Thesis: Life Here is Getting More Engaging.
I’m no longer cooped up with a mob of America students in a sterilized building. Now that my internship has started I’m enjoying new faces and activities. I am happy for the change of scenery.
I enjoy the company of people at work. I think they are kind and interesting. The secretaries and I are getting on rather well. My cubical is next to theirs so we have plenty of opportunity to talk. We talk about Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Series of books. (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and its sequels…) Last weekend at the beach I noticed someone reading “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” while they sat on the sand. I decided to download the audio book. Since I was assigned to format one thousand invoices into a spreadsheet I have had plenty of time at work to listen to audio books. I’m now on to the second book in the Millennium Series, The Girl Who Played with Fire. I find the book unnerving at times.
Work is pleasant. I have lots of tasks to do, but no deadlines. So I just putt away at my assignments slowly while listening to books. It’s relaxing. Yesterday, my floor of the firm went to eat lunch together. Everyone forced their extra chips (fries) on me. I assumed the function of food processor and finally served a vital function.
I discovered that to work for the State Department in the international affairs arena it is advantageous to speak a second language. I decided that alongside learning Spanish I want to brush up on my Japanese. I have picked up a new Japanese language partner. I’ve had five long term language partner come and go. This one is a guy in his late twenties. He asks me a bunch of strange questions. Japanese people are taught that westerns are much more open then Asians. This is absolutely true, however westerners have a sense of prudence when speaking with strangers. Cause of the assumption of western openness, Japanese-speaking westerns have noticed that Japanese people ask them rather personal questions in casual conversation. The Japanese believe that they are adapting to their friend’s culture, but to the western friend it comes off surprising personal. I had to remind myself of this snag in cultural communication pretty quickly after meeting this guy. I usually take language partners because I want the practice, someone to hang out with, and I enjoy the power trip of presenting my opinions as facts.
In the Bohemian section of Sydney, Newtown, there is a church that rents out its space to clubs. I joined the Capoeira club there. I’m terrible at Capoeira, but I have always wanted to try it. Capoeira is a martial art from Brazil that is performed with music and singing. The first lesson was instructions on kicks, handstands, and tambourine playing. While music is played (by the students) other students participate in a type of play fighting. The class is for all levels and some of the people there are really good. I like the group. They are young, fit, and active people who share a common interest with me. They also love high fives and besos. The Profesora led the students in a round of applause for me. It was my first day and I had been the first person to enter the circle. My eagerness didn’t go unnoticed. Here is a video of what Capoeira is, the video includes members of the class.
After Capoeira I have decided also to attend a Barista school. I want to work in a café next fall and I think that attending a school will bolster my resume where I lack experience. From my limited knowledge of being a barista I think making espresso drinks is fun.
My association with the firm gives me a membership to a Leagues Club. It is a type of recreation centre located two blocks away from the office. There is a gym and bar there frequented by professionals. I have set-up a routine where I gobble down lunch at my cubical (home cooked rice and ground beef with hot sauce) then I go to the gym. When I come back from the gym. I secretly dry my towel on top of a filing cabinet that is out of sight.
The Quakers are nice to me. After the Meeting, I fill my cheeks with brownies and cookies during the post-meeting teatime. There are more and more young people attending. Luke came along once. One older Quaker woman offered to take me on a drive to a distant beach. I accepted her offer not really certain if it will ever materialize.
I don’t see Luke much anymore. This is a good thing though, we have seen too much of each other since arriving. He and I take out our friendly annoyance on each other with little pranks. I put salt in his mouthwash, he had some revenge, I put salt in his coffee, and he put Vegemite all over the mouthpiece of my didgeridoo. I am planning revenge for this. Luke works late into the night and sometimes doesn’t come back until I am asleep and leaves before I wake up. I don’t cook for him anymore, so now I am just cooking for myself. Since we no longer share groceries I have started to spend slightly more money on food. Since he isn’t there to insist on buying the cheapest products possible, I no longer buy peanut butter and jelly that was made in China.
I don’t have much time left in Australia. Just over five weeks left before I’ll be back. I’m glad that things have shaped up to be more engaging. I learned that it is on me to make my life interesting.