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Sydney, Australia
Una arquitecto en construcción de un nuevo proyecto de vida...

domingo, 18 de marzo de 2012

Changing the electoral registry - Finally

After several attempts to change my residential address to Australia so I can vote here in the Venezuelan presidential elections this October (post 1 and post 2), finally today I could do it.

As I got here to Australia one of the things I had on my mind I had (should) do before getting a full time job was this: changing my electoral registry, so I started evaluating the options all of them to go by myself:

  1. Staying in Canberra over night: regarding that there were two options; the first one was paying for a hotel or hostel, at least that was going to be at least 50$, so NO; the second option was waiting for a friend who is arriving in Canberra in about 2 weeks, and that option was also out of the question (in fact I even didn't tell this option to my friend, she may find about this as she reads this post) because I thought she and her family were just going to be settling and I was going to be in their way.
  2. Going and returning in the same day: well that was the only option so I started looking for a way to go...
    1. By plane: around 220$as cheap each way, so in total 440$, so NO
    2. By train: around 80$ a return trip, more affordable, so COULD BE
    3. By bus: a return trip in 50$... THAT WAS IT

Besides that I had to think about the transport expenses in Canberra, and in the possibility of having to take a taxi home from Parramatta, because of the hour the bus gets to Sydney. In the end it was going to be quite a bit of money but I was going to go for it because I think it's an important thing to do.

The day I decided this I got from 3 different friends (Kathy. Arturo and Carlos) a mail saying that the guys that organised the "Operativo" in Sydney in December, were organising another "Operativo" but this time to go to Canberra to register ourselves.
It was 50$ a piece, for renting a bus that was going to take us straight to the embassy and back.

Today, Saturday, was that day. I have to say that this was also possible because the embassy opened their doors a Saturday for us to come in to do this errand.
From Sydney in the bus we were 14 people, from Melbourne were around 80 something, there were people from Perth and Brisbane who went by themselves, as well as others from Sydney... in total we were around 190 people changing our voting address to Australia... we did it!!!

Here are some pics of the event and the group.


On our way… a little bit of rain


Still on our way


A glimpse of Canberra


The Parliament


The entrance of the Embassy


The embassy and the Venezuelans waiting to come in…


Playing one of the national sports (Domino) while waiting


On the bus…the group


More of Canberra


More of Canberra


Some estrange sheep on our way back home

viernes, 16 de marzo de 2012

One month after arriving - some impressions II

Ok... last post the only thing I did was write about time. In this one I'm going to address some other aspects (with no particular order)

SKILLMAX course:
Some people say it's a wonder and you MUST take it... some other people say it's useless to attend to it. MY OPINION so far (just finished my 2nd week there)  is: do it!!! and do it for several reasons: (1) They teach you things about recruiters and the Australian job Market that you just don't know; they even teach you about if the recruiters like or don't like bold and underlined resumes; (2) Your teacher not only corrects your resume like a hundred times (so far I've corrected mine 3 times) but also advises you what to say word by word in an interview depending on your work experience; (3) at least 12 hours a week you HAVE TO practise your English; (4) this is a very good opportunity to listen to other accents and try to understand them; and (5) you get to socialise a bit... and even maybe get a job through networking (you never know).

The distances: although you may have noticed from my previous posts, Sydney is a really LARGE city, so you have to evaluate before moving, where do you want to live (ask around about the suburbs), prioritise what is important to you: time?, money?, your own body? I'm assuming all of the above, but sadly you can't have it all in Sydney.

It can take you up to 2 hours to go from a place to another, easily!!! and may be even more at night depending on where you life. So, if you're short of money there's something you'll need to sacrifice.

Transport system: in general, for a newly arrivedRAIL and FERRY MAP for SYDNEY, Sydney had a pretty decent transport system (if you have more than 5 years you'll say the system is DREADFUL*) jejeje... well anyway... even I that come from a country with a really DREADFUL transport system, notice that this one has a lot of flaws, that it can be easily improved. For example there are places where you can. only access by bus... when you think about it it's not bad at all, the problem comes when you have to leave early in the morning or arrive late at night... the farther* away and less connection you have with the city the more the chances if having a working bus decreases.

The language - talking and understanding the Englishes: no, that isn't a mistake or a typo, I'm aware there is a spelling and grammar mistake, but I did it on purpose!!! Because here there isn't just one English, there are LOTS of different Englishes!!!! jajaja, the Aussie, the British, the American, the Latin-American, the Chinese, the Korean, the Thai, the Iranian, and so on and on. It's a little bit tricky to understand all of them, but sincerely so far (until today) I didn't have so much trouble understanding people... of course with some people you have to be more attentive*, but in general it was ok; sometimes there were things I didn't understand but nothing out of this world... UNTIL TODAY!!!! Today at my tutorial I had the most hard time understanding my students!!! Since this week we changed our groups into are definitive* ones, and in mine I have like 10 Asians (got the feeling all of them Chinese) from which I couldn't understand 3 of them at all!!! I just nodded :S and there was also this Australian guy that seemed he had a potato in his mouth!!! he was the worst of all, the most difficult one for me to understand... I wanted to run away from there!!! :( But well, next week I'll come a lot more prepared (psychologically) and I know it'll be a lot easier and better.

The odours: well it's not like some may say that everyone in the train stinks, in fact I haven't had so many encounters* of that type; but what I can say with property is that the few people with b.o. (body odour) they don't just smell bad, they REALLY STINK!!! Stink in a way even if you keep your breath, you still can smell them!!! The worst that's happened to me so far was my first day of classes 2 weeks ago. I was walking from home to get the bus and this odour came to me, I didn't know where it was coming from. I couldn't believe it when I realised it was a man more than a block away from me!!! Do you want to know the worst part? He took the same bus I took... you can imagine the rest.

Looking for a place to share: ok, this is the most difficult thing ever!!! jajaja... what I was talking before about sacrifice, well in order for me to live near the city, so it doesn't take me 2 hours at night to come home or stay as a refugee on weekends, and most of all that I can afford, well I have to let go for a while the idea of living by myself... I have to share a flat. So far I've looked at 5 places... and well I'm still looking. In another post I'll write specifically about that.

Well that's it for tonight!!! This post is getting a larger than I planned

jueves, 15 de marzo de 2012

One month after arriving - some impressions I

Yes, I know... I've been lost; out if the picture; away... whatever you want to call it... it has been a while since I've written on my blog.

The truth is I've been busy... doing what? REALLY I don't know!!!

Time: here in Oz, I don't know why, but time seems to pass by a LOT faster. In a blink of an eye it's already noon, and in the next one it's 9 pm. All the things I told myself I was going to do this first month, well I haven't done half of it. In this first month I told myself I was going to:

  • Start the skillmax course
  • Elaborate my portfolio
  • Work on my thesis
  • Look and apply for jobs on a daily bases
  • Look for a place to move
  • Socialise with my friends here
  • Buy some things for when I move
  • Go to yoga classes

What of those have I actually done?

Well, I'm going to yoga classes, I started the skillmax course, I socialised too much, I've looked for a place to live (hopefully tomorrow I'll know where), only bought a printer and some towels... and that's it!!! I haven't look for a job on a daily bases (only have so far applied for one position... not very good statistics for me), haven't even looked at my thesis files and haven't finished my portfolio... so, all the important things I have left behind.

Well it's not that I have the best timetable, and living far from the city doesn't help.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Morning       READING      
Going 2 skillmax Going 2 skillmax Going 2 skillmax
Afternoon Skillmax Skillmax Skillmax Going to UNSW      
Night Yoga Yoga Yoga      
Arriving home Arriving home Arriving home Arriving home

Besides that, for the course I'm tutoring, I have to read A LOT, so all my train rides and my Thursday mornings are only for reading (and tonight writing this post).

The day I turned one month here I realised all of the above... so I told myself to change that, though it's not going to be that easy these 2 next weeks.

This Saturday I'm going to Canberra to register myself to vote in October; on Sunday Clau comes to Sydney for a few days; then on Tuesday Javi comes for a while... and then I have to move.

At nights I'm too tired, and it's too late, to turn the computer on to work. I usually arrive Mon-Wed at 9 pm - today at 11; and on Thursdays I arrive at 11... on the weekends I feel like a refugee, 'cause I stay with friends because of the transport issue to get home - f.e. this Friday I'm staying with a friend in order to be in Central at 7am Saturday, because the first bus I can catch to get to the Parramatta Station is at 6:40 am, which doesn't work for me, because I'd arrive at Central aprox at 7:40am)

Anyway, stop complaining!!! The thing is I have to kick myself in order to finish my portfolio, start applying for jobs on daily bases and finish my thesis.

I'll let you know how that worked :-)

viernes, 2 de marzo de 2012


(I wrote this yesterday night in the train coming home)

Today I'm arriving home from my first local job. I started today as a tutor (kind of an academic assistant) in the course "Sustainable Development and the Urban Environment" from the Master in Sustainable Development in the UNSW.

This is a casual job (only for this trimester) of only 3 hours a week... not enough to support myself but enough to help a bit and important enough to be my first local experience.networking

Now, why the title of the post? Why "networking"? Well, thanks to this I got this job. Last year at the congress I attended in Perth, I met a professor of the UNSW. We exchanged a few emails after the congress and of course this year I let him know I was arriving in Sydney in February. To make the story short, we met and while talking about my settlement here I let him know I was looking for a job... after enquiring about whether I wanted to work in the academic or professional area (both of them which I love) and about my visa conditions, he said: "You know, Gaby, this trimester I'm teaching a course about urban design and sustainability and I've been told I can work with 4 tutors (he explained what that was here and the responsibilities of the position). It's only for this trimester and only a few hours a week, but if you'd like I can send you the syllabus for you to read and if you're interested I'd be happy to work with you."

As you can imagine I was jumping up and down in my head, dancing as the Ally McBeal baby jajaja, but had my poker face on jajaja... so we agreed to that. He also asked me to send him my resume and a sustainable urban project in which I have worked.

We started talking about the last project I worked in and that I left it because of ethical principles, and about the way I design and how people for me is the most important aspect of the design process... well it turned out that he thought the same way I did... ; he said that after all he heard he would gladly work with me in any project :-)

Anyway, the next day I sent him the resume and images if that project, he sent me the syllabus, I called him a couple if hours later and told him I'd love to work as a tutor for his course :-) and that was it.

Today I submitted to the uni the signed contract and had my first class. The best thing is that this is a course I would have taken because it's not only an interesting topic but also a cutting edge approach. I'm going to learn SO MUCH, because I have to understand and manage all the materials in order to be able to guide the students... and all of those are topics I can easily apply to my professional area... it's going to be great!!! And the best of all is the timetable... the class is Thursdays from 6-9 pm so I can keep looking and get a full time job without interfering with one another.

So keep working on your networks and above all be true to yourselves!!!!