Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Blog Post 18.3.2009

Well, since the last time I posted I have been to zero concerts and zero sporting events; heck, I haven’t even played a rugby game. The past week and a half might have been the least busy since I have been here, yet the most full because I actually started work! When I last posted, my understanding of my position(s) was not quite as clear as it would be become. It turns out that I am not working three days a week as I previously was told, but in reality, five days a week, in three different positions. On Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays I work in the Alternative Learning Center (ALC) with young people (they are not to called kids or children, but young people, ugh) who have been away from a formal school environment for several years and are now trying to get their academic/ vocational lives back on track. On Wednesdays I work at the local high school (Belmont City College or BCC) that the ALC young people would go to if they were not in our program. I am helping to coordinate a community service initiative for BCC’s students; the thinking behind it is interesting since the young people must complete 20 hours of community service or they will not be able to graduate. I don’t have a problem with community service in general, we had to do it at Burroughs and many high school students must do it as a part of their school’s set of beliefs, but here, it is a government requirement. At any rate, because it is such a firmly established fact that by law the students must complete the 20 hours, I hope that such a solid threat will make my work in that capacity fairly easy, but I’ll keep you posted. Finally, on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons I work in the Youth Centre in my most relaxed role by far. The job description for this position is pretty simple; engager of young people. We just play video games, foosball, ping pong, air hockey, pool, and whatever other activities a middle or high schooler might want to do with an older, cooler friend (me). So far my job(s) have been great, there is always a period of feeling out which I am still going through with the young people, at least the ones in the ALC because I actually have to be an authority figure in that role, whereas with the youth centre young people I can just hang out with the kids, be a big brother. As is always the case with young people, they say the darndest things.

Exchange 1; I had been playing table tennis/ interacting with this young man for ten minutes when the following things were said after we had already established that I was in fact American and not Jamaican.

Young Person A: You look Jamaican… But you sound American.
Jordan: I don’t know what to tell you, son.
YPA: Are you sure you aren’t Jamaican? There’s no Jamaicans in your family?
J: Uh, I’m pretty sure but I’ll let you know if I hear otherwise.

Exchange 2; I was walking through the youth centre with my supervisor who was showing me the emergency exits/ fire extinguishers when a young person I had never met engaged me as follows.

Young Person B: Hey! Can I touch your dreadlocks?
Jordan: Um, maybe some other time…
YPB: Well, what if I never see you again?
J: Then I guess you’ll never get to touch them.
YPB: You’re mean.
J: And you are an ignorant little brat.

Haha, oh children. Just for the record, I didn’t actually say that last line, I shrugged and kept it movin’.

But this really is the best case scenario I could have hoped and prayed for; I get to continue doing work that is very similar to what I was doing back at the Boys and Girls Club in St. Louis, but I also get to see many of the same issues present in St. Louis, that I studied at Columbia played out in a completely different social/ cultural context. I do not mean to make my experience here with these young people sound like an anthropological project, but ever since Cate and I started discussing issues with and within the indigenous peoples of Australia years ago, I have wanted to learn and try to do whatever I could to be a part of their lives and show them Christ’s love… and here I am with that opportunity!

Outside of work life has been a little unsettled. I finally moved out of the Mandurah house and into the Nedlands house. The Nedlands house has a pretty central location for Perth as a whole, is right down the street from our church, right down the street from my rugby club, but most importantly just a 15 minute drive from Cate’s house. This all sounds lovely, but because of some miscommunication and waffling on my part, I will only be living in the Nedlands house for the next week and half until the permanent roommate will move in. The other drawback to the Nedlands house is that my room is completely unfurnished and I thought it would be foolish to furnish it for two weeks, so I’m living out of my suitcases/ off the floor; good times. HOWEVER, I have managed to secure yet another living arrangement, this one will be set until August! One of Cate’s family friends and her roommate have been looking for a third roommate for a while because the two of them have been paying the rent that should have been split between three people. This house is also pretty centrally located, but the drive to Cate’s house is less than five minutes and it will certainly cut down on the drive to work, so yay!

Somehow, my little 1989 Ford Laser is still chugging along! I driven a little over 700 kilometers (435ish miles) in it and I haven’t had a single problem. In fact the other day, it was pretty warm, but I was on the highway so I didn’t want to let the windows down. I thought I would see if the car’s AC could at least blow a little air on me; the AC works perfectly and quickly! Honestly, this car has the best AC out of any car I have ever been in, haha, and one morning it was pretty chilly, so I tried out the heat, which also works perfectly. The only drawback is that the radio/cd player shorts out sometimes when I stop at a red light or when I put the car in reverse; the car is also very loosely sealed, meaning that with all of the doors and windows closed, if I drive above 60 or 70 km/h it sounds like the Leave it to Beaver theme song… you know, with all the whistling… Ha. Sometimes a horribly corny joke/metaphor/simile pops into my head and I just have to employ it, sorry.

I think that about covers it. If anyone is thinking about doing some serious travel soon, keep Australia in mind; my new house has two guest beds. Think about it…

Tuesday, March 10, 2009



a) I am in the midst of long job application process with Belmont City College (a high school in a lower income area of Perth) for a youth worker position. I have received lots of positive feedback from BCC, but no official word that I have been hired or of a start date; however with all that said, they checked my references and I am scheduled for a pre-employment medical screening, so there’s definitely optimism on my part. I just wish I could have heard something more definite from them.

a.5) Well! My disappointment has turned into joy! I wrote the rest of this entry yesterday but did not have time to post it and today I received a call from BCC informing me that I had been hired and I start on Wednesday! I am working in two part time positions, one which is two days a week as a youth worker and one other day as the community service liaison for the students at the high school! Haha, I really could not have been any happier about this position unless it was full time and they paid me more, but whatever ϑ Thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement!

b) I was debating whether to put my serious disappointment here or my funny one, but I chose to go out with a laugh… Tonight, Cate and I went to a music festival, which was great, but one of the food vendors, “American Fast Foods,” plastered the sign below above their booth.

In case you can’t tell, the flag on the left is the confederate flag. I have also seen multiple advertisements for a local car dealership called, “Southside Mitsubishi.”

Again, in case there is any confusion, the cavalryman is carrying the confederate flag. I am nearly certain that neither of these usages of the incendiary flag was meant to oppress or create fear and that they were both seen as general “American” images and used as such out of ignorance. However, I would have expected a little more tact out of the Australians; if your business is going to have a logo from another country’s set of images, one would think that you might, I don’t know, check the context of the image you are using. But, maybe the upside to all of my free time while waiting to be hired is that I have a wonderful opportunity to courteously express my vehement disgust with both of these fine establishments.

c) My favorite Australian fast food chain, Chicken Treat, has a combo meal called the, “Hawaiian Pack.” The pack includes a quarter chicken, French fries, a drink, and of course, to add Hawaiian authenticity, a couple of slices of Pineapple. Now, Chicken Treat is currently running a television promotion to drum up sales for the Hawaiian Pack by giving away a trip to Hawaii. In the commercial, a cartoon chicken talks in an unmistakably Jamaican accent about the wonders of a lush Hawaiian getaway. Hawaii is certainly tropical, as is Jamaica, but come on Aussie ad exec; really? There are SO many advertising teams who need to give me (as a fifth grader) their jobs because clearly, I (even at the tender age of 11) could do wonders for them. Ha.


*The following section (until the break) is also an addition since I wrote the bulk of this post. I am moving out of my Mandurah house this weekend! I’m moving into a house in Nedlands, about a ten minute walk from my rugby club, with two other guys for a couple weeks and then hopefully finding a new and permanent residence for the next nine or so months. I would have stayed in the Nedlands house, but I thought I would be able to find a cheaper place to live… this might have been a mistake, but I suppose you live and you learn; and then you get Luvs, haha, I couldn’t resist. At any rate, I am looking forward to settling into a real routine at last. I commented to Cate that over the past few weeks I have secured two out of the three things I needed while I was here, a home, a car, and a job, but never all three and never the same two. Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Cate and I have just finished the last of our jam packed weekends for a while. Just to recap, last weekend, we saw Coldplay… COLDPLAY! It was a great show with awesome energy from the band and of course the crowd (Pictures below)

A couple of days ago, we saw The Cat Empire, another show with greatly enthused participants; except for me, but it was still a good time and I can appreciate the band for their musical worth. On Saturday, Cate coached her little kids in basketball, and then we rushed over to my first Aussie rugby game! After the rugby, Cate and I came home thinking we had several hours before we would leave to attend an Aussie Rules Football match between local rivals (Fremantle Dockers and the West Coast Eagles), but it turns out that we had about five minutes. So I sprayed on some deodorant (yikes, sorry mom) and changed clothes as we ran out the door. But this footy matchup was well worth my funkiness. The Eagles have traditionally beaten up on the Dockers, and the Dockers seemed to play with this knowledge casting a long shadow over their abilities. The Eagles were up by 25 points, but somehow the Dockers pulled off a furious come back to win the contest!

Finally, today, we joined one of Cate’s friends for a breakfast cookout before attending the aforementioned music festival featuring Kings of Leon. The KoL show featured wonderful emotion from the standing crowds that had been waiting around slogging through the average performances of filler acts before their heroes performed; yet KoL just didn’t really bring their A game in my opinion. At any rate, another excellent weekend, but I’m just looking forward to some down time with Cate next weekend as we celebrate our four year anniversary. ϑ


1) I hate to brag, but I like to think that I made a bit of a statement during Saturday’s rugby matches. Our team played in three 7’s (seven on seven as opposed to standard rugby which is 15 on 15) matches, each lasting 14 minutes. In the first game, I just got to play for a couple of minutes, but we won handily; so resounding was our victory that our coach decided to rest all of the starters for the second game and play us second stringers. While definitely more than a little nervous, I was thrilled to finally get back into some competitive, physical sport after my three year hiatus. Somehow, I managed to make several big runs (including a try complete with me stiff-arming a would be tackler… in the face! FYI, a try is approximately the rugby equivalent of a touchdown in American football), a few tackles, and a great defensive play that would be too complicated for me to explain right now, but just know that it involved me sprinting nearly the length of the field, and I did it in impressive fashion. Our team has several weeks of trial matches coming up before our real season begins, but these next weeks are integral in deciding which players are established at the different levels called grades; 1,2,3,4, and 5 where 1 is the highest level). Of course, lest I get too cocky, our team was humbled in my final game of the day. I was just unable to keep up with the players on the other team, and to top it off, at some point in the game, an opponent stepped on my thigh and ripped my spandex shorts! But that last game really was a crucial one because it showed me just how far I have to go if I want to make it to the first grade team, let alone be successful if selected for it.

2) OBAMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! I saw this hat on the head of an Australian in front of us at the music festival today, haha. I have also seen t- shirts emblazoned with the face of the American president in the Australian equivalent of a forever 21. Small world.

ANYway. That’s enough out of me, hope all is well wherever you are. Please keep in touch; as busy as I am being unemployed and having a great time with Cate, it is always so refreshing to hear from a fellow Davis or Parker or Burroughs/ CU alum. Take care.