05 March 2008

Becoming Aussies & Some Observations

This is how Scott went to work today!
A close-up of the logo on his shirt!

After finding out about my job yesterday I popped out to get a bottle of bubbly and a couple of other necessities. I passed a sports shop (Rebel Sports) and just couldn't resist getting us a couple of Wallabies t-shirts. After all, we've been here for a whole 9 days and needed to make a genuine start on our journey to becoming True Blue Australians!

Scott waiting at St Leonards station this morning
A city-bound CityRail train coming into St Leonards station

The trains here are double storey! When you walk in the doors, at the same level, you'll find seats for elderly or less mobile people (there's a sign asking you to give up you seat if someone like this boards the train). Opposite to these seats are stairs going to the lower level & to the upper level - you can see 2 parallel rows of windows. The trains are larger - wider - than SA and because of the double storey section on each carriage, you can get more people on the trains. The trains also run until midnight (I think) and after that the night bus takes over so you have 24 hour SAFE public transport.

The implications of this are far reaching. Just one of the things that I've noticed... There are so many elderly people out and about. They go out in groups and on their own - just yesterday there were a group of 3 old mates (must've been in their mid 70's) who had obviously been out to a function as they were all dressed in suits and some sort of insignia tie (think it was rotary or could've been ex-servicemen). They were talking animatedly between themselves and having a blast. The older generation aren't relegated to homes and forgotten here - they're out 'n about and still living life to the full.

And then there are the downs syndrome people. I can't believe how different they are here!!! You're probably thinking that that's a weird statement to make.... Well, I've seen so many downs syndrome people here - on trains, on buses, in coffee shops, behind shop counters - talking on mobile phones, chatting with friends (non-downs). They're fully functioning members of society with jobs and friends and lives. No-one talks to them like they're kids - just regular people. And they're gadding about on their own - not escorted by a parent or carer. Now this is true "upliftment". Taking someone who is less fortunate (whether financial, mental or physical) and uplifting them through education and care to ensure that they become fully functioning independent citizens. If this is any indication of the Australian Way, then I'm honoured to be on my journey to citizenship.

Just a bit more about my job....
I start work after the Easter long weekend - on Tuesday, 25 March. I won't be earning the big bucks just yet but will be having a salary/position review in September so have a few months to wow them. Part of my package is the car which adds about $15k annually. This is a serious bonus as we'd started looking around at cars. We weren't planning on buying just yet but just to get an idea of pricing and quality. OMG! These people love their big engines!!! And a lot of manuals on the road. There are so many station-wagons on the road it's scary - they're so ugly!

The company have a contract with the education department to supply and install SmartBoards, projectors, sound and DVDs into classrooms in public schools. They also do the private (independent) schools. The independents will be my baby.

I'd better get going - I'm still sitting here in my jammies and it's after 9am.

Chat soon!



Carol Markusse said...

Your job sounds exciting Mands. Congrats!! I can't say Scott looks to thrilled with the shirt LOL.

mike and cavell said...

Hi Guys, well done on the job. Now you get a three bedroom apartment, and cavell can come and live with you. Scott, you traitor, you should have worn a springbok shirt just to upset the aussies. Better still, wear an english rose on your shirt. Sure to get you hurt.Sounds an awful lot like SA. No taxis, no crime, lots of discipline, no political fraud etc.
Shangrila at its best. Miss you okes, and keep writing. dad and cavell

Uta said...

Am loving experiencing this journey through your blog - enlightening, exciting - thanks for sharing!!!

Nubud said...

The really great thing about this Blog is that you are both so observant. Even without the pics you paint a vivid picture of the world around you; or the Sydney around you!
Hope by now you have the apartment confirmed, it sounds good particularly the extra accomodation -Cavell is going to have to fight me for the bedroom, Mike!
Luvya lots - Mom