Take It or Leave It

I have now reached my two-month point at the tomato farm, and I’m a week away from being in Australia for three months. Actually, today marked my 44th day of work out of my 88 days, so I’m officially halfway done! The time has been flying by – so much has happened and I’ve really been enjoying my time here! As I predicted, after a week of working in the new shed, the supervisors really started pushing us to work faster. They said that we should be aiming to finish one row in 30 minutes, and when I started, it took me 1 hour and 15 minutes. Our shed is a huge 5.5-hectare area, with about 300 rows front to back, and they

For those of you who are still unsure about what I do

expect us to go through the entire shed in one week. The second week of us being there, the supervisors hinted that arch support should be working faster during our staff meeting. The third week, the supervisor pulled all of the arch support people aside and told us we should be working faster. The fourth week, the supervisor came up to each of us individually and told us we had to work faster. By that time, my average was about 650 plants per hour (I got my row time down to 45 minutes!) and they expected us to be at 900. The supervisor told me that if I thought I couldn’t get to 900, I needed to tell him and he would move me somewhere else. He also told me to look at the sheet of KPI’s to see how I was doing. I went and looked, and only two of us (out of seven) were actually reaching the 900-plant target – one of whom had already done the job for six months. The other five of us had our names highlighted in bright yellow for everyone else to see. I then understood why students never like having their marks posted on the wall. By that point, I was more angry than anything. I was doing my best, and instead of acknowledging that I sped up my weekly average by five minutes compared to the previous week, they were continuously saying that I needed to be better. I felt like a kid who was constantly trying to please their parents, and feeling like their parents were never proud of them. I honestly didn’t care if they wanted to fire me because I felt like I should find work somewhere else. It wasn’t worth stressing myself over a job that I didn’t necessarily need. I figured that maybe I should just stay in Australia for one year and move on. During the two weeks before that, Sonia had kept going back and forth between wanting to stay only to finish her 88 days, and wanting to stay for the full 6-month contract in order to save money. However, one day out of the blue, she announced that she was going to buy a plane ticket back to Perth and she would be leaving in two weeks. She missed her boyfriend and she didn’t think she wanted to stay in Australia for another year so it wasn’t worth finishing her farmwork. I didn’t know what to think! The person who I’ve been spending 24/7 with for the past two months was leaving! I think that her leaving combined with the stresses of work as well as the stresses of Ali at home was just too much for me. I thought that maybe I should just go to Melbourne and start teaching. I now know that the reason why Paul (our supervisor) had been pushing us to go faster was because Mark (the main supervisor) was going on holiday for the following four weeks, meaning Paul would be taking over. We knew that the big bosses would be coming in to see how things were going, and I think Paul was stressing out that we were going to mess everything up.

Luckily, things started turning around that weekend when Gabi came to work at Ali’s house. This was when we came up with the idea that Gabi could replace Sonia at work (and basically in my life!). Housing is extremely hard to find in Warragul but somehow, we ended up looking at the right time because one empty house showed up on Gumtree, and it had four bedrooms to fill. The rooms were $200 per week for one person, but I was able to come to an agreement of $125 each if we were sharing a room (we were paying $100 per week at Ali’s, but it was worth paying a little bit extra in order to feel comfortable at home). When I went and looked at the house, it didn’t look that great because they were in the middle of renovations, and I was a little bit skeptical based on my rental history in London. However, I really was desperate to get out of Ali’s house so I decided to just go for it. The house would be available to move into the following weekend, which gave me one last week to spend with Sonia. However, Sonia had also been really sick that entire weekend (as well as the Thursday and Friday before) and on Monday morning, she had to call in sick to work. She must have not actually called though, because Paul asked me three separate times to message Sonia and ask her to call him since it was company policy. I even had to run to the break room to get her number so that he could try calling her himself. That day when I came home from work, Sonia announced that she wasn’t going to go back to work at all, even though she was originally going to stay for the last eight days before she flew back to Perth. The next day, everyone was asking about Sonia. Paul said he still needed to hear from her and asked me to message her a couple more times. I think eventually, he just gave up because he knew he wasn’t going to get that message. We were given two helpers at work that week since we were short Sonia, as well as another girl on Monday. By the time Friday came, we had finished the entire shed by lunchtime and we were sent home after lunch. 
Ali and Chloe went to Melbourne for the week so it was a nice, quiet week in the house, which was perfect for my last week there. On Friday evening, all of the housemates in Ali’s place went out for dinner since it would be my last night in the house. We went to

The housemates

an Italian restaurant in Warragul and I was finally able to have my first pizza in Australia! It was so nice to have an evening out with everyone, and I was truly sad to be leaving them, as they are all such genuine people. Luckily, I’d still be able to see them at work! After dinner, we all went back to the house, took pictures, and visited before bed. The next day was extremely busy! Lucky for me, Allen and Viola (two of my housemates) offered to drive me to the car rental in Warragul at 8am, which saved me an hour and a half walk (and having to get up at 5:30 in the morning!). I picked up the car and then I had to learn how to DRIVE the car. Not only was the steering wheel on the right side of the car, but the gear shift was on the opposite side, as well as the signals. I kept hitting my hand on the door because I’d reach for the handle to change from Reverse to Drive, and then remember that it was on the opposite side. And I must have turned on the windshield wipers at least twenty times instead of turning the signal light on. I was SO nervous when I drove for the first time because it’s hard to get your bearings! For someone who’s used to driving on the left side of the car, it’s hard to drive on the right side of the car and not feel like you’re going to hit something on your left side, or go out of the lines. I was too scared to make my first left turn, as well as my second left turn, so I ended up driving out of Warragul about five kilometres until I could finally make another turn. I drove to the new house to pick up the keys at 9am, and went back to the farm to finish packing up my stuff. Gabi was arriving at 11 so I had about two hours to get everything organized. As soon as I finished packing my stuff, I noticed that Ali had come home from Melbourne so I quickly packed up the car. As I was about to leave, Chloe saw me and showed me her brand new iPhone (she lost her previous one the week before) and shoes. She asked

Our barbecue

what I was doing that day and I said that I would be moving houses, so she gave me a hug goodbye. I then put everything in the car and went to pick up Gabi. We had just enough time to drop off all of our stuff at the new house, and then we had to go to the park because some of my coworkers were having a barbecue. They had stoves in the park and the girls had bought a bunch of meat to grill; it was so nice! Unfortunately, we had to leave at 1:30pm because we had to pick up Sonia from the farm and then we all drove to Ikea (and arrived at 3:30). I told the girls that we HAD to leave by 5pm so that we could make it back to Warragul, fill the car with gas and drop it off, and then catch the last bus back to Melbourne. We actually DID finish Ikea at 5pm but then we couldn’t find the car anywhere! Once we realized we were actually on the wrong parking level, we were able to finally find the car. We told Gabi that she could just stay in Melbourne since we were coming back anyway, and then Sonia and I drove back to

Warragul. By the time we got back to my house, it was 6:45 so we quickly put all of the Ikea stuff in the house and then I took Sonia back to the farm. By the time I got to the train station, it was 7:15 and the last train left at 7:30! Needless to say, it was a VERY stressful evening. I parked the car at the station parking lot since there was no way I’d have time to fill it up with gas and bring it back to the dealership in time. I then took the bus to Melbourne and took the tram up to Thornbury,

Off to Ikea!

where Robyn was staying. For those of you who don’t know, Robyn is the longest friend that I have had – we knew each other before we were even born, when our moms would put their stomachs together so we could kick each other. We hardly see each other anymore because she lives in Calgary (and I live in different countries), but it was so nice to catch up since it’s nearly been two years since we last saw each other! I finally arrived at the bar ‘Welcome to Thornbury’ at 10pm and was able to have a well-deserved drink with Robyn and her friends. We left just after midnight and walked back to where Robyn was staying, and then Robyn and I ended up talking until 3 in the morning (just like old times)!

Our amazing brunch!
On Sunday, we got up and ready for 11am and then drove to South Yarra to have brunch at Abacus. Robyn had chilli folded eggs, and I went for a cauliflower heart. Both meals were actually so amazing! I was pleasantly surprised! We then drove to the casino for parking and then walked along the river to the ferris wheel – the Melbourne Star. I was shocked to find out that the price was 36 dollars per person! Robyn really wanted to go and was so generous by paying for the two of us, so we got to see Melbourne from above. The ride was a half hour, and one full rotation. We got a full carriage to ourselves, which was awesome cause we were able to take all of the pictures (and selfies) that we wanted! After finishing on the ferris wheel, we took the tram back into central Melbourne and went to a rooftop patio called Cookie, where we had cider and fries. By that time (about 5:30), we really needed to get back to the casino so that I could get my bag from her car and go back to Warragul (as I wanted to leave Melbourne by 5:30) and Robyn had to get back to her place to pack her bags cause she needed to leave by 6:30 to get to the central station. We made our way back to the casino and then had another difficult time trying to find the parking lot and her car (I seem to have bad luck with this…). Somehow, there was nowhere for Robyn to drop me off when we got out of the casino parking lot and we ended up on the freeway, going AWAY from where I needed to go. She had to get back off the freeway to drop me off, and she was already concerned about getting home in time. It was a very stressful last half hour together! When she dropped me off, it was 6:20pm so I looked up directions to Warragul and it said that the next bus didn’t leave until 7:45. I decided I might as well go to McDonald’s and get something to eat, as well as go to the grocery store so that I could pick up something for lunch the following day. I got back to Warragul at 9pm and then I had to take the rental car, fill it up with gas (which was just another confusing thing to do in itself), and take it back to the dealership. Lucky for me, Allen and Viola (my angels) came to pick me up at 9:30 so that I wouldn’t have to walk

High in the sky!

home. However, I had to figure out where to leave the key or I wouldn’t get my $400 bond back. The guy had said there would be a box across the street at the Holden dealership, so Allen and I walked around, searching. Finally, Allen found a box but above the box, there was a sign saying that they no longer take returns for AVIS customers, so we didn’t know what to do. After minutes of trying to decide, I wanted to just go to bed so we took a video of me dropping the key into the box and then we finally went back home at about 10pm. I don’t think I ended up going to bed until after 11:30pm and I had to wake up at 4:45 the next morning so that I could walk to work.

The walk to work on Monday morning was absolutely horrible, and I never wanted to do it again. It’s weird cause it’s the exact same length (45 minutes) as it would be from the farm, but there were WAY more hills involved this time. Luckily, the couple who I live with offered to give Gabi and I a ride to work everyday from Tuesday onwards. I was completely out of it at work all day and could hardly keep my eyes open, so I was extremely happy when they finally let us go home! I walked to the grocery store after work (since it’s only 30 minutes away now!) and went to get all of the groceries that we would need for the week, since we didn’t really have much. Lucky for me, two of my housemates from the old house happened to be in the grocery store and offered me a ride home! Otherwise, I would have had to pay for a taxi, and those are superexpensive here. I went back home, we made dinner, and I fell asleep by 8:30. That week at work, we were doing our jobs too fast again. They sent us home at lunch on Wednesday so on Thursday, we worked really slow because we had almost finished the entire shed. We were scared that if we finished the shed by the end of Thursday, our supervisor would just tell us not to come in on Friday. We ended up finishing the shed on Friday at 2pm, which is right when they sent us home. Our hours seem to keep getting lower and lower each week, which is not very good for us, so I’m hoping they’ll pick up again soon! Now I’m so happy it’s the weekend, and hopefully I’ll have some more adventures to share for my next blog post. Hope everyone is doing well! Love always
PS Make sure you watch the video of me driving on the wrong side of the road! 😀
Take It or Leave It – Great Good Fine Ok

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s