Roma, Queensland July 26-November 5, 2013

When I flew back to Australia from South East Asia, I decided to go to Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, on the east coast because I had never been there before. I caught a flight into Perth and then an overnight flight across Australia into Brisbane.
I arrived early on Saturday July 20. I had spent more money in SE Asia than I had budgeted for so I decided to look for a job right away. I also wanted to apply for my Australian tax return because their tax year is July-June instead of the calendar year. I printed off some resumes and then downloaded the government’s free tax return program. I also registered to take a coffee barista training course on the following Tuesday, to develop some coffee making skills in hopes of getting a day job at a cafe in the city. Australia doesn’t really do percolated coffee. Everywhere sells espresso, cappuccinos and lattes. At home they actually use instant coffee or have a cappuccino machine!
When I downloaded the tax return program it wouldn’t work so I called their technical support team and was told that my macbook’s operating system is too old so the program wouldn’t work. I had to go to a tax agent 🙁
On Monday morning I found a backpacker travel agency that also helps foreigners with their tax returns and I got that sorted out. What a relief! I walked out the door and noticed a sign next door advertising help in finding jobs for backpackers. I inquired and walked out with a job starting the following Saturday at a country pub and restaurant in a town six hours inland from Brisbane, called Roma.
Over the next couple of days I saw some of the sights in Brisbane and prepared to go to Roma on the Friday morning bus. I also got to visit with my friend Suzy, whom I worked with in Alberta while she was on a working holiday visa for Canada. I also took that barista course and had a great time!
When I arrived in Roma I was pleasantly surprised that the town was bigger than I was led to believe. Where I was to work, the Commonwealth Hotel, is one of about five properties in town providing a sports bar, pokies (coin slot gambling machines), a lovely restaurant and rooms for rent upstairs.”The Comm” also has a liquor store and TAB machines to place sporting & racing bets. It is quite a popular place! I trained to work the good service till in the bar and to work in the restaurant, and from the on try scheduled me to do food running full-time, delivering the food from the kitchen to the bar and to the restaurant when it was ready. I guess with my previous experience I could carry more than the other girls and I easily became familiar with the menu. In this job I also had to help out in the bar and the restaurant when they became busy. A couple of times each week I would also do morning cleaning of the property -vacuuming and mopping floors, cleaning the windows and counters, cleaning the pokies machines, cleaning rooms upstairs, etc. I was glad if this because food running was generally only about 5 hours or so per day. Some days were very busy and I stayed longer to help out and some days were quiet so I only worked my food running hours.
It was an alright job and I or along with the other girls well enough.
There were a bunch of Irish girls, one Scottish girl, one English one and a German girl besides me. All of us lived upstairs in shared rooms like dorms, with a common bathroom and a “kitchen” (a fridge on its last legs, a microwave, kettle and wok) and lounging area. We also had a balcony and washing machine that we could use for free! I was so happy to have my own bed and wardrobe, to not have to live out of my backpack for the next few months!
I liked Roma – the community, my job – both my coworkers and the clientele, and having a regular pay cheque was nice too! Also our chefs in the kitchen were really good and staff could get meals off the menu for $10 which is a pretty good deal. Time passed and I was having fun. I booked all the flights I would need for my inwards travel, right until flying into Toronto in February 2nd.
I did take a four day vacation in September to the coast to see my friends from Phillip Island, Rachel, Jamiee and Will, when they took a holiday on the East Coast. We went to Warner Brothers MovieWorld theme park as well as SeaWorld.
I end ed up staying in Roma until November. Melbourne Cup, Australia’s largest horse race and practically a national holiday, was November 5 so I told my boss I would stay and work until then. It was a very busy day! We all worked at least 10 hours and then I did a whirlwind job of packing my stuff and off I went to take the overnight bus to Brisbane. My working holiday visa was expiring on November 7 so I had to leave the country. I met with my friend Sothea for a couple of hours in Brisbane before I caught an evening flight to Auckland, New Zealand on November 6.





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