My morning routine

Today, I am moving house, so I queued this post up, to give you something to read.  Rest assured, this won’t be today’s routine!! Back soon!

A real life friend reads my blog, and she suggested I post about my morning routine.  I didn’t think it was particularly interesting, but as we got talking, I realised it’d probably change in the new house, so I might be able to do a before and after post for those who might be interested.

Morning time routine

Not what I look like… ever!
source:www.charterworld.com

My single person morning routine

Now, I’ll run through my usual process, then I’ll review it (using italics) to change what I did when the boyfriend stayed.

At 5.45am my alarm goes off.  I get out of bed immediately, removing my phone from the charger and always turning the charger off at the wall.  I must pull up the bed now…

I switch on the light over the stairs, and I go downstairs and shower, always washing my hair and my face (yes everyday).  Once out, I put on deodorant and perfume.  Then I’ll blow dry my hair if the mirror’s not too steamy.

Next I head upstairs to put my uniform on, and hand my towel over the balustrade (sigh, I’ll miss those!).  Once I’m dressed, it’s lights off upstairs and back down to the kitchen.  Sometimes, there’ll be washing that finished overnight, so I’ll hang this out whilst I’m upstairs, where the rack is.

In the kitchen, I go to my breakfast cupboard, removing the oats, and taking my hair and nail supplement (since the head shave).  I add water to my oats, and put it in the microwave for 2 minutes.

Whilst it cooks, I’ll empty the dishwasher if need be, or I’ll start on reading blog posts I get to my inbox.  I’ll also get my lunch out of the fridge, and anything else I need to take to work, or for my breakfast fixings, like milk.

Once the microwave ‘tings’, I get milk and my chosen topping to the table.  I like to have frozen berries, or banana or sometimes pureed strawberries.  I’ll always have a water bottle too, to help wash it all down. And I’ll always continue my reading, and sometimes commenting.

I linger at the kitchen table til 6.15am, then I make myself rinse my bowl, sometimes refill my water bottle, and get ready to go.  I know I have up to 15-25mins up my sleeve, and I can STILL be at work on time.

Realistically, I’m usually in the car by 6.30am and then it’s off to work, which is a 20 min drive in minimal traffic (woo hoo!)

Now… this was all going swimmingly, til the BF.  I hated people keeping me awake, or waking me, in boarding school, so I try to be conscious of the sleepy one!

5.45 awake

5.45am never looked so nice
source: paulthepotter.blogspot.com

And now with the BF

So, on the mornings the BF is there, I make sure I lay out my uniform and underwear the night before, often on top of my towel.

When the alarm goes off, with the light of the phone, I find said outfit, and stumble down the stairs.

I dress in the bathroom, and delay hair drying til right before leaving.

Once I finish breakfast, I’ll usually go and dry my hair, knowing the noise will likely awaken the BF.

I’ll head back upstairs to hang my towel (if I’ve remembered, it often ends up over some kitchen chairs)

If there’s washing, I’ll hang it out now, once the BF is ‘more’ awake… though usually he has no idea I’m standing in the bedroom hanging things!

Irrespective, the trip upstairs will result in me lying down for another cuddle and a quick chat about the day with the BF.  I chat, he makes grunts… Then, it’s on the road!

Now

To be honest, I’ll need a new routine in a new house – but we’ll have doors, and more proper rooms, so that might make it easier.  I’ve never been a ‘get your outfit ready’ person unless it’s a really early start, but it’s not hard, especially with a uniform.

How does your morning routine compare?

Advertisements

Smile for you close up!

Wow… This was meant to publish last week (Thu 25 July), but it seems all the other changes, I failed to get it to publish! Thanks to everything else going on in my life, I’ve not been meticulously planning content, and preparing photos.  That’s not to say photos haven’t been taken of my new place though 😀

Moving plans

Here’s how things are tracking

  • My place has had it’s professional photos taken (so it’s even more perfect that how you usually see it… No tea towels!  No hand towels! No soap by the sink!)
Kitchen

Kitchen

Living room

Living room

  • The ad will go up today last Thursday (so excited to see it!)
  • My open time is booked in (10am last Saturday)
Bathroom (evidently not cleaned :s)

Bathroom (evidently not cleaned :s)

  • I’ll pick up the spare keys from my parents Wednesday afternoon (as I’m out that way for a meeting today) & drop them to the agent
  • My friends are hiring a van (in the GoGet car share system here in Sydney) and will help the BF and I move his few possessions (this past Saturday!)
Dining area

Dining area

  • My strata manager has approved us to store the BF’s stuff in the ‘games’ room in my building (essentially a storage place/meeting room) for the week between him moving in, and us getting keys for our new place
  • I’ve done my change of address almost everywhere I can think of, the majority were online, so super quick and easy
Bedroom, missing on bedside box from Ikea

Bedroom, missing on bedside box from Ikea

I was getting all frazzled about the ‘hurry hurry wait’ situation, but I’ve now resolved I will commence next Saturday – in the afternoon, after the showing.  With that decision, I’m much calmer.  I think I can realistically get everything packed in 1.5 days, with moving on Monday. Of course, if my place hasn’t yet got a lease, I’ll move ‘half’ my stuff – the stuff I can take away from my apartment, but still give people an idea of space and furniture options.  Mostly everything in the cupboard and occasional storage like side tables and ottomans. Naturally, I have a prioritised list of what to move: from move now, to move last.

Career

In non moving news, I’ve also been told I start my new role on Monday today.  Just what a girl needs :p I’ll be working under (another) new boss.  Everything’s in flux in my office’s management, and I’ve liked my temporary new boss.  The new new boss, well, I’m not sure we gel just yet.  But it’s a learning experience.  I’ll certainly have a much larger amount of work to output (many more smaller jobs, whereas now I have a few large jobs… When I say ‘few’ I mean about 25, of which 5-10 are active at any one time ;))

Along with a new type of work, and output, I will also oversee the work of one person in my office, and a collection of people in another office.  The other office people won’t be working on my portfolio full time, but will help out to raise output.

Needless to say, I’ll have a few plates in the air in the next this week, between starting a new role, having my house open for inspection, and hopefully getting it leased, and packing and moving from my place to our new place.

I’ve always said I’d rather be busy than bored though!

View from the entryway

View from the entryway

Oh I am SO excited to have had my place photographed by a pro, if you couldn’t tell! And here I was thinking (and hoping) I was modest… I’m not, I love my baby(house).

Maybe tomorrow I can share the ‘disaster’ photos of how it looks after absorbing some of the BF’s stuff.  It really isn’t that much of a disaster!

Friday – fun or not?

This is another ‘memory’ post, in line with my board school food memories. Now days, Friday seems to be almost the best day of the week – it’s the last day before two days of weekend.  Days of freedom for most, to spend doing what they please.  Only in the last few years have I come to see Friday as the fun day others have always been thanking goodness for!

When I was at boarding school, there were two types of Fridays.  Those preceding an ‘in’ weekend, and those preceding an ‘out’ weekend.  When I started at StM in 1995, the in and out weekends were dictated on a calendar.  This made staff management easier – the school knew when it would be empty, and when it would be full.  I gather the older students hated it!  They had to find somewhere on random weekends, but on other weekends, when they might want to be ‘out’ (to attend a party or similar) they may not be allowed to go.

In 1997 (I think) they moved to a more flexible system, where each student was permitted 4 weekends out a term.  How it worked was that you could take both Friday and Saturday night.  Or just one of those nights.  But you were only allowed four instances, up until Year 11, where you got some additional privileges, such as party leave – which was essentially ‘day’ leave so long as you were back by curfew.

Also, in the later years, maybe 1997 too, they added a Friday afternoon activity of shopping at the local mall.  This required a hired coach to take all those that were interested.  It was a boon to have this easy access to grocery stores, clothing stores, hairdressers etc.  As I was only 11/12, I didn’t have such a long list of needs and wants, but I can imagine for 16 and 17 years olds, the addition of this weekly pilgrimage was warmly welcomed.

So, Friday – fun or not?  Well, it was ALWAYS fun to go to Toomba’s (Toombul, in Aussie school girl slang, is a suburb in which the shopping mall was).  We slouched our way around in our full uniform, complete with panama hat, slurping soft drinks, and scoffing McDonald’s fries, or Wizz Fizz sherbet, or even sucking on baby bottles.  We had all sorts of ‘trends’.  Sometimes we bought pet fish.  Or CDs.

We were spirited back to school in time for dinner (5/5.30pm).  It was usually deep fried fish and chips.  Or a BBQ, during summer.  The return to dinner and the thoughts of the predictable meals, particularly weekend meals, to this day make my stomach and heart sink.  Imagining this Friday dinner, and it’s start of a long and boring weekend, usually gave me a dull ache for a more interesting life.  Something more ‘fun’.

What’s even more interesting about these memories of 7 years of my life, was that after a few years ‘out of the system’ I put myself back IN the system, by being a boarding house supervisor.  For almost two years, I worked weekends at boarding schools.  I rejoined the predictable, bland Friday meal, with nothing exciting on the horizon, til everyone’s return on Sunday night.  And like my school, other schools feed you with a routine menu.  Different to the last place, but the same every week!

Nowadays, I think about Friday as a night I can stay up.  I don’t play sport on a Saturday morning, as I did all through school.  I don’t even work on a Saturday now I’m in my career job, and if I do, it’s on overtime rates.  Fridays mean I can drink some wine, maybe even outside the house! I can go out for a meal! I can sleep over with friends (if we have too much wine!).  I can go wherever and do whatever.  I’m not ‘locked’ in.  At any time, I can make or change plans, without a form, without a leave balance to consider, without needing my host to ring in by Thursday 9pm to verify they are in fact an adult and will care for me for the times I indicated on the said form.

When I look back on boarding school, I was incredibly fond on it on the whole.  I loved the order.  I loved the noise and bustle.  I loved the convenience (which I have largely emulated in my own home by living on top of shops!).  But I did not relish weekends. I did not look forward to Friday dinner, which marked the start of a barren expanse of time and loneliness.

I interrupt regular broadcasting…

… to bring you breaking news!

I’ll soon have one more person living in my place 😀

The BF’s lease is up in two short weeks (sort of caught him by surprise), so he plans to move to my place to buy us some time while we hunt for the ideal rental.  We both think it’d be best to have ‘our’ place, rather than ‘my’ place, cause let’s face it, I know I can be a little particular!  There’s so much to organise, in the next two weeks, and then looking forward from there, I thought I’d share my list with y’all

The next two weeks

  1. Get spare cardboard boxes from work/fruit & vege shop for the BF to pack
  2. Make space in my wardrobe for his clothing
  3. List all BF’s bigger ‘stuff’ (furniture etc) with measurements
  4. Make space in my house for his furniture (and a plan for what’ll be at mine in the short-term)
  5. Speak to my parents about temporarily storing some of the BF’s furniture
  6. Go to open for inspections – see the places, but review the leasing agents…
  7. Make inquiries with agents about renting my place, and the likely rent
  8. Make a budget – rent I’ll receive, bills for my house, bills for a new place, rent I can pay out, savings goals
  9. Work out suitable rent/cost sharing between me and BF in the interim period Half of what my neighbours pay
  10. Speak to my cousin about borrowing his trailer for move day 1 Find a car with a toe bar first!
  11. Collect details on utilities etc for BF to cancel/change his address
  12. Book cleaner to do ‘final clean’ at BF’s place (then I’ll likely want to stay there!) Saturday/move out day
  13. Book in accountant (for tax) and discuss best $ options with house/loan etc
  14. Bore readers with inventory posts 🙂
  15. Share my new rental ‘wish list’ with readers, and my ‘what I (inadvertently) love about my current place’

After finding a new place

  1. Procure even more boxes
  2. Start packing up my house
  3. Patch holes and paint (ie Lack hanging shelves, maybe hanging birdcages?)
  4. Switch-a-roo washing machines (? Leave bf’s at my place, and take mine to new place, perhaps)
  5. Set up new utilities
  6. Advise all of change of address (yikes, but I’m good at it now!)

I’m sure there’s more for this list – so suggest away! And ask questions too, cause that’ll prompt my brain!

Random Round Up

TGIF! Wow, for someone who only works every second Friday, my body was shocked and dismayed to have to work this Friday! And usually, on a super tired morning, I’d stop for a mocha on the way to work.  But a mocha has both sugar in it (which I’m trying to trim down on til the end of July) and it’s ‘buying takeway’ which I’m also not doing in July.  Thankfully, there’s a coffee machine at work, and I got a hit the minute I got in!

In today’s random Friday wrap up, I’ll just collect my thoughts, and receipts, and look at how the week, and the month so far have been, in Carla’s of Daily Half Dozen’s relaxed style (I know we share some readers, sadly I won’t be as concise as she is!).

Money

Yikes, what a week! Last week, I got a double pay, thanks to back pay, overtime and on call pay.  So I quickly siphoned that off to my savings goal of $26k by 22 Dec for my mortgage.  I even paid two weeks of my mortgage last week.  It was all going so well…

This week I got paid my new normal weekly pay.  And then I proceeded to spend $1400 on a two day course!  To regular readers, this is part of getting my chartered professional engineer status – I need 150 hours of continuing professional development.  75 of these hours can be ‘anything’ – which cover all the internal courses we do more or less annually.  But the remaining 75 hours are divided into specific ‘skill sets’ and I was woefully under subscribed in ‘area of practice’ courses.  So I found a course in August, but with two days until the ‘early bird’ rate of 10% off ended, I signed up straight away.  In the past, these courses have been paid for by my employer.  Sadly, with the current climate, I am not at all confident I’ll be reimbursed this time.  Nonetheless, I’ve found some paperwork, and commenced my case with my (new) boss.  He’s on board, and willing to watch me fight 🙂

After paying for the course, other enjoyable hits to the budget included

  •  finally fixing the ikea kitchen lights (that’s a post in itself!) for $160.  This will be reimbursed by Ikea
  • I helped crowd fund a great book from a blog I love 52Suburbs – you won’t be disappointed if you like photography and diptychs
  • I got all my nails done in preparation for the wedding, which set me back $85.  You know how I feel about the cost of being vain, so this was a hit!
Right after getting them done

Right after getting them done

  • accommodation for the wedding was $180. Most places in Orange are minimum two night stay, so it severely limits the competition if you’re looking to stay one night.  It was well worth it though!
  • thanks to An Exacting Life, I went and found concert tickets! I’m due to see Rudimental in September (which I initially thought had sold out), and then also bought two tickets at the same venue for theatresports next weekend.  I’m sure I’ll enjoy both, but that was another $140
  • for the first time in months, I had acupuncture AND physio (which I was having weekly for a long while).  Combined, my out of pocket was $90, better than the $120 it could have been
  • I’ve signed up for a 9km bridge run ($57)! I can reimburse myself from the 12 in 2 adventure fund though.  Sadly the 5km color run I was going to do with my family sold out quick sticks, so we’ll volunteer instead, to still be involved.  Whilst on 12 in 2 goals, I’ve also found an accountability partner for running (Pauline for Make Money Your Way) and for the bible reading I have Brian from Done by Forty who I met through comments at Jen’s blog The Happy Homeowner – yay to have encouragement!

That’s about all, til I spoke to the physio about my running and shin pain.  She suggested I needed new running shoes – I’d like to get some for the ~$100 mark, but in Australia, it’s more likely to be ~$200.  I’m almost tempted to take that US trip I’m dreaming of, to save me the $100 dollars.

And I’ve decided I’d like to try skinny jeans after a great wardrobe post by Into Mind, though I did wander around, and now I’ve decided I need to at least TRY skinny jeans whilst I’m this side of retirement… I mean seriously, why have I never owned a pair?  I just think they might be the silhouette update I’ve been looking for. (yes I think of what I’m wearing in terms of the shape, and I’ve been a little less than impressed with a lot of my winter wardrobe of late).  So that’ll likely be another $100.

I’m not game to add this all up – but let’s just saw, I’m sad to see a lot of last week’s gains be lost this week or so.  Hopefully some reimbursements will settle it out, otherwise I’ll just have to be ok with achieving my savings target slower.

Stuff

I’m getting so hung up on ‘stuff’.  The price of stuff vs the quality.  Thinking about the conditions of who made it.  The wage they were paid.  Should everyone earn what an Australian ‘minimum’ wage is?  It’s all getting to me – and came up last night with my parents who’ve just enjoyed 2.5 weeks in Asia, where a watch was $2.90.  How do you work out a fair price?

This thought process was probably kickstarted by a radio segment where I heard the found of Slavery Footprint speak about the way they are trying to change industries (rather than companies) to address slavery.  You can input your ‘stuff’ to work out how many slaves you had.  Best part of the interview was when he mentioned that his people emailed Steve Jobs – to which he off handedly suggested ’email the Queen too’.  His staff explained that Jobs always replied to emails.  And he did! He said ‘thanks for bringing this to my attention, I’ll look into it’.  And since then, Apple’s gone form being a secret company, to disclosing their suppliers and the conditions and what Apple is doing to improve things.  Certainly heartening.

Screen capture from http://slaveryfootprint.org/

Screen capture from http://slaveryfootprint.org/

The radio presenter had 34 slaves.  I got 44.  You should try it – it’s a cute interface if you have 5-10 mins to spare!  You can fine tune every step by pressing the cog on the left (shown above), which I did for food, technology & clothing (using my wizz bang inventory, and it was still hard!) <- actually I went back and tried to fine tuned them all, til they cleared my old clothing tally!

I think that’s all that’s on my mind.  I have the fancy birthday dinner this Saturday (my one eating out exception that I planned at the start of my ‘no eating out’ July Challenge).  It’ll be great – I believe it’s 5 courses of south american food, with the option to match wines (sorry Lucinda, it’s not a dry July for me!).  It’s also another cost, but hey, I knew this one was coming.

Let me know how your slavery footprint goes when you get a chance – I’d love to talk about that more!

Food memories from boarding school (& eating out summary)

Firstly, I thought I would check in with my June eating out spend – a pre cursor to July’s challenge not to eat out at all.  There’s a few ways to look at the stats – what I would have paid, should I have ‘split’ everything to my share/their share.  In this case, based on a 30 day month, I spent 6.28% of my usual take home pay (I didn’t factor in the recent additional overtime etc).  If I’d paid for every meal, I’d be up for 12.54% (which would include a dinner for family five!) – without that family dinner, it’d be 8.08%.  Well under my earlier predictions  – I remember blogging about my grocery spend in February, where I predicted I spent 12-16% on eating out – and I wasn’t wrong in the first two weeks.

The first week, I came at 12.54% (this was when I was away for a weekend).
The second was 12.14% – a very modest improvement.
Weeks 3 came in at 8.11% &
Week 4 was about 7.2% (because I did these on Sunday morning, then got coffees, and then some sushi.  D’oh!)

Eating out expenses as a percentage of take home pay

Eating out expenses as a percentage of take home pay

Weeks 1 and 4 are truncated as my week’s are done running from Wed to Tue based on pay cycles.  It just makes sense to me).  This compares to the 4% I usually spend on groceries (a six month average, and a break down on what I buy is here).

What do I think of my spending?  It’s up to 3 times my grocery spend.  But in a real dollar terms, I see it and think ‘well that’s not *that* much’.  In any case, it’ll be a healthy bump to my savings each week until the end of July.

Here’s a split by meal type:

Eating out spend by category

Eating out spend by category

As for July, I have been invited to a birthday dinner, and RSVP’d yes.  I think it’s $95 a head.  So that will happen, but otherwise, the take out coffees, dinners and lunches, all nixed.  And being the morning of Day 1 – already challenges, as my meal preparation on Sunday night wasn’t completed.  There may be some very bland rice cracker or Cruskits in my lunchtime future, as I couldn’t find any of the spreads, other than honey, which I’m trying to avoid til the end of July.

Now to talk about the days when eating out would have been luxury!  My memories of boarding school food, but first some background

I spent 7 years in boarding school, when I was 10-13, and again from 14-17 (so I had a year off in between).  My parents started by moving to Vanuatu, a small pacific island, and my dad’s employer paid for my schooling.  When my parents returned to Brisbane, I was devastated to be a day girl   So when they moved to Wollongong (a town 1 hr from Sydney), I was asked if I wanted to stay in Brisbane, or go to school in Wollongong or Sydney.  Wollongong didn’t offer an Anglican all girls school, so it’s likely I would have had to go to a school in Sydney.  A 2 hr daily commute is rough on a teenager, so it’s possible I may have been a boarder in Sydney.  But sometimes the devil you know is better than anything!  So I went back into boarding school in Brisbane, and was there til graduation!

Boarding school wasn’t a punishment, for me or almost all the other 180 girls.  We loved the camaraderie, and the opportunities – you can play so many sports, and there’s no car pooling in most cases.  That being said, some boarding school stereotypes are definitely true! The food was… not ideal!  In the 7 years I was in the boarding house, they had a few moments of ‘tarting up’ the food – it was all laid out like it was a photo shoot.  For Melbourne Cup (a horse race that stops the nation) they put out a spread with non alcoholic wine, even.  It was stolen.  It was a coup.  Anyhow, these times of improved conditions seldom lasted.

What has pervaded are these memories:

– White bread + butter + sugar at the dinner table

– Orange halves + sugar (you think they’d learn to not put sugar on the tables, right?)

Photo shoot with readers in mind (or... making OJ for a sick BF)  Oh the synergies

Photo shoot with readers in mind (or… making OJ for a sick BF) Oh the synergies

– The best dessert ever: caramel tarts.  And running to afternoon tea the following day in the hope of leftovers

They looked *just* like this! source: marquetteturner.com

They looked *just* like this!
source: marquetteturner.com

– Icecream bars, wrapped in papery/plastic on Fridays

– Blueberry muffins for breakfast

– Crumpets, English Muffins and raisin toast added to weekend breakfasts

Oh the added toasting variety!

Oh the added toasting variety!

– Bacon and eggs on chapel mornings (Thursday and Sunday)

– Beef stronganoff looking like dog food, namely PAL (remember I mentioned this in my food dislikes list?)

– Creamed rice always resulting in rumours of maggots (especially after numerous repeat servings!)

– Milo (chocolate malt milk powder) stuck to benchtops

– Never having access to a microwave

It’s always interesting to speak to other who went to boarding school.  One friend has struggled with eggs ever since.  What about you?  What are your food memories – particularly institutionalised food!

How I became an engineer

Settle in, this is a long one!  The end of month summary will be next week, when all the interest is in.  Feels silly to post before the ‘dust has settled’.  This post was inspired by comments to this post

When I was nine, I had a very serious conversation with my mother on her bed, during afternoon nap time in our big Queendlander in Brisbane.  I needed to decide, right then and there, my future career. I didn’t want to leave it to chance. Make the wrong decision. Close doors inadvertently. And I haven’t changed a bit – I still have absolutely no patience!

Childhood home

Childhood home

Mum and I discussed what I liked in life. I loved travelling – I was lucky that my parents saved and took us overseas. In 1992 I was taken to the US to visit my aunt who was doing a PhD there. We flew JAL via Tokyo, and on every leg this cutie asked for an upgrade. Would you believe it, we got one from Tokyo to Cairns! In 1993, my whole family upped and moved to the south of France for 15 weeks, which my parents had their long service leave. So in 1994, when we had this discussion, I already had a taste for travel.

Mum directed me that I’d be best to be a pilot or diplomat.

Image search on diplomats is pretty paltry!  Could this be a nine year old pilot though? source: yosiftrayanov.wordpress.com

Image search on diplomats is pretty paltry! Could this be a nine year old pilot though?
source: yosiftrayanov.wordpress.com

Both those are admirable careers, but I struggled with the ‘how to become a diplomat’ question.  It’s not that simple, you might get a law degree, and then get into it, but you just as likely might not.  And I don’t like those odds! So pilot it was.  I dreamed of joining wherever I wanted, and once I got there, enjoying it, unlike the passengers who might have the scurry off to business meetings.  I thought, wow, I can just up and leave husband and kids and take a break and call it work! Cheeky, wasn’t I?

In 2001, my penultimate year of school, I decided I needed to know more about becoming a pilot.  I knew I had essentially two options: self funded, or government funded through the defense forces.  Whilst my parents travelled, they aren’t in the world of wealth that finances a pilot’s licence with private lessons.  So, it was pretty clear to me, at 16, with no real earning opportunities being a boarder, that I would need to go the route of the air force.

I made an appointment with the recruitment office (which is now the Red Cross Blood Bank in Brisbane), and did my hair in the tightest, neatest bun ever.  I knew that whilst this was an ‘information’ interview, I needed to look the part.  I spoke to a someone – I say ‘someone’ for effect – he told me I’d need to learn all the ranks and all the high ranking official in the Air Force.  And all the aircraft.  And all the depots/bases.  And once I’d learnt all that, I’d have a medical examination too.  I’m not the sort of smart that memorises things.  I never really have been.  Certainly not dry military information.  Then, to be told that the medical exam would require me to waddle, in a squatted pose, across the room, to see if I had hip joint issues, I started to think ‘is this all really worth it, and necessary?’  Neither of those reasons are ‘enough’ to not continue, but I wondered if I could endure the 7 years studying, and the further 8 years ‘payback’ obligation in the service.  I loved the idea of being paid to learn, and pretty much living a financially easy life, on the government’s dime.  But could I commit to 15 years with them (or suffer the repayments if I left early?).

There were too many things that I wasn’t comfortable with.  And I decided to listen to that uncertainty, and explore additional career opportunities.  As an Aussie, it pains me to big note myself, but I knew I was academically talented enough to study for almost any career I might be interested in.  But what did I want to study, and make my career and future?  That’s such a hard question to answer at 16, with no experience of Monday to Friday 9-5 pm sorts of hours.  All you know is study, with some sport and music thrown in.

I read the course manuals, and attended open days.  In the end, I decided I would do Bachelor of Forensic Science in Applied Chemistry with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies.  My other ‘options’, well I wasn’t really sure.  There was some industrial design.  And there was some engineering.  My mother suggested that pilots are engineers. This is not factually true, but hey, what mother hasn’t told a furfy?  And really, I can’t blame her, I’m pretty pleased with where I am in life today!!  My mother, being a teacher, spoke to her school’s career’s counselor  and I met with her in the school holidays.  (My mother and I lived in different states, and I planned to study in the state my mother was in). The counselor offered me a number of scholarship application brochures for various engineering courses.  Her advise was for the cost of a stamp and some time, you could be handsomely rewarded. She was right, it wasn’t that hard to church out some scholarship applications on the long and boring days of school holidays (when the rest of my family was at work and school).

Much to my surprise, most universities rejected me.  I remember the long, bare footed walk to the letterbox at that house.  I got an offer, but the letter wasn’t addressed to my name, but another name at my address (imagine what might have gone wrong there!!).  But, the University of Technology, Sydney did want to interview me!  Thankfully, not during my planned ‘schoolies’ week – the celebratory booze up that students illegally enjoy!

I arrived at the interview holding room, and thankfully put my foot in it there (rather than later, say, in the real interview) with a lady who’d become my boss for all my years at uni.  I said ‘oh yeah, I’d like to do aeronautical engineering’ to which she replied ‘our university doesn’t offer than specialty   We don’t offer it because there’s only 2 jobs per year, and the other two ‘big’ universities both graduate 30 students each per year in that specialty’.  Wow!  Talk about back to reality.  Thank you Betty! You saved my bacon, because, of course, I did get offered a scholarship, if I put engineering at this particular university, first on my preferences. (University admission is centralised, it’s all a bit cloak and dagger, and not very well understood).

The scholarship was perfect for my commitment phobic self.  It was for one year, it was for $10k and it required a credit average in my first year, and my re-enrolment in second year.  As I saw it, I could come away with $5k if I didn’t like engineering, and didn’t sign up for second year.  That would have covered my tuition at the very least. Needless to say, almost every year  (and it took me six years with the Bachelor of International Studies, and failing only one subject four times) I contemplated changing – to law, to forensic chemistry.  Just quitting and becoming a flight attendant and travelling.  Eventually, I’d done more than I had left, so I stuck it out, and man did it take *every single once* of willpower on some days.  Engineering is not easy but it is rewarding!

There’s so much more I could write, but at more than 1200 words, I’ll save it!  Questions warmly welcomed!