back to Canada.
May was a stressful month many assignments were due near the end of it. But it was a good month. I made a new friends Chris, who is an Aussie and Antonia, who is from Hong Kong. My homesickness has gone away and I feel like I am adjusting more. There is so much to write about this month I do not know where to start. So I will save some more details for next post.
I think that sums most of it up for now. :)
A Life of Choice
8 years ago