So I live in Australia. Crazy.
Right now I’m living in Surfers Paradise, which is in the Gold Coast, Queensland. It’s like Australia’s version of Miami. The beach goes on for miles! The contrast between the natural environment and human development is wild. There is nothing more natural than the ocean, but at the same time you’re surrounded by skyscrapers.
It took a week to find a place to live. I looked at some awful places. The first one was right on the beach and had a great view, but was really dirty and small. And the middle aged man that was showing me the room failed to mention in the ad that he lives there as well. It was one of those sketchy places where this guy lived with all these young international girls that couldn’t speak English very well. So needless to say, we booked it out of there. When I got here I was staying with my friends Luba and Mo, who are both from Ontario. They are so great to me and have helped me out so much! It’s nice having some Canadian friends because it feels like family.
The places I looked at got better after that first one. My flat is pretty much right on the beach. I can actually hear the ocean waves crashing on the beach from my apartment. I live on the 21st floor and the view is amazing! You can see the ocean, the river, and the city. My flat mates are all great. I live with two Brazilian guys that are studying English here, and my roommate is a Korean girl who’s lived in Vancouver, the States, and Korea. It’s fascinating learning about their cultures and listening to their language.
I’m also working at this place called Nicolini’s, which is a popular Italian restaurant in town. It’s run very differently than restaurants in Canada (there isn’t even a point of sale computer system!) It’s just a lot more laid back in general. The expectations from staff and customers are much lower, so when Canadians serve like we do in Canada, people are normally pretty impressed. There are a couple of Canadians, Italians, and Brazilians that work there. There are actually only a few Aussies on staff.
It’s not customary to tip in Australia, so servers actually get paid more. The average is around $16/hour on weekdays, $19 or $20 on Saturdays, and then $25 on Sundays. It’s nice because you’re guaranteed the money, whereas in Canada you never know how much you’ll make in tips because it depends on if it’s busy. However, in Canada you have the potential to make a hundred or couple hundred a night in tips. I still get some tips too. Not as much as back home, but it’s still some extra cash. I’m SO lucky I got this job cause no one is hiring right now. My friend Luba already worked at Nicolini’s and they had three people leaving, so she managed to get me a trial shift. I printed off 17 resumes and was all ready to paper the town with them, and I didn’t end up having to drop off one. I’m so grateful.
I’ve been spending as much time as I can on the beach, which still isn’t as much time as I’d like. The amount of times people have asked me why I’m so white is ridiculous. Uh, hello, it’s cause I just came from Canada! Last time I checked, winter jackets don’t help in the tanning department.
Stay tuned for a posting on the differences I’ve noticed between Australia and Canada (the accent isn’t the only difference!) , and a posting on my trip to Byron Bay (which was AMAZING!)