Letters Home V. The Moneyz & The Meaning of Life.

Almost August, that means I’ve been here for 5 months already. That’s huge! Still feeling as if I haven’t settled properly, I think a lot has to do with the no-real-job situation, but I have told myself I need to stop seeing this as a constant problem and start living instead.

I’ve never really been good with money. Not sure when or how it started but saving for something was never my strongest suit, not even as a kid. I wanted things NOW, why wait? And that is still the same today. Even when I know I’m on a budget, when money isn’t coming in as before, I still manage to spend (well, obviously with a bit of more sense) as if money isn’t an issue. That’s because I’d like to think it isn’t one. I would never be able to live calculating every cent and depriving myself from a coffee outdoor because, let’s face it, you might as well make your coffee home and it can be just as good (well, maybe this isn’t true in Melbourne, World Capital of The Best Coffee). It isn’t a necessity, of course it isn’t! But what kind of life is that? A life where I can’t enjoy my $4 coffees is not a life I want to live.

Only thanks to my dear friend Louis I managed to be more diligent with my money and was actually able to open a savings account on which I actually accumulated savings (and still live my comfy lifestyle). I’ll be forever grateful for your valuable input Louis!

My latest fixation on which – according to A – I’m spending all my salary on, are jars. Yes, you heard it right, just some regular glass jars you use in the kitchen. Can you blame me? How nice are jars? I just love them! All the different shapes and sizes, filled up with all the colourful spices, different types of flours, pasta, rice. You can fit everything in a jar and it’s just beautiful. It’s like decorating your pantry, brightening your kitchen, giving flavor to your life (well well, going a bit too far now I guess). You can label them or not, pair them or just have them cris cross all over the place. Look, I’m sure I’m not the only one, I’ve seen tons of pictures of beautiful jar collections on Pinterest and Instagram, so I feel less of a weirdo. But then again, you can literally find anything on the interwebz, there’s place for everyone, people with kinky fantasies, awkward hoarders and unexplainable hobbyists.

Last Thursday we went for a long weekend to Omeo, we could camp on Jenna’s dad’s farmland – he owns this huge land (about 110 acres) just a few kilometers outside the town where he plans to build a house one day. For now the property is just land with paddocks, forest, and the most stunning view of the valley from the upper top where he has a little shed and a caravan, just beneath the forest. As it is about 5 hours away from Melbourne we left Thursday night to make a long weekend out of it. The weather was perfect, bright blue skies and full on sunshine. Us four slept in the little caravan and Jenna’s dad (who happened to be there as well that weekend) stayed in the shed. We didn’t even freeze our toes of as we expected! Probably a caravan is just a tiny bit better than a little tent directly on the freezing ground. The whole weekend was mostly about collecting wood, making fires, cooking, drinking by the fire on repeat. Sounds pretty good, right? Now that we’re all about the outdoor life (makes me feel even older than I already was feeling) I’ve decided to start an Instagram account with a “camping life” or “outdoor life” theme. Need to make sure to have a good amount of photo material before I start (as interrupting for long times is never good to create a consistent amount of fans & followers). The idea – and hope – is obviously to get some traction and to be able to do some product placement, maybe for outdoor clothing brands (like The North Face or Kathmandu) or outdoor equipment, vehicles, etc. It’s an ambitious plan as there is so much out there but if I put in the right effort and make sure the pics are great quality but also with a personal twist, I’m sure it could be a success.

The New Apartment. So yeah, this is happening. Moving to a real house. I’m picking up the keys today and next week we’ll be in it! To be honest, although I am super psyched about it, it doesn’t feel like mine any more than our last place, although it should, shouldn’t it? We chose it together. I think this has to do with the fact that my finances don’t allow me to contribute as much as A does which just makes me feel awful, which obviously is all a story in my head and I’m making a way bigger deal out of it than it is. I struggled for such a long time to not have to depend on my parents or other people anymore and this part of my life just feels like a set back. I often miss my own place in Copenhagen, my independent life, independent from anyone and anything. Not to say that it wasn’t lonely, I often had days (and you remember this Tom) where I questioned the whole meaning of life and what the whole purpose is. Why are we here? Why do we work and make money? To pay for our things and then what? Look, I very well know that most of the things we value, things that society has put on a high pedestal, are not the things that give us happiness. I had a long Skype call with my friend May (you all remember her right?) the other night and we talked about the fact that it’s so important to focus on those things we love without always being fixated on whether or not it will turn out to be our career or it will bring us money, fame, etc. Doing the things you love just because you love them is such an important part of our happiness. What I currently enjoy most is reading and writing so I’m determined to do this as much as I can. There’s a lot of other things that I’d love to cultivate and learn. It like to learn to play the ukulele (like in a proper manner) and I’d like to go back to acting (I actually am attending some Theater meetups at the moment) and also I would like to study literature again (this was my favorite subject in school, if only my memory wasn’t so bad). Especially Italian, English and French Literature. From the beginnings to modern times.

Still working at ‘One’, this week I started as a part timer and having so much time off is great (especially with the sunny days we had this week) but also puts me face to face with all the worries and big questions in my head (Oh-Will-I-Find-Another-Job, What-Do-I-Want-In-Life, Why-Am-I-Here-Again-Ah-Yeah-Look-Around-You, I’m-So-In-Love-But-Am-I-Losing-Focus, Start-Following-Your-Passions-Girl-Start-Baking-For-Real). You know the drill.

Have a wonderful and hopefully sunny weekend!

M.

 

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Letters Home IV. New Apartment & Sexy Oneness.

What? Already a new chapter? Well, I obviously have too much time on my hands and too few friends.

Couldn’t wait to share the news: we got a new apartment! Finally (insert raise the roof emoji)!

Ho ho ho, it’s that time of the year. Ah no it isn’t, it’s winter in July. If I think of all the weird thing to get used to, this is one of those which will never feel right. You just can’t have the seasons messed up, it’s just not how it’s suppose to be! You know how you have a mental image of the year in your head? Like a calendar? I think everyone has a different visual image in their minds, and you probably always had it like that since you can remember. It probably develops around the time that we learn about days, weeks, months, season and the whole concept of time. Mine is a long old film roll (kind of the film rolls before we all switched to the digital world). It’s diagonally extended on a completely infinite white background. The very close end to my vision starts with January and the far end corner finishes with December. Depending on which part of the year we’re in it’s more or less zoomed into a particular season, month or week. I can also zoom in and out of the total picture. The peculiar thing is that the 3 months in the middle – June, July and August – are somewhat elevated and brighter from the rest. They represent the 3 months of summer. And now, this mental image is screwed up forever- The elevated brighter months are now part of the cold dark winter. Besides my imaginary calendar, I also struggle with understanding which vegetables are in season – which nowadays is difficult anyways because of the availability all year around. But as y’all know, I’m pretty keen on keeping things seasonal, local and organic. So certain fruit and greens which are assigned to a particular month (grapes in September, that’s when the vendemmia starts in Italy!) are just a mystery right now.

I shouldn’t complain, if in Denmark the year is made out of a long winter with a few weeks of sunny and warm weather, here it’s pretty much the opposite. It’s a long summer with a couple of weeks of crappy weather.

Let’s talk about my new job. ‘One’ is a super awesome company to work for. It’s very similar to ‘Tell Your Friends’ in the whole work/life balance aspect, people are really empowered and do what they have to do. It’s not a I-sit-in-my-chair-from-9-to-5 kind of job. Everyone is young and sexy too. It’s great. So what’s wrong? Well, a couple of things are. I was so concentrated and stressed on getting the job done in the beginning that I forgot to be social with people. I didn’t care. Besides obviously with my team (a bunch of guys) with whom I obviously chat, I became a bit of the awkward girl sitting in her corner being all serious. I finally decided to join a team event (like the whole sales department team event) a couple of weeks ago but then I was so sick that day that I barely was capable of working at all, let alone go out, do fun stuff, be social with total strangers. I felt I lost my only chance to finally break that awkward silence I have with most people sitting only a few inches from my desk. It’s only a “good morning” and some nods and smiles now and then.

The other problem is obviously that yes, it’s a startup, it’s a cloud solution, it’s a SaaS product that has all the same principles as all other products, it’s all these cool things that I’m already familiar with BUT it’s also an accounting product, which means, no matter in which department you are working, you need to have a basic understanding about accounting and/or bookkeeping (I don’t even know the difference). All the cool kids in my team are accountants. They studied finance, they know what they are talking about. And I just don’t, which sucks. I thought: once I’m in there, I’ll show them my skills, but I have a hard time following the basics, not the procedures, but the content! It’s like so far from my world that it’s not even intuitive for me (maybe some stuff would be for others). My manager adores me and is just too sweet trying to give me more work and work hours, trying to find new projects so I can stay on longer. From next week it’s going to be only 2 days, and although it’s better paid than the cafe job (obviously), with 2 days a week I can barely cover the rent.

And speaking of rent – we finally found a new apartment. Or a house (what an adult thing to say) actually! With a real front and back yard, wooden floors, parking place and in a great area too! Oh and wait, what? It has a pizza oven in the outside area (I know, I think this is what excites me most, must be my Italian blood bubbling).

This weekend we’re going to taste some outdoor life again. We’re going out camping with Jenna and Andy somewhere east of Melbourne, in Omeo to be precise. Hopefully we’re not going to freeze our feet off.

Miss you all.

Love,

M.

 

Letters Home III. Hope & The Outdoor Aussie Life.

Where did I left off last time?

Ah yes! Poor little me being unsatisfied with my waitress life. I had that interview at ‘One’ and they didn’t take me and everything seemed hopeless again. I decided to take action and work one day less in the cafe so I would have had time to dedicate an entire day to job hunting (as the weekends are for relaxing, everyone knows that). Just as I was about to get this day off, I got another call from One; the next day I go in for an interview and I immediately clicked with Rick, my new manager. The interview was on a Friday, then there was a long weekend (the Queen’s birthday) in which me and A went finally on a good camping adventure (Tasmania didn’t go through that weekend – all ferries were cancelled due to heavy rain that damaged most of the East coast). As we were already super organized for our camping adventure we decided to go somewhere closer by home and picked out the Grampians. I already visited parts of the park last year when I was here during a day trip with Carlotta so the beauty of the place wasn’t new to me although obviously there was much more to see. We had a great little camping spot in the middle of the park surrounded only by trees: no showers, just a basic toilet and a designated place were to light a fire. It was all about making fire, cooking, keeping warm during the night (it was so cold, the temperature during the night got to 0 ºC) and exploring the surrounding nature. We even did some 4 wheel driving with the Land Rover. Actually, that’s a funny story. We were heading back to camp after some groceries in the nearby village when a guy came up to us saying he got stuck with his 4WD. We tried to get him out of this deep mud pool he sunk into using a rope from his car to ours but we weren’t very successful. Luckily after about 10 minutes a whole group of big fat experienced 4WD came into the little road and made sure to get him out in a whip. They were all middle aged couples, part of some 4WD club, that were doing a trip in the park all together and they invited us to come along! It’s always smarter to do these thing in a group, especially if you have little experience, so if you get stuck they know what to do and can help you. Anyways, we loved it! The scenery was beautiful and our big little Oscar (that’s the name of the Land Rover) is a master of the road!

After our wonderful nature weekend I received a call from the company and got offered the temp job. I literally was jumping up and down! Less happy with having to bring the news to the cafe: I was only giving one day notice, which is obviously not really nice. Bella coached me on how to tackle the situation with Jasmine and she even gave me the advice of leaving the cafe in the middle of the shift if she would give me crap. As the irrational woman that she is, I have to say I feared the worse but she took it quite well to be honest and the day carried on without any major clashes. Everyone was sad I was leaving and I promised I would come and visit often but almost 4 weeks have gone by and I only went once.

First couple of days of the new job were a nightmare: there was so much Excel stuff I didn’t know and didn’t dare to ask that I was freaking out. Also, all the team members (not just the ones in the same office as me, but mostly the ones in other parts of Australia) just started sending me things to do from day 1 and I had no idea what the process was yet. Rick explained a bit and of course I had some documentation but he was quite busy and I got stuck every second. I went home crying the first day. Things got better in the second week (luckily!) and eventually it got so busy that I was just so focused the whole day on these spreadsheets that I forgot time and space concepts. As it’s an accounting software and the end of financial year in Australia is on the 30th of June (don’t ask me why!) these are like the busiest days in the company. But immediately after my workload got drastically smaller and from full on stress days of 8/9 hours I’m now struggling to find some stuff to fill in my days. Next week Rick still promised me a full time week but I feel so useless sitting there when there’s almost nothing to do (and not to forget, they pay me by the hour). After next week it will go down to 2 days a week. I received good feedback from Rick and the rest of the team but there is little to no possibility to get a fixed role. The fact is also that I have no accounting experience, and most of the sales or onboarding roles here require at least a basic knowledge of bookkeeping or accounting. And the fact that they need to sponsor me on top of that doesn’t help. But hey, I’m thrilled to have an Aussie experience I can put on my CV!

Next Thursday there is a networking event at the ‘Eas’ HQ of Melbourne so I’ll grab the chance to try and promote myself there! I’ve been applying several times there and trying to get in contact with some of their HR crew without any luck, they are impenetrable. So this is such a great opportunity! Unfortunately I am postponing a camping trip because of this event. We were supposed to leave Thursday after lunch to Omeo for the weekend but probably we’ll only leave Thursday night. Living the outdoor dream!

The week after next Pete will come to Melbourne for a visit. I probably only get to see him briefly because they are going to Sydney for an eCommerce event, but still nice to see a ‘Tell Your Friends’ face again.

Miss you all lots and lots and lots.

M.