I suppose I can say this: I started a new full-time job last week Wednesday.
I waited to apply for jobs until we knew we had permanent residency, and this job was the first job I applied for. It took a couple months for the process to start, but when it did it went fast. I was contacted for an interview on a Tuesday, interviewed on a Thursday, was offered the job the following Wednesday, and started a week later. So last Wednesday, I was up at 6am, at the train by 7:20, and getting a cup of coffee at the cafe next door to my new building by 8:30. It’s been a blur of orientations, accessing new systems, getting id, learning names, and taking in new information. I alternate between knowing exactly what people are talking about and having absolutely no clue. It’s interesting and challenging work. And it doesn’t involve teaching my own classes, which is strange. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a job that didn’t involve grading and prepping. I’d tell you more about the job, but the details are too overwhelming for me to talk about even now.
Perhaps the strangest thing I’m acclimating to is the commute. I’ve always liked public transport; I have fond memories of riding the bus with my friends and colleagues at MSU or exploring the city using the NYC subways and buses, but it wasn’t something I did in Iowa. There I drove to work every day. I hated those early mornings in the winter battling snow and ice and fog to get to school – especially when I was driving out to Dunkerton on county roads.
My current winter commute is nothing like that. I may stand on the chilly platform early in the morning wearing a fleece jacket, but when my train arrives I get to find a seat and open a book or take out some grading to do for my online classes or get out my phone to text Kayla or FBChat with Trudy. I ride the train to Roma Street, walk from platform 10 to platform 2, and catch my bus to UQ. When I get to UQ, I walk by two small lakes, past gardens filled with native grasses and trees, watch out for bush turkeys, and make my way to my building.
One of the mannerisms that I find both fascinating and completely adorable is the way people exiting the bus call a “thank you” to the bus driver. It’s not something I recall happening when I took the bus to MSU for all those years, but here it’s normal and expected. I’ll admit that I haven’t done it yet (partly because I exit at the middle of a really long bus), but one of these days I’m going to shout my own thank you to the driver for getting me to work on time.
Last night as I was packing my lunch and getting my clothes and bag organised for the morning, I realised that normally I would have been thinking about which beach we would be visiting the next day. While I’m definitely going to miss the freedom I had for the past year, I’m happy that 364 days after I arrived in a brand new country, I was able to start a job that is letting me explore a whole new part of my home down under.