For the past few days I have been staying with my main contact, Ross, and his wife in their gorgeous house on what they call "the escarpment," which is essentially a steep hill in Toowoomba overlooking other beautiful topography of the Great Dividing Range (highest peak in Oz is only 7,000 ft-- don't get too excited). It has been amazingly conducive to adjusting since they cook me delicious meals (Ross making Thai curry above... Australians sure love their Thai food) and let me go to sleep in my cozy bed whenever I feel like turning in. It feels a bit like they are my parents, not least of all because we are in an inaccessible suburb where I am basically trapped. Maybe I should invest in a bike and get all the other neighborhood kids to join my bike gang. I could start an Australian chapter of Variety Paq! They love cupcakes here, too.
I can't stay in the Rapunzel castle forever. This is temporary until we get the details worked out with my more permanent host. I got a couple of offers of places to stay at my first day of work today, so I guess that means I made a good impression (reports were that I wasn't the horrible "Yank" they were expecting). Thank God, since everyone seems to know who I am already and how sad would it be if I didn't exceed their expectations? ;)
I get the feeling that I'll be moving around a lot anyway. On Thursday my awesome community engagement team is going to the town of St George to hold a stakeholder meeting about forming a group based under this new strategy of "localism" where power is decentralized to build local communities' capacity for participation in processes that will effect them. Neat model we are trying out here, and a new concept for a country that tends toward centralization.
Here's my workspace when I'm in the office:
Very governmenty, eh? Today I had my DERM induction, which sounds like I'm joining a cult or secret society, but is really just their term for orientation. I was joking about this with my supervisor, Jason, and his response was, "well, you never know..."
One of the lucky things about staying with Ross is that he is a sports nut and the second game of the State of Origin rugby series between Qld and NSW is coming up tomorrow. Queensland, known as the Maroons, is the favored team and if they win this game then they win the series. Now that I'm a Queenslander I will be proudly cheering on the Cane Toads and booing the Cockroaches. Those are their nicknames, no joke!
Back to Thai curry, I also had it a few nights ago while couchsurfing in Brisbane. Here is my new friend Ayack using appropriate protection while chopping onions. Turns out he's also a photographer and has a kick-ass website: www.ayack.com