Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Life as of Late

Hi Friends and family!
How are all of you? It seems like writing new blog postings has gone from a daily thing to a weekly thing. I try to get them out, but it’s hard for me to find time these days.
Anyhow, baseball is still going great! I had two hits, and two stolen bases in the game this Sunday, before being postponed due to heavy rain. When I came here, I was told they were in a drought. Since I’ve been here however, its rained more than it has in Oregon. Doesn’t really make sense. I know summer is right around the corner though!
So yeah, ball is great. I just got back from doing an International Money Transfer at the bank, and had a great conversation with my banker named Dean. He loves baseball, and was asking me all about it. I began telling him that I must return in April in order to play my pro season in the states. He asked if I was excited about that. I told him that sometimes playing everyday for 4 months becomes a drag. It is easy to lose the love of the game, and forget why you are playing in the first place. In Australia we only play three days a week. It’s never too much to get burned out, but seldom enough to keep me burning to play. I’ve realized here how much I truly love the game of baseball; there really isn’t anything I love more than playing.
So I finally got a guitar! It’s a red acoustic Alvarez. This has been consuming much of my time lately. My fingers are sore, but I can’t put it down. I am constantly on the Internet looking for new song tabs to play.
Nolan wants to get a set of Bongo drums to play with me! That’s all we need for a band; next step would be getting a gig at the Durham! Hahaha, if we were lucky, there might be a 3% chance of that happening!
However, every time I pick up the guitar, I visualize myself playing in front of thousands of people! I know I’m not that good yet, but could I be if I truly wanted it? I think yes!
So tonight is our first training session as servers/bartenders at the Ainslie Footy Club. Not sure what to expect, but I need to iron my uni top and shave my face. I’m getting a bit scruffy, can’t have them getting a bad first impression! Here is a pic of Nolan and I before the first day on the job! It went great by the way! In the background you can see both where we work, the Motel Monaro Best Western on the left, and where we stay, the Victor Lodge on the right!
We went to church this Sunday morning. The service was a bit old school with the music, sermon, and overall demeanor and complete atmosphere, but the message was good. It was about forgiveness. We’re all sinners; but we are all forgiven. As a matter of fact, one of the pastors named Paul let me borrow the guitar that I have been playing. I couldn’t believe he offered it to me. I haven’t put it down since I got it. Paul is giving me guitar lessons in exchange for baseball lessons for his upcoming softball season. I figured that was a good deal. Bartering is always a smart move!!
My plan is to work my butt off until Christmas. Then I’m heading up to the Gold Coast for a few weeks and stay with Lindon and Rodney. I’ll be making my way to Brisbane and Byron Bay, staying in hostels, and meeting new people! It’s gonna be a blast, and I’ll be documenting and blogging everything.
There is one other thing that is very exciting, however, I’m not going to fill you all in quite yet. It’s still in development! Keep reading and you’ll find out.
I miss you guys like crazy! Robert, Rachel, you especially!
Until the next time I see everyone, keep on loving life!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

First trip to Sydney!

Hey everyone,
Wow, I know it’s been a while since I last wrote, Many of you have been asking for the next blog; trust me, I want to get them out here just as much as you want to see them, (Gina) hahaha. Anyway, this one should be interesting.
So, Sunday was another game, and another loss. I’m getting a bit discouraged because people don’t take the sport as seriously here as they do in the states. We had one of our best players miss the game because he had to work, and another I nearly fought due to his baby attitude. I don’t really get along with pouters. Don’t worry guys; I kept myself under control (barely). He struck out like three times and threw his helmet, which hit me in the shin, then he was the only one not cheering when we nearly came back in the 9th. It’s just frustrating to be around guys like that. He is only 19 though, and has zero future of ever playing at the next level. Oh well, hopefully he got moved down a level for next week.
My game was good; I had a triple and a 2 RBI single. I played well at short, and then came in to pitch. My right trapezious is killing me still, three days later. I did pretty well on the mound, but there is still room for improvement. So overall, I was 2-4 with a triple and two RBI’s.
The best part about the game was that a good friend of mine, Lyndsay Anderson attended the game. Some of you may know, but Lyndsay and I went to high school together and have known each other most our lives. Her brother Eric and I are great mates, and graduated the same year. She had been living in Sydney, and came down to Canberra for one day to watch me play. I introduced her to all my friends, and everyone took her in as one of their own. Even Lee-Anne and Graham gave her a free night’s stay at the lodge, just for being my friend.
After the game, we got to talking about how she had to get back to Sydney for dinner on Monday. Somehow, we decided that I should go with her. I got online and booked a Murray’s bus ticket for $70 roundtrip.

I woke up early Monday, stripped all the rooms, and was on the bus with Lynds, headed to Sydney by 11 am.
We arrived in Sydney, and I had no idea what to expect. We only had one afternoon to see the city, because my bus was to leave for Canberra the following morning. The trip was about 3.5 hours, and dropped us off at central station in downtown Sydney.
The first thing we did was find a place to stay. We checked out two hostels and decided on the cheaper of the two. It was only $28 each for the night. However, both our rooms consisted of three bunk beds for a total of 6 people in each room.
This was really different to me. When I reached room 411 this is what i saw!
I have never left all my things inside a room with five other strangers. Everyone was on their own schedule; all six of us were coming and going as we pleased. Lindsay assured me that my things were safe. I guess it’s like the back packers code; you don’t steal from your own kind.
Once we got settled in, we met in the lobby and went walking around the city. It was amazing! We first walked through china town, which was only blocks from our hostel.
We ate noodle soup at a Vietnamese restaurant that had won global awards for their noodle soup. I must admit, it was wonderful.
We then walked nearly 5 k around the city. There were so many people! Every crosswalk had thirty or so people bunched up waiting to cross. Unlike Canberra, these people were a true mix of races. It may have been the biggest “melting pot” that I have ever been around. So many different kinds of people! It reminded me a bit of Chicago, only bigger.
While we were walking, I couldn’t believe how big the buildings were. It was such a big city; it just kept going and going. We walked through the harbor, by the huge aquarium, then back around to the Opera house.
I believe that the Opera house is one of the 7 wonders of the world. I can understand why. It was beautiful. By the time we got there, we could see the massive Sydney Bridge.
This was amazing as well, but the best part was seeing an overview of the city, which we had just traversed. I can’t describe to you how enormous the city is.

By this time, we were getting hungry. We called her friends, and scheduled to meet up with them. We hurried and bought a $4.10 bus ticket and caught the 333 across town to Bondi Beach. There we met some of the greatest people I’ve ever met.
Within minutes of exiting the bus at Bondi beach, Lindsay’s friends Frankie and Georgie picked us up. Frankie had worked with Lyndsay at the coffee shop for almost a year. Frankie and Georgie are a bit older than Lynds and I, but they were so much fun.
We got to Frankie’s house and grilled out one of the best dinners I’ve ever eaten in my life. Frankie and I cooked chicken on the grill, while Georgia made fried zucchini, beat root, and potatoes in the oven with the housemates from London, Jess and Steph. We literally feasted, while telling great stories, and sharing a few bottles of red and white wine.
Lyndsay and I laughed at how cool it was to be on the other side of the world together after living only blocks away in Beaverton. We had such great friends there, but had just as good of relationships in such a short time over here in Australia. It’s just ironic how things work out in life.
After dinner, Frankie, Georgie, Jess, Steph, Lyndsay and I headed to the coffee shop right on the beach. We sat with the owner and had coffee and drinks on the house. We went back to the house for a while, then Lynds and I taxied it back to the hostel.
The day was one to remember. I met some truly great friends, who I will most likely stay with nest time in Sydney. Lindsay is headed back to Portland tomorrow, but she did a great job of passing her knowledge and friendships on to another. I expressed this to her: she was feeling sad that she had to leave, but I assured her that she wasn’t leaving everything, but passing it on to me. I could use everything she had, such as her knowledge of the city, and great friends to help me on my adventures.
Lyndsay, if you are reading this, thanks again for everything. I know you had a great time in Canberra, but I had an amazing time with you in Sydney.
Hopefully Jess, Steph, Frankie and Georgie will be coming down to visit me and watch a game.
Life is great, I love the freedom that I have to up and bounce to Sydney in an instant. I’m not restricted by anything. I can’t wait to have a wife and kids, but I know that once I do it will be forever, and the opportunity to do what I'm doing now is short. Thank God for all the blessings in my life.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Birthday Boyeeeee!

These pics are not from Aussie, but from Joliet. I just thought I'd put them up for you to see. Way too many people in the crowd for Australia!
Baseball is going great, I am very happy with my swing; it feels as quick, compact and accurate as ever. Our first game was a good one. We lost in the last inning to the defending champs, which sucks, but everyone played well and had fun. I went 2-3 with a hit by pitch and a walk. The one time I got out was my best swing of the day; I lined out to a diving center fielder. Oh well. I played pretty good at short too. I figured I'd let you know about baseball first, because that's what most of you want to hear.
So my Birthday is officially over all around the world. It was a great one, and I want to thank you all for helping make it that way. I honestly think every one of my blog followers either told me happy birthday to my face or over the phone, or wrote on my facebook wall. It's pretty cool to know that I have friends that care!! Sorry to get all sentimental on you here, but this is my blog! Whatever I want to write finds a way on here!
Anyway, yesterday was a great birthday. I worked in the morning stripping the rooms and making the beds! That's right, Nolan and I have been promoted to making beds. We do a great job; we make hospital corners and everything! However, it hasn't changed me into an avid bed maker of my personal bed. I still think making my own bed is a waste of time; I'm just gonna sleep in it again in about 15 hours. Besides, I really don't like the feeling of tight, tucked in sheets anyway, it makes me feel restricted, and that's the last thing I want when I'm trying to sleep. Ok maybe I do like it just a little bit, but not enough to take the time to make it in the morning.
So we stripped the rooms and made the beds. During this time I began to think about what our job title was. We came to the conclusion that we were "Strippers". I got a crack out of that!
We broke away early and had a little break for tea with the entire staff. However, when I got to the dining room I quickly realized that the break was for my birthday! They had gotten me a chocolate cake, and a very nice card welcoming me to their family/staff. The card was really just from Graham and Lee-Anne. It was awesome that they did this for me, I mean, it was a busy day with work that could have been done, but everyone sat and enjoyed a break just for me. I'm sure the cake was pretty enticing as well. Here is a picture of the party and all the ladies! Lee-Anne is on the far left. She is a wonderful host, prepares unbelievable dinners for me nightly!
They are all awesome, I hope they are not offended when I knock on the doors and say, "House Keeping" in a very high pitched voice. They may think I'm mocking them, but I'm really just trying to get a laugh out of Nolan, which never works. I guess I'm trying to make a joke using the stereotype of most hotel room cleaners being woman with high pitched voices, which Nolan and I are complete opposites of. Anything to make the job more fun! Would Satire be the type of humor? This is me in action, total perfectionist..........NOT!
We went to Dave's for dinner like we do every Monday, played some darts, had some drinks. Then a few of us went out on the town (Civic). I may have had a few too many last night, but it WAS my birthday, and I stayed safe! I had a great night sleep, especially if you count the 20 min power nap in the cab on the way to civic, and the 1/2 hour in the booth inside Mooseheads! Apparently I got "escorted" out while my mates were playing pool downstairs. I figured it was time for me to cash it in for the night and taxi home. I got home and went STRAIGHT to bed at 11 pm lol. Because of the solid REM cycles, I was up this morning ready to work before anyone else! I think my buddies came home around three or four am.
So today I worked, facebooked and went to practice. It was a big facebook day for me, I got a ton of wall action, and had to reply to most of them. Thanks again to all of you!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

AirBrush those Kicks!

Hey Guys,
How's it going? Feel free to post up and let me know you're following. The more responses I get, the more encouraged I am to keep writing.
Today was a long day. I woke up around 7:30, got some breakfast and immediately started working at the hotel. Nolan and I stripped all the rooms of anyone checking out for the day, and brought in clean sheets for the ladies. We are getting much quicker and more efficient at what we do here. We had to be done by 10 am in order to get to the Floriade and begin selling the magic worms by 10:30. There, we only worked about 5 hours but made about $100. When we sell the worms, we share a tent with this guy named Phil. He's real chill, all tatted up, and pretty funny. He does airbrush painting of all kinds. He sells custom hats, t-shirts, shoes, etc. He's a great artist, who began his career as a tattooist (not sure if that's a real word, but it wasn't caught by spell check so I think I'm good). So today, I decided that I wanted to represent for Portland. I had Phil paint my black converse all-star shoes with the skyline of downtown, and Mt. Hood. I was very happy with how they turned out; and, I know that I am the only person on the planet with shoes like mine. So this is one shoe with the skyline of Portland. I don't think many people will recognize this, but I know, and that's all that matters. The other shoe has Mt. Hood to the left, and the Convention Center in the middle.

So I know you are all thinking that it's pretty elementary to have your shoes painted. Don't worry, it doesn't bother me. I'll most likely wear these bad boys everywhere. I gotta represent for my home town. I know that I'm really from Beaverton, but I wasn't going to have pics of Washington Square or Summer Lake Park on my feet.
After work was practice. We got our first game on Sunday, and today's training session went awesome. I feel more ready than ever to get out there and compete. Everyone on the team seems to be clicking just at the right time. I left practice with a smile on my face both because I had fun, and I realize that I am one of the most blessed individuals on the planet. I get to do exactly what I want to do!, not what other people have told me to do, or what my other college and high school classmates are doing, but exactly what makes me happy. And I've always believed, that "success is measured with the yardstick of happiness", (YOGI).
At this rate, I don't know where I'll go next, maybe I'll come home, but maybe Europe or Asia, or even S. Africa is in the near future. I feel free in the fact that as of now, I live by my own set of rules; and, I'm feeling this mindset develop exponentially within me.
There are always many ways to do things; don't let the haters, doubters, and closed minders force you to live in a box that you don't absolutely love! Trust in yourself, don't wish, but go DO what makes you happy!! Get your Kicks AirBrushed!!
Later Ya'll.

Monday, October 5, 2009

New things!

Hey everyone,
I am going to get right to the point here! I am very tired, and need to be at work by 8:30 in the morning. HOwever, this is not a job cleaning rooms. On Saturday, Nolan and I came across an ad in the dinning room that said help needed. I was completely out of cash, and even though I could easily not spend a dime here, I felt the need to earn money. We called the number, and spoke with Rob, who had a tent down at the Floriade. The Floriade is a huge flower festival that takes place right in the center Canberra; it is a month long, and nationally known throughout OZ. I immediately assumed that we would be working with flowers......I couldn't have been more wrong. It ends up, that Rob owns a company that sells Magic Worms. This is a Magic trick, that uses a fuzzy 5 inch cotton worm, tied to a very thin piece of string. The string connects to your belt, and you can control the worm as if by "magic". Kids go ballistic for them. As most of you know, I am always in the mood for a good magic trick. I took this job right away!!
I worked there all day today with Nolan, and sold close to $1400 worth of magic worms. It is pretty fun, but you always get that dissatisfied customer who thought the trick was actually "Magic". It cracks me up. People try to figure it out, they ask if its battery operated, if it uses static electricity (whatever that means??), People have even asked if it's alive. I tell them "No, it's made out of cotton!!" People want it to be something more than a piece of fuzz on a string, and don't realize, that most of the best magic tricks are the simplest.
We've made some good money, but can't help but laugh when realizing that we are carnies, selling Magic Worms, hahaha!!

Another big event has been learning to drive on the left side of the road. It is very different to have the steering wheel on the right side of the car, and the stick shift to the left. I continually, reach to shift with my right hand, and end up rolling down the window. Also, the blinker is on the right side of the steering wheel; I'm so used to it being on the left side. Every time I go to signal, I end up turning the windshield wipers on full blast. It's rather distracting. Driving is very difficult so far, but I am getting better and better. I only ran one red light today, and only needed to be yelled at twice to get on the other side of the road. It feels so different.
Let's see, what else? Oh, I actually got attacked by a bird. It's nesting season for these black and white birds called magpies. I was riding my bike, and one came down and swooped on me 5 times in a row, hitting me twice. I have never peddled harder in my life!! I was so mad afterwards, apparently this happens all the time though. I am quite the hypocrite, because one day later I was laughing historically when I saw a different magpie attack a biker during my baseball practice. It's so funny, but I was definitely that guy for a short period of time. I have never been to another place where the birds are so fearless of humans! They litterally will not move for us. There are tons of cool looking birds though, with colors of red and green that I've never seen before. They act snobby, as if we must cater to them, and avoid them at all costs. Here is a picture of a Magpie, they are my LEAST favorite animal in the world!

Lastly, I have been working on becoming a better grill-man! Graham has been taking time to teach me how to cook on the grill! They love their steaks very rare, I like mine much more on the done side. I am figuring out how to cook a bit of each. Also, I am becoming a bit of a wine connoisseur. Shiraz is by far the most popular here. The best grapes came in 1998, 2002 and 2006. Wines from these years are very tasty, but much more expensive. Apparently, the weather conditions here in Australia were optimal for grape growth in those years.
This is Graham and I having a glass, working the Grill.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Coming soon

Cool post coming guys, just waiting to get some time!! Got some good stuff for you all. I would like someone to post their comments so i dont think im just talking to myself!! Will write soon. Life is awesome!!

Friday, October 2, 2009

I should be Asleep

So It's about midnight here. I had a pretty long day, following a pretty late night. This morning, Graham knocked on our door around 8 am, asking if we wanted to work for him. The words "hell no!!!" were going through my head, but all that came out of my mouth was "um, ok". Im not afraid of hard work, and I do need the money, its just that Nolan and I had no idea that we were going to work so early. If we would have known, we most likely would not have chosen to sing karaoke at the Durham until 2 am. Speaking of, the songs "Tiny Dancer" and "Friends in Low Places" are great hit karaoke in the states........They are not such hits here in oz. Nolan and I got some sympathetic support, but didn't exactly crowd surf when we finished like I do back home :)
Anyhow, when he asked us to work, I knew that I really had no choice in the matter. Graham is helping us out big time by providing work for us, he knows we need $, and to have a high wage job given to us is quite a blessing. It is hard to even find a job around here (as it is in the States, hence me not even getting a job at Dick's sporting Goods back home).
I had planned on sleeping in till about 10 am or so and grabbing a bowl of cereal from the kitchen. However, at 8 am, Graham must have assumed we had already eaten, because he wanted us outside in 5 minutes. I got up, brushed the teach, chugged some water and headed out there. Today was the first really hot day, which didn't exactly help the newly acquired headache situation. I needed something to eat, but there was a long list of things to be done. Apparently one of the room service girls had been sick. The hotel was understaffed at the busiest time of year. So for the first time in my life, after spending hundreds and hundreds of nights in hotels, I was the person cleaning the rooms. I actually thought it was pretty cool. I had to take out the trash, strip the beds, replace all the soap and coffee that had been used, and bring in the sheets and towels needed. I did learn how to make the beds, but that was a bit advanced for my first day. Im pretty sure that the one bed I did make got redone by Toni. However, she would never tell me that. Bless her heart! Once we had prepped all the rooms for the ladies, Graham put us on hedge clipping. Nolan and I used big, gas powered clippers to shave the 30 meter bushes dividing the hotels. That was quite a workout; the hedges look great though!
It was awesome to get through the day, and be rewarded by going to the park to play ball. There is and Australian Football field about two blocks away that Nolan and I train at daily. All my cares go away when Im on that field. I take ground balls, run sprints, jump, stretch, play catch, etc. It really is therapeutic. I would take the worst job in the world for the rest of my life, as long as I could break away for an hour a day to do this. I wouldn't trade it for anything.
We had to cut this a bit short today, because we had real team practice starting at 5. That was awesome as well, I met some great new guys, who have some real talent. We played ball until we literally got so dark it became dangerous.
Im so blessed to have the ability to be doing what Im doing. (Off Subject, Click a google AD on the right side of my blog just before you go to another site, I earn like two cents!!)
We headed, home, showered up and went to Graham and Lee-Anne's house for another dinner feast. Last night was steak, rice and sweet potatoes; tonight was Lamb, veggies and a delicious dish of cream potatoes. Nolan and I do the dishes.
Alright friends, Let me know if you need anything. Even though Im on the other side of the world, communication is simple. ps. I love not having a phone, I found that its not as vital as I once thought it was.
Have a great day everyone!