Friday, November 9, 2012

Life Update

It's now been 7 weeks since I landed and started this little endeavor, let's see where life is at this stage:

I have mixed feelings.  This city is beautiful, I could go on and on about why it's great.  The people are good; eclectic and generally quite congenial.  But, finding a job has been difficult, finding friends can be frustrating and lastly, keeping in touch has been a losing battle and it makes me sad.  So, it's mixed, "this life comes with some doubts".  How about you and I take a stroll through the details below?

The City:
My god, the city.  I love it.  My huddled mass has been yearning to breath free for a while...and this is great (hyperbolic enough for you?).  The public transportation, the arts, the cultures, the scenery, the proximity to the ocean, the values...for instance, there's a City Council election pamphlet on the table and I'll name some of the priorities: "Arts events, future park needs, airport rail link, more trees in CBD [central business district]..."  Now, I realize not all of us are quite so keen to hippy-dom, so here's some priorities for the more business minded: "commit the next 4 years to job generation, small business development fund, generate more events and activity for business..."  Little bit'a sumpin' sumpin' for everyone right?

That barely scratches the surface of why I think this city is great.  But, let me caution, this is not *necessarily* a touristy city, BUT it is a great city to live in.  I'd say visit here for a week and then use it to get to other great destinations in the country.  At some point I'll probably write a post recommending things to do here.  In due time, in due time.

Finding Work:
Well, as mentioned in the last post "Irons In the Fire" I have a few different avenues I'm pursuing.  First and foremost, I'm helping out with ReFab Centre for Recycled Textiles (Cara's startup social enterprise).  In general, I'm doing business consulting, i.e. whatever needs to be done.  More specifically, I'm helping with: finding funding (there are numerous sources for funding and I have a long google doc - yes I'm a nerd - to keep track of everything being vetted), writing the business plan, and creating an excel sheet to make financial forecasts.  The finances are interesting because everything is up in the air and currently a guess, so it will involve copious amounts of research to get initial numbers on which to base decisions.  Once those are more concrete, I can start detailing out "how much and when" (which basically means how much money it'll cost and when those costs will be incurred).  This leads to graphs I'll use to make the business plan more professional and allowing potential investors a more accurate picture of the business.  Truly, there's more than just that going on, but that's the main points.  Phew, ok, next job.

As mentioned, I'm a "model"...idiot?  (Zoolander reference...the magazine cover...nevermind). :)  So, I had my first "casting" as an extra.  I am now officially an "actor".  Basically, my "acting" consisted of walking back and forth behind the actual actors on a show called Neighbours (with the "u"...because it's British). It's apparently a fairly popular show, been running for 30 years or so.  Anyway, I need to "walk with purpose" more.  Oddly, I have a predilection for meandering as it turns out.  Or rather, appearing as though I'm meandering. much so that she said I should "pretend to walk to the post office to mail something."  Yes, these were my instructions.  Not just: "stop staring at the sky and the rest of the set when you walk so damn slow!  Walk fast and look ahead dammit!"  ...Which we can only assume is what she was trying to say.  I also had a magical fake phone conversation in the phone booth that's on their set.  Again, not to brag: nailed it!  I picked up that phone and mimed a fantastical conversation about cats.  It's just a matter of time before Spielberg catches wind of my faux phone conversation and asks me about a lead role.  Mr Spielberg: get ready to play hardball with contract negotiations!  Er...anyway, it was fun and I got some book reading done during the downtime.  Next job.

I'm a "full on" (they like saying this phrase here) bartender.  I now work at Alumbra (club on a pier, discussed in a previous post) and I'm a hired gun.  Hired gun meaning: I get texts from a temp agency for random bartending jobs around the city.  For example, I just got back from my first one today.  The job: Going to a prep school professor's house and bartending for his 52nd birthday at his apartment with 20 of his academic friends.  Now, I want to say ahead of time, it's a job and it's reasonable hours so I'm VERY VERY appreciative of that.  Now, I want to say why academics remind me of inbred royalty (yes, it's hyperbole again, just try to keep in mind I JUST got done with the shift and "bitterness consumes me"...please note, I do NOT feel this way about all academics, just those who fit the stereotype).  He started out seeming fine, I had a nice little chat with him about his book collection, of which I owned three of the same books (minus the plethora of Catholicism books....because he works at a Catholic prep school).  That was nice.  Then his guests started arriving.  He has a buzzer to buzz people in and every time someone would ring it from downstairs, he'd answer with "Dr. XYZ's residence".  Yes, please remind your GUESTS who ALREADY know you that you're a doctor, I've been told that makes everyone feel terribly welcome...  Oh, and your lady friend who snapped her fingers to get my attention for a drink, next time the drink is going in her face.  The general rudeness and laughable fitting of the academic stereotypes aside, the evening went fairly well.  I hope to do regular hours like this more often...but with people who treat people like people.  Life lesson: Don't be an asshole, even to the people who are serving you.

Lastly, I've got my resume out with some friendly people: Ana's sister, a project manager I met through mutual friends, and various new recruiting agencies.  I turns out well.  Let's be honest, I very much thought finding a job would go quite differently upon arrival here.  I grossly underestimated the incestuous culture (it's VERY "who you know" not "what you know" indicated by MANY people I've spoken with) and the need for a Permanent Resident visa.  This was my fault and I will continue building a network and hopefully will overcome.  Oh, and THANK YOU to those who wrote recommendations for me on LinkedIn.  It is much appreciated and I hope to find a way to help you in the future as well.

Life in General:
I had these TED talks recommended to me and I think they're quite worth listening to (see end of post).  If you'll allow me to briefly overshare (I know, you only THOUGHT I was oversharing before), I'd like to tell you why these are important to me.  Perhaps (definitely) I over-think things/life, but I've found that in life I am not often the person that is called when someone is having trouble.  This fact has always bothered me because I've tried to live my life by being honest with my friends and helping where I can.  I've said it before, but: I'm incredibly lucky to have such good friends and really, I'd like for them to feel welcome to ask for things because I will go far out of my way to do so.  The talks below, I believe, are a good summary of my conclusion re: introspection.

Basically, I've never been good at being vulnerable.  AND, I am next to incapable of asking for things. It is very difficult to expect others to ask you for things when you can't ask them.  Anyway, this is not me feeling unloved (read above, I'm already lucky in that arena), it is an epiphany for how to show others how much THEY are loved.  I hope it helps you too; at very least it will reaffirm your innate humanity and help you understand that not everyone is born that way, but most strive to be.  Cheers!

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