Monday, 22 May 2017

A new challenge

As many of you know I have been doing a Certification in Life Coaching to add to the qualifications I already have in Member Care.  I have enjoyed the course and hope to complete it in one more month. I have been already looking at opportunities for me to use what I have been learning and had a few conversations over the last weeks.

However, there has been some changes in the HR Dept here in MAF Australia.  Due to this there is a need for more staff members.  After an informal chat it became apparent that I could help in the interim and so discussions became more formal.  After discussing job profiles, contracts and agreements I will start on Tuesday, 30th May as HR Officer.  This will be for a time period of 6 months.  I am looking forward to the challenge and know I will be kept very busy.

The role is varied and many of the tasks will be new.  However, I am thankful for the experiences I have had in MAF Uganda which will help me in this new role here in Australia.  I look forward to joining the team here in Cairns.

I would value your prayers as it will be a big change for us all but thankful to have the family behind me and do their part to make this work.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Koala Moments

After living half of your life as an expat, and Australia being the fifth country you have lived in, it would be understandable if you sometimes feel like the koala in the picture above.  When cultural fatigue hits like a freight train, and it does, the only recoil is to sit on the proverbial branch and close your eyes for a bit.

This past year has been huge for our family in more ways than one.  As we adjust to our new “home” we often just have to have “Koala” moments.  A time to just be gentle on ourselves and realise it is going to take time to adjust to our new “normal”.  There are many reminders during the day that show us that Australia is not yet home and it will take a while.  We are the new round pegs trying to fit into a square hole and it just doesn’t work.  However, there will come a time when the round peg and the square hole will accept each other’s differences and will live comfortably side by side.

Cultural moments

On Saturday morning when I went to the servo (gas station, petrol station, filling station, or whatever else you might call it depending on your location and culture) and asked the man behind the counter for some ice for our esky (cooler box, chilly bin).  He looked at me and said I don’t understand.  I, of course, repeated it multiple times and still had the deer in the headlight look.  He asked the other customer “do you know what she is saying?” and he said “I have no idea”.  Then thankfully understanding came and he said “oh, you want some ice”.  Oh the relief, he got it.  I wondered if I had spoken in Chinese for a split second and that is why he couldn’t understand me.  Then to top it all when I was paying he said to me “are you local?”  I said I live locally but I don’t have the accent.  At which point he said I will give you locals rate then for your diesel.  We laughed at the irony.

Another day whilst in the local supermarket I was checking out at the self-check-out.  They have pictures on the display so it is usually easy to figure out what button to push for the vegetables and the fruit.  However, on this day I had a courgette but I couldn’t find the right button to push and the pictures weren’t helping.  It must be a zucchini then but no it wasn’t under “Z” either.  Thankfully, there was a helpful lady who saw my dilemma as I stared at the screen for probably too long without pressing any buttons and she told me what it was.  I think she said it was a marrow but can’t quite remember as she then proceeded to tell me what other vegetables are called that might not be so familiar in name.  I now know why we used picture books for one year olds to teach them what things are. (haha)

How to cut grass in Australia…..  Now you would think cutting the grass would be simple.  However, it takes time to figure out what patch of grass is yours and what part isn’t.  We were noticing people cutting grass but then leaving parts of it at one end.  Why would you do this?  Until you realise you are only responsible for the grass up to the imaginary boundary line of your property.  If there is still a couple of square metres of grass beyond that then you can leave it and it belongs to the neighbours.  I just found out recently that we haven’t been cutting our square metre on one side as I thought it belonged to the neighbor.  However, they have gone beyond the call of duty in these last months and cut it for us and we have been doing a bit extra on the other side.  Oh the things you learn.

The word “visa” gives a bit of a sinking feeling in the stomach when it is mentioned.  In the last 20 years or so I have been on a visa that gave me refugee status, a student visa, a dependents pass visa and now one that is affectionately called, according to some people online, “the slave visa”.  After all the craziness of the last months of trying to figure out visa issues the government is revamping the immigration system and the visa we are now on no longer exists.  It has been replaced by a newer one.  Thankfully, we will continue on the old 457 until it runs out in 4 years and hopefully, by then, we will have graduated onto a different one which will be more permanent.

There are many more stories that we could tell as we adjust to this country but this gives you a taster.  To end I will give you a bit of a laugh and insight into some Aussie words that we have been hearing along the way:-

Rellie’s – Relatives
Ripper – Great
Servo – Petrol Station
Thongs – Cheap rubber sandals
Rash vest – swim shirt
Togs - Swimsuit
Ute – Utility vehicle
Rego – Vehicle Registration
Arvo or Sarvo – Afternoon
Bikkie – Biscuit
Brekkie – Breakfast
Lollies -  Sweets or candy
True Blue -  honest and trustworthy
Avos -  Advocado
BYO – Bring your own
Chook -  Chicken
Chrissie – Christmas
Docket – Receipt
Dux – Top of the class
Reckon – Do you think so?
Kindie – Kindergarten
Freshie – Freshwater Crocodile

Saltie – Saltwater crocodile