Christmas wishes and Greetings from the land down under! I must apologise for the delay in updating my site, but the flip side, and the very good news about this is that there is of course plenty to be said in this latest instalment! So pull up a chair, get a brew on the go and maybe, just maybe treat yourself to that little slab of dairy milk you've got tucked away somewhere for special occasions - because once you are sat comfortably, I shall begin......!
Unlikely as it may seem, both Jammo and myself still have jobs selling terrible insurance products to the unsuspecting Australian public. Well, i say selling, sometimes I do, sometimes, and more often than not, I am not actually managing to do anything of the sort! It did come down to a crunch crisis meeting this week - I was given my final warning on my sales figues, and whilst I tried very hard to hit the 15 sales I needed, 3 was simply viewed as not good enough! I cant imagine why.....!? However, with diplomacy skills that would have Condoleeza Rice shaking in her amateur American boots, I somehow managed to convince my boss to give me one last week to crack that magic 15 sales barrier, or $4000 in Annual Premium - Or, i would tender my resignation with immediate effect. As you can see - it is fairly likely, that on the 22nd December, 2006 - Gary will be making a very melodramatic, explosive departure from the world of Australian financial planning!
However, that said - I doubt i could stomach the ritual abuse for much longer - there is only so many times that you can get laughed at down the phone for your teams poor attempts to play cricket over here! But hurray for Monty Panesar - thankfully someone at last looks like they enjoy playing cricket for England!
Outside of work, life in Quay street continues to fluctuate from the sublime to the ridiculous. In the last month I have learnt the following lessons:
- Never, Ever argue with a Scotsman - As our friend from Stoke, the lovely Sally, has found out to her cost - it will only end badly. In this case - with a rather unexpected late night shower.
- Furthermore, never get into a Frenchman's bed when wet. - Again, well done to Sally on gaining a reputation as a right trouble maker
- Italians will sleep everywhere, and anywhere - but rarely, as it would now seem, in their actual beds. Enrico has proved that there is no more suitable place to sleep than on the floor infront of the tele whilst everyone watches goldeneye. He is also the first person I have ever met who has slept for over 22 hours.....
- Brummies have the most spectacular arguements! In a scene straight from a soap opera, Dom and Krystle rowed until the early morning this week, in spectacular fashion. It got all too much for Scott the Scot, who smashed a plate over his head. Don't ask........ (because i have no idea why!)
- Canadians are rubbish at their own drinking games!
On wednesday this week, I had the priviledge of dropping my boy off for a wee date in town with the aforementioned Canadian Leah. I gave Jammo a tenor for fish and chips and told him to be home by 10.30 at the latest, but he paid no heed to my warnings and instead came home well after midnight looking like the cat that got the cream. Heartwarming stuff indeed - although I lost the focus on this by getting involved in a gripping poker game in the house in his absence. Somehow, by sheer dumb luck, I managed to triumph in the most exceptional circumstances - in a move that could have come straight out of Casino Royal i was brave with my last hand - "$40 million, all in". Brave? Yes. Bored? Yes. But a happy conclusing was reached with my victory, although I still to this day have no idea how to play poker.
Christmas is rapidly approaching here, and we have lots of things planned for the festive period.The first thing however, was to make the flat itself a festive haven from the otherwise uninspiring Sydney! This in itself was not easy. Krystle, Dom and myself spent 2 hours choosing the decorations, and I myself took personal charge over the tree - opting for a purple and silver colour scheme. And no, it doesnt look like a ruddy dairy milk before someone else says it!!! Even if it did, I dont see the problem! However, it was the 5 hours spent finding the tree that was particularly comical, and seemingly one of the most difficult things to do in the city! So, the hunt for the tree turned into a pub crawl/tree hunt as could only be expected when doing anything with Krystle! "Drinks like a fish" just doesnt do her justice - a point proved by last nights shenanigans where she went out with Sally until 7am, only 24 hours after being in hospital having been knocked out by her own surf board during her first surfing lesson!
Amazingly amongst the drunken carnage the tree and all the decorations were succesfully installed, including the only visible christmas lights 18 stories up in the whole of Sydney. I am justifiably proud of this fact!
In a further attempt to get into the festive spirit we are looking to go to the opera house on the 23rd December for Carols and Christmas songs, and then for Christmas day we have assembled the most eclectic group of chefs from around Europe for a feast of gastronomic proportions. Myself, Enrico the Italian, Dave the Scot, and Tony the Frenchie will be combining our talents in cooking christmas dinner for approximatley 15 people. We have budgeted at $50 a head for food and drink, and Dave is convinced we can get all the food for $250 - leaving well over $500 for his favorite hobby - Vodka!
In January the Scots head off to do fruit picking, and Josh flys out to join our little adventure. Keith has now returned to the UK, he has got what he wanted from travelling, and answered the questions he needed answered. As for me, I am no closer to finding any answers but shall continue the journey looking for some questions in the meantime. If we take anything from our time in Sydney it will be some new, and brilliant friends, one who works for Dominos pizza and brings us free food after a night out is particularly useful - so thankyou Daniel Marshall.
Pizza's aside, the last few weeks have not been the easiest for me, but without the friends I have here, both old and new,English, Scottish, Italian, French, Canadian and Midlanders combined it would have been all the worse. Our little flat,with its crazy characters, both residents and non residents have reminded me of the reason i came here in the first place - you get one go at life, and you have to take that with both hands and run with it while you can. Even though I can't be there on thursday, my thoughts,love and prayers will be will all of my family, as they have been for the past fortnight - they could simply not be anywhere else.
And for me, at christmas I will have my own quiet moments, but with Christmas comes a chance to start afresh, and with renewed purpose, and with a phrase a very wise Canadian has taught me, I shall make a combined toast on Christmas day: To Uncle Geoff, and new beginnings.
Merry Christmas to everyone, wherever you may be! And heres to a very happy 2007!