55 Hours

This last week has been completely hectic. After finding our place to live with no issues, we succeeded in moving and setting up pretty much completely by Sunday. And by we, I mostly mean Kiwi, as the majority of my week was taken up by work. The two jobs are having a bit of a fight for my time and somehow managed to take all of it this week. Not only were the hours a bit excessive, but the schedule was rather dismal and on a couple of occasions late night closes at the bar were followed by early mornings at the cafe followed by late night closes, repeat. I realize I should not complain, as I’ve done this to myself, but somehow things seemed to pile on a bit faster than I was expecting them to. Something’s got to give. My plan is to search for a different cafe job, giving me mostly days, and then cutting my shifts back at the restaurant to give me a more manageable schedule. I enjoy the bar and want to keep that job, as they have made me a bartender which is excellent fun, great experience, and prepares me nicely for finding future under-the-table jobs in sunny countries around the world.

The cafe is another story. It doesn’t take a Dr. Seuss calibre imagination to picture the type of people who would turn up at a cafe in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, which is an area chock full of organic grocery stores, boutique clothing shops, and some ridiculously priced real estate. Especially when said cafe literally has an item on the menu called “Hipster Bircher” and charges you $20+ for your average breakfast. Someone actually ordered a side of avocado and a side of spinach for breakfast the other day, along with their weak decaf skinny soy extra hot cappuccino with added foam. The downfall of this cafe vs. every other cafe anywhere is that it has a large backyard area with picnic tables and sunshine. This would not normally be cause for alarm, but it is what – or rather, who – this area attracts that is the issue; the suburban housewives come in droves, pushing their designer prams, not controlling their unruly toddlers, and chatting for hours about the imported muslin they have used to decorate their nurseries and the downfalls of public school. Spending hours wading through a sea of children pushing toys with wheels , cleaning up after them, and making sure they don’t get 3rd degree burns from knocking over someone’s coffee is not what I signed up for when I began working at a cafe. This is what people who work at daycares do. There are people who like to work with kids and find rewarding careers doing so. I am not one of those people. So the cafe has to go. I have a feeling that the job search will wait for another week, as it’s already nearly halfway through my weekend and I intend to spend most of the rest of it doing nothing, with a splash of wine and most necessarily a yoga class thrown in. I can’t imagine how your body would feel after spending twenty or thirty years working in the hospitality industry; a week has done me in pretty well.

The game at the moment is finding the balance between work (which equals savings which equals future travel and less work) and life. It’s easy to vote for enjoying life right now, and I definitely need to, but there are few countries where I will make as much cash with my time as I will here, so the argument for using this time to save is pretty strong as well. If my hopeful notion of spending at least six months in Latin America (vastly unemployed – except for the slim possibility of pouring drinks or teaching English at some point) works out, I will need a solid bankroll to fund this, and need to keep that in mind.

Even with my limited free time at the moment, enjoying life is easy. Living out of the city centre was a brilliant decision, and even after finishing work at 12:30 a.m., I haven’t (yet) minded the 40 minute commute. It’s like taking a breath of fresh air. I do enjoy the city, but after working in a hectic cafe and then a hectic bar for ten hours, wandering back to my cruisy beachy suburb is the best thing in the world. Our apartment is a funky art-deco place with high ceilings, wooden floors and finishes, and all of the strange quirks that come with these types of buildings. It’s as if people who were building things a few decades ago had not yet lived in a building, and did not grasp the fact that it makes absolutely no sense to put a light switch in a place that requires you first close the door before turning it on, and other such amusing abnormalities. The two roommates are great, and include a rather tatted Brit who undoubtably has an extensive arsenal of interesting stories, hinted to by the fact that he is getting belongings shipped to him from at least three countries around the world (Paraguay, England, and South Africa if my combined memory and guessing ability is correct). The other is an Aussie, Kiwi’s friend, and the reason that we found the place in the first place. Roommate dinners appear to already be making a regular appearance and the flat is an excellent place to hang out and relax. I’ve also discovered not one, but two bagel shops in my area. I hadn’t had a bagel since leaving Canada until today, and they have been sorely missed. Bagels are delicious. They are so much better than bread, and more countries in the world need to catch on to this (Spain missed the memo as well – that was a long bagel-less five months). So with the promise of lots of bagels on the horizon, I am very much so looking forward to the next bit.


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