Weeks five and six were very eventful, but due to privacy concerns I cannot post the details at this time. For now I have summarized these two weeks into one post.
Manual Driving Lessons
Up until this point in the story I have been unable to drive. This is for several reasons. For one, I admit that I am a horrible driver and everyone knows that. Matthew would much rather keep his life than risk it on my driving. For two I have never driven on the left side of the road and that might worsen my driving skills. The third and main reason I haven't driven is because most every car here is an automatic.
Fiona, the feisty Festa, who I have mentioned in previous posts, is the only business car that the resort has. We use this car to drive from the hostel to the cabins for cleaning and on Mondays we drive her into town for groceries and errands. She has also been known to haul firewood and garbage if needed.
After five weeks on the property it was decided that I needed to learn how to drive a manual so I could independently clean cabins. I did want to learn. I just needed to find a willing instructor.
One night after the most stressful day, I was in my pajamas ready to shut out the world for a while, when Matthew hollered for me to come outside. I huffed about it a bit but when I got to the door and realized he was going to give me a driving lesson I perked up a bit.
The lesson really didn't take as long as I had expected. Don't get me wrong, it was a lot of information to take in, but I didn't expect to be driving within fifteen minutes. My first drive was from the hostel parking lot to the dam pond. It wasn't pretty but we made it alive. I learned that the clutch was BAE because it came before all else. You had to use the clutch if you wanted to do anything. I also learned that the hard part was stopping and taking off. For that reason they told me cleaning cabins would be a good way to practice because of all the starting and stopping.
Ever since that night I've been practicing my manual driving and though others may disagree, I think I'm slowly getting better. I have yet to leave the property but I do drive back and forth to the cabins quite often.
Modelling for Food
Another big thing that happened that week began when my modeling agent called. Okay, just kidding, I don't have a modeling agent. But Matthew and I did get to do some modeling!
Yollana needed a picture for a voucher that would be printed in a KI tourism booklet. She wanted to offer customers a discounted meal and a glass of wine. After working all morning in the cafe she asked Matthew and I if we'd like to pose for some advertising material for the voucher. I thought it sounded like fun so we both changed clothes and freshened up for our big shoot.
One picture quickly turned into a four-location photoshoot with multiple angles, cameras and lighting instruments. We had a great time. We posed and smiled and held up glasses of wine for nearly two hours. The best part was that we got to eat the model food and drink the model wine afterwards. More on that later, though.
Negotiating the Word "No"
During week six the landlord, Uzi, returned to the property. While he was here he helped Yollana make important business decisions like the negotiation of Matthew and I's contract. For five nights in a row we stayed up late discussing the details of our management contract. Before we came to the island we were told that we would have a one month trial period and then we would decide if we wanted to take the management position and if Yollana would still want to offer it to us. The one month trial did not include compensation or hours towards our contract. It was simply a trial month. As you may have read, we worked really hard during that month, especially because we were trying to prove ourselves as managers. But when it came down to it Matthew and I realized that we were going to be signing a contract that bound us to Kangaroo Island for an additional six months; that would be seven total months of our entire trip. Our visas gave us a year in Australia. Seven months was over half of that one year. Besides that, Matthew had to be back in the states at the end of seven months, meaning he would leave Australia with only living and working in one place; missing out on a majority of the mainland.
After many nights of praying, negotiating and seeking wisdom, we eventually decided to turn the offer down. This was such a surprise to Yollana that she had to scramble to come up with a Plan B. To make a long story short, Matthew and I agreed to stay and manage for two months, giving Yollana time to find our replacements.
During these two weeks of negotiating I learned a lot. It may sound silly but saying “no” was a really big accomplishment for me. “No” was a word I had rarely used in my life. I was raised to love others and keep the peace if possible. I am a people-pleaser at heart and that has led me to do things I'm not passionate about. The big victory in this story is that I was reminded that 2016 was going to be my year. It was a year away from everything I have previously known. When I made the decision to come to Australia I told myself I would free myself of all inhabitions and I would spend my time doing things I was truly passionate about. Managing cottages and working in an office wasn't one of those things. It was far easier for me to sit down and take it than it was for me to stand up and say, “No. This isn't what I want.”
For most people that wouldn't be a big deal, but for me it was the most victorious part of my trip so far. Despite the fact that we stumbled back to working for two months, it still counts as a victory to me. The best part is, at the end of two months our accounts will be full enough to carry us to a new city with new hopes and new things to do. For now I will stay on this island, spending my time painting and writing and thinking.