Posts Tagged ‘dance’

I’ve worked at many elections, as a journalist and as a local government PR person, and while I never looked forward to working through the night (I’m a girl who needs her sleep) I always ended up having a whale of a time. You can’t help but be affected by the pressure and the excitement.

This time round, I didn’t have the option of attending a count but at least the time difference worked in my favour. I set up the BBC and the Guardian websites on my second computer screen at work, and kept an eye on them throughout the day, giving my bemused (Australian) colleagues a running commentary on gains and losses interspersed with cries of distress as red and yellow turned to blue and the failings of the first past the post system became all too clear.

As I write the Lib Dems are still debating who to team up with. The very idea of them hopping into bed with the Tories makes me shiver (I pride myself on being tolerant – but as you may have already picked up, that tolerance doesn’t quite extend to Conservatives…). The country has already been betrayed by a hopelessly undemocratic electoral system, so how can the one party dedicated to changing it even consider joining forces with its biggest supporter?

But who knows what will happen? Having worked for a hung council, I fear a hung parliament might just make things rather dull. Or my proxy might find himself back down the polling station before too long.

Anyway, I did my bit. I used my vote, no matter how ridiculous it is that I should have one, living on the other side of the world.  I’m guessing that if Clegg gets his way on electoral reform, the rights of overseas electors might also be looked at. But you know, I’m willing to pay the price for a fair system.

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Thanks to http://socialhoneycomb.com/So I’m in Australia. I have a permanent visa. I have a job I like. I am about to move into a rather nice apartment, where I hope to stay for several years. So it’s probably about time I made some friends.

Perth is a friendly city – it’s one of the reasons I wanted to move here. I’ve had more conversations with random strangers on buses here than in my whole life in the UK. But I’m a married woman in her late(ish) 30s, with no children and a tendency to pretend I’m 10 years younger – which apparently means I am not a mate-magnet.

Child-free – so no chance of me meeting other mums in the playground. Too irresponsible (and neurotic about hygiene) to have a dog – so no chats with other pet owners in the park. A husband – so people tend to assume your evenings and weekends are already booked up. And while Perthites are friendly, at the end of the day most people drive home to their detached houses and do their own thing. Distances between suburbs are huge and there isn’t a focus on the city centre like there is in most places, so people socialise in a variety of suburbs.

I do actually have a semblance of a social life that occasionally involves people other than my husband. I made one good friend within weeks of arriving, and although she’s now gone overseas, she’s left behind a few nice people who I’m now getting to know. But I am conscious of the need to widen my circle of friends. Oddly enough, those few nice people are all immigrants to Perth, or have lived overseas at some point, and who knows? They could decide to try another city or country at any time. Besides, I want to meet some locals, who can show me parts of Perth I might not discover on my own.

In the chaos of moving, finding friends was not a particular priority. As new arrivals, my husband and I did get a few, very welcome, invitations. Nearly eight months in, we are expected to be finding our own way.

I know the best way to meet people is to join a group doing something you’re interested in. It worked for me in Bristol. Practically all my friends there I met through dance. It’s not been so successful here. I’ve tried a couple of dance classes. Hip hop was full of REALLY young people wondering who the old bird was; tap, while providing the requisite number of kooky, verging-on-middle-aged women (hair in bunches – CHECK; wacky socks – CHECK), didn’t offer enough opportunities for interaction with the rest of the group…and frankly I didn’t enjoy the class much, which didn’t help.

Here I am doing a lot of cycling – but most cycling groups take it a lot more seriously than I do. It’s a similar story with kayaking, or to more accurately describe what I do, drifting around on the river trying to remember which way to paddle to turn round. Pilates is doing wonders for my flexibility, but so far zero for friendships. Websites directed at new immigrants organise meet-ups, but they don’t appeal – I’m desperate to integrate and while it can be comforting to speak to others in a similar situation, I don’t think it’s necessarily the best thing in the long run.

So I’m now looking for something else that will bring me into contact with like-minded people. A cause for which I can volunteer, or a course I can do. What really appeals is something that is focussed on making Perth the groovy state capital it deserves to be, but a trawl of t’interweb hasn’t thrown anything up just yet. I found out about PERTHour too late for this time, although I hope to make it to the next.

And I’ve just got to be careful not to appear too desperate – as one of my (old, UK-based) friends pointed out, there’s always the risk you’ll ring someone in another office to get a piece of information and before you’ve hung up you’ve invited them round to dinner and to stay for the weekend.

So if anyone has any ideas, I’d be glad to hear them.

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