Sunday, May 31, 2009

Weekend in Sydney

I feel as if I didn't do a whole lot this past weekend, but when I think about it, I did a pretty good job on filling my schedule.

Friday I woke up early and headed into Sydney to attend a job and career fair. It was at a big exhibition center in the heart of the city. It was your standard job fair. There were universities, government agencies, and a wide variety of career choices. The majority of the attendees seemed to be high school and university students, but there were also a fair amount of people like me just looking for a job. I picked up a few informational packets and even filled out an application for one company. A woman was there from Hamilton Island. I'm not sure if you heard a few months back about the "greatest job in the world" search that involved hiring a caretaker for Australia's Hamilton Island. They were just advertising their website and some of the positions that are available. It would be like working on your own private Caribbean Island.

After that, I walked a long way all the way to an area known as The Rocks. I picked up my train nearby at Circular Quay where the Opera House is and headed home. I went for a run when I returned and that was my Friday.

Saturday I went to the Shiraz and Jazz festival in Cronulla. It was a big wine and food tasting. Unfortunately it rained all weekend, but it didn't stop people from going out and enjoying the wine and food. The festival was right next to my old employer, so I stopped in and picked up my pay slips so I can fill out my tax forms and said hello to a few of my former employees. No awkwardness. I'm over it.

I bought 10 tokens for $10 and also a $2 glass for my samples. At each wine booth I could either give 3-5 tokens for a whole glass or just one token for a taste. I found that just paying one token was more than enough. It took me a good 2-3 hours to use all ten of my tokens. In Australia, there are no buckets to spit your wine out. You drink it. I was very happy I opted not to buy 20 tokens, because after 10 samples, I felt just fine. My favorite wine, of all kinds that I sampled was the Cabernet Sauvignon. I think I'm more of a white wine fan.

There were wines from all over Australia there. Yellow Tail had a booth. Yellow Tail is a wine I work with back home. I mentioned that to several of the samplers. They all knew about its success overseas. Yellow Tail reminds me a lot of Foster's Beer because I never see Australians drinking it, but Americans love it.

Because the festival was right on the ocean, and it was raining, I had the chance to see a beautiful rainbow. The last time I saw a rainbow was on a trip to Las Vegas back in 2007 while driving from Portland, Oregon. This was a beautiful scene. The beach, the water, the surfers and the boardwalk and a beautiful rainbow in the background. It's hard to savor moments because once they're gone, that's it. But I made sure just to enjoy that one for a few minutes before it disappeared.

The day was eerily similar to a day I spent in Breckenridge, Colorado back in July, 2008. That day, along with my intern, I attended a Corvette show and a music festival. Both events that day were rained on and had a very well off, non-diverse attendance. On Saturday, there was a display for Ford Mustangs. It is so strange to see American cars with steering wheels on the right side of the car. The jazz music wasn't bad at this event either.

Saturday night I watched old episodes of LOST on my computer. In the US, LOST has been finished for three weeks. We still have the second half of the season finale this Wednesday. I can't wait for it! If you're a LOST fan, my all time favorite episode is still Season 4, Episode 5. It's the one centered around Desmond.

Like Friday night, I also had a great night sleep Saturday night. I woke up this morning at 8am and went for my 2.5 mile walk/run, then ate a huge breakfast. I had my bowl of "The Guardian" Cereal with a sliced banana in it. I also had a fruit salad with kiwi fruit, apples and oranges in it, and a protein shake.

I then called my friend Ken Macie back in Massachusetts. I was in Ken's wedding back in November. He and is wife are moving into a new house. He is still working at TPC golf course in Boston. It was great to talk to him again.

After that, I sat and watched the first two periods of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on my laptop, as well as game 6 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals on TV. Once I saw the Cavaliers were going to lose, I took the train into the city and had a late lunch and a couple beers with my friend from Keene, NH. It was great to catch up. We talked about the Red Sox, Australia culture, what it will be like to return to the states, and a slew of other things. I had a couple Australian beers I haven't tried before and a pizza with salmon on it.

It was great to see him for a couple reasons. First because it is always fun to go to the city and have a beer and a good meal with someone I know. The second reason is because up until then, everything I did on Friday and Saturday, I did by myself and I was really in need of some conversation. I've never had any trouble going on adventures solo, obviously. It is really what I do. But spending too much time alone isn't always fun. It would have been great to have some people to enjoy that wine festival with, or to walk around the job fair in Sydney. I guess despite all these fun things I did, it was a rather lonely weekend. However, I don't dwell on the lonliness because I remind myself that (A) I'm in Australia, (B) meeting people isn't the easiest thing in the world, and (C) I'm gaining new experiences everyday.

It is funny I mention that because Curt York invited me out tonight for drinks and I declined! I was exhausted from the run and the trip to and from the city and just had no desire to have a slew of drinks on a Sunday night like so many Australians love to have. No, tonight I am writing to you, having a light dinner, and spending an hour with Mr. Jack Bauer. My roommates are kicking around here too, so there's some additional company.

So that was my weekend. Thanks again for checking in. Be sure to check back here in two days for my "Six months in Australia" post.

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