Feels like Home To Me.

I find myself sitting on the couch after a long week of sitting on the couch. Yesterday I went for an interview, and I received the follow up call this morning. “We thank you for the time you’ve taken to come and meet with us, unfortunately on this occasion we won’t be proceeding to the next stage.” I can feel the tears welling behind my eyes. I can feel my throat tighten. Now as I sit here on the couch scrolling through Seek.com.au and any other job opportunities I’ve been referred, with The Lord Of The Rings playing in the background, I feel my heart aching for home again.

 

On Monday it was my Grandad’s 80th birthday. Much like Bilbo Baggins was saying, we have a love of peace and quiet, and good tilled earth, a love of things that grow (I dunno, maybe we are Hobbits). When I’m feeling worn down, out of spoons, and out of luck, home is the place that fills me up again. I flew down on Friday night and back again on Sunday afternoon. How I wish I had known before the flights were booked, I would have spent the whole week there.

 

My brother called my on Friday afternoon, and said to get dressed ready to go out when I got there. My friend and roommate Steph had caught an earlier flight and was waiting for me to arrive. So I change out of my jeans and sweatshirt into something less “aeroplane attire” and more “party all night”. The rest of the passengers were all a little taken aback I can imagine. But, I’ve always said, better to be overdressed for any occasion. #OwnIt.  “The eagle has landed,” a quick text to my brother and he was waiting to pick me up. So, out in town we go. I lived here for a few years before moving away. I remember why I left..

 

Early on Saturday morning I am up and ready to go. The drive back home is an hour down the highway, lined with bushland and canefarms. Everything is saturated green and blue. They’re the most vivid colours I’ve seen all year. I think to myself “this is the road home, every time, for my whole life, this is the road home.” This is the bridge I will cross every time. There is no way around it. This in the only crossing on this river unless you drive 6 hours inland to detour. This bridge means I’m 5 minutes from home. You can see my Grandad’s farm on the from the other side.

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Burdekin River Bridge, the “Silver Link”

Turning into our driveway is one of the best feelings in the world. Walking across the yard, through the gate and into the house – retracing my own steps from a thousand times before. Grandad is already here with my older brother. Mum welcomes me at the door. Dad isn’t far off. We are all sitting out under the back roof, overlooking the backyard, the chicken pen beyond the fence, the canfields past that, and up into the blue horizon. Steph is already allergic to the place, covered in bites and rashes and dog scratches. You can take a girl out of the city..

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There’s a 1945 resorted Jeep Willy in the shed that I’ve been telling Steph about. I’m pretty sure actually this is her main motivation for coming here in the first place. So we take it out for a ride around the farm. Crikey. The breaks aren’t good, and power steering didn’t exist in the 40’s. It’s a tough drive. We may have got it bogged in some mud on the headlands too, but the important thing is, we got it out. 3 dogs, 2 girls, 1 jeep. We did alright. We made it back to the farm with time to wash the mud off our legs and get ready for the night.

 

Soon the family starts arriving, coming in twos and threes, until I am encompassed by a feeling of love like a warm blanket in the cold night. Grandad is wandering around his party taking photos with his phone, I can already tell every single one of them will have his blurred finger shadow in the corner. Bless. He is capturing his legacy – a happy family. I wish I could say we are all here, but we’re not. There are 2 cousins missing. Sisters. They didn’t make the trip. I guess they are too young or too stubborn to appreciate the significance of tonight. I can see it in his eyes, if only they would have been here, they would have been forgiven. Love is all my grandad has to give, there is no capacity for malice in his kind heart.

 

It’s time for the speeches. My Dad gets up to say some kind words, my Aunty also does as well, the only daughter. My younger brother has nice things to say. Our youngest cousin says she loves her family. They all look to me. I’m drunk on Pimms and high on dopamine. I stand next to him in front of our whole family. I tell him that I love him, and between him and dad, you’ve shown me the measure of a good man. I don’t know if it was enough, but it was the truth. After the cake was eaten and the dessert was cleaned up, the celebrations for the night are over, but not the fun. Steph is sitting in her chair curled up on her knees, “Why don’t you go to bed if you’re tired honey? It’s been a big day,” my mother says. I know why she’s still here. We’ll be damned if we let any 80 year old party goers outlast us.

 

The next morning is something special. The family comes around for leftovers lunch today, and it’s much more relaxed. I soak in this time just listening and being near them. One uncle has flown in from Perth with his daughter, another from Brisbane with her husband and daughters. Even the ones that live just down the road from our farm, I hardly see them too. I look around and count the many ways I am happy to be here. But it’s over too soon. Steph and I have a plane to catch so we have to pack and leave much too prematurely. Saying goodbye is always the hard part. “When will you be back?” “You can always come and visit us in Perth” “Be sure to drop by whenever you like” “I look forward to seeing you here again”. Then all too soon, we are back in our apartment with our bags dropped on the floor thinking how quickly that weekend went.

 

S.

 

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When is a Working Girl Not a Working Girl? Why, When She’s Unemployed of Course! 

Let me let you in on a little thing. I am going overseas at the end of the year like every good human should do when they’re not ready for the reality of adulthood. I’m going with my best friend Mimi, and my best roommate Steph. It will be a rad super amazing time. BUT to travel, you need money, a source of income. Now, I have a lot of bills. I worked really hard when I was younger, and with a little boost from my dearest grandad, and I brought myself a house for my 21st. It will be a great investment and get’s me in the housing market. There are also many bills that arise from that. As well as renting here where I am now, and the expenses of living, I need a steady stream of income and I had one. Had.

 

Today I was fired. Fired from a job I was still in probation for. I’ve never been fired. In all my working history. I’m a pleasure to work with. I take quick understanding to my role and I’m a damn good kind human who does what is right by her customers. But anyway, I was fired. The management team gave me no grounds for dismissal, instead palming me off to call their HR department. I was informed that because I was still on probation, they wouldn’t deal with it and I should seek clarity from my Team Leader. OK well sure. It doesn’t really matter why, I guess, what’s done is done and it can’t be taken back. And for me, work isn’t everything right now. I have a lot going on, I just need an income. So now I am moving on to find that stream of income so I can fund my immediate life, and also fund a super rad great holiday with the best people I know.

 

Most people freak out about work, and unemployment, and unfair dismissal, or just dismissal in general. But work is only important if that’s the only thing in your life. There will always be other jobs you can do, there will always be other people to work for, there will always be something else. Even if that something is not the same as what you had before. When one door closes, it doesn’t mean they all have. It’s the shove that you need to look at a different industry, learn new skills, learn how to apply old skills to a new task. For me, particularly, at this stage of my life, there is so much more than work. Work is just a means to an end.

 

Since moving away from my little home town, the people I’ve met here have all been from work. I daresay most of the best connections I’ll make with people will be through the workforce. Being employed is more than just a job, it’s the people you meet and the bonds that you grow. If you’re lucky enough, when you part ways those bonds will strengthen into friendships that were built from the lunchroom and grow into your lounge room (preferably with a bottle of wine to share). So leaving one office and starting a new one is just an opportunity to widen that network and to grow those bonds.

 

I will take this unexpected long weekend to catch up on uni, maybe even submit a few assignments early because I’ll have time to do them, rather than be at work all day. I’ll clean my home, which I’ve newly set up with Steph. I’ll go to the afternoon yoga class, that I’ve been neglecting because I’ve been too exhausted to go after work every evening. I’ll organise my working Visa for Canada, because I definitely wouldn’t have been able to do that whilst at work, so I can take the odd job over there to support our adventures. I’ll reach out to my network of friends (all of whom I’ve met through previous jobs) to help me find a new stream of income in whatever field there is.

 

I don’t mind starting again. I will start again and again and again in my life. I’m comfortable with that. I’m comfortable being in this totally uncomfortable position of not knowing what I’m going to do on Monday. I’m comfortable with the thrill of meeting new people and learning new things and becoming really good at it.

 

So here I go, polishing my resume to catch a fish in that stream of income. To find something totally new that I can learn. Wish me luck!

 

S.