04.06.2012 - 17.06.2012 30 °C
We have been so busy since our arrival in Darwin that I must admit I have been completely and utterly neglecting the travel blogs. What with helping out host-families, finding employment, hunting for accommodation, finding our way around and generally getting used to this new chapter in our lives, there has simply been no time to sit back and write to you! As a result, my usual diary-like entries will have to give way to more condensed summaries.
After a lovely first day in Darwin and a good long sleep in the hostel, we immediately got back into HelpX-mode helping families out in exchange for food and accommodation. We had two home-stays back to back of approximately a week each. Both were similar in the fact that our hosts were moving and that both were somewhat hectic.
Our first stay was with Carolyn, who lived in Leanyer. As it turned out, she was moving from one suburb to another and there was very much still to be moved, to be cleaned and to be organized. Only problem was: Carolyn lacks serious organizational skills! Despite already having moved most of her belongings, there was still a lot of work to do, but when we heard we would be joined by two more sets of helpers in the coming days, we were quite shocked. What would she do with a total of six helpers? Would that not add more work and chaos? And so the next day, we were joined by a lovely French couple: Laurie and Julien. Despite the initial embarrassment of being in charge of making the evening meal with a limited amount of ingredients and finding out that Julien was in fact a professional chef, we immediately seemed to get along really well. The following morning came a Spanish couple: Ivan and Ainhoa, who were travelling by camper-van. They were friendly enough, but spoke very little English, which made communicating very hard. Both couples were struggling with English in varying levels and as a result I ended up doing a lot of translating. As Ben and I were the only ones understanding Carolyn perfectly, we were the ones who were given all of the instructions. This created a fair bit of drama as every time someone did not agree with the task at hand, we were blamed. And no one seemed to understand the golden rule of "don't kill the messenger"! A lot of the work was heavy lifting, so us three girls did a lot of standing around while the men were given task after task. It was a chaotic, disorganized and at times frustrating stay, but we really enjoyed the company of others.
The 6 Helpers at Lenayer Waterpark
Carolyn and her pet-snake Cleopatra!
Posing with Cleopatra, Carolyn's pet-python!
Our second stay was with Brett and Brigit and their two little boys, who were moving to Melbourne. Thank goodness they had arranged for a removal company to pack up all their items and furniture, so all we had to do was help to clean the house in preparation for the people that would be renting the house from them. There was also the odd babysitting and helping out with family duties. Everything was very organised, there was no discussion needed about what to do and we got the flexibility to choose when to do the work. Yet with their two little boys: Xavier (4) and Elias (2), who wake up around 4.30am with lots of loud screaming and regular temper tantrums, it soon became very exhausting and we were often trying to get away during our time off.
Birgit, Elias, Brett and Xavier!
Maybe not our most exciting home-stays, but we were very grateful that the families took us in at such short notice and helped us to save our precious pennies. It wasn't great of course that we were yet again stuck into helping people to move and all the drama that comes with it, but we did not know this in advance. Luckily, both locations were close to the Casuarina shopping complex and library, which meant that we could escape and get some research and job-applications done. Whether we were successful in this, you will find out in the next blog post!
Much love and see you soon, xxx