So after moving back to Newtown I honestly couldn’t have been happier. I had the time of my life and realised that I have the best friends in the world. It still blows my mind how you can meet someone once, instantly click and watch how that friendship can grow in such a short amount of time … it’s incredible!! My friends have genuinely became my family over here and everyone just lives in the moment, in the here and now, making the most of the day because let’s face it none of us truly know what tomorrow has in store for us. This brings me to the bittersweet moments of travelling, the hello goodbye’s. I’ve met so many people in the last eight months here, each person has left such an impression on me and I know I have on them good, bad or indifferent!! The amount of different nationalities you come across on day to day basis that all have a different story, taste in music, different hobbies and the talent … it never fails to shock and surprise me. What I love most about the hostel life is you’re always guaranteed to come home from work and find somebody doing something interesting. In saying that, most of those things involve drinking which i’m glad i’m able to handle because this can be a killer to try manage work, sleep and session. The part about travelling I hate that continues to break my heart is saying goodbye to my friends. The amount of places i’ve had to add to my travel list because of people I plan on hunting down one day. I also left Orlaith and Joe for the first time to come do farmwork and they are off on a road trip up to Darwin. It was strange leaving them as I haven’t spent more than a few weeks apart from them since I met them nearly 6 years ago!! I got great amusement watching them give my friends the boyfriend speech to mind and protect me just as my mam and dad had done to them!! I know i’ll see them again soon so this part will always give you comfort, if someone means a lot to you, you’ll always make an effort to find them and have another adventure!! I’m lucky in a way because i’ve discovered over the last few months that i’m normally always surrounded by english people, so I have a lot of faith in meeting them all again in the near future for some wild weekends!! It’s nice to be able to have people to turn to for advice that are on the same page as you, that can advise you to go for it or to pull the plug and come back because having that support and second opinion makes such a difference. Which brings me to the next thorn in my side …
So as most of you know in order to get a second year visa for Australia you need to do 3 months farmwork to get it … what people forget to mention is how difficult it is to get the work!! Now some people are lucky and get it straight away but we have had a Cyclone which is like a hurricane through the whole of Queensland where most of the farms are … typical!! So farmwork was impossible to get especially for women and the waiting list for work was like a month long!! I had a great job in Sydney so it made no sense to leave a good job in Sydney to live on a farm broke, with no work for a month. I decided after a couple of very stressful weeks that I was going to have to stay in Sydney for a few more weeks until everything got back up and running. The reason I came to this conclusion was because everyone including myself was so stressed out trying to find something. People were leaving for farmwork and ended up stranded, with no work and had to fly back to Sydney which was freaking everyone out even more. That’s when I had just had enough of it and was ready to give up and just do the one year. I realised all this farmwork stress had ruined what could have potentially been my last few weeks in Sydney. I strongly believe what’s meant for you won’t pass you and I had been forcing this way too much. When people leave with a plan and purpose, they take that leap of faith and see where they end up. Some people do so amazing for themselves and really land on their feet while others just don’t feel it, follow their gut and come back to base to make a new plan, which is fine. Regardless if it works out or not it’s still a good experience and you will always learn from it and take something from that situation. Once you get this into your mindset it’s a lot easier to deal with things. You’re not always gonna be where you want to be that’s just life, it was never going to be the case when you moved away … if anything it’s harder!! You need to take the good with the bad, there has to be a balance and that’s the way it works. Since I decided to pull the plug on farmwork I had the most amazing two months!! Every weekend had been more crazier and amazing than the last one. From Luke bringing me to my first grime night … and all my Beckie and the boys nights in general. Me and Carla’s sleepovers that always lasted the weekend, stuck to her couch watching films and sorting our lives out!! The absolutely ridiculous trips in random parks, playgrounds and miscellaneous locations, and even a sneaky unexpected romance … which shocked the life out of me but turned out to be just what I needed. We all enjoyed eachothers company way too much and they are moments ill never ever forget!!
So eventually at the end of May me, Carla, Hannah, Connor and Jamie found farmwork that our friend Wullie had went to. We hopped on a train and headed for Mildura which took about 20 hours. Two trains, a bus and a broken 32kg suitcase later we arrived at One Big Family Hostel in Merbein. We arrived on a Saturday night … and landed in the middle of a massive session!! We got put to work that Monday and have been working solid ever since. It’s been minus degrees here in the morning and at night but during the day on the vines it does get up to 18 degrees so we still get a bit of sun. I wouldn’t advise anybody to go to Mildura for their farmwork as most of the working hostels are dodgey as fuck … including mine!! Ours would be the least dodgiest but I still get ripped off in my wages every week so its the best out of a bad bunch really!! The people in the hostel are all sound and love a session so it gets us through the bad days … and there’s lots of them so it’s good that we all look out for each other. I would advise people to be careful when choosing a farm to go to, make sure to investigate it and ask loads of questions when calling them. If possible try get paid direct from the farmer as it would cause less hassle with your hostel manager. Always google and look at reviews for the farm/working hostel, if it’s really really bad I guarantee you someone has bothered to name and shame them on the internet over time. The only other advice I can give is don’t think too long about where your going to go. Your always gonna want to have more money saved, more information etc. If you find a farm that you think is decent then go for it. They never guarantee they have work for you so the only way you’ll ever know is if you bite the bullet and go, if it’s not all it’s cracked up to be when you get there … leave!! Which is what i’m planning on doing at the minute, things aren’t working out i’ve been here eight weeks now and i’m only getting paid half the wage I should be getting!! I’m currently looking into going to a different farm now that the cyclone has cleared up. I still have a lot of time to get my 88 days done so i’d rather finish them somewhere else where I can save money whilst i’m there … but we’ll see what happens!!
The Beckie Moment
Now I have to admit this is definitely the most retarded Beckie moment to date!! So I was only on the vines two weeks doing vine training when it happened. I was wrapping vines around wires and snipping all the big unnecessary branches out of the way with a loppers. I had gotten the hang of it at that stage and was flying through my rows, every now and again you would come to a big thick branch that you had to cut through … this beast of a branch would not budge!! The wires are up above your head so I was squeezing the loppers through this branch, using all my strength whilst forgetting my face was between the two handles and BOOM!! My two fists hit my face, I hit myself with such force I got dizzy, stumbled back and had to give my head a wobble. I was on my own in the row so I instantly started to giggle to myself about what I had just done and continued my row. Straight away I noticed the shooting pain down the back of my middle finger and travelling down my palm but I continued on. So long story short I basically broke my middle finger, whatever way I punched myself in the face the base of my finger cracked and because it’s all connected that sent awful pains down my palm. I have a good pain threshold but I knew it wasn’t right as i’ve broken fingers before and know there’s nothing you can do except strap them up … so that’s exactly what I did. As you can imagine clipping branches and pulling out long, tempermental vines all day became very difficult. Because of the pain in my palm I had to put extra padding in the bandage to protect it from the handles snapping shut every few minutes. I asked to be changed to a different job as pulling the vines was becoming too much but my boss refused as they didn’t want to train a new person in, so I had to stay on. To be honest the job isn’t that bad, it’s good money and there’s only me, Hannah and Gabby that work there so we are pretty much left to it and can do what we want. I just knew it would fuck my hand up more if it didn’t have time to heal properly, but it wasn’t an option and in fairness it did get a lot stronger over the next few weeks. So there you have it two weeks in and I broke my hand by punching myself in the face with a loppers … Beckie Lewis ladies and gentlemen!! My hand is much better now, it gets a bit stiff sometimes and sore but nothing major. There’s loads of little spiders that keep biting me on the head as i’m walking through the vines but i’m promised they can’t kill me so i’m happy enough with that. All my friends back home and in Sydney had been convinced I would die doing farmwork but here I am eight weeks in and i’m still in one piece so I hope this keeps up!!
So overall it’s been an emotional experience so far. I have done a lot of hard grafting for the first time in my life which i’m proud of since i’ve always been sat behind a desk of some sort!! Everyone had warned us when we got here that this place would test us and we would go through all the emotions … and they weren’t lying. I got to week five before having my first bitch fit and I thought that was good going. The vines really do test you as your left in the middle of nowhere with all the time in the world to think about life, your problems, your past and present. This has been the hardest part for me, stupidly at the start of this I was thinking chopping the vines was therapeutic so I would think of all the things that bothered me while working. As you can imagine I was one angry driven women that had developed a serious case of tourette’s, after murdering at least four tree’s and going home annoyed every day I decided to stop doing that to myself and tried to be more positive. To be honest the only thing that got me through it was Hannah and Gabby. We had way too much time to think as I mentioned and I had watched the whole six seasons of Game of Thrones at this point so it was funny listening to how much our minds had all wandered. We had all individually thought of how to escape if a serial killer came, how we would murder them and other people if we had the chance and contemplated life one too many times!! We all had our rants and raves … and I mean literal raves. If I got bored listening to the radio I would take my earphones out and listen to Hannah scream, shout, curse, sing, dance and laugh at the vines … it literally made my day. If it wasn’t for them and having that distraction I know it would have sent me insane!! It’s the same for when we get back to the hostel after work, having Carla, Jamie and Connor there chills me out and makes my life so much easier.
As for my wages dilemma, I was under the impression I was making good money but because we didn’t get paid for the first three weeks i’ve now found half my wages are not accounted for every week. I’m doing the rows and the farm is paying for them, the money just isn’t making it to me as my wages go through my hostel manager first so i’m not making enough money to even stay here let alone save!! My friends are all working in good places and they are getting paid great money direct from the farms but i’m not aloud change jobs because he needs me here so it makes me feel so trapped. It genuinely feels like school mixed with prison and I was always a cheeky, stubborn little shit in school and that side of me has definitely resurfaced!! I don’t appreciate this dodgy little man thinking he owns me and thinking he can talk down to me or belittle me whenever he feels like it. I’m not a fucking child and as you can imagine I do be very vocal when voicing my opinion … wouldn’t be like me!! We clash a lot and I get put on shit jobs sometimes for being a cheeky bitch but most times it’s worth the punishment. The only thing that keeps me going and keeps a loppers out of his chest is them cheeky one liners I keep catching him with in front of everyone as it really riles him up and it’s something he can’t control, which makes me happy … it really is the little things in life!!
“Should I stay or should I go” … we always have a choice and a decision to make in life. When travelling it can be a lot more intense making these decisions because once again, your left facing the unknown and trying to figure out if you have the guts to take that step. Staying in Sydney was the best decision I could have made at the time but staying in Mildura … I really don’t know. I’ll be absolutely devastated leaving my friends here to go off to another farm alone but maybe that’s what I need to do. I need to save money but at the same time it’s not the end of the world if I stay here, finish my days and don’t save money. The job I left in Sydney told me I could have it back when I finished farmwork so I have a back up plan anyways. I’m halfway there and I really don’t want to give that dickhead the satisfaction of thinking he won. Plus I really don’t wanna leave my Billabong family because I feel our adventure is not ready to come to an end and I love them way too much!!
Will I be brave enough to face farmwork alone or will I gut my manager like a fish and just take over the place? … only time will tell!!
Until next time guys,