yes, by some miracle i am still here, fit, able bodied and alive more or less. WARNING this entry might jump about a bit because loads of funny stuff has happened this month ( lol soz for lack of updates again ), it's been a bit hectic and unpredictable but hey, SUCH IS LIFE INNIT? sooooo last time i updated i'd just arrived in brisbane qld and was staying with my two friends from glasgow, abbie and gemma. it was AAAMAZING to see people who actually know proper me and not travel me and just watch loads of films and eat loads of food and drink loads of coffee from their amazing posh coffee machine. we also did some fun "active" things, we went to this creek which was so pretty!! the way there was pretty hilarious though, i think even bear grylls would have had his work cut out for him. we had to clamber over about a million rocks, over a waterfall, over fences... it was a pure mission. but it was worth it in the end, there's like a tarzan swing thing that you can jump into the water from but i was too scared to do it lol my 10 year old self would be very disappointed in me. here there were pure jagged rocks right below it though right so it was quite terrifying. also the water was OUTRAGEOUS, nipples a gogo . i don't think i warmed up properly until like a day later.

so in brisbane i was VERY unaware of my plans. i had absolutely no money. no exaggeration, i was eating shapes ( these amazing ritz cracker things ) for brekkie lunch n dinner. i firstly planned to travel up the coast to cairns ( couch surf, hitchhike, megabus ) but then i realised that with the money i had i'd probably get stuck around mackay and most of the places up the coast are really little towns anyway and since i'd be alone it'd probably be a bit grim. yes, i didn't want to admit it, but i was going to have to GET A JOB. sooo i resolved to go to byron bay which is like everyones no 1 fave place in the world. i dunno it's like a seaside town thing with a really big bar, club and backpacker culture, but then i chatted to some people and apparently EVERYONE goes to byron bay ( or "byron" as they call it - i don't like it ) to find work. eventually i chatted to one of my mum's friends who has lived in queensland for years and she said that call centre work would be the best option for me. yep. call centre work. mori eat your heart out. and that the best place to go for this kind of work would be the gold coast, north of byron bay and about two hours south of brisbane. she was right, i emailed round and had secured an interview within hours. so i packed my lil red case with the broken wheel ( nightmare ) and headed for a place that was called "surfers paradise". sounds lush, right? wrong. imagine an australian version of magaluf and you're pretty much there. most of the population there are from liverpool and have a great liking for kebabs. i was expecting the cast of geordie shore to pop out at any moment. anyway, when abbie and gemma dropped me off i felt like a child being dropped off at school camp as i clutched my bag and waved goodbye to my two nearest n dearest and the promise of security, food and warmth. now, i try not to be a snob, but there i was, alone, in a hostel where this was the logo:

truly disconcerting. i had also been invited to "get my goon on" within seconds of me checking into the hostel, a sentence that confused me on many levels. it turns out that "goon" is another word for sweet yellowing alcoholic pond water ( boxed wine ) and is simply the tipple of choice around surfers paradise. anyway, i was pretty certain that i may not get out of there alive, everyone was very loud, "modern" music was constantly blaring, there wasn't even a coffee machine in sight... "reps" kept knocking on the door and attempting, in vain, to get me off my high horse and encourage me to be social. i spent the majority of the first few days just reading and judging everyone over the top of my kindle. the sooner i got a job and got out of there the better, i said.

so here it was, the ~big opportunity~ that i had arrived in surfers paradise for. i dressed in my cute lil matching two piece suit, did my make up all nice, gave myself a motivational speech in the mirror. i'd obviously lied extensively in my CV about all my call centre experience ( my mum's friend actually wrote a reference for me, 99% of which i didn't understand, so if they asked me any questions about that i'd be scuppered ) so i was a little bit nervous but was sure i could just wing it, it's only call centre work after all, right? so i trekked my way across the city ( ok admittedly it's not v big ), arrived at the place specified, and waited. i actually had no idea what the company was called or what they sold, so i was rather keen to find out. maybe something financial? if it was i'd be fucked because i'm terrible with money and numbers and understanding things. i was hoping it might be some kind of market research company so i could just survey people or something. anyway, i eagerly looked up the number on the list of rooms and i saw the words "carpet shampoo" flash before my eyes. oh man. yep. i was being interviewed to be a carpet shampoo salesman. not carpets. carpets would have been bad. but CARPET SHAMPOO. and the worst thing about it is that the guy didn't show up. i waited outside the place for an hour and a half, looking like some kind of carpet shampoo prostitute. i trailed home all dejected, and then cried with laughter at the thought that i didn't quite make the cut to sell carpet shampoo.

it was around the time of "the great carpet shampoo debacle" that i realised that i actually couldn't even afford to stay at the hostel, or any hostel for that matter. i had to inquire about work for accommodation - i was a failed carpet shampoo salesman, really i had no other choice. the woman at the hostel reception had the most peculiar voice i've ever heard, sort of a mix between a baby and arnold schwarzenegger. she informed me that she would require 4 hours work a day, which would range from cleaning to, erm, "repping". i had training that evening. success! i finally had a kind-of job, the kind that doesn't pay.

we were trained that evening by this woman with the most alarming eyebrows i have ever seen in my life. here's an accurate representation of what they looked like: n n . she took the word "arched" to a new level. anyway, she was very raspy cockney and soft spoken. this allowed her to be critical but made her sound nice and non threatening at the same time. imagine a whispery girly cockney baby saying "you're a bit of a dick, arent you?" and that was her all over. she took us through the cleaning, all the cleaning products etc. the nub and gist of the training was that we should use "mould away" on everything. anything and everything. any question anyone asked, the answer was always "mould away, but it does have bleach in it so be careful". she must have been a spokesperson for bloody mould away the way she was going on about it. i met some of the people i'd be working with ( i knew a few of them already ) and they all seemed like a pretty good bunch of people, so maybe it wouldn't be so bad after all...
the cleaning was fine, in fact i apparently have an aptitude for cleaning toilets. there were a few minor incidents though, like the time i was cleaning sick out a sink ( yep ), professionally using a butter knife to unblock the drain and accidentally dropped it down the pipe. i obviously didn't tell anyone, and swore the two others i was working with to secrecy. this lead to the pipe being blocked, and the next day they had to take the sink apart. this lead to many jokes being whispered between us, including "wow, you could just CUT the tension right now", and "it's really good that they're having a STAB at this". there was also the time when i was assigned to work with a guy called rob who happens to be just as lazy and inept as i am, and what should have been a 4 hour shift took 7 hours because we were dicking about and kept being called back to rooms because we hadn't done them properly. it was pretty hilarious though, we were cleaning in our underwear and, for a time, i was wearing a bin-bag. it then took us about an hour to make up 4 beds ( we had to call for help in the end, we kept getting the wrong sheets and putting them on the wrong way and by the end we were just hysterical and mid-way between laughing and crying ).

however, i would have taken these diabolical cleaning shifts over the nightmare that was REPPING. If you don't know, "repping" involves taking everyone on a night out, getting them all riled up and ready to "party" and "get drunk" and "have fun". now, if you know me at all, you'll know that this kind of thing is pretty much my worst nightmare. of course, i do like going out and i like a drink, but forcing people to do so is really not my forte, nor is encouraging people to, as they say, "get their goon on". the first time i did it, myself and a guy called jamie had to host a trivia quiz which was an absolutely disaster. all was going relatively smoothly ( probably because i was on my third pint of goon ) until we realised the answers at the end of the quiz didn't match up with the questions. we looked at each other in horror and sort of stood there awkwardly not knowing what to do. the participants of the quiz didn't take too kindly to this fuck-up, in fact they were actually rather hostile and rude. in the end we abandoned the quiz and resolved to get them out the hostel as quick as we could so we could deposit them at the venue and escape ourselves, the shouts of "worst quiz EVER" and "ARE YOU KIDDING" still ringing in our ears.

anyway the long and short of it is that i lost myself in surfers paradise. i was going out every night. i suddenly enjoyed games like "goon pong". i listened to bruno mars and david guetta. i went on the "backpackers big night out" bar crawl. FOUR TIMES. but don't worry guys, i didn't change too much. i still managed to strike a blow for feminism towards the end of my stay. some annoying guy kept catcalling me as i walked through the hostel, things like "show us your tits" and "seriously, this girl has huge tits" ( original ). i had a moment of blind rage, ran over and threw a pint of goon in his face. yaaas. proudest moment. RESPECT by aretha franklin was playing in my head.

despite misogynistic arseholes i couldn't actually believe it but i was really quite happy there and was really sad to leave. the staff were absolutely amazing, and i started to really really enjoy it despite myself. alas, now i'm in SYDNEY working for sydney film festival which is so great and PAID HOORAY. getting my daily dose of culture again after spending a month as a trashbag. so i am currently seeing lots of films and eating lots of really nice food that my great host is preparing for me!! also both r.patz and cate blanchett were at the film festival yesterday hehe

enough for now. phew. miss you all as always - only 1 month 9 days until i'm home!!!!!!!

lots of love

jess x