Melbourne Week 1

It’s been a week since my last post. The time has gone by very fast for me, here is an overview about what I have done.
There are also some nice photos at the end.

Saturday morning I had my first haircut in Australia. It was about time! The last one has been about 11 weeks ago. I only lasted that long because I had my hair cut extra short before I left Germany.

In the afternoon I met Priscilla at Eastland to catch up. We went to a spanish cafe and talked a lot, later she drove me around and showed me places. It was great fun!

In the evening the Porters came over for dinner. They’re good friends of my host family and I had spent quite some time with them on my previous trips to Australia. It was great to meet them again!

Sunday morning Andrew and I met a friend of his, Steph, at Knox Shopping Centre. She needed some advise in deciding on a new laptop, so we went through a couple of shops before we had lunch. Burgers + chips at Grill’d. Very tasty.

Earlier that day Andrew had suggested to take me to the “1000 Steps”, a bushwalk in the nearest national park, the Dandenongs. We had nothing better to do so we went for it. It’s several hundred vertical meters. At first it’s a steep track, later it’s steps. We made it up, had a break, and went back down. There’s not much do see but bush, it’s mainly used as a sporting track for recreational purposes. I tracked our way down with runkeeper, see here.

In the afternoon we met another friend, Eleanor, for a coffee at MC’D. That was our sunday.

In the evening Andrew played basketball. I came along to watch and get an impression of his team and the place where they play.

Monday morning Andrew had to work while I could sleep in. After breakfast I started the job search. I sent an e-mail to the jobs mailinglist of LUV (Linux Users Victoria), MLUG (Melbourne Linux User Group) and debian-melb (Debian fans in Melbourne), telling my skills and background and an URL to my resume and further documents. You can read an example here.

For lunch Andrew and I drove into the city where we met an old friend of his (Emily) and his dad for lunch at Docklands, an area close to the CBD. Andrew borrowed an alto-saxophone from Emily and is now teaching himself to play it.

From the city we went straight to Monash University where Andrew had an engineering lecture about how to use a certain set of software.
Afterwards we picked up some IT equipment for Andrew’s work at a local primary school. His mum is a teacher there, so after dropping of the equipment we gave her a lift home.

Tuesday I spent the whole day at Uni with Andrew, from 8 am to 4 pm. During the morning I got a few answers to my job advert. Within 24 hours of sending my emails I got 3 job offers that were exactly what I was looking for :). I attended some tutes and lectures for business and engineering with Andrew and a lecture about german culture with Erin. They’re both doing double degrees. Andrew does engineering and commerce, Erin engineering and german. The german lecture was held in german. It took a few minutes until my brain stopped itching. Listening to a german lecture in a hall full of australians is quite weird at first. I enjoyed the lecture, it was great fun.

In the evening Sam picked me up and we went to a bar at Knox. She’s the second girl I met in Airlie Beach. Catching up was great. She dropped me back home around 10.30 pm.

Wednesday I spent completely with Priscilla. She picked me up at 7.30 am and we drove to Ringwood. Parked the car and took the next train into the city and then a tram to Melbourne University where she’s studying. The first lecture was about teaching english in class, the next one was a seminar about the same topic. And then Priscilla had a 3 hours break which turned into 5 hours because one lecturer was ill.

In these 5 hours Priscilla showed me the city of Melbourne. We went along Lygon street, one of the gourmet streets in Melbourne. Priscilla had me try Macaroons from the bakery with the best reputation and chocolate from her favourite chocolatier. Both were delicious!

We walked through the lovely botanic gardens, Southbank (where we bought icecream from Priscilla’s favourite place), along the Yarra river, across Federation Square and along Bourke Street. Finally we took the tram back to Uni for the last lecture of the day: teaching music. They were learning how to conduct an orchestra, which was quite interesting.

It was past 6 when we left Uni and half past 7 when we arrived at Priscilla’s place. I played the piano for her, then we had dinner. Because she’s currently moving into a new place she had to pack a few boxes while I played the piano again. They had a really good Kawai which was awesome to play on! Later Priscilla joined me with the violine and we played Confessions Of A Vampire (Die unstillbare Gier) from the Muscial Dance of the Vampires together. That was awesome, especially for me who usually plays alone.

I helped Pris and her mum by putting boxes into their cars that were to heavy for them to carry, then we drove over to the new place where I unloaded them. It was after 10 pm when Priscilla dropped me of at home. A long but really good day!

Thursday was an exciting day: 2 job interviews! Through the last 2 days I had e-mail contact with the people who offered me jobs and for this day 2 of them asked to meet. So I suited up and went to Abbotsford by bus. At 10 am I had my job interview, where 2 guys went through my resume and my former job experience with me. Afterwards I had to do a sysadmin multiple choice test at a computer. It was really easy and I was not surprised to pass.

The next task was a practical one on a virtual machine: set up a reverse proxy on an ubuntu server that caches their homepage.

Part of the task was to add the necessary rules to the firewall. I did not know that and since I felt I was wasting to much time on that stupid ubuntu firewall which is a framework around iptables, I simply ran ‘iptables -F’ (flush) and thereby disabled the firewall completely. Then I could get started with the task. First I thought about using squid, but then decided on apache2 because it’s easier. Found out apache was already installed. A few tweaks to the configuration and I was done :). The whole task took me a bit less than an hour, with at least half an hour being wasted on the ubuntu firewall.

Then we sat down again for a final interview. They were quite happy with me and I could ask my questions to be answered. One funny thing I have to tell in detail though:

I was asked “What is your favourite Sci-Fi series?”. I thought about it. First I wanted to say Firefly, but then decided to go with Stargate. Their answer: “Yeah, Stargate is cool, but do you know Firefly?”
Seriously – I had trouble not to burst into laughter 😀

We also discussed my targeted income. After 2.5 hours alltogether I was done and left the building. They would soon send me an e-mail with the resulting job offer.

 

I took a bus to Melbourne Central, a giant combination of food courts, mall and train station. I had some lunch there, then went along Swanston Street to Flinder Street Station. I crossed Federation Square and walked along the Yarra River like the day before, but further. I went to across a cool bridge to the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground), Melbourne’s biggest football stadium.
Crossing the bridge felt like moving through the world of the movie “Mirror Mask”. If you haven’t seen it, you definitely should, it’s great!
On both sides of the bridge were lots of built-in speakers with some graffiti that made them look like eyes. They were playing sounds, music and talk in various languages that I could not understand. It was an amzing feeling. And since nobody else was on the bridge I could take in the whole thing very intensely!

I passed the MCG and walked to the Richmond Railway Station from where I took the train back to Flinders. Then I sat down at Federation Square and called my friend Sara at home for the remaining time.

At 5.30 pm I met the sysadmin from a company in Kensington who would also like to give me a job. We met at the Beer DeLuxe on Federation Square. Obviously, we had a beer while talking 😉 He had a few questions but mostly he wanted to gain my interest in the job he was offering.
Well, he succeeded. It all sounded very good. I will have to meet his boss and see the place before taking the job, but that’s no problem.
This was a very relaxed job interview, but I knew that before from his emails.

When we were done it was completely dark. I took the chance to take some awesome photos of Melbourne at night. Unfortunately I could not take as much as I wanted to because I ran out of battery power. I took the train back to Ringwood and the bus home.

It was another long day. But when I checked my e-mails I already had the final job offer from my first interview, including income.

 

Friday I could  sleep in again. I answered the mail with the job offer from the day before that I needed a couple of days to consider. At half past 11 Andrew and I drove to Tintern Schools to meet Andrew’s former German teacher who had brought the exchange into life. It was great to catch up and all of us really enjoyed it. Afterwards we bought a cheese cake at the “Cheese Cake Shop” for dessert after dinner, dropped the cake and me home and Andrew went to Uni.

Checking my e-mails I found another answer regarding the job offer: they really want me. “Time to consider” they assumed I have other offers that I’m looking into, so they wanted to discuss how they could convince me to take the job: higher income, different sort of work, …

I decided to be honest and told them about the other job with possibly better income and better accessibility through public transport.
They valued my honest answer saying that a higher income is no problem and that they’re working out carpooling opportunities with colleagues that live in my area. So I have 2 really good job offers with a really good income that I have to choose from. The decision is really not easy. Since I don’t have all the information from the second offer yet, I decided to wait until the next Monday at least. I send an email to the second offer, telling them about the great offer from the first and that I was willing to accept that, thus putting some pressure on them to respond faster.

In the evening Andrew’s godmother and family came over for dinner. It was a lovely night with good food and good laughter 🙂

That was my first week here, now enjoy the photos:


From 2011-07-30+7 Melbourne Week 1. Posted by Philipp Hübner on 8/05/2011 (92 items)

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Category: Australia, Places