Low winter sun

Day 201 - Sydney

A solitude wraps me as I walk, the ferries blow their funereal horns as if through some foggy dock on the eve of war. I turn up the collar on my favourite (only) winter coat and press on over the swing bridge and past destroyer, submarine and magnificent 3-masted sail ship. Wooden boards give a resonant thud as my smart-shod feet strike them and ibis stalk the grassy swath to my left. The sun traces its shallow arc in the sky as I arrive at the office and day two hundred and one stirs to life. The transience had paused and routine replaced it. Faces and places became familiar and relationships lasted past a day or two of crossed paths. Heck, such was the order of my life I had even taken to eating muesli for breakfast (with soy milk, natch). My job was going well, I worked with Kim and Lorraine auditing the company's Australian contractors and daily impressed my colleagues with technical wizardry and savoir faire. On the home front myself and Michael had moved into a hostel for the general well-being of all involved in our previous accommodation and we passed the evenings eating kangaroo and watching the dirge that Australian terrestrial TV stations deem suitable for broadcast. CBH continued to lubricate our social interactions and despite numerous ejections never held a grudge. The weather was improving such that a dip in the sea became a pleasurable pastime rather than a masochistic trial. In short life was pretty good. I have, in the past, wondered at the draw of Australia. Having seen several friends visit never to return to the motherland I was curious to understand the country's enrapturing power. It didn't take long before I was experiencing such emotions of my own, I felt the pull. My imagination was swiftly crafting a life here, so far from everything I had known for the last 30 years. And that, I think, is what it was for me. 30 years living in the same country, the same continent, the same hemisphere suddenly seemed like a long time, too long. Here was a brave new world abundant with possibilities that maybe I wouldn't have seen ensconced in my English groove, ever ploughing in the same direction. I felt like I had straightened my shuffling hunch, had lifted my eyes from the road. I found I liked Australia not for what it was but for what it wasn't. My mind raced ahead - I could extend my visa for a further year provided I undertook 3 months of 'specified' work. What this amounts to is going to Australia's more rural regions and doing jobs the natives don't want to do, I would have to work on my Polish accent. The black fly in the chardonnay was the fact that second visas are only granted to people under the age of 31. Some quick calculations gave the following result -

Months of regional work required = 3
Months until I turned 31 = 3¼

Time was, to put it mildly, tight. This would be a high stakes gamble as I would need to leave my job at Accenture, book a flight to the boondocks and pray I could pick up work immediately. More than a week spent without specified employment and there would be no second visa for me not to mention the cost of the plane tickets to bear. My attempts to secure a job before I left Sydney were coming to naught so on the advice of a drunken man in a pub I would soon be travelling to the other side of this vast country and the vineyards of Margaret River. Wish me luck...

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