Kev in Aus

Chronicling the misadventures of a Canadian traveling through Australia. There's seemingly far too many of us!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

6 Months Later....

Well folks, it's 6 months after my last post (7 1/2 months since I've been back in Canada) and I'm pretty miserable. It's not just that things are different than Australia, but mostly that I just don't like it here. Maybe it's Calgary (I've since made the decision that it's an incredibly unattractive city) or maybe it's that I just went through winter again, but I'm just fed up with everything here. I've got a few options to get me out of here, but I can't really exercise those options because I'm working 2 shifts a week making barely enough money to support myself, let alone do anything about my situation (ie. go to school, move somewhere else where jobs are available, do more travelling, etc) and I'm so frustrated that I don't know what to do.

One thing I've noticed since I've been back is it's very hard to make new friends in this country. I've been working in a pub for 6 months, and I barely talk to anyone I work with outside of work. I chalk it up to the fact that everyone I work with already has their established circle of friends, so they don't feel the need to make new ones or hang out with anyone they don't know. The reality could simply be that I'm the weird old guy behind the bar. Who knows? In Oz (anywhere I worked, Sydney, Airlie, Brisbane) I pretty much hung out with everyone I worked with within the first week. Did the accent help? Likely, but I like to think it's because Aussies are far more open to newcomers than we in Canada are.

Another thing I found is that, while we Canadians like to think we're polite, it's really just because we're a bunch of passive aggresive assholes who don't like direct confrontation. Of course, that IS a generalization, but I've found it to be true more often than not. Example: Right now, our gas has been turned off because the landlord hasn't paid the bill. It's been off for the last couple days, so we've gone without hot water or heat in our place (fact: Calgary, and I believe most of Canada, has been unseasonably cold this week, with the temp today a balmy 5 degrees Calcius). Now, I don't have our landlord's phone number, but my roommate has texted him asking when it's going to be turned on, and we've gotten the answer that it will be tomorrow. Of course, being Canadians, we've been nice about it (sorry to bother you, but when can we get our gas turned on), but I feel it's OK to be pissed off, and it's OK to tell the landlord that this is bulls*** and we need to have it turned on right away or we won't pay the rent. but we'll just go along with it, and, in our typical fashion, we'll just leave the house a mess when we leave, or pay the rent a day or 2 late or something equally lame.

While travelling, I met so many people who just said what they want, or what they felt, and something occured to me. I respect those people far more than if they had simply been polite and let things go. Another example, I went out to a restaurant here a while ago, and the person I was with ordered a Caeser with no tobasco and just a little worcestershire. It arrived, of course, with tobasco and quite a bit of worcestershire. But instead of sending it back, or just telling the waitress, they simply said, "Oh, it's OK, I'll drink it anyways." Well, I sent it back and watched the bartender make it, just to make sure it was made the way that they wanted it.

But here's the thing, we're in such a 'for the moment' society, we don't think of far reaching consequences. If it wasn't sent back, the bartender would continue to make them that way for everyone, which would make people not like to order them anymore, which in turn would cause them to lose money, either by customers not tipping as much (because of crappy drinks) or customers not coming back anymore. Maybe that's exaggerating a bit, but honestly, it's not such a stretch. I can think of a few times when I've either stopped going someplace because of one bad experience that probably didn't amount to anything more than just one employee's laziness or bad day or whatnot.

Bah, I've been rambling these past few paragraphs, haven't I? Well, I've got a lot on my mind lately. Should I stay in Calgary? I don't know. Should I stay in Canada? I don't want to anymore, and that I can say in all honesty. I don't like the way we live, and since I've seen how other societies live, I can see deficiencies that I don't want to live with anymore.

I know this entry isn't nearly as entertaining as some have been in the past, and for that, I apologize. I just needed to vent some frustrations.

Perhaps the summer will be better for me...


Anonymous Laz said...

1. Come visit. We'd love to have you. Or perhaps we can road-trip it this summer, since your funds seem to be occupied. There's 4 of us now though, and more if anyone outside our family wanted to come too :P

2. It breaks my heart a little, as a proud Canadian, but I understand what you're saying and respect you for what you're trying to achieve.

3. May I point out that in Winnipeg, and not Calgary, would a solution like 'Send Kevin Back To Oz Booze-Fest-a-Thon', costing a mere $10 a person, be viable.

12:41 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Goertzen said...

I'm so sorry that you're not happy. Life is hard for a lot of people right now, I think, for various reasons. I so wish that we could wave a magic wand and put you where you want to be, but, alas, it doesn't work that way.

I would like to think, though, that what you are experiencing is not a Canadian/Australian thing or anything like that. I think it's more that you desperately didn't want to leave Oz in the first place so there is nowhere on earth you could have gone that would have made you happy because you WERE happy and then you had to leave it behind.

There are idiots EVERYWHERE...I guess I just figure that you are missing something in your life...something that would give you peace and joy and happiness and that currently you haven't found it...but that doesn't necessarily mean that it lives in one place or another and you have to go places to find it...I think that usually it finds you.

I'm awful serious there too, I realize, but I want you to be happy and recognize in you signs and symptoms of genuine depression and that can't be cleared up by moving.

Big smooches to you, Kevin, I miss having you around and I hope that you find the happiness that you deserve...wherever that may be.

I hope that was all okay to say *hug*

11:18 AM  
Blogger J. Cullinane said...

I'm also sorry, because I understand all the feelings you're expressing. I'm sure you've been researching all the ways to get back to Oz, but have you also looked into a lottery? (Do the have one?). I know it's a longshot, but both the U.S. and NZ have them, and thousands of people get in that way every year.

The first 6-12 months in NYC were challenging for me because everyone was so fucking mean, but after awhile, I began to respect it, because in NYC, if you're a dick, or trying to fuck someone over, or whatever, NY'ers will not stand of that shit. They will confront you, and they won't let you take advantage or walk all over them. It made the Midwest seem fake and sticky sweet to me.

Over time though, I learned that what I like is something more in the middle...where to find that?

It's also wonderful how living somewhere else puts a big fat magnifying glass on your own culture, things you never even thought about before, but now seem to obvious as being "Canadian." Sadly, it makes some of the ugliness come out too. I truly hope you get to be where you want to be, and I'm sure if you keep trying (and maybe with Laz's party!!!), you can. :)


8:22 PM  

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