Friday, February 27, 2004

Our House

I officially have a new residence! It's a little old 3-beddie in a suburb called Garran, which is a 10-min drive from the city, and from Barton, where I'm working. I moved in on Wednesday night, and all my belongings from Perth were delivered yesterday morning. It was kinda exciting to open up the cartons and unpack it all - I had forgotten half of the stuff that I'd decided to bring over!! Almost like Christmas, except all the boxes were for me! So many clothes - it's great to have more than 3 shirts to choose from.

I'm sharing the house with 2 other girls (who are sisters), and a little black and white terrier called Max. I suspect the house was built in the features lovely greeny-yellow pile carpet, and my room has fantastic orange curtains. My orange-and-brown striped blanket (donated by my mother) matches just perfectly, and overall the room would do quite nicely as a set for the Brady Bunch. BUT on the plus side, I have a HUGE amount of wardrobe and cupboard space, and I have two big windows and ducted gas heating, which I'm sure will come in very handy in those "mild" winter months.

I've done well with my housemates, too - at the risk of jinxing it, I think we're gonna get along pretty well. The first night in the house, I went out to meet up for coffee with a friend who was over from Perth, and when I got home (quite late), I found the girls had left a doona, pillow and sheets in my room for me - they saw the bare bed, and figured that I wouldn't have any linen until the next day when my stuff was delivered. Nice, huh! :) And they've invited me to go for a drink with them and *another* sister tonight - I'm feeling like part of the family already!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Here Comes the Rain

When I told people that I was moving to Canberra, the general reaction was "oh no, Canberra's so boring...oh well, at least you'll be closer to Sydney and Melbourne". OK, so there are no beaches in Canberra, and the night life is may not be so happening, but from what I have seen in the last 3 weeks, there's plenty of stuff to keep you busy, if you look for it.

On the weekend, one of my good friends (we went to primary school together many years ago!) drove down from Sydney for a visit. And as Dave said in his blog, there are lots of things to see and do in Canberra. On Saturday evening we enjoyed a bit of jazz in the Botanical Gardens, and on Sunday we did a tour of the National Museum and Parliament House.

Parliament House was very impressive - it's a huge complex, with a grand entry hall of marble floors and pillars and a huge staircase leading up into the building. Apparently there are 23km of corridors within the complex! And the Aussie flag flying from the 81m flagpole crowning Parliament House is the size of the side of a double decker bus. I was also fascinated to find that PH holds an original copy of the Magna Carta - one of only 4 thought to still be in existence!! It's pretty incredible that a document from the 1200s is still around. It's stored in a case filled with argon gas so that the vellum doesn't deteriorate any further.

While the "tourist attractions" of Canberra still have novelty appeal, the climate is not looking so great (surprise, surprise, I hear you say!). When I first arrived, the weather was hot and sunny - not much different from Perth except it was getting a little cooler at night. The turning point was Sunday night, when I went to Tropfest, which was being screened at an outdoor venue next to Lake Burley Griffin - just perfect for a balmy summer's eve. Only hitch was that it was not quite so balmy - in fact, it was downright miserable - the temperature dropped to 14 degrees, and it was spitting with rain for the entire 2.5 hours of the show. But this didn't deter those sturdy Canberrans - 7000 of them turned up to enjoy the short films (which I must say were well worth braving the weather - there are some very creative, talented Aussies out there!) and while this pales in comparison to Sydney's 105,000-strong audience, I thought it wasn't a bad effort!!

The weather hasn't improved since Sunday - it has remained cold and grey and dreary. I suspect that this is a sign of things to come - not looking forward to Canberra winter at all - but I hope there are still a few days of summer on the way!

Friday, February 20, 2004

Say Goodbye to Hollywood

Tropfest 2004 is on this's a festival showcasing the 16 best short films selected out of 666 (I wonder if that's signficant?!) entries from across Australia. Screening in a capital city near you. Best of all, it's free! So go along and enjoy some good Aussie pieces.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien

About half way through Year 11, I developed a grand plan for my final year of high school. I decided that I was going to drop Biology and take up French as a TEE subject. My sudden and passionate interest in French was the result of a combination of factors - my intense dislike of the Biology teacher (who had an apparent fetish for wearing rather short, tight skirts, sat strategically on a lab bench while flirting with the boys in our class, and didn't seem to know all that much about Biology...on reflection, she may have been going through a mid-life crisis, but at the time, I felt very little sympathy for her); the fact that the small French class consisted of my best friend, two other girls I got on with very well, and two spunky boys; and, of course, the way the French accent just sounds so damn sexy!

So my friend began teaching me the basics of French during our Chemistry classes. While the Chem professor, a mad but loveable Irish gentleman, was gesticulating wildly and discussing the properties of transition metals and explaining how to balance chemical equations, Minh would be instructing me on the conjugation of various irregular verbs. It wasn't long before I had a few of the tenses under control, had worked out the feminine/masculine article thing, and had convinced the French teacher to let me into her class.

One thing I hadn't counted on, though, was my mother...who took my education, and my potential TEE score, extremely seriously. She has somewhat of a bad reaction to my flippant "oh, guess what, I've decided to do French next year". Our pursuant "arguments" generally followed the pattern that she would lecture me for a length of time on all the reasons why taking up French in my final year of school was an absolutely ridiculous idea, I would endure silently until she'd run out of breath, and stubbornly say that I was still gonna do it. This went on for the entire 4th term of year 11, and the following summer holidays. After my mother went to the length of arranging a meeting between herself, my dad, me and my HEADMASTER, to discuss why it was such a bad idea, I finally backed down and gave up on studying French, so as not to damage my TEE mark and jeopardise my chances of getting into a uni course with a high cut-off mark.

I got 86% for Biology, and was accepted into UWA to study a Law and Science double degree.

But I've never quite gotten over missing out on learning the language of lovers...

So when I found out I was moving to Canberra, I decided that now was the time to do something about it. I enrolled in a French course the second day I was here, and voila! I had my first class last night. With the French instructor's very first "je m'appelle", the labours of my Chem lessons all began flooding back to me. So I'm looking forward to acquiring that sexy accent and dropping my "H"s with ze best of zem.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Paperback Writer

Oh no! One of my favourite (and fellow Aussie) bloggers Missjenjen has taken her blog offline, hopefully temporarily, reason being that she's been dooced (see Pixelkitty's explanation here) which I guess means that co-workers or bosses discovered her blog and were none too happy at some of the entries describing themselves and the work environment (a la Ass Hats #s 1 and 2)...Not good! Ah well, at least she had already quit her job, so the fallout can't be *too* bad...

Come back soon Missjenjen!!

Friday, February 13, 2004

Welcome to the Monkey House

Greetings from Canberra. I arrived here last Wednesday, with 40kgs of luggage in tow (incredibly, the woman who checked me in at Perth airport didn't even comment on my luggage being 18kg over the limit), and was whisked by taxi to my serviced apartment in Manuka, a tres trendy (well, for Canberra, anyway) area south of Lake Burley-Griffin populated by yuppie public servants and cool cafes and restaurants. Fortunately there's a 24-hr Coles (I don't think Perth has any of these - that's one up for Canberra!) at Manuka Plaza, which is about 5 mins walk from my apartment, so I was able to pick up a few essential groceries (read: chocolate biscuits!) on my first night without too much hassle.

Then it was on to surfing the channels on the TV in my apartment - which has been a regular theme for my evenings so far! I get Showtime and Encore, so I've spent a good few evenings flicking between movies, and also taking in some reality TV (Average Joe - how could Melana have kept Zach on - he is such a tosser! and My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance - pretty funny stuff). Asides from TV watching, I've spent a bit of time meeting friends of friends - I've been really impressed at how many people have gone out of their way to ring me/email me to organise dinner, drinks or to show me around Canberra. It has somewhat restored my faith that there really are nice people out there! (Thanks, too, to friends and fam from Perth who've rung or emailed me (and my sister who stayed with me for 2 days) and made my first week much less lonely than it otherwise would've been!!)

The job is going fairly well so far - although my workstation is *RIGHT* outside the CEO's office door, and in the small area we work in, everyone can hear every word of any telephone conversation - which means all the time I would've ordinarily wasted on personal calls has actually been spent productively! Looks like I'll be doing some interesting work - for example, I've been looking at some new legislation (the Spam Act) which is set to take effect from April, to work out how the organisation will need to change its procedures to make sure its emails comply with the Act. Sounds fascinating, huh :)

The search for somewhere to live has been an experience - work is putting me up in the serviced apartment for 3 weeks only (damn! I am getting so used to fresh towels every day and chocolates on my pillow...) so I've been looking for a room in a share house or apartment. All the places I've seen so far have their good points - but none have been ideal. The first apartment I looked at was nice and new, with my own bathroom, but approx 20 min drive from work (ridiculously far in Canberra terms!). Second one was much closer to work, but the guy I'd be sharing with was a complete tosser - an unsociable, egotistical, anal, money-hungry loser, so I've pretty much written that apartment off! The last place is the best contender at the moment - a 3 bed, 1 bath house that I'd be sharing with 2 sisters who seemed really lovely. Only problem is the 1 bathroom - not ideal when you like to indulge in long, hot showers as much as I do...

So that's a wrap on my first week and a half in Canberra, on the whole it's made a fairly good impression on me - especially now that I have my car, it's so easy to get around (and the roads are just fantastic - no traffic and in great condition - good to see taxpayers' money being put to good use!;), the weather has been pleasant so far (nice and hot!) and the city is quite pretty. There are big, shady deciduous green trees planted along most of the streets, and lots of recreational park land and reserves, which add to the relaxed atmosphere. The few times I've been in to Civic (the "city centre", if you can call it that) it's been full of people - mainly due to the (sure to be short-lived) warm weather, and to a multicultural festival that was held last weekend.

Heading off "home" now - bring on the weekend!!