The start of the third week of classes made me want to be productive, so Monday I packed my backpack and walked down by the river, past the Ferris wheel to the Brisbane State Library to do homework. I spent most of my time wandering around the various exhibits however, and was not particularly productive. It’s a huge library and at one point I wandered into a room full of tea china, and thought that this library with its enormous floor to ceiling, wall-to-wall windows facing the river must be made for me.
Wednesday of that week I joined my friend Conny at the UQ dance club, and when we got back to the flat, everyone was down in the lobby buying plane tickets to New Zealand for the mid-semester break which really got me thinking (thinking of all the money I was earning working, and all the sweeping landscape shots of Lord of the Rings.). It took me very little time to determine that, yes I did very much want to join my friends on a ten day road trip of the South Island, so I found a cheap plane ticket with JetStar and would be flying into Christchurch on
That Sunday I had actually joined the choir at church (through the insistence of the older ladies of the parish). I am not the best singer, but it’s a fun thing to do, and I don’t have to sit pathetically alone at mass every week which is a big plus. My cousin who lives in Brisbane also stopped by and gave me some of the novels for my literature class and a bunch of miscellaneous household items to complete my apartment. I finally was able to feel settled in.
That evening after work my restaurant had a huge party with all of the staff there for birthday. It was an amazing time. There was so much food, and I was able to try all the fancy dishes that we don’t normally eat during staff dinners. Then they turned the music up and all the women danced in the traditional Turkish style of dance. It was such a cool thing to be a part of. What I’ve learned about Turkish culture so far is that they are very, very proud of it; they love sharing it with people, and hospitality is one of their biggest values—this manifests itself easily in a restaurant setting. Though it may seem that I am learning more about Turkish people than Australians, I think that immigrants or people here on temporary work visas are a huge part of present-day Australia, especially in Brisbane. From research I did before I came I know that of a population around 2 million, 21.7% of residents were born overseas and 16% speak a language other than English at home.
At first I resented the time I had to spend at the restaurant working instead of always having all my time to myself, but now I genuinely enjoy work. I am learning to make cappuccinos, lattes and flat whites as well as Turkish drinks like Ayran and Cay tea. I love the other waitresses, and the laid-back nature of Aussies makes work a fun interactive time. I get asked about my accent about every third table. What’s funny is that Aussies know that Canadians get really offended when people mistake their accent for American so they always ask me if I am Canadian first even though their first instinct is American. My American turn of phrase is also a source of amusement for my boss (who had trouble with my name the first week, and simply calls me “Alabama”) especially when I say “to-go” instead of “take-away.” And they say waitressing is stressful.