Monday, August 01, 2005

Oz Day 026.


I am unfortunately not getting enough hours at the pizza place to even cover the rental of the car, let alone the cost of fuel. Am only scheduled to work for 3 hours each on the Friday to Sunday weekends. On standby on the weekdays, on the chance possibility that the full-time driver does not show up. Still it beats having to pay the full cost of renting the car, only to have it sitting unused most of the time. Hopefully this cost can be eliminated when I find steady work, and move closer to the workplace or back onto the public transport grids. Renting a car is still cheaper than taking taxis for interviews at inconvenient timings to unfamilar places in all corners of Perth.

After just one weekend delivering pizzas and doing kitchenwork during the lull moments, I must say it has been a positive experience so far. It is pretty mindless work most of the time, with moments when I get sneak peeks into the secrets of a commercial pizza operation. And of course there those amusing moments. Like the look of sheer happiness on a hungry customer's face upon seeing the pizza delivery uniform. Or the teenager who came to the door obviously stoned on drugs who offered me a toke in lieu of a tip. Or the little kid who scurried at top speed on his little feet back into the house yelling "pizza man!" repeatedly with undisguised surprise and delight. Or that delivery into a quieter part of Perth (that had me on alert) which turned out harmless - the sole building in the middle of nowhere lighted up like a Christmas tree turned to be an exclusive $240-per-hour "massage parlour" well-heated against the winter cold and complete with plush furnishings and scantily clad women.

All I can do is laugh and appreciate the whole educational experience. And be grateful that I have other skills that will allow me to choose alternatives to delivering pizza for a living in the long-term. On the job search front, I have two more employer interviews for tomorrow and another two recruiters "primed" for possible employer interviews (if they can secure them). Plus another bunch of newspaper clippings and more website bookmarks to further fill the pipeline should tomorrow's meetings flame out.


***


The place I am staying now necessitates a couple of adjustments as compared to the room in the hostel.

The current room is about two to three times larger (floor area) than the place at the hostel. And with a much higher ceiling. Total volume is probably anywhere from three to six times - which makes the puny 1000W electric heater pretty much useless. The room is at the back of an old house facing a garden. The garden is easily twice the built-up area of the house. This place would be a nice airy place to chill out in summer. Unfortunately it is now winter. In other words, cold. Nothing that a couple extra blankets and getting dressed very quickly after a hot shower in the mornings will not fix. Have to admit that the comfort level has dropped a bit, but nothing that I cannot adapt to.

The other adjustment I have had to make is the distance from the city centre. It is a good 30 to 45 minutes' walk (3 kilometres) just to get to the internet cafe. It is not practical to drive into the city since public parking is scarce and expensive in the city centre. Fortunately there is a Coles down the streeet so I am okay for groceries. Unfortunately that neighbourhood Coles is sort of puny and does not have the deep discounts, compared to the Woolies I have gotten used to in the city centre. I will probably drive to the huge Woolies in Victoria Park (one suburb to the east of the city) and restock for longer stretches.

There are pluses, though. The place is quite a bit cheaper, which is the primary reason why I moved from the hostel. So I will put up with it before giving the expected two weeks' notice and moving somewhere more comfortable when I can afford it.

The people I am staying with are good folks. They are a downright inspiration, even. I may write about them at some other time, but I do not feel I know them well enough now to present a fair view of the situation. They have a couple of strikes against them but they can well summarise the essence of the Australian battler. And from the looks of things, they are winning. In the culture and society and the government where I originally come from, they would not even have had a chance and would have been totally written off as economic / social discards. That they can build a good life that they have is a tribute to the society here.

Then there is Henry the cat. That cat is psychic, I tell you. On Sunday when I came in late after the pizza job, I was feeling a little tired and a little lonely and a little lost. And wondering "what the hell am I doing (and freezing) here?". That cat comes wandering in purring and asking to be patted. Then he jumps on the bed and curls up in the corner on the blankets. So I climb in under the blankets, only sticking out an arm to run my fingers through his warm fur. So I fall asleep thinking: This is not bliss, this is not happiness - but at least it is contentment. And that is good enough for now.


***


I have been busy living. Yes, living. As opposed to planning. As opposed to worrying. As opposed to thinking.


All those concerns I had before I left are still there, of course. However in the backdrop of WA and in the bigger scheme of things, those concerns looks so much smaller and a whole lot less threatening than when I was pondering them in the tiny HDB room in Singapore. In fact after almost a month here, Singapore itself seems to be a lot smaller and insignificant.

Aside from living and remembering to breathe in the moment, my only long-term plans are to get stable work so that I can afford to stay here for the long run. At the moment there is nothing much I miss from Singapore. There are only three things I want here on this island from that other island I left behind. Two boxes of momentos and one very special woman. And I am not sure if those two boxes are that important after all.

The woman I want. Non-negotiable.


***


Was walking down the city one afternoon when out of the corner of my eye I saw this tall Chinese guy dressed in all black moving purposefully down the other side of the street with comfortable half-lope, half-stride movements.

I physically did a double-take and startled myself when I realised that I had caught my own reflection in a large mirror being unloaded from a truck. I did not realise I physically moved like that. I wonder what else I have to discover about myself in this new environment. A blog reader emailed me and used the word "deconstruction" when talking about the paradigm shift required (sometimes triggered by a monumental event) during the migration process.

I am not sure if I am done with the deconstruction process, trying to break the old patterns that hold me to Singapore. Or if I am already in the process of reconstructing new pattern here defining a different life. Perhaps is some form of metamorphosis but I cannot see how (of even if) I am changing.


***


Way too many irrelevant thoughts. It is time to take that long walk back and grab some sleep before the two interviews tomorrow. If I cannot sleep, I am sure the Australian Master Tax Guide (2004 version) from the library will put me to sleep in under 50 pages!

10 Comments:

Anonymous Kelvin Tan said...

The tone of this blog post is clearly an optimistic one, can almost sense the excitement bursting through the words hehe.

I like the part about the cat =).

August 01, 2005 11:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just surfing by,
you go man...i 'll say a prayer for you today
i know what's it all about...
don't give up...you'll get there...and most of all, i know you'll be happy along the way as well!
all the very best

August 02, 2005 12:04 AM  
Anonymous Mel said...

KOP - I think you are slowly progressing towards what you're looking for, and once again, I have to say I'm so happy for you.

Re: cat - my dog back home also has that instinct and will cuddle everytime I feel blue, in fact, once she even licked all my tears away.

Re: cold - invest in an electric blanket and/or bigger heater. If not, put on a woolie hat at night - the worse thing is to get your head all cold.

August 02, 2005 10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure how things are done there but maybe you could buy a bicycle to help you go around - I mean even a cheap bike would help you a lot. Or those "heelies' type shoes or something.

August 02, 2005 10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

get thermal underwear ! and a beanie for the head. And u'll be alright !

all the best in your job search! Can u get some student allowance while doing a post grad teaching diploma or something ? That's what a S'pore immigrant did here in NZ and he's got a job teaching Biz studies now. Assuming u like teaching of course- maybe teach some IT thingy...

August 02, 2005 12:04 PM  
Blogger Venitha said...

Your blog is very heartfelt - I wish you all the best in making a new home in Perth. It makes for interesting reading as I'm going through the same "deconstruction" right now... in Singapore!

August 02, 2005 5:05 PM  
Blogger vandice said...

New life, new times, new beginnings under a vast expanse of sky. Makes you think anything is possible right?

August 03, 2005 4:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

happy for you that u are enjoying your life right now. i am in adelaide but i miss singapore.how i wish i could love australia like you do...so i can enjoy my stay here too...
cheers.

August 03, 2005 11:27 AM  
Anonymous petals said...

On Sunday when I came in late after the pizza job, I was feeling a little tired and a little lonely and a little lost. And wondering "what the hell am I doing (and freezing) here?".

Paper Flower
I beg
I beg for a chance to wither -
no fragrance
no breath of earth.
I am hypocritical
in my artificial beauty.

No rebirth
no death.
I am tired
of my empty immortality.

How I long
for a period of withering
a period of sprouting and blooming
in my life.

How I crave
for the covering of more dust
for the tearing off of my petals
one by one
by a little hand.

I beg
I beg for a chance to wither.

Huang Shiru (Pao Di)

August 03, 2005 4:05 PM  
Blogger C said...

Sleeping with the cat! That's lovely. Something i've wished every night for the last 10 days when there were 2 friendly animals to sleep with, if they didn't kill my sinuses =)

August 04, 2005 9:12 AM  

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