Big Question Marks

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Guten tag Echuca

So long time no talk... we haven't forgotten you! I've been writing this blog in my head for weeks, it seems, but there's never a chance to get it up online. Here's what been happening:

Adrian and I are out in rural Victoria, in a town called Echuca. Living in a working hostel (as opposed to a party hostel), we're doing our own version of "The Simple Life", where we try out different jobs that are rural and completely out of character for us. We forgot to bring our chihuahua, oops.

We both started out pear picking together on a Monday, made not-very-good money ($31.50 to fill a god-awfully big wooden bin with pears), we came home aching and scratched to hell and never wanting to eat pears again. I got news that night that I could move onto work at a "tomato shed" (er, tomato sweatshop), but for $16, I thought I'd brave the tyrant boss and monotonous robot work I'd heard about. Figured I'd try to make it to 4 days and, well, I've done 8 shifts there now! Adrian continued with pears (the shed ONLY wanted females, since supposedly we concentrate better or something), but today (Saturday of Victoria's Labour Day weekend) he's trying out a tomato shed job of his own. We'll have to see how that went... me: finally, a day off, yippideedoo!!!!!!!!!!

The work kind of sucks, of course. We knew it would be hard work going in but you can't really fathom the backaches and counting down hours/bags of pears till you're actually doing it. But it's the end goals in mind... cell phone (coming this weekend, we'll give you all the number... txt/call us whenever! we're 16 hours ahead of you guys in ontario)... soon an apartment in Melbourne with a toasted that burns Hello Kitty into bread (yes, we saw one in Target). But the good news is the people here are fantastic-- at the hostel, at work, etc. Lots of Germans (we have learned many German words, some of which we should not repeat unless picking pears), English, Irish, Japanese, French and Koreans.... and even the people at work are pretty cool too-- I think the "tyrant" boss fired too many people before we started work and she's being extra nice. We're tired all the time and I start night shift at the shed for this week, watching and squeezing tomatoes going by on a conveyor belt, ugh, hour after hour. I got to start boxing them and it felt like a holiday. Other good news is we're on our way to extending our visas (we need 12 weeks of this kind of work) and so I guess we can stay longer in each place and check out the west coast when we buy a car, tis the plan. Yippee!
Oh yeah, and I got offered a "job" last week while me and the pear-picking boys were killing time in a local pub while the farmers wrote our paycheques... Aussie guy: "Hey, you want a job for tonight? $24 an hour, two hours." Me: "Oh yeah?" Pig Aussie Man: "Yep. You just need to sell raffle tickets in your bikini top in the pub tonight, only two hours." EW! Needless to say, I promptly turned that offer down and told them the other "sheilas" at the hostel probably will say no too...

What else?

Aussies are funny people. It's taken a bit of language-learning... there's no such thing as "granola bars" here, they're muesli bars. If I ask someone if they have eaten dinner yet I get a blank stare, so I translate to "tea". And I've actually started using the word "rubbish" in sentences. (Adrian's been concentrating more on learning useful German words like "armpit".) There is wicked camping equipment here-- we saw bunk-bed mattresses for tents! Multi-room tents! Etc etc, and we bought sleeping bags for $8.99 each, cheaper than a dinner out. Weird. They have a store called "Big W" here which looks and has the vibe of a WalMart (i think it's affiliated) and I went to the kitchen section for fun, and they have appliances for everything here-- pancake maker (like, really, DUH!), popcorn maker, ice-cream maker, of course, artistic toasters, and even a donut maker (that's just besides the conventional ones like blenders and cuisinarts and such). That's just a few observations...

Another one is that internet in this hick town is really expensive, and without USB plugs, so no photos again, I'm sorry! But we promise to keep you posted, and we love all of your comments. It's still hot here in days and getting cold at night... yes, it's fall. Thinking about you guys and your snow that will be gone soon, don't worry! Anyhow, keep in touch...
Miss you!
Love Dayle (and Adrian, from the shed)


Weekday boyfriend said...

good day all,
man sounds like you are living the life over there. Squeeze some tomatos for me, oh you have to try marmite its what all good aussies eat or something.

Sheila said...

It was great talking to you, Dayle! You two are having quite the experiences. It'll be great when you're settled in Melbourne. We really might have to visit you this summer, especially if you're planning on staying another year.Maybe Dad and I will rent a Harley! Love and miss you.

NeiLiO said...


Glad you're still alive. And glad you're learning the value of hard work (roll your eyes..... now). Big W is actually part of Woolwich, the company that owned Woolco (Wal-Mart bought out Woolco in Canada). So they're not actually affiliated, but Big W tries to be the Australian Wal-mart.

Oh, and please don't burn your 2-room tent down with a gimmicky toaster.

If you stay for 2 years, maybe I can wangle an ex-pat assignment with Unilever Australia? :)

Grandma and Grandpa said...

You must be working so hard. You will probably never eat another pear or tomato. Thank you for the birthday greetings and also for the Thailand postcard. It was really appreciated.
G & G

Fran said...

Hey there Ms. Tomat & Mr. Pear,
Yaya, I can see that you'd rather be counting sheep! I can't wait for your pics! Things here are's great...yikes, it's an eye opener for sure.
TS showcased for some labels from the US and they were VERY interested. They are advancing up another step and it looks hopeful.
Everyone is great and we miss you, too!
Bye Mates Love Mom & guys xxx

Weekday boyfriend said...

Oh guys I forgot to comment on your postcard. How I wish I was an elephant!

Agnes said...

Hick town!!! I'm from Echuca...

Anonymous said...

hick town indeed - no wonder the rest of the world dislikes bloody yanks. GO HOME YANKY> I,m from ECHUCA

Birte said...

finally I found my way to the big questionmarks to check what the KL story was about.... and ended up in the good old Echuca memories!! Hilarious (Adrian: du bist sehr schön!!). btw, I'm spending my time picking apples, strawberries, peas, raspberries at home. but all in acceptable amounts - and most importantly: for direct consumption :)) hope you're having a blast in the UK! xoxo

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