Saturday, 22 June 2019

Oz Adventure: Living in Brisbane

Another chapter of my Oz adventure is coming to a close so I figured it was a perfect time to write another blog post and catch up on the past three months!

Story Bridge

So last time I wrote I was just about to start my job at Gelato Messina, and it was great. I've been working there for the past three months and have found it to be a really positive experience. The people I met were lovely, they were from all over the world and it was a very relaxed atmosphere. Unfortunately the hours didn't really add up to what I needed to save money. So in early May I decided to look for another job to fit around Messina. I was extremely lucky to get an all-rounder position at a cafe for weekdays mornings. It was weird how quickly I got that job compared to the month it took me to get my first job. However I'm so glad I was able to get the cafe job, it has been a lifesaver and means I'm able to leave Brisbane a month earlier than originally planned.

The other main thing in my life since I last wrote is my boyfriend, Tom, (which still feels weird to say, let alone type!) We'd actually just got together the last time I wrote but it was so brand new it felt weird to shout it out to world, which it still does but he's become such a big part of my life that I want to explain why 'I' has turned to 'we.' It's definitely an unusual start to a relationship - living in the same room and being together 24/7. It's intense and could definitely go horrendously wrong but we are  lucky and it's gone very, very right.

As well as working, April was spent exploring more of Brisbane. We had lots of barbeques  around the city- at Kangaroo Point, Roma Street Parklands and Southbank. Most Sundays were spent exploring new places like Bulimba and Redcliffe (our Redcliffe trip is possibly one of my favourite days in Australia so far.) The weekday evenings were spent in the hostel getting competitive at Killer Pool and the pub quiz, as well as many movie and card game nights. Midway through April Tom had his birthday so we treated ourselves and stayed in an Airbnb for two nights which was so lovely, it was great to have our own space, get away from the hostel and just relax. I did also have another spout of tonsillitis which meant I was bed bound for a few days, but I spent it watching Harry Potter so it had its perks.

The first two weeks of May were fab, we had a day trip to the Botanical Gardens by Mount-Cootha which was a lovely break from fast-pace city life. Tom and I also had a spontaneous trip to Byron Bay as we both had a weekend off work. This is definitely one of my favourite couple of days in Australia so far. We rented bikes, ate amazing food, drank wine on the beach, stared at the stars, climbed up to the lighthouse, Tom nearly trod on a snake and we saw wild dolphins. I think its definitely the happiest I've been in Australia.

Byron Bay Lighthouse

The next week we realised that Tom's job was not continuing which caused some panic as I hadn't got enough money to travel further but, he didn't have a job. We both started cleaning for the hostel in exchange for accommodation in an effort to save money quicker. This was such a saviour for me as although the next three weeks were 50 hour work weeks, it meant I was able to achieve my money goal in a much shorter time.  Tom ended up getting a construction job for a month so we decided to leave Brisbane at the end of that job and travel up the coast - which we are doing on Monday!

Kangaroo Point

It's odd that I've been in Brisbane for over four months now. I’ve been in the same hostel all this time, some friends have been constantly there and others have come and gone as they travelled through Brisbane. I've met some really amazing people here that I know I will either see somewhere else in Oz or back home. It's bittersweet leaving Brisbane, I'm so excited for the adventures to come but I feel so comfortable here, comfortable in my job, my relationship, my living situation that it honestly scares me a little that I'm leaving.

I don't know what our plan is after we get to Cairns. Ideally we will travel to Melbourne or Perth to work some more to save up to do the West Coast but one thing I've learnt about this backpacking lifestyle - you can't really plan anything. That part is completely out of my comfort zone but I'm learning to live with it. I feel so happy right now with my life and really do feel like I'm thriving in Australia, who knows what comes next but I'm sure I'll update this blog once I know!

Thanks for reading,
Christina xox


Wednesday, 13 March 2019

My first two months in Australia

Heathrow Airport at the beginning of my adventures

Well, I haven't written on here in absolutely ages , but that's okay. My blog is just here for me to write whenever I feel like it, and it's there for whoever wants to read it. If you know me, and you most probably do because why else would you read this, you probably know that I'm currently on a 'gap year' type thing after Uni travelling round Australia (basically just running away from actual adult life.) After Uni I was just so tired and I was apprehensive of starting my career straight away so I decided to save up some money and to make 2019 a year of travelling.

I've been in Australia for two months now and it has been such a rollercoaster of a ride. Right now I'm in Brisbane, and I've been here for a month. I decided, along with the friends I've made to stop here to get some work, settle down for a bit and save up some money, and after a lot (and I mean a lot) of searching, I finally got a job! I start working in a Gelato store mid next week so this week I am just chilling. I decided to use this time to write because I know my future self will be annoyed if I haven't got any written thoughts about my time here (and my attempt at keeping a diary failed within the first week.)

When I boarded my first plane in January I was panicked and excited and scared and anxious but proud of myself. I just could not believe that I was doing this - flying across the world to be away from my family, to be on my own, surrounded by people I've never met before for a whole year - and it was all my own choice. I stopped off in Dubai to see my sister for a few days before I continued to Australia so I had a little taste of home before officially going my own way. My first day in Australia was a bit of a blur. I did a group introduction tour for a week as soon as I arrived called Ozintro (another thing I'll recommend and explain in a different post) so my first day was spent awkwardly meeting these people and asking everyone the exact same questions. 'Where are you from?' 'How old are you?' 'How long do you think you'll be in Australia?' Ozintro was the best thing I could have done and has honestly made the past two months amazing. After spending a week in Sydney for the tour and another week exploring the city to be there for Australia day I travelled up the coast with two girls, plus bumped into lots of other people from my group along the way - and met loads of new exciting people!

View from Luna Park in Sydney
Harbour Bridge and The Opera House

A few of my highlights from Sydney were
  • Catching a Catamaran around the Harbour and swimming to a little beach.
  • Surf Lesson in Port Stephens (followed by two thirds of the whole group getting ill, not a fun experience, but definitely an unforgettable memory.)
  • Playing football on the beach after an amazing BBQ.
  • Days spent exploring Bondi Beach and Manly beach.
  • An evening spent walking over the Harbour bridge and watching the sunset from Luna park.
Attempting to be Surfers Gals at Spot X
Struggling against the wind
I then travelled to Spot X Surf camp in Arrawarra Beach, some of my highlights were
  • Succeeding and failing at Surfing.
  • Nights spent lying on the beach looking at the Milky Way and watching for shooting stars.
  • Seeing wild Kangaroo's at a local golf club.
  • Getting bed bugs (once again, not a happy memory but a memory at least.)
  • Drunken nights playing drinking games such as Stack cup.
  • Playing countless games on cards (Cheat, Irish snap, Spoons) with a great group of girls.

From Spot X we then travelled to Byron Bay where I actually had Tonsilitis. This meant I didn't really do Byron Bay as much as I wish I had. Most of my friends say that Byron Bay is their favourite place that we have visited and although I loved the few bits I did see, I mostly spent it in bed or lounging around the hostel. So I really want to head back there for a weekend to have another explore!

From Byron we visited Surfers Paradise. I was definitely feeling better here and just felt happy and content that I found these two girls (Missie and Becca) that I could be an absolute weirdo with and it be okay. We went on a bar crawl in the evening which was just a weird, and not great experience (the best part was leaving the club early to get pizza and singing Dancing Queen wandering down the street.) This was also the first hostel we had a pool in so it was absolutely lovely to have a break from a sandy beach and to chill out by a pool. Before we left we went up the Skypoint deck which had some amazing views and made the 48 hours we spent there feel productive.
Skydeck in Surfers Paradise

And then I came to Brisbane! Where I have spent most of my time in the Library searching for jobs, or sunbathing by the lagoon. The first two weeks were great as lots of friends that we had met along the coast were travelling through the city but the last two weeks there has definitely been some ups and downs. Finding a job is hard and I really needed one so I was feeling quite stressed and anxious. The thought of finishing up the coast on little money and having to go home straight after was a horrid thought and when my friends all had jobs and I didn't, I panicked. But you just have to persevere and eventually something will go right, and it did! I'm excited to start, to settle into a routine of work and chill, to feel productive and to earn some money.

Feeding a Giraffe at Australia Zoo
In my happy place at Southbank in Brisbane

The past two months have been incredible, it's been mainly ups but of course, there has been some down moments but everyday I find myself thinking back to this time last year when I was knee deep in university work and all I wanted to do was go to Australia, and I'm here, and I'm happy and I still just can't really believe it. As much as I do love exploring new places, it's the people that really make travelling incredible and I have been so lucky to meet some people who are just the funniest, weirdest and most caring people. I genuinely don't think I would have been as happy as I have been the past two months without them, and I consider myself so lucky to have met them!

So thanks for reading a lengthy, fairly boring blog post but it really does feel good to write again.
I figured when I am just here living in this beautiful city on the other world I'll attempt to write some more but if you want to see what I'm getting up to day by day, definitely check out my instagram where I'm posting photos everyday (I also had an absolute nightmare uploading photos for this post s please look at my insta for more photos!)

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