We drove about 25-30min by car until we arrived at Jason`s house. I tried to absorb visually as much of the environment as possible but tiredness, hunger, thirst and the knowledge that from now on I would decide day by day what I would like to do were really distracting.
Moggill Road (in which Jason`s house is located) crossing many suburbs, is a very long and busy road of about 22km. Indooroopilly (the lazy Australians shorten it up to Indoorpilly) is one of those suburbs with a big well known shopping mall. The house is some decades old and needs here and there some refurbishment. Compared to my hygiene standards it was rather poor but I had not expected much more. The heavy traffic right in front of my window – of course only single-glazing – was a bigger concern of mine but for some days it should be fine. Wireless internet connection, usage of the laundry located in the basement (which is not really a basement but an above ground section, enclosed by simple thin wood walls), an own compartment in the fridge, freezer and supply cabinet was included. 160 dollars per week are a very reasonable price for that. Jason, his grilfriend Yvonne, Elaine, another taiwanese housemate, studying something with marketing and Brian, an Aussie, working in a bank as accounter seemed to be sympathetic guys to live with (and indeed they are). Jason was so kind to agree on a short term contract of just one week. 2-4 weeks as minimum are more common so I was more than satisfied with it.
Actually only Brian, Elaine and me live in the house because Jason and Yvonne live in an annex to the building only connected to the original house by the patio. They have their own bathroom but use the kitchen of the main building.
My room has a big, simple subdivided built-in wardrobe a queen-size bed, a desk with a lamp, one mid-size window and a key lockable door.
The first idea was to go shopping, getting some food. Jason walked with me the steep road 100m upwarts, explaining 2 alternative ways how to get to the Indooroopilly shopping centre.
In general Brisbane is really hilly. An acclivity of 15% and more is nothing to wonder about. – Having just a short look on a map, neglecting the topography can be desastrous if you find yourself sweating while carrying heavy shopping bags. But I had no choice when I noticed that some minutes walk can be more or less exhausting, depending on the road conitions. When I arrived at the mall, I enjoyed the cooled air inside, then tried about 4 different bank automates before I had the first Australian dollars in my hands since 11 years. For emergency cases I was equipped with 200 Euro but the exchange rate had been much worse than taking off money from a bank automat by credit card. In Germany Woolworth is known as a shop for clothes, toys, different electric articles, beauty products and sweets but in Australia it is a real supermarket additionally offering a lush variety of vegetables, fruits, meat and dairy products. I immediately started checking prices. I was warned by my researches online that everything was more expensive, most of the time doubled or tripled. Soft bread (there is only soft and supersoft bread available) which I define as classical toast) costs easily 5 dollar, 375g cornflakes 7 dollar. I spend 8 to get the organic variant, already thinking about quitting to eat muesli for economical reasons. All workers there were very friendly and helpful, even if they couldn`t answer my questions. When asking a customer where to find a special product, she immediately called a Woolworth worker and explained instead of me what I was searching for. How careful! Moreover she complimented about my English and asked about my home country. Obviously Germans are a liked nation by the Australians. Whoever heard that I was from Berlin had to tell a story of another German he or she knows/knew and what nice people they were.
Later on, after I had walked around in circles around the vegetable section, she talked to me again, showing me a very time limited offer which, although not consisting of organic food, was a real steal: a translucent bag in standard size completely filled with mature vegetables and fruits of your choice laying on a creeper nearby for 3 dollar. I was in good mood. Friendly people everywhere, affordable food and so many new products to discover and to try out.
I payed my first buyings in Oz and rewarded me for being so patient with eating inspite of big hunger with some fresh vegan maki rolls from one of the 3 sushi snack bars present on each of the 3 floors in the mall.
Now I had to go home as quickly as possible. I had bought a cooling bag but estimated the food for the fridge to denature soon. I left the mall, probably through another entrance/exit than before and thought about a shortcut home. I walked down an extremely steep road until I saw that I was heading to the Brisbane river. That was no way the right direction. I turned around and walked that bloody steep road back. A women with baby stroller couldn`t tell me the way to Moggill road. I decided to turn left into a smaller more even street instead of going all the way back to the shopping center. A car had just parked some metres in front of me and a women stepped off. I asked her the same question as before. Quickly I was involved in a chat about my story how I ended up in Australia on that road. Her mother, a women of about 70-75 years joined the talk and they discussed how they could help me. When I revealed that I am an architect and maybe looking for some voluntary or social work the daughter, called Elisabeth – in short Liz –, announced that her brother was running an international architecture agency. Before I was able to open my mouth she took her phone and called him, described the odd situation, then gave me the mobile phone and I chatted with Will about my qualifications. He was straight forward facing the truth that it normally doesn`t pay off to have for his company to have trainees for 6-12 month and then they leave and all the effort was for nothing. Anyway, he requested me to send my application to him. Meanwhile I was guided into Eveline’s (Liz’ mother) house, put off my purchasing and sat down on a couch. 10 minutes later the plan was made: Liz would give me a ride home. We missed Jason`s house twice but therefore had more time to chat.
She told me that the Germans had saved her live when she had cancer and was transported to Austria and later to Germany where she was cured without a chemo-therapy thanks to a new medicinal highly advanced technique on an experimental level. As I said – Germans are rather popular in Australia. She is able to speak a little bit German and I offered her to give her lessons in case we should meet again. As a teacher for computer software like Adobe Premiere, a video edit programm I always wanted to learn, she could give me a crash course in exchange. My cooled shopping products had become warm long ago so we talked further in front of the house and exchanged email contact and phone numbers.
She doesn`t live in Brisbane but on the Gold Coast, 90km south of Brisbane. She was only around to visit her mother. We agreed to keep in touch and I went into the house brainstorming how it was possible to arrive in Australia for just about 8 hours, already having the slight chance to work in an architecture bureau, helping Liz’ friend sorting out and packing donated clothes for Papua New Guinean people in need, perhaps giving German lessons and receiving an introduction in Adobe Premiere.
Exactly things like that I had expected when coming to Oz: unchanceable but very welcomed incidents which give my life a new direction. Anyway I was simply caught by surprise it happened so quickly and totally unintended.
At night – not tired at all because of the jetlag and 8 hour time shift – I worked on the layout for this blog, annoyed that everything takes so much longer than… okay – I think I said already some words about that phenomenon in my second blog post.
To let you know: my first week in Australia is already over and my reports have fallen behind some days. To write more brand new stuff, being up to date, I will review the rest of the week in one post, just pitching on the highlights and sometimes talk about curios and mannerism of Australia at large. Topics I will definitely deal with are traffic/traffic lights, animals, again food prices, public transportation and architecture. If you like to know something in particular and think others might be interested in it, too, leave me a comment, please!
From now will shorten the posts. This will help you busy people to keep easier track of my ongoing development and force me to kick out stuff which is not essential.
Furthermore I will get to bed before 2 am, slowly starting to adapt to Down Under day/night rhythm. Good night!
In the gallery you see pictures from my current accomodation , me wearing a not too stylish but sun protective hat and one staged photo of Jason (an architect of my age but working self-employed as a graphic designer), working on the living room carpet on my behalf (I wanted to do some workout and recognized many hair and a lot of dirt on it) with his professional back-portable vacuum cleaner.