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June 17, 2002 - 7:30 p.m.

today was my first day at the new job.

coincidentally, and all too happily for me, it was also the first day in two weeks that i didn't wake up with fiery sinuses that led to watery, crossed eyes. in fact, i didn't even need the sudafed. i felt great. and i woke up at 5 am with very little effort. do you understand what a miracle this is for me? you could say i was quite pleased. (p.s. to beck - thanks so much for the offer. glad i don't need it!)

it's weird to leave for work when it's pitch black outside. in fact, the sun didn't come up until i got to the city. i waited for my tram in front of the hard rock cafe (yes, even melbourne has one!) while the sun came up. now that it's officially winter, the white twinkly lights have been strung up in the trees. so beautiful! i felt privileged to witness the scene. and to not have fiery sinuses. yay me.

work is crazy, but the office staff are very friendly and helpful. i've never worked a switchboard before, and the temp agency promised it was a regular old telephone and not a switch, but they lied. i learned quickly, though. i thought 250 calls (daily average, they said) would be madness, but it actually makes the day go by much faster. $16.50 an hour makes the day go by a lot faster, too.

the latest australian census results are in, and they're quite interesting. melbourne now has a population of 4.4 million. both the national birth and marriage rates are at their lowest ever. yikes! nearly one in four australians was born overseas, and half of all australian households have a computer. i wonder how this stacks up to the u.s.?

i don't know if this is a good or even interesting indicator of the multiculturalism here, but i've noticed the news presenters look different and speak differently to what i was used to in the u.s. broadcast journalists here seem less "perfect" looking, and women span quite a range, from very makeupy and traditionally feminine to just the opposite. one of the most popular presenters (and my favorite) is asian, has a strong accent and wears thick glasses! but she is very well respected. women's roles are broader here, as well: one station has only female sports reporters.

as if that wasn't enough, one of the news programs airs weather from around the world. every night i get to find out the local melbourne temperature, as well as that of los angeles, cairo, singapore - you name it. it seems like something you'd only see in the u.s. if you had cable.

<<<��� - ���>>>

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