Russki Down Under Part 1

It has been a year and a half since I stepped on the mighty Australian ground as a student. One tiny student in the land of “G’day mate” and “Put another prawn on the barbie”.
Funny enough the first thing I was introduced to was – neither. It was heat.

Coming from Russia I had totally forgotten that there are countries on earth where the temperature is not constantly -25 and summer actually implies wearing shorts and a t-shirt, not the triple layer padded pants with a snow/wind/rain proof jacket, gloves and possibly a ski mask. On top of that I was leaving my sweet home in the middle of the winter.
I was prepared for almost anything…almost.

What I was definitely NOT prepared for was the 40 degree heat with a blasting wind that makes you feel like you are sitting on the top shelf in Banya (Banya is a Russian traditional sauna: seriously hot, contains hot rocks, a bucket of water and a besom made of dry, spiky tree brunches, where just for the fun of it, people spray the water on the red-hot rocks with the intention to create however more heat and beat the living lights out of each other with an earlier mentioned besom just because “it’s good for ya”). ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Anyhow, being a student in Australia is a rather contradictory great experience…
I found out that the “deadlines” imply “some time next year” and “urgently” most of the time means “whenever you feel like it mate”. Although it mostly applies to a lecturing / administering staff as I’ve been waiting to receive my certificate award for over 6 months now. Students on the other hand should submit all of their work strictly on time, and no one cares that the assessment papers were given out to you only 3 weeks prior to the ending of the semester. Note: I did not mention quality of work for a reason, because I’ve been told on several occasions “You think too much” and … “Stop thinking too much”, occasionally “Can you dumb down a little”. Here goes my motivation out the window. My soviet way of doing things in the best possible way and desire to excel was just seriously questioned…

I’ve learned that some students are getting paid by the government just to be in class. These are called “social security” students and it is inconsiderate to question their behavior such as sleeping, yelling and generally distracting class in any possible way. Also even though I still don’t understand the whole meaning of the social security students in the class, I simply decided to ignore the presence of thee and move on with my studies.

Another thing I’ve learned was the meaning of a word “bogan”. Bogan – a particular type of the Homo Sapiens that typically drives an overpowered and a very loud Commodore ute, wears a reflective shirt or a Bintang tank top with shorts and flip flops or wears no top whatsoever, the term usually refers to “tradies”. Still, to me it sounds more like a bad discrimination joke against this layer of society. The “Tradies” are decent people, they just like loud cars and they are constantly feeling hot, or being safe (hence wearing the reflective shirt).

Speaking of which, pale skin Aussies that you’d believe to be real Aussies are not the the real “Ozzies”. People of an aboriginal descent are the real indigenous Australians. In many cases they are very descent, respectable human beings, however some can be quite unpleasant to be around. Many times I have encountered that scenario where they would go on public transport, cause trouble and openly abuse anyone who would come across, repeatedly calling a poor stranger a racist and then make a racist comment themselves. What wonders me the most is that they do not receive any less of the public benefits than any other non-Australian citizen and in some cases they are eligible to use specific government programs such as Aboriginal Medical and Legal services, educational programs and special payments. So why not use it to a full extent, why not to try and get educated, get a job? But on the other hand it seems that Australian society, by differentiating between the indigenous people and non-indigenous, locked itself in the loop. Why on each single form I had filled-in in Australia I should have determined whether I am of an Aboriginal decent or not. It’s like asking random Russian Citizen whether they belong to an aboriginal race (Any of 100 ish of them to be precise)..?! Personally doesn’t bother me as long as you are a decent human being.

Being Asian looking on the other side is the whole different story. I was told a few times to “Go back to where you came from FOB!”… Took me a while to learn that one. FOB a.k.a. Fresh Of the Boat refers to asylum seekers who in many cases come from one of the neighboring Asian countries, usually Indonesia, come by boat. These people spend an x amount of time in detention camps until they receive a refugee status and are allowed to come in and stay permanently in the country. Also it seems they receive an equal amount of rights and opportunities as any other permanent resident, plus some special treatment…the kind that even real pale skin ozzies don’t get.
Ex.: Recently Australian government suggested and encouraged housing refugees in Australian citizen’s homes or nursing houses for a reduced rental cost…
Very humane way of treating people who seeks protection and support from Australian government indeed.
Yet why do I constantly see and read the news about the actual Australian residents who have lost their homes and nothing productive is being done about it…?
Another unsolved mystery.

Moving on to being Russian with the risk level of “3” as defined by the Australian Immigration Department. I had to go through nearly all 9 circles of hell to get my student visa and the only concession I got was a student discount for public transport (butt-hurt much). Documentation was not an issue during the process but the treatment received in immigration offices was. But I guess this is just a part of the deal, of course they don’t want any random people of all sorts of shady backgrounds and questionable intentions to enter their holy grounds… Understandable. They already have a handful of their own.

Angels

I had a dream back in 2009, and as I woke up I wrote a poem… only now to understand who it was truly written for.
For mum and dad, for my siblings and grandparents, for my friends, … for all the random people who have just appeared in my life out of nowhere simply to make my day and then disappeared as unexpectedly and those who stayed…

Angel: Can I go there?
God: But why? Don’t you like being here, being happy? Always… ?
A: Yes, but they have something that makes them do silly things, something that makes them so vulnerable yet so strong… i want to find out what that is…
G: Are you sure? If you will go there, you will not have an easy life.
A: I want to go…
G: Ok…


Sometimes you feel like you have lost,
And not at all were mean to walk on Earth.
You feel like giving up and almost losing hope,
At times you want to finish it, so much it hurts…

You feel so lonely, so confused,
You trying to escape but can’t.
You feel like you have been refused,
But then you see their open hand.

They’ll look at you, and give the warmest smile,
They’ll help you to go through hardest times,
Or maybe, they will walk 500 miles,
To bring you back to life.

Their lives might look a little different from the rest,
And that’s because they have a purpose and a different mind.
For people who surrounds them, they will do their best,
They are here to guard…they are here to guide.

They suddenly appear with kindest smiles,
Filled to the edge with love and life.
They’ll lead you through the hardest times,
Sometimes they’ll stay, sometimes they’ll leave before we ask them “why?”.

The Angels, look around and you will recognize,
That they are holding our hands while going through the mayhem.
And when the time is right, you’ll realise,
That you are also … one of them…

(c)

New Life

Went through all of my older posts…
Feel like giving myself a friendly Hi5… in my face… with a baseball bat.

A lot had happen in the past 5 years. Life has changed, mentality hasn’t stayed the same either… I have never thought that a perception of life could change so drastically within 5 years. But I was warned by a very dear friend of mine that it would happen at some point… Gotta thank him too, even being thousands of miles away he still managed to make me feel better and helped me keep my sanity in the right place…
There are certain difficulties as well as good times.

Finally I made friends in Perth and enjoying their company very much. At least now I don’t feel like a complete loonie talking about computers and making “The IT Crowd” and a “Big Bang Theory” type of jokes.
Choosing IT as a field of study was definitely the right choice… gotta thank the IT Manager from my last project, who encouraged me to take this path. Also big thanks to my department Manager who was very supportive and also encouraged me to go and study abroad.
He printed a picture for me that said “She turned her can’ts into cans and her dreams into plans”, hang it behind me on the wall and told me to read it every day…up until the day I made my dream come true.
And here I am… happy as😉

To be continued…

Stand Up Comedy in Seoul

Alright,  I am in Seoul now. Surfed the web for about an hour or so to find any type of a decent place to spend my evening at, and since I’m on my way to Australia, one spot drew my attention. The Tony’s Aussie Bar & Bistro.
Of course I got all super excited, because if it is an Aussie bar then it will likely be flooded with Aussies who are in general a very easy going bunch, who I for some reason tend to fall in love with, aaand the bar had a stand up comedy that night. Woohoo! Bring it on! Aussie beer, cricket on the TV and mean, raw Aussie humor…Well…dream on Nat.

At first, finding that place has proven to be a bit of a mission impossible. It is located up on the hill (This is when I seriously felt like an idiot, all dressed up like  I am visiting a Queen of England, plus wearing ridiculously high high-heels. Walking up that hill was unpleasant to say the least).

Second, when I got there, the first thing that came into my mind was – I knew that Aussies were a little tight, I did not however anticipate that tight…4 years spent with an Aussie should have taught me better. The pub was in the most underpopulated, dark and a rather quiet part of the city. But being driven by the sheer excitement to hear some fart jokes and mingle with some drunk Aussies and witness them “take the piss” out of each other…nothing could stop me now.

Inside of the pub I was hoping to see some roos and emus, geckos, boomerangs and maybe even crocodiles, but to my surprise, the place was rather nice…in a homey and comfortable kind of way. Twas a bit small though about the size of a cubby house, and it was packed…with 15 people…it just physically couldn’t hold any more without a danger of a fart chocking fatality…There is a cool thing about the place though, it is a non-smoking bar..which I liked very much since I am not a smoker.

The stand up comedy was in its full swing. So I stood there in anticipation of some Aussie mate starting to pick on me for being late for the show. First disappointment – there were no Aussies. Second – there were no Aussies in a radius of about 100 km, otherwise I would have found heard them.

The stand up comedy was alright, I think I smiled a couple of times. I assume some of the comedians if not all of them were English Language teachers from the US, UK and possibly Canada, who read their jokes from the piece of paper/tablet. And it was odd to me as all of the stand up comedy shows I’ve visited before were primary based on improvisation with a comedian constantly interacting with the crowd, making fun of someone and pointing out something obviously funny. But of course, those guys are professionals, and I am certain that those guys/gals at the pub did their best to make everyone laugh…(perhaps it is something out of American humor to laugh every time you hear the word “fuck” that I don’t quite get).

I had some thoughts about “what would I talk about if I were in their spot?” Certainly it takes a solid pair to go out there and perform, and actually succeed, and not get booed out of the stage. But I guess since I’m Russian I probably could have said something about living back home, like…”It gets so cold in the winter that you would not want to take a leak outside because you’ll just stub yourself to death” or something along those lines. Also after about 5 minutes of looking around I’ve noticed that all male foreigners were dressed up in whatever it is that is now considered being “stylish” in Korea. To me personally they looked “nerdy” ish and not in a good way – let me elaborate. Nowadays in Korea, if you are a male, it is very “stylish” to wear:

  1. A pair of big ass glasses with thick lenses regardless of your eyesight condition.
  2. Tight jeans that hang half way down your arse, that make you look like you just had a huge dump in your pants, or as if you were deliberately showing your coin slot.
  3. Gumshoes that totally mismatch the color of your entire outfit (red or bright fucking green or yellow).
  4. And on top of that wrap a huge motherfucking scarf around your neck so you look like a human size ice cream cone with a tiny head like a cherry on the top.

Okay. Moving on.

One guy started talking about how sometimes you get them “WTF” moments. A-ha! I thought, finally someone with something interesting! This is when he started talking about HOW HE “SAW A HUGE FUCKING DRYING MACHINE”!!! I mean, what is so WTF about this moment? The size or the fact that it is a drying machine? Dude needs to visit Russia, me thinks. There we have these huge stoves called “pechkas”, they have an oven and enormous amount of space to cook on and it doesn’t need an electricity to work!! It can also be used as an incinerator to burn someone’s body whatever trash you have at home, and sometimes you can even sleep on it!! Now that would fuck him up.
That, right away brought a conclusion in to my head: “Mate, you are a WTF moment yourself”. Maybe it has something to do with the style…Try changing the color of your shoes perhaps…to anything either than highlighter orange?

Where was I. Ah, a lady comedian started talking about the times you go stay at your grandparent’s house for a while. Typically grandma would cook you a breakfast and while you are having your breakfast she’d ask “What do you want to eat for lunch?”, then when you are having your lunch your grandma would ask “What do you want to eat for dinner?” and of course, at the dinner time she’d inquire “What do you want to eat for breakfast?”.

Damn, I wish my grandma was asking me what I want to eat…but being a Korean apart from being Russian kind of implies that you eat rice at all times – for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and god forbid you to request anything either than that. Good thing I like rice.

Moving on, there was another guy who had some okay jokes, but he just read all of them from his iPad in the most ridiculous order you could ever possibly imagine. Its like he Googled jokes and just randomly read whatever came up first (Since the bar has a free Wi-Fi this scenario is very likely). Funny enough he started with a “cockblocking” joke by saying “You know there is always one girl in the group, who would protect all the girls. And she is not on the top list of hotties, in fact, she is normally in the very bottom of that list so she would say random stupid stuff in front of guys”…
– MATE!!!”Cockblocking” refers to intentional or not very intentional action that serves to prevent a male from getting laid (TYPICALLY performed by a competing male). What you boy described here has another term – a twat swatter (thanks to Dane Cook for perfectly defining a term for a female cockblocking action).

I’ll stop here because remembering stuff from last night is not easy due to the amount of alcohol consumed during that night. I feel like my head is full of packing chips now (You know the ones that stick to you and you cannot get rid of them all, and there is always that one sunofabitch or two left, like on your ass or armpit that you can’t quite reach).

Anyhow, with all that had been said, the stand up comedy was a pretty cool thing to see, something different. Comedians were good, some more, some less…I would definitely visit the place again (wearing a more appropriate outfit and shoes hopefully), just to see what new comedians would come up with. The sad thing is, as soon as the performance finished everybody left the bar. No aaaaaaaaafter paaaaaaaarty people????

So I went on my way too. And that was when I felt stupid for the second time of the night…because I had to walk downhill in my high heels. And I’m pretty certain I looked like some bandy-legged frog pecker trying to perform this stunt. Good night.

The things i hear at the reception.

-The laundry lost my socks and underwear, it’s been 4 days since they took it, I’m running out of socks and underwear. What should i do? (poor guy)

-Can I change my room? The guys there are all snoring! (they are snoring everywhere)

-This asshole took my bed! I want my bed back! (it was never yours and never will be)

-Hey you! Our contract says 2 people in 1 room, who did you place 4 in our room? (get over it, the camp is full, and you have 4 beds in your room)

-I lost my key… (i found it… but i wont tell you)

-What is my room number? (Who are you?)

-Where is my room? (Who are you?)

-Is the lunch still available? (finished half an hour ago, but i won’t tell you anyway)

-I want to leave…how can i do it? (through the doors)

-Do i need to sign here? – signing while asking. (no you poor soul, it says “Administrator’s sign” you don’t sign it )

-Someone took my pillow case (i finished work 2 hours ago, but here you go…i just happened to have one)

Chayvo~

So, once again I’m at work. Settled in more or less, starting to understand the system and the job priorities. Being a Reception Admin, or more like a Camp Admin is quite an experience.
People are coming with an absolute unreal amount of questions and sometime these questions are leaving me, well…surprised, sometimes angry, time to time confused.
Like, one poor guy gave his Laundry away and it never came back to him (at least for 4 days). He came up with the question: “My clothes were taken 4 days ago…Can you help me finding it?”
“Rightoooo…” – I replied – “What was in there?”
“well…my socks and underwear…*blush*…I’m running out of socks…*more blush*…and underwear”
First I wanted to laugh, but then realized the whole seriousness of the situation, so i just started calling girls who works in the laundry and ask them if they saw anything like poor man’s “clothes” (The thought about a guy wearing the same underwear for 4 days made me feel vewwy vewwy sowwy for him).  Socks and underwear were successfully found and returned to it’s owner sound and safe. +10 to me.
Another guy, or actually two guys. Someone took someones bed and they couldn’t decide who will sleep on the top bed and who on the bottom(a bunk bed? not sure about correct name for the bed). So they decided to come around to a Reception office and let me decide who should sleep where and who s wrong etc.  I never knew I could shout at the 40 ish y.o. man that loud and scary. Of course at first i was calm and tried to keep the situation under control, after about 20 minutes of listening two babies cry, but when i heard the phrase “I want justice” I lost it. Security, boss, other admins, housekeeping stuff and other 5 guys looked about like that –> O___O…
Of course the next day I moved one of the “kids” to another room, for what I received a chocolate bar.
Been told “Thats the first one, but not the last”. Somehow people on site think If I’m a girl i probably like chocolate…BUT NOT IN THIS QUANTITIES PEOPLE!!!
My desk is stuffed with chocolates, they are falling off the shelf and some of them being transferred to a housekeeping stuff and security girls.
Ate a candy the other day (those filled with liquor). Decided to go straight to a security supervisor and do a breath test.
The All Mighty Breathalyser beeped with “Red”, confused security and a couple of giggles. Breathalyser  once again, and “Red”…Eyes of security starting to grow to a side of a small tuna can. Me leaving laughing my ass off. 4 Minutes later “Green”…security gets the joke and we laugh together. 10 minutes of the work day are killed, but about 2 years of life from a healthy laughter (Somebody said laughing prolongs the life…isn’t that true?).
Sometimes people asking to find someone with the name they are not sure, the last name they forgot and the company they think was…: “There was a guy coming in, i think his name is Bair or Birkek? or…no his last name was something like Matubishkishmish…or something like it…he is from Orensakh, i mean Orenburg…i think…or no…he is Veco Veco right…i think his name was Barbandoo”…
=) “Yeah i had some Kirbirkek and Oramdu Barboondoo coming in…do they sound familiar?”…oh, hold on, those were from Fluor…NAAAAAAH…i dont have the name you are looking for, sorry mate. I had 10 people coming in today and none of them had such a name…and not yesterday and not a week before and no sorry…none of the visitors tomorrow will have a name like the one you are looking for…really sorry.Go find out his real name”
There is about 5 “I locked myself out” a day (people just forget the keys and walk away…sometimes they come in a bath towel).
Around 10 “I want to change my room, the guys are snoring and there is a wind coming in from the power socket”
me- “So they do snore in my room and the wind blows from the sockets, and they will snore in another room and the wind will blow too, if not from the socket, then from the night light that was screwed into the wall all the way through out. Furthermore i don’t have a spare bed just to put you in”
There will be maybe 3 people each day saying “My pillow is bed and the towels are gone, there is only 3 closets in the room but 4 people”
Well, I can find you a towel…would that make you happy? The cupboard were ordered, the whole camp sleeps on exactly the same pillow as yours and only yours is not good enough, and considering the cupboard issue, why dont you ask your roomies to give you at least one side of the big double closet?
People all of the kinds, nationalities, companies, positions and sizes are coming in.  Mostly there are companies that have more priority before others, staff would live 2 in the room that takes 4 people, and as soon as i start filling them up they come and nod, if not to me then to their bosses, their bosses come to my boss, my boss comes to me asks if there is any room to place the people elsewhere, I say “no we are full, my boss goes back to their boss, their boss goes to the guys and says “toughen up princess”, guys are coming to me and start trying to buy me off with promises to bring chocolate, i show them the whole variety of the sweet goodness i got in my office and they start crying in hope i will feel sorry for them and find another place to put the people in. Then they leave, i put people in their rooms, the guys start hating me and eventually stop saying “Good morning”, “Hello”  and such…
Some people become more respectful if i act tough, some people leave and leave behind all their crap they just threw at me, some people leave and leave a smile on my face…
It’s a very hard work as you have to communicate a lot with people and not all people know how to be nice…Unfortunately the most part of the “uncontrollable” kind are russians…something like 95% Russian men/women 4% workers from the former USSR countries and 1% expats.  And as always, the higher the position of the person, the higher their level of the “Bitchiness”.
Thats it for now, will see what else will happen.

Travelling time

So my short 6 month trip to the country of Down Under has come to an end. Here I am sitting at the airport among running people, everybody look like they are just about to drop.
I love airports. So many people, so many different lives.  But more than airports I like Airplanes.  So many comedians being joking about airplanes, and this jokes are all pretty reasonable!
A flight from Perth WA to Karratha WA(3 hours in the air). The whole flight goes through the red mars like desert.  They are offering you a LIFE JACKET…”in case of emergency”. Are you guys seriously?
-“Under your seat you can find a life jacket, with a cool blinking light on it and a whistle”
…GREAT I’LL TAKE TWO THANK YOU VERY MUCH
The first thing i would want to do when falling from the sky on to the solid ground is wear the stupid life jacket and blink with lights while whistling! It’s like if a Titanic was packet with parachutes. Useless.
Oh, the lunch! On the same flight Karratha – Perth. I don’t know who decided to serve a triple bread breakky. Receiving my tray, all excited and bam! Bun with blueberries, muffin with nothing on it and … another bun, a square one. WTF??!!
Another flight, from Perth to Hongkong. I’m flying in economy class and a woman behind me is flying business.
Flight attendant to:
Economy class:
-“keep walking” “please straight, keep walking” “keep walking””keep walking”
Business class:
-“Hello madam, a glass of champagne, water, Juice, champagne?”
Economy:
-“sorry can i have some..?”
Attendant:
-“no, you have to wait until we take off, now GO BACK TO YOUR SIT!”
Is this really necessary to make us economy class people feel so miserable?!!
I love the pilots with a good sense of humor. Here is an example: pilot of one of the Quantas aircrafts calls himself “Captain Hook”.
Some business class passengers are being funny too, as they are coming in to the airplane first, they like to sit with their legs spread apart reading a newspaper, saying with all their look “keep walking you insignificant *#@ economy class.” Most of the times this man/woman would be that person who purchased the ticked for economy and upgraded to business with Frequent Flight points that he was collecting like all their life.
Airports are cool too tho.
Incheon Airport: Staying there overnight made me honestly think that whole korea only drinking booz and smoking. The only shops that were opened were ciggies and a bottle shop. 9pm desperate for food i’ve covered about 4 km of the airport and all i found was a box of noodles from the gift shop…Damn i’m looking forward for my overnight stop this time. Hongkong Airport is absolutely great too. I walked about 3km just to get my boarding pass and to find out that my boarding gate is in the opposite end, where i just came from. Holy gracious! Luckily i have 9 hours till my flight, so i can pretty much crawl with the speed of a snail and still get there on time.
Today is my first time Business class experience. I’m excited! Bwahahaha i guess i shell get to my seat, grab the newspaper and sit with legs spread apart just to annoy economy class.
Howzat =)