A Fast One

March 31, 2006 at 1:15 pm (Uncategorized)

This week was insane. First of all, I was at my internship for 28 hours instead of the usual 20. I did not hate this as much as I thought I would, in fact, it was nice to be so busy. It took my mind off being sick (I am finally over all of that as of yesterday).

I picked this week to do extra hours because Lynda, the archivist I work with, was having the week from hell. She was supposed to have use of the 3rd floor at Foreshore House (currently empty but soon to be leased out) for the next three months to get the entire library full of documents, pictures, slides, etc. into the computer. The company decided to speed up the process of leasing the place out, so now she only has two weeks (last week and this coming week). Also happening this week was the Heritage Prize awards ceremony, so she was losing it. I did my best to help keep her sane . . . I helped with a little bit of the data entry but mostly I finished the powerpoint presentation for the awards ceremony and tackled the design/printing/assembly of the nametags for all of the guests. The ceremony happened this morning and it went pretty well, especially considering that Lynda is the only person in charge of putting it together and she has no background in events management.

So those are the boring details of my work life. What really happened this week is that I learned some interesting things. First of all, I did not know that the curve of the southern Australian coast is called "The Great Australian Bite". James told me this at work on Wednesday. Another priceless piece of information from Mr. Shepherd: There is this well-known Australian guy named "Chopper". Or that's his nickname I should say. Anyway, there was a movie about him starring Eric Bana. He claims to have killed 19 people (drug dealers mostly) but no one can prove that. He spent all but 13 months between the ages of 20 and 38 in prison. In prison, he was going to be killed by some of the drug-dealers friends but the guards didn't believe him so they would not transfer him. To make them believe him he cut off his own ears. Since he has been out of prison he has written a children's book called "Hooky the Cripple" and recorded a CD titled "Criminal Record". His main hang-out is The Observer, a pub near where I work, and tomorrow night we are going to go check it out and see if we can't get a glimpse of the Chopper himself.

I also learned this week that the child who called me a ghost last week had a reason. There are two ghosts in the building I work in. One is a little girl, which is kind of creepy. The other one is a man who dislikes all of the Pub Tour guides and gets upset if Janet stays too late at work. They used to make the house feel weird, like people weren't welcome, but then they brought in Uncle Max, an Aboriginal elder, to do a smoking ceremony and ever since the ghosts have been more behaved. I heard all of this from Janet, but I haven't seen/felt/worried about a ghost since I got there.

Also this week (today specifically) was our class trip to the Royal Botanical Gardens. We got a tour from Clarence, an Aboriginal man, who gave us that perspective on the garden. He showed us a lot of the native plants and gave us their Aboriginal uses. We even got to eat some real bush tucker (berries). Clarence also said that women don't play the didgeridoo because it's phallic and if they did play it they couldn't have babies. Suneeti (our anthropology teacher) told us that if a woman hears the call of a Kookaburra that they are or will be pregnant, so I guess the next time I hear that call I'll just grab myself a didgeridoo and I'll be cured.

Another interesting thing about Clarence is that his cousin is Shane, who was the boat captain when I went on the Aboriginal Cultural Cruise. I like both of them, but I think I like Clarence more because he was funny and very informative. Also, he showed us how to make bush bandaids and he demonstrated on my finger. He took a leaf from the nearest bush and put it on my pretend cut. Then, he grabbed a very thick thread from a spiderweb and wrapped it around the leaf, binding it to my finger. He didn't tie it or anything, the web was sticky enough, and it stayed on for half an hour until I took it off. It was pretty cool.

Last weekend Peter was here. I would recount everything that happened, but he has already done that and so I will just refer you to his blog (the link is in my blogroll). We had a good time. He mentions the night that we went out to a bar in King's Cross which was the scene of one of the crazier things that has happened to me since I've been here. Peter left before us because he was "tired". When Denise, Nina, Kristine and I left we were wandering outside (a bit intoxicated) trying to get a cab. This guy with a really think Irish accent started asking me for directions back to "Paddy McGuires" as we were standing at a crosswalk. I pointed him in the best possible direction and he gave me a high five (behind the back). Instead of leaving though, he turned and said, "Wait! Here's a kiss from an Irishman," and planted one right on my cheek. I turned into a statue for those few seconds and when he was gone, turned around to see if everyone else had noticed what just happened. Completely dismayed, I wondered if he was a clean person and continued to cross the street.

I can't think of anything else that happened this week, although I'm certain there were other things. I can only assume that if I forgot them, they weren't worth writing anyway.


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Spring Break and Beyond

March 23, 2006 at 12:05 pm (Uncategorized)

Last week was my spring break and I was definitely broken. I managed a head cold, ear infections in both ears, conjunctivitis, and a bad reaction to some cough drops. Thankfully, I was visiting Brendan which made the situation much better. In total, I was in Brisbane for about five days. I spent the other part of my trip in Noosa, about an hour north of the city. We went to museums, got some good food, managed to catch a little bit of live music (and a lot of karaoke). We also tried gelati, went to the beach, and saw two movies (Match Point and Transamerica). Brisbane seems like a neat city and Noosa was a picturesque little town. Good coffee was available in both places- always a plus.

The strangest thing about break was the transition when I came back to Sydney. It was hard to believe that I would actually be coming back to this routine while I was still in Brisbane, but it seemed the closer I got to Kirribilli the gears in my mind all spun and clicked until I felt like I was coming home. I fear I have developed an attatchment to this place (which is not necessarily a good thing since Kirribilli is one of the most expensive suburbs of Sydney . . . even if I got back here some day I would not be able to afford to live a few feet down the street from John Howard).

This week I hit the ground running. I hadn’t been to my internship in two weeks because the week before vacation I was sick with a stomach bug. I had my share of menial tasks over the last four days . . . laminating . . . data entry . . . some dumb stuff with an excel spreadsheet. However, I also had the strangest encounters in my first couple of days back at work. I should say that due to the ear infections, which have not completely cleared out, I have some trouble hearing things. So I’ve been in my head a lot just listening to my own breathing and wondering if I have a fever. This has made me into a space cadet whenever I’m left alone for an extended period of time. It was in this state on Monday that I walked down the stairs in Merchant’s House to ask a question. I was met towards the bottom of the flight by a group of eight-year-olds who were on one of the learning adventure tours that comes through Merchant’s House. One of them looked up at me, raised his hand to point at me and screamed at the top of his lungs, “GHOOOOOOOSTTTTT!!!!!!!!!”. All of the little kids looked at me and I basically just kept walking and nervously pretended that I really was a ghost. I might add that my feelings were a little hurt since I thought my tan was coming along nicely.

Another day this week I spent a while in the museum, helping out. Usually, I make sure the water compartments in the air conditioners have been emptied and then windex some. As I was feeling particularly feverish on that day, I decided to take it easy and just keep the worker at the register company after I checked the AC’s. There is only one person working there all day so they get kind of lonely. We were having a grand old time (Ha) when Chris, another one of the ladies who works in the museum sometimes, came in to give the other woman a break. Chris and I have spoken before, so we proceeded to catch up a little. I told her I was sick and she started asking what I was doing for it. She recommended all of these herbal remedies (echinacea, watermelon-apparently good to help with decongestion, and thyme). She told me that she hasn’t been to a doctor in years, which impressed me. Then she kind of shouted, “Oh, I practice Reiki Healing, come here!”

She pulled me down to the end of the counter and instructed me to close my eyes and imagine a light shining above me. “I’ll keep watch,” she promised. I closed my eyes and I could feel her hands lightly brush my hair every now and again as she moved them around my head. “Hi there!” I heard her say and I opened my eyes to see a couple of people who had just walked in. I felt a little weird thinking that they might have seen what she was doing (which would have looked mighty strange to the un-enlightened) so I nervously waited until they had passed through the gift shop to the museum and announced that I should be moving on to my next task. Before I could go, Chris told me that there is sometimes a telepathic element to what she does, so she would continue to send me positive energy. She also said that when she was moving her hands around me she saw a couple of images: baseball, and a color that she couldn’t remember. That part made me think she might be a little wacky, but I have to say I was really creeped out ten minutes later when I was sitting at my computer and the main article on the wikipedia homepage was about an American/Chinese baseball rivalry.

Weee Hoooo. I had almost forgotten how spicy this internship can get. The real work that I did this week involved putting together a powerpoint presentation for the upcoming Heritage Prize awards. I thought my boss was going to do most of the work for it, but she ended up giving me all of the creative/content decisions. So basically, it’s my baby now and it will be continuously looping at the awards ceremony a week from tomorrow. I get to help out at that event as well; she suggested I take the company’s digital camera and be the photographer.

But that is more work for another week. Tomorrow the real party starts with the arrival of Peter William Axtman in the early afternoon. Oh yes, it’s going to be rambunctious.

Much love.

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