Australia (2018)

A Strange man

Strange is the accurate description. My train from Mildura, where lovely Sheree hugged me goodbye, would take me all the way to Melbourne. A city I knew little of, but one I was putting all my faith in. Though it was not a complete bet, as I knew of a little helper. So, with the few sad pennies left upon paying all the due fees, I had one night booked in a bargain of a hostel, before my, I am loath to say it, guardian showed up. That bizarre man. Through the web, I came in contact with an Australian-turned Dutchman that required a helping hand with moving. Having heard about my situation when I had cancelled before, – due to not having the sufficient funds for a train back then – he had offered to let me reside under his roof upon lending a hand. Without charge, I could make use of the facilities until I get back onto my feet. Now, you should have been there when I had to explain to my family that a strange, grown man offered his home without charge. That was a feast of a tale. I know too how it sounds, however after all those years of travelling, though not perfected, I know a fair bit of who I can or cannot trust and this man was incapable of harming a fly. I literally believe he wouldn’t know what to do with a swatter. So, there was the harmless, deviating, yet intriguing man ready to, as initially planned, house me for time be.

From Melbourne it was a drive out of town to the outskirts of Geelong, into Corio. Then, in the matter of a few days, we ever so gracefully manoeuvred all the furniture into the new house. I even had a pick of room. Getting comfortable, I unpacked and made my room functional in the way I would want it to be. After all, this would be my home for a while. The neighbourhood was filled with, what I assume to be, Australia’s finest. If it was America, all it needed was a Walmart. It didn’t take me long to figure out that there was no dress code either, when I saw folk getting there groceries in their pj’s. It had also been on more than one occasion that someone warned me for the people there. Though a needless caution, consider it appreciated. Geelong though, is actually worth it for a visit. I have been there on numerous occasions, both as a hermit and within group. But, I did’t come here for sightseeing or touring about!

Starting in Corio, I foraged near and far for suitable jobs. Doing one-day gigs breaking down a circus or walking multiple flyers – of which one turned out to be a scam. Through an app I became auditor and collected wine bottles and I had worked a festival. I ransacked the web for any and all applications, as well as traversed to parts of Melbourne for employment agencies until the right, fitting job finally passed by. It would be quite the journey, but with the bike provided – truly inordinate – and the low-priced train, doable. Daily, I would hop the train back and forth for coming six months – which is the maximum one can work with one employer under the working holiday visa. This, would also be my final months and the man, Henk, would let me remain under his roof – under condition I paid a part of the bills – for that period.

Why this figure was so strange and fascinating, involves me to tell a tale so long and deeply embedded with years of psychology and human studies, that I would lose your attention along the way. Therefore, keeping this post short, I will mention few of his greater traits, which will indubitably feed his ego. Talkative was one. Though at moments he would push that boundary, he was talkative and attentive to stories, making him great for conversations. He was sophisticated and knew his way around a business. Where he spent his time and focus on this aspect, he had lacked the ability to read people. Despite not being that great at knowing how people felt, he would try hard to make them feel welcomed. Cared for. At home. Though some, including a French couple that for a short, unpleasant period inhabited the place, abuse it, it is a good thing. He is very giving. I rarely asked anything from him, but if I would, he’d have given it. The same he would do for his neighbour. Those qualities should be around more and it is also the reason he let me stay for the greater part of a year, at really low cost. Besides that, he has done me more favours than I could ever possible ask from any one person and for that, I am grateful.

Thank you to the strange man, all is much appreciated!