Melbourne Update

Trip Start Sep 09, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Albert Park Tram Stop

Flag of Australia  , Victoria,
Thursday, November 5, 2009

It's definitely not as big as in the States, but there are trick-or-treaters, parties, and people dressing up for the occasion. We had three little witches arrive at our house asking for candy while we were setting up for our party and we had to give them cookies, because we weren't prepared with candy. Our house is perfect for a Halloween party because its pretty creepy, old and huge, so we decorated the place with fake cobwebs, candles, and waited for guests to arrive. Considering all of us moved to Melbourne recently, we had a pretty good turnout and everyone loved our house. Among the guests were an angel, Peter Pan and Hook, Sarah Palin and I couldn't tell what the others were, so just look at the pictures. Courtney was Morticia from The Addams Family, Damien and Nicki were cave-man and cave-woman, and I was Captain Scottish clown. Courtney and I introduced a few drinking games unknown to the Aussies and foreigners at the party including "Beer Pong," "Flip-Cup," and "Kings." One of Courtney's co-workers' insists that are house is actually haunted with ghosts and we all think he's nuts.

While I have managed to find a job at a youth hostel in Melbourne, Courtney has been teaching High School students at Holmes College and inevitably has mostly Chinese students. She has a different story everyday about her students and her experience is definitely different than her three years in China. Except for a few students with discipline issues, they are enthusiastic and really enjoy her as a teacher. They insist on calling her "Teacher" instead of her name, even when she tells them not to.

My job situation is a bit different. I don't know if it’s ironic or just sad that I’ve started working at a hostel cleaning toilets, mopping floors, and doing other people’s dishes. If it leads to something better, then it is worth it, but hey, it’s a dirty job and someone’s got to do it. At least I get to work with 4 friendly, young Nepalese guys who teach me Nepalese and entertain me with funny questions. One of them has a really strong accent and I just can’t for the life of me understand some of the words he says. I invited him to our Halloween party and he said he would call me if he’s not doing anything else. I laughed and said, “Ok, you do that, Suvir.” He didn’t end up calling, but today I asked him what he did on Saturday night, the night of our party and he said, “Oh not too much, I was at home.”It’s important to like the people you work with, so I’m glad that part of the job is good. We joke around a lot, but do the work and get to enjoy the rest of the day...

On a positive note, I had an interview with the City of Boroondara for a GIS Analyst position last Monday. I know I shouldn’t expect my first interview to give me a job, but at least I made it to that step and I’m not just stabbing at ads with no result. I thought the interview went really well and we ended up talking about other subjects besides GIS, like cooking, writing and sports. I haven’t heard back yet, but I hope to get more interviews while I wait and keep plugging away at the hostel. I talked to a recruitment agent yesterday and the recruiter told me to send her a 6 page resume detailing all of the work I’ve done at my previous employers. I couldn’t help but act surprised, but said I’d send it to her. The City of Boroondara didn’t seem to mind my 1 page resume…

I’ve been playing pickup soccer in Albert Park every Sunday with an international bunch of guys, so I’m attempting to get back into shape. I’ve definitely lost a step from ACL surgery, but at least I can run a lot and make some moves. I think indoor soccer would be more difficult to get back into, but for now I’m happy with playing pickup with these guys. It’s great having the beach and a huge park right next door. My roommate, Damien wants to start swimming in the bay a couple times a week for exercise. I’ll let him test the waters first and he doesn’t get eaten by sharks, then I’ll follow. Damien, his friend Chris, and I went to the driving range on Saturday (My first time!) and I realized that I’m terrible at golf, but hitting the sweet spot and driving a ball pretty far is a great feeling. Tomorrow, I’m going back to The Bike Shed, where they give away free bikes as long as you fix them up yourself. I picked out one last week, replaced the tires, oiled the chain, and fixed the brakes, so it’s almost ready to go and Courtney and I will have our own bikes to get to work.

It was a holiday on Tuesday for the horse races called the Melbourne Cup, so Court and I went to a bar and made a couple harmless bets on random horses that lost. It was fun being a part of the crowd and talking to some locals. People get really into the races here, dressing up in fancy outfits and making serious, educated bets, but we wanted no part of that.

And now for a little rant...
How Kevin Costner made it to the big screen is beyond me. How he keeps getting work is also a mystery. Courtney rented Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves for her ESL class this week and I once again realized how awful Mr. Costner’s acting really is. The thing is, he stars in some quality films, but is always put to shame by the other actors merely because of his lack of talent. In Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, he apparently gave up attempting an English accent and the supporting cast of Christian Slater, Morgan Freeman, and Alan Rickman are far more believable. But, Wow is he a marksman with that arrow! In the film, The Untouchables, (Best Picture, 1987) he is outshined by Robert DeNiro and Sean Connery. In Dances With Wolves, he is out-acted by all of the Native Americans. The list goes on and let us not forget the tragedy of Waterworld... Maybe he should just stick to baseball movies where he doesn’t really have to act, he just has to stand there and listen to advice: (Loud whisper) “If you build it, you might become a better actor.”
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estherandmort on

I am impressed with the number of friends you have made, Luke!!!!! Halloween looked like a lot of fun.

I am glad Courtney is enjoying her job. As for your job, just wash your hands often! It is an income, so hang in there. Something good will come along soon.

I have yet to download Skype, but will do so soon and let you know. David has been urging me to do it, so I can see Brandon. He has started the orthodontia which will lead up to surgery in June, and I could see changes in his face already just from his Halloween pix.

I am as busy as ever here. I have not quite finished putting the gardens to bed, and they are threatening wet snow for tomorrow night!! I have heard predictions that we'll get more snow and colder temps. than other winters. Lucky you! The big issue around here is the swine flu. Great shortage of vaccine . It seems to affect children and young adults, but not us old folks. But there is a shortage of seasonal flu which affects us, so people are standing in 2-3 hour lines to get their shots. I am going to give it a try in Bedford Saturday.

I have been seriously working on my memoirs--just for the family, not for general publication. I hope it will give everyone a picture of the family's history. I start with my great-grandparents, from about the mid 1800's, when they arrived in the US. Unfortunately, European records of the Jews are few. I would have to go to Israel, and then I don't know how much I would find. At the moment I am writing about my childhood in Jamaica Plain.

The Yankees won the World Series, sad to say. I was rooting for anyone but, which were the Phillies.

We are now being bombarded by ads for Ted Kennedy's senate seat. Primary in a few weeks and special election in January. I hate those ads!!!!

Love to you both.


doriastories on

Hi Luke! I love the pictures and description of life in Oz. It sounds like you are really making a go of it Down Under, giving it all your best shot: work, social life, sports, Scottish Clowning.... Fantastic! By the way, I completely agree about Kevin Costner. I remember seeing him in that Robin Hood flick, there was this dreadful scene where he skinny-dips in the forest, yuck. For a while there, he just kept rolling out these huge epic films which were designed to showcase his buttocks, er, I mean brilliance. No dice. I strongly recommend watching Mel Brooks's "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" as an antidote. Impossible to take yourself too seriously watching that one!!
Much love to you from us out here in New England shivering with cold........

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