In the build up to Christmas, I’m finding it hard to get that warm ‘Christmassy’ feeling. I’m used to wrapping up, being cold and wet and long dark nights.
Hot chocolates, and thick chunky knit cardigans.
Wishing for snow and getting rain, that’s my Christmas.
Here it’s slightly different.
Shorts and teeshirts, zooper doopers and long, wet nights, sweating it out under the air con in the lounge
A good different, I think, but when I’m so far in ‘summer’ mode, all this ‘Christmas’ lark feels a bit fake.
We had an early Christmas this weekend with the kids.
It was the closest weekend to the big day that we were all going to be around (kids included) and we’d all pulled together to buy them a trampoline, so we were keen to see
the first tamp-related injuries them enjoy their gift.
The big surprise for me was getting a Christmas present addressed to ‘Aunty Becky’.
Aside from the awesome calendar (huzzah for grown up presents) and a ball (because Jazzy thought I liked balls, much to the amusement of the adults), it was a nice affirmation that I am part of the family.
After plenty of hugs from the little kids, expert nail and make up by Bella and an attempt at weaving a hat together with Jazzy, we took Brayden home and played ‘cool aunt and uncle for the night’.
This week’s awkward comes with a healthy dose of prejudice and cynicism, as these things often are, aimed at the Government.
Despite being opposite sides of the world, there are startling similarities between our welfare systems and Australia’s, largely, how difficult the whole process always seems to be.
Whereas I wasn’t entitled to Jobseekers when I returned back to the UK last year (because ‘I’d been out of the country for longer than 3 months in a 12 month period’ and therefore had no way of proving I was entitled to it – apparently being a British Citizen and paying nearly 10 years into the state through taxes isn’t good enough), Zac was at least entitled to Jobseekers here while he was looking for work.
Despite doing everything he possibly could his end, and being assured via the phone and then in person that he’d be paid this week, lo and behold, nothing was paid.
We went down to the Centrelink office countless times this week, just trying to iron out the inconsistencies and eventually after being on hold for the best part of an hour, he got through to someone who turned out to be incredibly helpful.
She couldn’t promise anything would be done this week, but could promise it would be resolved and paid by next week and also put in a ‘hardship claim’ for him, because volunteering overseas counts for something here.
Hopefully we don’t have to use it for too long, but both of us were frustrated at how difficult the process seemed to be, given we wouldn’t chose to be on the dole and he’s actively doing his best not to be.
It should be a hand up, not a hand out and unfortunately, there are those that abuse the system.
The same frustrations I have with ‘dole bludgers’ in the UK, Zac shares with Australia’s system, mostly because it always feels like you’re paying in to a system that other people can abuse, but when you really need it, when it’s your turn to get the help you need, nothing seems to run smoothly.
We’ll wait and see what next week brings.
For now, the nervous nelly in me is clutching the purse strings extra tight.