Saturday, June 26, 2010

Mommy Dearest…

Most of my therapy to date has been about my relationship with my mother. I have been in therapy for excess of 3 years. We had a break through this year – I admitted that I hated my mother. Now this is a pretty big step… I will have to venture in the deep murky depths of what my mother was/is and what it all means to me.

My mother left when I was 10 years old. She ran away with the man across the road in a tacky middleclass melodrama. I was very much a mama’s boy – I will admit that – I felt closer to my mother than I did to my father. And when she left I felt completely and absolutely betrayed.

It’s very clear in my memory. I woke up one early one morning and walked in her and Dad’s bedroom, she had packed all of her clothes in her suitcases. I asked her where she was going – she said on vacation. I asked her to take me with her and said no. I went to school thinking everything was ok. I got home from school to find my father sitting on the couch absolutely devastated. Mother had left – packed up all her belongings and left her husband and her two kids to run away with a younger man from across the street. This man eventually became my stepfather. This is also the day that pretty much changed your Opa forever. He loved your grandmother, I don’t think she quite released how much. European men have great difficulties expressing or showing emotion and your grandfather was definitely one of those kind of men.

So anyway…

There’s very much a history of your grandmother and I have problems. She’s had periodic contact with me through most of my life since I was 10. I went years without contact from her or contact with her.

One point I will make and this shapes a large part of my relationship with your grandmother. I was abused (she denies it but that’s to be expected) physically and emotionally. And those scars run deep! If you ever need confirmation just ask your Uncle Eddie he’ll tell you. Now a large part of the problems that I have with your grandmother stem from this abuse. We’ll get back to this.

So anyway through most of my teenage years I didn’t really have much to do with your grandmother. I think I got back in touch with her when I was 18 or 19. I seem to remember driving out to see her and my stepfather when I had my first car. Not long after that they moved to WA. I didn’t really have much contact with them after that.

I eventually got back in contact with her. I always felt like I needed my mother. I should have realised that my mother and I really don’t have anything in common apart from a blood connection and to be honest – that’s really not enough.

At the end of 1996, I moved to Western Australia. My then partner and I had split, were having huge problems and I thought why not! This is actually the first major mistake I made with your grandmother. I should have stayed in Brisbane. I was with your grandmother and stepfather for 2 days before I was in my own apartment in Rockingham some horrific little town about 90kms south of Perth. Your grandmother and I fought – a lot! She also threatened to hit me at one stage, which was when I decided I would move back to Brisbane. In the space of 24 hours I had sold up everything and I mean everything! What I couldn’t sell I donated. I bought a bus ticket back to Brisbane and I spent the night in the grounds of the Casino in Perth.

This is probably one of my regrets and a bit of a low point. I was a bit mean to your grandmother at this stage. Her and my stepfather did buy me some furniture and had set me up in the apartment with the bond and everything else. I did resent them because I didn’t feel particularly welcome. And also I suspect your grandmother wasn’t expecting to deal with an adult – I think she wanted the 10 year old back or she was at least expecting the 10 year old. Somehow I went from being 10 to be being 24. So anyway that went badly and ended badly. My mother and I didn’t speak for a good long while.

So eventually when I was talking to your Uncle Eddie he asks if it’s ok for mother to have my email address. I think sure why not. What’s the harm? If it will make her feel better that she’s back in contact with her two sons – then why not? So mother and I communicate by email for years. It’s nothing – it’s gloss, nothing really deep or personal is ever revealed by me at least. I think mother revealed more but I didn’t really care. I found it all a bit trivial and boring to be honest.

It all kind of changed with your father. Family is very important to your Dad, so I tried to repair my relationship with my father and improve my relationship with my mother. My father unfortunately was a lost cause (I may explain that much later). My mother was thrilled – she was so excited when your father and I committed to each other. She was also very excited to find out that we were trying to start a family. The starting a family came before the commitment – if your father and I were going to have a family then I wanted a commitment between ourselves (this at times proves to be a real challenge though – I do love your father so very much but we have our problems). I was joking for a while that it was a shotgun wedding.

This is about where the story starts to turn back to the darkside…

So anyway, my mother and I are getting on ok. I’m uncomfortable and awkward talking to her on the phone. I don’t like it – I didn’t like sharing things with her it just didn’t feel right to me. It really didn’t. She was missing for so much of my life – she missed all the important things and she didn’t care. Mind you the opposite was also true I missed so much of her life and I just didn’t care – at all. I realise how horrible this sounds – but getting over the betrayal of a parent leaving you is hard (if not impossible).

I was trying.

Maybe not particularly successfully but I was trying.

So back to where I was. We found out that our surrogate had miscarried. Your father was in London and I needed someone to talk to. I rang my mother. I really, really, really, really, really, really, really shouldn’t have. It gave the signal to my mother that everything was ok between us. It wasn’t but I felt I had done the wrong thing by ringing her and I wasn’t sure how to fix that.

My mother and stepfather had planned to come visit us in May 2009 (largely to meet the original set of twins) and they stuck to that after the miscarriage. The reunion with my mother was awkward for me to say the least. By this stage mother and I hadn’t seen each other for over 12 years. She was very touchy-feely and physical and I wasn’t comfortable with that. She was also a bit too curious about things that I felt she had no right to ask questions about:

  • how much your father made
  • how much I made
  • how much the house in the city was worth
  • how much the house in the country was worth

I just felt they were really inappropriate questions to ask.

There was a couple of defining moments though. She had known your father for less than an hour and she called him a snob. That just really set my teeth on edge for some reason. I just didn’t really think it was appropriate. The other was – we were meeting your Uncle Mike for dinner – I think he was curious to know what my family was like. So we’re walking past an aboriginal art gallery in Flinders Lane in the city and she’s telling me all about the darkies & the abos in Western Australia (these are two terms you should never use when referring to aboriginals) and I found it really surprising that my mother – who’s a migrant would use these terms at all. I was also really quite surprised that she was that much of a bigot and a redneck.

So the happy reunion was a miserable failure. I was happy to see the back of them to be honest.

She wanted to come back and visit after you guys were born. This concept freaked me out – mostly because she wanted to stay with us. I have not shared a roof with your grandmother for more than 2 days since 1996 and before that it was in the early 80s. This completely and absolutely stressed me out. I managed to delay her visit until late January 2010. And as the date was creeping closer I was freaking out more and more. So I rang her. I asked her not to come. And I have no idea of what happened from that point – it became a whole series of other people’s dramas. I will never speak to your grandmother again based on her behaviour from when I asked her not to come – I asked her to understand that it was what I thought was best for my family, a concept that I will admit is completely alien to her, and I didn’t mean for her never to come (on some level I did I’ll be honest).

There is more to this story but I will leave this here. It will get mired in the pettiness otherwise and this is a situation I need to move on from. I regret that I don’t have a relationship with my mother. But I am also relieved that I don’t have a relationship with my mother (if you get the gist of the catch22).

My sincerest and deepest hope is that I will be a better parent to you both than what my mother was to me. I don't ever want you guys to go through the pain, misery, hatred and agony that your grandmother has put me through.

My final comment on this - I was walking with your grandmother down the street we used to live in Trentham and she asked me if I had any happy memories of my childhood with her. I don't. I've searched for them. I don't have any. And that saddens me...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

back to the surrogacy story

So where we…

That was a bit of diversion really!

We will be back to me trust me. It generally works like that…

So anyways… we’re in early 2008. You’re father has just gotten back from the trip to London and he’s pointed out this article in the International Herald Tribune. So we start investigating whether or not we can do it. Financially, it’s much more viable for us (as surrogacy in India is considerably cheaper than the US). So we we start to investigate the possibilities. Now at this point your Dad is working in Singapore for 3 months (I did say he travelled a lot).

So while we were talking about and investigating the possibilities for us to create a family your father had the ability to fly from Singapore to Mumbai. It’s a 9 hour flight – which doesn’t seem like much really.

So your father was investigating two options.

One was with Dr Patel in Anand. She normally doesn’t deal with single men but she made an exception for your father. This is where your father and I had a bit of a heated discussion. I was also moderately offended that he was approaching her as a single man – to me it felt like he was creating our family based on a lie and I wasn’t really that important in the grand scheme of things from his perspective.

The other was with Rotunda in Mumbai. This clinic also had it’s own challenges. When your father went to sign up with them – they sent him home with his file cover sheet, which was what meant to identify him… so they lost “us” for about 9 months.

So as Rotunda didn’t seem particularly keen to begin with. We decided to progress with Dr Patel – we were very lucky and our surrogate got pregnant after the first transfer. We found out a couple of weeks in that it was twins! We were excited – your father and I wanted twins – I’ll explain that in a later blog post. We then found out it was in fact triplets. The third foetus was hiding behind one of the other ones. We were informed that at 12 weeks our surrogate would be undergoing a foetal reduction. A rather barbaric practice in India where one of the foetal hearts is injected with a solution that forces the heart to stop. The surrogate’s body then eventually rejects the foetus – this also potentially increases the risk of a miscarriage of all foetuses. When our surrogate was pregnant at 15 weeks, I get a phonecall from your father who was in London at the time – our surrogate had miscarried and lost the remaining two foetuses.

I had never in my entire life felt so devastated or crushed or alone. And your father was half a world away. I really didn’t know what to do. I have never before in my entire life just crumpled. After I got off the phone to your father I did just that – I crumpled. I cried for about 2 hours and then on and off for the next 5 days… The following day I also made one of the biggest mistakes of my life – I rang my mother. I’ll explain that in my next blog post.

So when your father came home from London we discussed options. Where did we go to from this point. We finally got Rotunda to realise that we were supposed to be doing something with them and they started the process of for us.

Your father heard my concerns about going through Dr Patel as a single man. Mostly how we would explain that we were both there at the birth to eventually pick up baby or babies. That I really didn’t feel comfortable starting our family based on a lie. I still will occasionally have my gay activist hat on.

So we had another 3 attempts – 1 with Dr Patel and two with Rotunda… I’ll be honest. Your Dad and I were running out of money. We didn’t know if we could afford any more attempts. We decided to give it one more try (which actually became our most expensive attempt to date! But I’ll explain in the post following the one about my mother – it’s the trip to India!!!).

now for something completely unrelated to parenting... help me decide

Hi Folks,

I'm trying to decide between two images for unsensored10. An exhibition of analogue photography that I am always thrilled to be involved with.

I've narrowed my shortlist down to two images - I did think of running both but I won't. I will just go for one larger image.

I'm debating between these two!
And I guess you really can't get two very different images really :)


Trentham Falls

If you'd like feel free to leave me a comment on which you think I should go with :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

This is the article that started our surrogacy journey

This is a very short blog post (well the actual post from me!)
As I am just posting the article that Larry read in the International Herald Tribune that started our surrogacy journey in India... (and the story of that journey is coming I promise!). This is purely being posted in my blog so that one day I can show this to the girls and say this is where it all started. This is why we went through India rather than the US or Canada.

Foreign couples turn to India for surrogate mothers

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Out & about experience #2 – I love David Jones

Out & about experience #2 – I love David Jones

For my American readers David Jones is an upscale department store. Probably kind of like Nordstrom or Bloomingdales.

So I’m having sleeping baby issues. Or more likely babies that don’t sleep. The girls have decided that the day naps – particularly the morning naps are optional. I can’t say I agree or approve of this notion as it pretty much makes the rest of the day hell. Hell does have a fury like a woman scorned, it’s grizzly twins… so anyway I was trying to find ways to combat said grizzlyness and I thought taking the girls into the city would be a good way to go (we seriously live about 20-30 minute walk from the CBD). So while I was walking in I thought it would be fun to surprise Larry at work – he always gets a kick out of seeing the girls during the day so we did a detour via his office.

This is always fun. The women at Larry’s office are fantastic. They always offer to watch the girls for a little bit while I go run a few errands, which is a very nice offer – when you’re not a massively over-protective parent like moi! So I said no – but I also expected that a double-wide pram would help deal with the lunchtime department store crowds (I’m not completely insane you know!).

So first stop is the Keihl’s counter to get some shaving cream for Larry. And then to find a cash register to pay for it. Is it just me or have Myer & David Jones on Bourke Street been getting renovated like forever? It seems they have for the 7 years I’ve been living in Melbourne. So I hand over the shaving cream and the pregnant cashier is lost in space staring at the girls for the next minute or so. It was very cute to watch. Then I turn around and there’s a semi-circle of about 5 clucky women all goo-ing and ga-ing over the girls. Which I also get a kick out of! It’s funny department stores seem to be filled with clucky women…

So next stop is homewares to get a wedding present for some friends. More women goo-ing and ga-ing over the girls. I also did something vaguely ambiguous. There were references made to my “wife” – now I didn’t say anything specific about whether I was married to a woman. I just indicated that I was married (I do wear a wedding band after all!). This always leaves me in a bit of a pickle. I know I should be out & proud and not hiding anything from the girls so the girls don’t grow up feeling like that we’re hiding anything or that our family is anything to be ashamed of. But at the same point in time I don’t want to have engage random strangers and explain the whole situation to them… it’s hard really.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Out and about experience #1

These will be a short sharp blog posts about our experiences out and about. Probably more my over-reactions to stuff…

So take yesterday. I decided to take you guys to Westfield Southland. Well more so I decided to go to Southland to do something. And we needed to get some more suitable winter clothes for you guys. So I thought rather than deal with the dramas of trying to find a parking spot in the city – I’d go to Southland. I should have gone to the city – getting a parking spot would have been so much easier.

Allow me a brief diversion please readers. You really don’t appreciate how ridiculous parking spots are when your have to get babies out of either side of the car. I was knocking back perfectly good parking spots because I knew I wouldn’t be able to get one of the girls out.

So eventually we find a parking spot. The girls are in the stroller and we enter mall hell. Talk about confusing and how easy it is to get lost. But that’s not the point of this entry – it’s the comedy.

Now I understand the people who come and talk to us – they don’t know that after about an hour they are most likely the 10th or so person who’s told me the exact same thing and asked me the exact same question. By the 10th time I’m pretty much over it. Especially when it continues to happen for the next two hours. I may even get a little short and snappy about it all.

And to finish it all off. I lost the car. I couldn’t find where we had entered the bloody shopping centre. So I spent the next 20 minutes wandering up and down trying to find something that looked familiar so we could finally exit and get home.

And then of course someone had parked next to the car so getting one of you was next to impossible. Except Daddy backed the car out to get Olivia in to then only be told off by some woman in a cheap car which was of Korean origin that I was blocking her way. You know what – I didn’t really care. She was driving a Korean car, I felt sorry for her.

Monday, June 7, 2010

I'd like my mid-life crisis Porsche now please...

I think I need a cheery, zany post to lift the mood of the past couple of posts. It’s gotten a touch serious really hasn’t it?

Let’s divert back to the now…

I’m struggling to find a spot where to pick up the thread of my story again. I guess even after all the revelations it’s a bit hard really.

So we’re back living in South Melbourne (the real estate shenanigans is another blog post or three) and I think your Dad is having a few problems adjusting to having a normal life again where he can’t vanish into a garden for 6 to 8 hours a day. So he’s gone slightly (not in a bad way) mental looking for a car. The Mini Cooper he did have was sold – we don’t need two cars, we really don’t, we can justify having two cars.

With the baby seats in my car, it’s basically become a two seater as the middle seat between the baby seats is basically inaccessible. Trust me – I’ve had to clamber back there a few times to feed you both! It’s not easy squeezing back there and then trying to squeeze back out.

We’ve traipsed around parts of Melbourne looking at cars, from Japanese import 300ZXs in overly flamboyant paint schemes (the bright oranage one was a looker) to older BMWs and Volvos.

Let me just ask the question here – which interior car designer feels that it’s a good idea to put a black wheel centre in a beige interior? Swedes are supposed to be known for stylish design. I’m guessing in the late 1990s-early 2000s someone at Volvo missed that memo. Although Peter Horbury was designing at Volvo then and he is British so that may explain it.

Anyway, so there’s a car dealer in the back of Port Melbourne that your father wanted to have a look at some cars at… one of which was the aforementioned Volvo & a BMW. We had also arranged to meet your Uncle Mike for lunch. As per usual your father and I were running late (you will just learn that running late is a fact of life for this family – I’ll resent it and your father will just tell me to relax and go with the flow), so he asked us to go meet your Uncle Mike at the CafĂ© we were supposed to meet him at and he’d meet us there.

Your father showed up in a Porsche Boxster. I had never driven a Porsche before. I actually managed to get through lunch before I asked your father for the keys. I took Louise out with me to have a look at it – she was on my lap at the time. I then waited until after your father had finished eating before I took the Porsche for a drive. I was very much smitten with it (this is pretty much an understatement), I did ask your father if we could buy it and we did seriously consider it for about 5 minutes before reality sank in.

I told your Uncle Mike on Sunday when we were trying to take photos of his car for sale that I would like my mid-life crisis Porsche now please…

So no Porsche :(

Although it was an entertaining afternoon looking at cars and you both did seem to enjoy it.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

a very honest blog post...

I debated about actually posting this so very publicly!

My early adult years were filled with me losing weight (I was obese when I finished High School) and questioning my own sexual identity. It’s funny I’ve always wondered if straight people have to question their own sexual identity. I suspect not. But they also tend not to grow up in an environment where they are the minority or viewed as ‘wrong’ on some level.

So my body issues. It seems like the longest battle of my life. I’m still fighting them to this day. I do honestly hope that we can instil in you both an understanding and an appreciation that you are just fine the way you are. It has taken me a very long time to come to terms with that.

I was a pretty sporty kid. Mostly because you’re Oma made me. I had swimming during summer (6 days a week), Judo two nights a week. In winter, I had judo 2 nights, tennis 1 night a week (I still hate tennis!), and rugby league twice a week. Once your Oma left, I basically dropped all sport and became a fat kid. And I mean fat… it was almost embarrassing but I really didn’t care. I was surprised when I went over 100kgs and it was like oh so this is what being 100kgs is being like. It didn’t really phase me.

I think to be honest my battle was more with self-esteem than body image. I think my mother leaving at such an early age didn’t really do much for my self-esteem and it did leave some lasting scars that I am still trying to work through.

Eventually in my later teen years and once I moved out of home I started losing weight – I went from 128kgs to about 78kgs. So from one extreme to the other - too fat too far too skinny. In my late 20s I discovered a couple of things – a gym. I went nuts – I was working out about 7 days a week and I got the results to show for it. I also discovered drugs. That’s not such a high point in my life and introduced an entirely now battle.

I hope I am never hypocritical enough to tell you to not do drugs – I can’t tell you not to. I have a history with them. I had a huge problem with them (it was one of the reasons why I decided to move to Melbourne). So chances are I will never tell you not to do drugs – I will just tell you to be careful! Know what you are doing, know the effects, the drawbacks and please be honest enough to talk to me about it. I do hope I will never be some scary “parent” that you feel you can never talk to.

Back to where I was… I was training for a corporate triathlon, it was probably one of the most challenging, rewarding things I have ever done. The actual triathlon was a bit of a letdown to be honest. We did kind of badly. But it’s probably the fittest and healthiest I had ever been in my life. I was vegetarian, working out 7 days a week (weights), running 5 days a week, swimming 5 days a week (badly!), I wasn’t drinking. I was so puritanical that in hindsight I almost disgust myself ;)

Anyway I did the triathlon, felt the massive sense of achievement that came from it and decided to start celebrating and having a bit of a life again. I started drinking again. And I was introduced to speed. At the time speed was so cheap it was crazy. And thereby started my drug frenzy. I would go on 3 day benders strung out on speed, MDMA and base. I wasn’t a huge fan of pills (ecstasy) – not sure why but I wasn’t. It became an addiction to the point where I was starting to do drugs during the week – just for kicks. And I wasn’t snorting anymore – I was injecting – which to me was always the one line I would never, ever cross. I crossed it and I found myself wanting more and more and more and more… Fortunately, I was completely and absolutely flat broke so my habit had to stop. It became such a low point in my life – I did some seriously fucked stuff, I cost myself some very good friends, I still regret that to this day.

I still remember when my contract ended with a company, I decided to go on a 3 day bender with an 8-ball. A friend was having her engagement party on the Sunday afternoon. I was a complete and absolute incoherent wreck to the point where she basically asked me to not show up at the wedding on anything!

That should have been a wake-up call. Unfortunately it wasn’t! I showed up for the wedding clean – sober I wasn’t – the drunkest I have ever been in my life! 3 day hangover… my friend married a scot so we all wore kilts, I had sequined hotpants on underneath my kilt – which I had worn to Mardi Gras – as I was asked to wear them. There are photos I’ve seen from the wedding of me flashing the whole wedding. I’m a classy kind of guy.

I forgot the keys to my apartment so fell asleep at the front gate. By the time my flatmate got home, I was lying in the gutter with the back of the kilt ridden up and my bum facing the busiest street in Brisbane. I had already taken the jacket, vest & shirt off due the heat.

I realised my addiction had spiralled out of control when I was having sex for drugs – I had developed a reputation that if you gave me drugs, I would have sex with you. Charming in hindsight, but that was the person I had become. So I decided (aided by looming unemployment induced poverty) to give the drugs up. It’s not an easy thing to do. The hardest thing I’ve had to give up has actually been cigarettes. And I will tell you not to smoke. That one I am prepared to be hypocritical about! So I gave up the drugs and the partying – I would say for a while but when I decided to stop the drugs, I also stopped partying in Brisbane. Fin – no more.

I was clean for about 18 months. I moved to Melbourne and started dabbling in a few things again. This time however, it didn’t get completely out of control. It wasn’t every weekend like it had been previously. It was once in a while. If I had everything to do over again - would I do the drugs? I really don't know. I can try be all sage and wise and say that this experience has made me part of who and what I am (which it has) but it has also made me realise that realistically I'm just a hedonist at my core.

The drinking though! My god. There’s another life long battle. Both my parents are alcoholics so I was pretty much genetically destined to have a drinking problem. I’ve been dealing with that for large chunks of my life too. That one probably is a different story as well!

So even after all the partying I did maintain a gym habit. I finally dropped all that a couple of years after I met your Dad. I decided that spending time with him was more important that spending time at the gym. I always swear that I will go back one day… but that day hasn’t come yet! And right now I am getting a fair bit of exercise from pushing you two around :) It’s funny since we moved back to the city a couple of months ago I’ve lost roughly 10kgs. It’s a combination of exercising more and not eating. I need to fix the not eating thing as I am falling back into some very dangerous old habits.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Parenting #101 – a diversion into the “now”

Being a parent surprises me - constantly. Mostly for the depth of love that I feel for Louise and Olivia. I wanted to share this because I think for my development as a parent – it felt pretty significant.

The girls had their 6 months vaccinations today (2 months late – but that was my fault but as they’re prem it’s not that bad!). Now this is normally a bit of an ordeal anyway as the girls really don’t know the concept of “pain”. And here I am willingly leading them into an arena where they are going to be hurt. Which as a parent sucks! You are meant to protect them and I can understand the rationale that you need to cause them some pain to protect them.

So anyway. The girls are getting their shots done. I cried! With both of them – there was just so much I wanted to do to help, to take their pain away and I just couldn’t do it. All I could do was hold them and tell them it was going to be ok.

My poor little angels :(

And I am basically just a big softy! I realised that today too.

more about me!

I hated high school. It wasn’t so much the being picked on or the fights (I got into a few fights – I’ve had anger issues a few times in my life). I was bored. A lot. High school really didn’t interest me that much. In part, maybe because my subject choices were wrong. Anyway, I bombed out in my senior year. I did really badly even to the point where I surprised myself (you would think I saw it coming, you would think so…). But I was disappointed. I couldn’t even get into the University of New England in Armadale (which used to have a reputation of being the easiest university to get into). So I decided to repeat Grade 12… at the same high school. Not one of my better ideas – really it wasn’t. So I had to deal with all the issues I dealt with all through high school. I got really, really, really bored this time round and I lasted a term before I dropped out and started looking for work.

I’m not really sure how history is going to record the recession “we had to have” – but being an uneducated, young school leaver trying to find work during a recession was hard - ridiculously hard. I got a piece of advice from an interview I went for; I can’t even remember what the job was. But the interviewer told me to go get an education. Get myself into university anyway I could. So I went and sat a matriculation exam to see if I could get myself into University, I was really nervous after I sat the exam that I changed my preferences from University to TAFE (to only find out later that I could have gotten into a University course with my results).

As I had about a 6 month wait till my TAFE course started I decided to pick up a couple of subjects to just give myself something to do. This basically started my career as a student… 4 years of full-time studying, 2 years at TAFE studying marketing and then 2 years at the Queensland University of Technology to get my Bachelor’s Degree. I decided at the end of my degree (with some urging from your Oma) to relocate to Western Australia (there’s another blog post in that!). We’ll chalk up another disaster. So I moved back to Brisbane after a couple of months and did some temping work while trying to start my career. I decided to go back to University to get my Honours in Marketing – for 2 reasons, 1 to prove to myself that I could do it (this became the more important reason) and 2 to give myself a point of differentiation in the workforce. There weren’t many marketing graduates running around with a Honours Degree. I can look back at it now and I think I understand why! I really enjoyed my Honours Degree – I enjoyed the discipline and the research (so much that one of my favourite jobs was being a corporate researcher – although my job title was Marketing Information Assistant, a bit of a generic title really).

In my entire working life I have never successfully gotten a job through an external interview. It’s always been a question of luck and the right temp assignment at the right place. Every job I have really enjoyed, I never interviewed for! The ones I hated were the ones I had an internal interview for and got. Weird hey? I’m sure this may change when I look at going back to work in a few years.

Eventually I ended up working for the directory people. I was there for nearly 8 years. Again started in what was a temp role - which was meant to be for 6 weeks. I had some reward roles and some really shocking roles. The first was probably the funniest – I was a Personal Assistant to a State Sales Manager. It was a love/hate relationship, she fired me three times and I quit three times (never mind at that point I really needed the money from that job). I needed a permanent job as temping was getting a little too uncertain and they had kind of made my job permanent – I just wouldn’t be answering to the State Manager anymore. This move to permanency also gave my move to Melbourne. I took the permanent job even though it meant less money and about 9 months in – my then boss offered me a transfer to Melbourne. I thought about it, I asked around for people’s opinions and I decided to do it! I loved Melbourne, absolutely loved it! I’d been down for training with work a couple of times and just found it amazing. It funnily enough felt like home – it just took me a couple of more years to truly find my home. I think part of the reason why I liked Melbourne so much is that as an outsider, you don’t feel like an outsider… Melbourne’s full of them!