In short, the farm work was nothing like what we thought it would be. We were told we would be working 40 hour weeks and were under the impression we would get at least a day or two off a week to see a bit of the area or just relax. Well, in our three days there we worked between 9 and 12 hour days, and they were expecting us to work 7 days a week for the three months that we would be there.
On top of extremely long hours, the family itself was unpleasant to say the least. The mother was a big believer in the yelling and screaming style of parenting, a trait that she had successfully passed down to each of her six children. (Literally, at least one person could be heard screaming at any given time.) Now Ben and I aren't at all opposed to working hard but for what we were earning ($50/week each) for work (cleaning, pulling weeds and more cleaning) we didn't even enjoy... we felt like we were being taken advantage of and although neither of us had ever quit a job after just three days, it didn't seem worth it to stay.
At the end of our third day we told them that we wanted to leave (not only were they angry but they seemed genuinely baffled as to why we would even contemplate leaving) and left first thing the next morning. Catching a taxi to escape from a farm was never something I planned on doing but there you have it!
Such an abrupt departure obviously wasn't a part of our plan, so for lack of a better idea we headed south to Sydney. We were lucky enough to have a friend of my parents put us up for nearly a week while we hunted for jobs and a flat. I'm happy to report that we have found a room in a flat (with an ocean view!!!) in the Manly Beach area, located north of Sydney. At the moment we're sharing the place with girl from Liechtenstein, who we get along very well with, and will probably have one or two other flatmates before long as there's another bedroom still available. As far as jobs go, Ben and I both have trial shifts this week (at a ski shop for him, a cafe for me) so we'll see how we go!
The whole farm situation definitely didn't pan out as I'd hoped but by this point I've gotten pretty good at catching the curveballs that come along with traveling. Although it can be incredibly frustrating, there is always something to learn or to take away from the experience. In this case, I got the opportunity to practice being flexible and changing my plans on a dime - important life skills if you ask me. Spending the summer in a great flat less than a half hour walk from the beach isn't a bad alternative either!
|Sunset on the farm|
|First night in our flat: me, Melanie and Ben|
|The best view I've ever had from a flat, hands down|