"When the world is running down, you make the best of what's still around"

The World is not for Us.

By Shanathalas
An expat is both a unique and a common thing. While less people than not pack up all their stuff and travel round the globe, its certainly not uncommon in 2006. But in our multi-national, globalisation, global-village world of 2006, expats are just not factored in by businesses.

Example 1. Banks. You would definately think that in todays world banks could talk to each other internationally. But no, while setting up our accounts here we were told we would have special fees until we can get a credit rating. We asked could they not get our credit ratings from Oz? And we got the blank stare like the hamster fell off the wheel. Oh no, that would be impossible. How hard would it be!!??? In Canada one agency controls everyone's credit history. In Australia, one agency controls everyone's credit history. but to think that there would be some way these two similar agencies could communicate between them? If only there was some machine that could somehow send words from one country to another?

Example 2. DVD regionality. The completely fake way to keep people paying a premium price for a basic product. You could pay $40 for a DVD in Sydney, or order it over the net for $9. But wait! Its a region 1 dvd and it won't play in your region 4 player. Luckily, aussies are use to that crap and large companies do put out multi-region players, simply because there is little material published in region 4 that Australians often have to order for overseas. But walk into an electronic store anywhere in North America and ask "do you sell multi-region dvd players?" and they'll look at you like you're wearing a eyepatch and just said "Arrrr, me hearties, give us your software or ye'll be forced to walk the plank". Oh no, multi-region dvd players are an abomination and you must be doing something illegal. Then you patiently explain that you've just moved from Australia (which in Canada gives the universal response "Oh I'd love to go there one day" like its some paradise on mars) and your entire 200 piece dvd collection is all region 4. Then you get the hamster off the wheel look. Then they explain that its illegal to make multi-region dvd players, so none of the decent brands make them, but they have a cheap korean knock-off brand they can sell you. Poor mum has gone through about three of these. They usually will only play half your disk, and break down in spectacular ways within a number of weeks.

Example 3. Overseas job references. Its always tough applying for your first job in a country. I went through it when I first arrived in Sydney. I was stuck waiting for over a week after the interview, cause the HR person kept "getting the timezone wrong to call my references". Jai just went through a similar thing here - thankfully he got the job (Congrats sweetie - you earned it!). But the look is universal when you've just completed the interview, and they get to the "we'll just need to check your references" part of the process. The perplexed look of "oh, they're all in Australia/Canada/England/blah". Like if your references in the same city would get more than a phonecall? "Yes, I'll just drop round and have a coffee with your old boss". But somehow people who don't call internationally regularly seem to think its this massive and difficult task.

At a non-business level, being an expat rocks, especially in places like Canada and Australia. People always want to know "where that accent is from" and say how much they want to go there. And it seems to me there are millions of us around the world, but somehow business just doesn't want to know about it.

Everything old is new again...

By Shanathalas
Welcome to the new home for my blog. Its interesting using blogger rather than WordPress. Slightly more restrictive but it does the job. Word Press was great, but paying for hosting we weren't using wasn't. Damn Flickr and its greatness.

How big a fish can a feral cat carry?

By Shanathalas
Just how many kilograms of fish can one cat carry? Inquiring Japanese minds found the answer for you!

Hey kids…

By Shanathalas
I like to make a note when I come across a new word or concept. Today’s is “intra-uterine cannibalism”.

Coffee, Coffee, Coffee...

By Shanathalas
Wheeee…. my belated birthday present from Jai is a coffee machine! Its so wonderful to have proper brewed coffee now instead of instant. Brewed coffee, rather than esspresso or instant is the thing here, so I’ve found instant coffee here crappy. Now I have a little machine to make me the precious brown liquid I so love. Hooray!

In other news, I’ve been to see The Illusionist, which I would say is predictable, but stylish, with a great soundtrack by Phillip Glass.

Last weekend Jai & I saw Troilus & Cressida at the annual Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival. I had never seen Troilus & Cressida before, but was keen as I have a big interest in the Trojan War. The setting was daring: The US Civil War with the Trojans and the Souths the Greeks as the North. While this made for great costumes, I found all the Trojan’s “southern drawl” incredibly annoying. And while the antics of Achilles, Hector, Paris, Helen et al were very interesting, we kinda found the title characters to be rather dull. Not the best of the Bard’s plays, but a fun time under the big top none the less. We are hoping to get tickets to a Midsummer’s Night’s Dream before the end of the run.

The next day Jai, mum and I were off to the PNE - Pacific National Exhibition, which is the Vancouver equivalent of the Easter Show, except without showbags. We managed to stuff ourselves on little donuts, catch the Superdogs show and check out the prizehome, before Jai and Mum found the casino tent and the roulette wheel. As a no-good bum without a job, I didn’t bet, but as gainfully employed folk, Jai and mum tackled the wheel. They were both doing very well until the great croupier went on break and the World’s Worst Croupier turned up. She looked about 15, and was useless. She didn’t notice people playing with non-roulette chips, she dropped chips on the floor and managed to flick the ball off the roulette wheel and across the floor of the casino. And she was bad joo-joo - both mum and Jai lost all their chips. But it was still a fun day to be had.

Also, I had a job interview last week - lets hope that soon I will no longer be a bum.


Still unemployed :(

By Shanathalas

So I’m still looking for work. Its been about six weeks and really didn’t think it would take this long. I hit rock bottom yesterday… I applied for a job with Flight Centre (the travel company that was spawned in satan’s a&*hole). The irony is that I have no chance of getting the job, as I they wouldn’t hire me five years ago because I was “overqualified”. Now I have two degrees and management experience, its not likely to improve. I’m actually starting to think of removing qualifications and experience from my cv. So far I’ve applied for jobs as:

  • Communications Assistant
  • Museum Research Assistant
  • Web Content Publisher
  • Games tester
  • Admin assistant to a medical program
  • Travel Consultant
  • Junior Archaeologist

As well as applying to several temp agencies. At least Jaime has a job, and is keeping us afloat. I’m so proud of him for getting a job so quickly and bringing home the bacon. At least I’ve determined one thing: I’m not housewife material. I’m no domestic goddess. I never thought I’d say this but “I can’t wait til I start working again”.