What is the chance, in a city of almost two million people, that two randomly selected people would live in the same neighborhood? The answer, my friends, is a complicated statistical probability that I will leave to a mathematician with more time on her hands. For our purposes, let’s just acknowledge that the chance is pretty low – right?
Before I left Pooja and Ro’s to house sit, I spent a few hours on the internet lining up job prospects and a social life. I joined the local meetup.com, checked out couchsurfing.org groups, and even – in a moment of misguided inspiration – joined an Australian dating site. (I’m still receiving “act now!” emails after unsubscribing three times.) I knew walking my buddy Martie, the Irish-Wolfhound cross, twice a day in the local woodlands wasn’t going to satisfy my social requirements. And after multiple false-starts in the red-tape-laden, skilled-working-world of Australia, if I didn’t find a job by the end of my house sit, I was kissing Perth goodbye forever!
Well, it didn’t go down quite as I envisioned: the job and social parts of my world took on a life of their own. But, no worries… go with the flow… “the creator provides”, hey? “The flow” was as follows:
The weekend I started house sitting, Pooja and Ro invited me to their (fantastic!) engagement party. I have no clue how to get around most of Perth – particularly my brand new neighborhood, but serendipity came to the rescue. Guess who lives less than 20 blocks away from my new digs? Two of Pooja and Ro’s friends! You know, the ones from that dinner party… one of whom is the fitness nerd/games night/beach tour guide I mentioned in the last entry?
We carpooled to the party, one thing led to another, and it turns out my social research and planning was all for naught. Beach-tour-guide and I get along famously. We spent the majority of my house sit making sushi and other fantastic meals, finding fun places like Bold Park to walk the dog, doing a green-thumb home improvement project, going to parties and dinners, celebrating his birthday, checking out a German brewery, watching movies, and of course doing park workouts, going on long runs, and busting out some hardcore mountain biking!
When I wasn’t hanging with beach-tour-guide, I was tackling shopping trips, sewing projects, facebook lessons, and drinking tea with the lovely neighbor. And battling my first illness since October. And catching up with friends and family, trying out the newest 5:2 health fad, taking care of life admin, keeping the plants alive and the house clean, helping out my favorite non-profit, hanging out with the awesome Margaret and her niece, and learning to make (French style) ice cream. In “go big or go home” spirit, I tackled three flavors for my first attempt. The Tin Roof Sundae was incredibly rich, the Butter Pecan was decadent, and the Chocolate was the smoothest, creamiest ice cream that has ever been. Success!
Oh, and that whole job thing? Well, I got some bites from the temp agency efforts I made before I started house sitting. I ended up doing this middle-of-the-night freight handling job a few times. I also interviewed for a waitressing position right around the same time beach-tour-guide said he knew of a position for someone with my background. The laborious process of hacking through Australian red tape began immediately. By my last day of house-sitting I was “white card certified,” had passed a pre-employment physical, and was booked in for a daunting two weeks of sitting in front of powerpoint presentations from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
It even worked out to take a few days break from work training to celebrate the end of my early-retirement with a camping trip to my favorite place – the middle of nowhere! It was trip like none I’ve ever experienced, with the added bonus of dispelling the homesickness that would have struck had I been home over 4th of July weekend seeing the multitude of U.S. summer fun photos popping up on Facebook. I’ll foreshadow just a tiny bit – it was the ultimate combination of glamping (glamour camping) and hardcore exploring. More soon! ♣