February 8, 2010

Honey, I'm Home

My dog remembered me when I got home. Jazz, pictured in the last post, didn't forget who I was, or how I smelled. She was all jumpy and licky and then she was over it and fell asleep. My other friends haven't jumped on me or licked me, but they didn't forget me either. Some moved really far away just before I got back, which may or may not have been coincidence, and others were waiting to catch up. Sure, I missed a few get-togethers but there they were, still there for me and ready to hear my stories over a glass of Alicante Bouchet.

The real problem is I've returned home as a broke, jobless graduate. Other friends from my program still have a semester or two to complete, so they're back studying while one friend and I hunt for jobs. I have an interview on Wednesday that would be my ideal job right now, so fingers crossed for that. As for my friend, she's facing the good ol' Catch 22 - graduates who need experience to get a job but a job to get the experience. One Marketing Assistant job we heard of received 250 applications - that's some serious competition. We're trying to figure out how a year in France is going to help in this current situation. In the meantime, we do what we can to get by - I wait tables at a restaurant I used to work at, and moan about how Australians don't tip like Europeans.

There's also something called Reverse Culture Shock, resulting from the psychosomatic and psychological consequences of the readjustment process to the primary culture - or in other words, how coming home can feel kind of crappy. I've read that knowing what to expect can help lessen the re-adjustment process, but I failed to keep up to date with a lot of Adelaide Life, and as such was shocked to discover the following things:
  • My bus now comes at 5.23pm instead of 5.28pm,
  • Muzz Buzz, the stupid drive-thru coffee at the end of my street, is still in business,
  • Julie's Dumplings had a 50c price rise on their Lunchtime Special, and
  • my cousin's 3 year old is now 4 and knows the difference between a Dromedary Camel and a Bactrian Camel.
I was not shocked to learn that the following were still the same:
  • The Central Market is busy on a Friday night,
  • when it is summer it is really freaking hot, and
  • Mum and Dad want to charge me rent again.
Maybe I'm making light of a serious problem for many travellers, but I honestly can say I enjoy being home right now, and that it's not too hard to accept my immediate conditions. Being home with my parents isn't even so bad - but I'll admit that paying board is about at attractive as the brown carpet in my old room and that my own space again is a dream I hope is not too far away. Last year was a step in a good direction of personal growth that I intend to pursue.

Adelaide is certainly different to Europe but I'm not worried. It won't take long before we're uber cosmopolitan and I feel like I'm back in some exotic capital. For example, I heard on the radio today that by 2013 we are going to have "Smart Cards" that you charge with a value and swipe on both the bus AND the tram to get around. Talk about fancy! But for now, I'm liking where I am and busy myself by working out how much of my future salary I need to save for the next trip.

There's no place like home, right?
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