Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi!

October 24, 2009
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Cirque du Soleil - La Nouba

So, in case you are a wee bit slow and haven’t yet gathered that I work for Disney at Cirque du Soleil – La Nouba in Orlando, Florida, here is a reminder: Hi, my name is Lynda and I work at Cirque du Soleil – La Nouba. Phew. Glad we got that cleared up.

The dude to the far right in the photo is my favourite performer in the La Nouba production. He is one of four Les Cons who pretty much appear throughout the entire one hour and forty minute show and are guaranteed to make you laugh one way or another. When I usher upstairs in Curtain C, he always comes through and we have an enjoyable short chat which usually begins with him mocking my Aussie-ness by saying “G’day mate!” in his Polish accent.

When I first started at Cirque a few months back and he found out that I was Aussie, he told me that one of the Power Track performers was actually from Australia, so since then, it has been my mission to meet her.

Power Track performers - Cirque du Soleil - La Nouba

Power Track performers - Cirque du Soleil - La Nouba

Today, my mission was finally conquered… it only took about three months… not bad hey! (Gheeez, Lynda, could you have possibly taken any longer?!?)

I bumped into her out the back of Cirque and we had a nice Aussie chat! I love meeting and talking to Australians here, they’re all so laid back and relaxed so there was never an awkward silence in the conversation, it just kept flowing. She’s a Brissy girl but has been living in the U.S. for the last eight years. After hearing this, I was surprised that her Aussie accent was still so noticeable, although she seemed surprised when I told her that! We chatted for a good five to ten minutes but then she had to go and warm up for the 6pm show. I’m super glad we got the chance to meet and chat, she was so sweet… but then again, most of us Aussie’s are 😉 haha.


“Can I See You In My Office Please?…”

October 9, 2009

Really? I’ve only been here for a whole twelve minutes!!! What the heck sort of trouble could I cause in such a short time span that is deemed “can I see you in my office” worthy?!?! *craps pants*

Those seven little words are never usually a good thing, so you can just imagine the frantic mode of panic my heart flipped into when my manager announced it to me in front of everyone in the box office today at Cirque. I’m pretty sure my heart skipped a beat and within a matter of seconds, I had played out every possible scenario from the last few days that may have served as  “can I see you in my office” worthy. The only thing I could think of was maybe laughing too loud… that, or corrupting the poor, innocent Chinese girl. Haha.

To panic, or not to panic? That is the question.

To panic, or not to panic? That is the question.

I guess my manager saw me freak out a little and enter managers’-office-panic-mode because her next line was the wonderfully relieving, “Don’t worry, you’re not in trouble.” *un-craps pants* Phew. My heart beat and blood pressure returned to normal and I felt a wave of relief pass over me, although now, I was just plain confused. If she had just left it at “can I see you in my office?” I would have just assumed I was getting into trouble for something; what? I don’t know. But at least I knew it was something. However, as soon as she followed “can I see you in my office?” up with “don’t worry, you’re not in trouble” I had absolutely no idea why she’d want me in there, so at this point in time, I was extremely confused. Again, I started playing out non-trouble related scenarios in my head from the last few days. Ahhhh I couldn’t pin point any! PANIC!? YES? NO? PANIC? MAYBE!?!  PANIC! YES, AHHHHH!

I jumped off my seat and slowly made my way over to her office…

“Lynda! I just wanted to say thank you for *Saturday night. You were amazing and handled everything extremely well!”

So, this is what relief feels like! Haha. I was so happy to know I was being rewarded for my good efforts. After working 8.5 years in the same job before coming to Orlando and busting my ass and never getting anything in return, I finally felt like what I was doing had meaning and was being recognised. She held out three DVD’s, all Disney, of course, and told me to pick one. EEEE how exciting… Enchanted, Wall-E or The Incredibles… How could I reject the cuteness that is Wall-E???

Ummm, guys, that was a rhetorical question… YOU CAN’T! Wall-E it is 🙂 Along with the DVD was a personalised thank you card which said…

“Lynda, great job Saturday night. Thanks for all your hard work.”

This just made my day. Too sweet. I wasn’t expecting anything in return so to receive the DVD and the card was just amazing. Made me feel all happy inside… so happy I wanted to do my happy dance… but I restrained myself, it was tough, but I managed! Haha.

Today was a good day 🙂

Wall-E and Thank You card from my manager :-)

Wall-E and Thank You card from my manager 🙂

*Saturday night: Last Saturday during the 9pm performance of our Cirque do Soleil, La Nouba show, there were some major technical difficulties and malfunctions which resulted in the show being cut short and the Power Track act being skipped. Many guests were pissed off by this and gathered at the box office after the show to complain. Long story short, we had to offer a whole bunch of free ‘welcome back‘ tickets. It was utter chaos!!!


Dear Melbourne…

October 7, 2009

I you, really, I do. You are one of the most beautiful cities this world has to offer (Bias? Who, Me? Never!). You will always be home… BUT… and Melbourne, promise you wont hate on me, buttttt…

… I want to move to the U.S.A. on an E3 visa after my J1 visa expires and I’m done with the Disney International College Program.

Anyone know of any U.S. companies that sponsor E3 visas? Better yet… anyone want to employ me when I’m done? *cough* Marketing Travel/Tourism position *cough*

Pretty please?

LOVE this country

HOME: Melbourne, Australia

HOME: Melbourne, Australia



EPCOT Food & Wine Festival!!

September 23, 2009

The EPCOT Food & Wine Festival starts this Friday, September 25 at Walt Disney World. So excited

EPCOT Food & Wine Festival

EPCOT Food & Wine Festival

Howeverrrrr… Disney Cast Members get a sneak peek this Thursday! Usually my days off are Sunday and Monday, but because Cirque du Soleil has no performances on this week (the performers are on vacation), I’m working different hours and get Wednesday and Thursday off! What an awesome coincidence… a little too awesome if you ask me <insert sly look here>.

As soon as I enter through the EPCOT gates, I’m frolicking my Aussie butt over to the  ‘Melbourne, Australia‘ stand at the Marketplace Kiosk and getting me some of this:

Melbourne, Australia

Location: Africa Outpost

– Seared Barramundi with Blistered Cherry Tomatoes, Arugula and Lemon Oil
– Grilled Lamb Chop, Red Wine Sauce, Murray River Sea Salt
– Lamington
– Beverage Selection: Rosemount Traminer Riesling, Rosemount Pinot Noir, Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet, Penfolds Bin 2


I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited for Lamb Chops and Lamingtons!

I’m sure I’ll have plenty of photos to follow 🙂


Walt Disney World – Best Decision Ever

August 29, 2009

Wow, I’ve neglected my poor blog, I feel absolutely horrible! Not only have I neglected my blog, but my fans; my hundreds of loyal, supportive fans. I’m so sorry, please find it in the depths of your heart to forgive me. I wont let this happen again. You have my word*.

In all fairness though, I have been extremely busy! It’s been five weeks now since I arrived in Orlando, Florida to take part in the Disney International College Program and I absolutely LOVE it! Some people hate it, some people feel like they’ve been robbed, some people are extremely home sick and want to return to Australia already (crazy, right! I know!) but not me, I am loving life right about now. It’s everything I imagined and more 🙂

Cirque du Soleil - La Nouba - Downtown Disney

Cirque du Soleil - La Nouba - Downtown Disney

I work the box office and usher at Cirque du Soleil – La Nouba at Downtown Disney. I really couldn’t have ended up with a better job.  Let’s admit it, my costume isn’t all that bad, it could have been way worse (I mean, you just have to wonder around the World Showcase at EPCOT to see what I mean), so I think I’m rather lucky in that aspect. Those of you that know me (and you don’t even have to know me well) know that I am not exactly a fan of kids of any sort in any shape or form. I cringe at the thought of a whinning child. Luckily, I don’t really deal with too many kids where I work, so this place is live heaven for me. It’s almost like they knew I disliked kids and was like, ‘Hey, let’s put her in the least child-infested area!” Bless. Some of my mates are stuck at Magic Kingdom until 2am every morning with screaming kids all around them. My head throbs from the thought alone.

The building that I work in - Cirque du Soleil - Downtown Disney, FL

I get to be indoors all day with my new best friend, AC. AC and I have formed a rather close bond since I got here. He really knows how to cool me down after a long hot day in the sun. Really, he is amazing, is there nothing he can’t do!?!  So while AC works his magic on me I get to watch the damn Cirque du Soleil show while I work and let me tell you, it is bloody AMAZING! I’ve seen it at least twenty times now and I still watch every little part. Actually, I’ve seen it so many times I know when an error has been made… but the guests wouldn’t know any better.

Chatham Square Apartment Complex

I’m living at the Chatham Square apartment complex in a one bedroom apartment. It has its advantages: there aren’t always  a heap of random people over when I get home from work; my roomie doesn’t sleep in her bed so I have the entire bedroom to myself; when she’s at work I have the whole house to myself and lastly, she and I both keep the apartment very, very clean! The one disadvantage, we don’t really talk that much so sometimes it can get lonely, but then again, I have my own privacy which is nice compared to those that are in a three bedroom apartment living with six cast members!

My bedroom!

Life here is superb. I sleep in each day, go to the pool and work on my tan, depending what day it is I will do my grocery shopping and laundry, get my butt over to Cirque to work my shift and then on my days off it’s free entry into the Disney World parks and by night, it’s drinking with all the new mates I have made. I think that’s the best thing about this program – the drinking! Haha, just kidding, it’s not the drinking, it’s the people you will meet (while drinking 😉 haha)! I’ve met the most amazing people in the five weeks I have been here, from all over the world too: France, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Colombia, USA, Australia, England, China… It’s so much fun, and since I love engaging in culture, this couldn’t have been any better for me!

The Chatham Square Swimming Pool!

The Chatham Square Swimming Pool!

Will try to write more frequently, I’ve missed this place! Cheers.
.

* My word is only valid at the time this blog was published.


ELEVEN DAYS!

June 17, 2009

11 days remaining. That’s right. E-L-E-V-E-N! I know what you are thinking, and yes, I know, I can barely believe it either. My, how time flies.

I have two days left at my full time job at Allianz, one shift left at my casual job at Safeway and eleven days left in this country! Gahhh. I hate Safeway with a passion, but after eight and a half years there, it is going to be extremely sad to leave; so sad, I may even have to cry. Forced tears, of course. No, I lied. Not forced tears, real tears haha. Oh, the shame *covers eyes*.

The worst part about this whole situation, though; I haven’t even started packing yet! I have no clue where to begin. How do I fit 14 months of my life into two suitcases? 46 measly kilograms is my check-in allowance and I am sure I can squish another seven to ten kilograms into my carry-on. I managed eleven kilograms last year and that was pushing it. The gentleman behind the departure gate only allowed that one extra kilogram because I was crying (No, I wasn’t crying because my carry-on was over weight by one kilogram, I was crying because I had just said good bye to mum and dad).

I purchased my travel insurance last week! I was in a pickle as most travel insurance policies do not cover you for working abroad, so I had to confirm with the Disney team that, if I were to be injured while on the job, some sort of workers compensation would be offered. One of the lovely Disney staff confirmed that yes, it would be, which meant I could just take out a regular travel insurance policy with Allianz. Although I am gone for 14 months, travel insurance policies are only issued for a period of 12 months. Allianz were charging $947.00 for the 12 months policy along with $25 extra to remove the $100 excess. This was by far, the cheapest full comprehensive policy on offer. Most of the travel agents and the insurance policy that Disney recommended were all in excess of $1800.00! That is crazy, especially considering most of the travel agents insurance policies are underwritten by Allianz anway. Back on track, with my staff discount, I was able to purchase the 12 month policy for $660.00 AU! What a bargain. I was quite happy with my huge saving and just have to be sure to extend the policy next year as the expiry date nears. Lucky I did it when I did because Allianz put up their premiums the other day. The same 12 months I was issued now costs around $1,200.00. Thank God I was on the ball, hey? I’m such an organised travel nerd (minus the packing factor).

As I mentioned above, I finish up with Allianz on Friday. I have friends I made on Contiki through Europe last year flying in from Perth to come and visit so I am meeting with them for dinner after work on Friday. Saturday night I will more than likely do dinner with them again then it is off to my farewell drinks shindig. I am planning on Saturday to be one very messy, yet enjoyable night. I cannot wait; copious amounts of alcohol will be consumed, I’m sure! Sunday I plan to awake (hang over free) and work my last shift ever at Safeway <insert tears and sniffles here> and then finally, come Monday, I plan to start packing. Keyword, plan. My room is such a mess that I have to start cleaning it to actually find the clothes that I plan on taking with me. Oh, there’s that keyword again. I plan on doing a lot of things next week.

The entire week is dedicated to packing and finalising everything. I need to also fit in a doctors appointment; I want to make it to the movies to see Hang Over; I need to fit in a few shopping trips to purchase bits and pieces; I have a hair appointment booked for Thursday morning; the girls have planned to catch up with me one last time on the Thursday night for dinner; I am doing one final dinner with the Safeway work crew on the Friday night; Saturday is reserved for the family get-together; then finally, on the Sunday I fly out! Phew. Just looking at that schedule makes me exhausted; I cannot actually imagine working through it. Guess I have no choice though.

Anywho, just wanted to blog my thoughts. I guess the next time I blog the countdown will be in single digits! Exciting much?

I CANNOT WAIT FOR DISNEY!!!


T-Minus 5 weeks & counting…

May 24, 2009

Tomorrow will mark exactly five weeks until departure; 35 days until I leave the secure nest that is my home, family, friends and job(s) and move to the U.S. for 14 months. The thing that bothers me about all of this though, is that I am not the least bit nervous. Am I meant to be nervous? Should I start to feel edgy and panicky or is it still a bit too early for those emotions to kick in?

I just finished watching ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’ and although this movie has nothing to do with goodbyes, while watching it, it hit me. No, not the feeling of nervousness, but more so the realisation of how much I’m going to miss people while I’m gone. My mum, my dad, Cookie my cat, my girl friends etc… all of whom up until now, have been my security blanket and my support when ever I’ve been in need, only in five more weeks, they wont be there anymore. Well, sure, they’ll still be there, but that there will be on the other side of the world. This thought made me sad. I may or may not have cried. Shhhh. Pretend you didn’t read that part.

All emotions aside, I’m pretty much almost set to go. I told my Team Leader on Monday that I was leaving my job. I had been dreading this day for some time now.  I had replayed this scenario over and over in my head all weekend. It was the cause of many hours of lost sleep. I tell the Team Leader I’m leaving. Team Leader yells at me. Tells me what a let down I am to the team and that I couldn’t have picked a worse time to leave. Yada yada. It went nothing like that, in fact, it was so completely the opposite of what I had imagined, I couldn’t help but cry happy tears when she was so excited and supportive of my decision. It was amazing. Finally, the weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I could start openly expressing my happiness to everyone about my move! Phew.

I have finally booked all my flights! I already had the main flight from Melbourne to Vancouver taken care of, but was still in need of a few more. Ended up booking a flight with Air Canada from Vancouver to Montreal, then with Air Canada again from Montreal to Dallas. From Dallas to Orlando one of the girls on the program and myself decided we’d fly out of Dallas together with American Airlines. At least I will be arriving at Disney with someone and wont be a loner. Yay. We get into Orlando at around 11am and the Aussie’s on the group flight don’t get in until 11pm so we get to head to our apartments early and go and do some shopping!

There is only one more major thing I require before heading off, and that is travel insurance! I’ll probably end up going with Allianz because one, I work there, and two, they are by far the cheapest for 14 months of full comprehensive cover with unlimited medical cover.

The next few weeks are going to be so hectic, but I look forward to them. I do not, however, look forward to bawling my eyes out at the airport upon departure. Ugh. I’m such a sucker for goodbyes. As soon as one person cries, then I start crying. Apparently crying is contagious. Boooooo.


British lad, Ben Southall wins ‘Best Job in the World’.

May 6, 2009

British boy, Ben Southall has today been named the winner of Tourism Queensland’s ‘Best Job in the World‘ promotion.

The 34 year old charity fundraiser beat out 15 other finalists picked from a pool of 34,000 applicants from across the globe. The 15 finalists were all flown out to Hamilton Island at the end of April to prove to the judges why exactly they were ideal candidates for the biggest and most successful marketing stint ever produced within Australia (or the world for that matter!).

It cost about $1 million but generated close to that of $150 million in global coverage for the Great Barrier Reef.

As caretaker, Ben will live on Hamilton Island for six months, earn a $150,000 AU wage while exploring the surroundings of the region and share his experience with the world through means of online tools such as blogging.

Amongst all the excitement of today’s announcement, no one seemed to notice that a slight slip saw the winner’s name being published on the Tourism Queensland website half an hour before the official announcement was mad. The finalists however, were unaware of this minor malfunction and their reaction to the announcement was genuine and honest.


Two Year Rule – 212(E)

April 24, 2009

Yesterday when I got home from work I was pleased to see an express post satchel waiting for me on my bed. I ripped it open and inside was my passport with my DS-2019 form folded up and stapled to one of the pages. I flipped to the page it was stapled on, and there it was… a whole passport page dedicated to my J1 U.S. Visa. Awww, it’s so pretty. Actually, no, not really. The photo of me on it is really quite disturbing. The dude at the post office didn’t tell me when he was going to take my photo so my left eyebrow is raised and then to make matters worse, he told me to look into the wrong section of the camera, so although I am facing it front on, I am not directly looking into it. It’s definately nothing to gloat about but I love it none the less. EEEEEE!

So whilst getting so caught up in the beauty that is my U.S. visa, I failed to notice the text on my visa which read…

“Bearer is not subject to section 212(e). Two year rule does not apply.”

I originally thought the two year rule was going to apply because while filling out my DS-2019 form, I had to sign that I had read and understood the two year home country physical presence requirement rule. This rule states that “exchange residents are required to reside in their home-country for 2 years following completion of their program before they are eligible for immigrant status, temporary worker status or intracompany transferee status.” After returning home to Australia, I want to try for another visa which will allow me longer residency and entitle me to seek professional employment within the U.S., so this rule kinda made me a little upset, but in order to obtain my J1 visa, I had no choice but to agree to it.

When I eventually noticed this exemption I may have squealed just a tad. Lie. I squealed A LOT. I was beside myself with excitement and joy that the two year rule did not apply so much so that I did a little happy dance right in front of my bedroom mirror haha. I am such a loser, but an ecstatically happy loser none the less.


Best Job In The World – Final Top 16

April 4, 2009

On Friday, April 3, 15 lucky finalists from across the globe received the call from Queensland Tourism Minister Peter Lawlor informing them to get-a-packin’ for their journey to Hamilton Island.

Amongst the 15 finalists are a teacher, students, a receptionist and an actress; all whom will make their way over to Hamilton Island for the final selection process in May for the ‘Best Job In The World‘.

These lucky buggers were selected from thousands of entries world-wide and were cut down to a short-list of 50, before being dissected down further to only 15, plus one wild card entry. Entrants went to great depths to make themselves stand out from the crowd; scuba diving in a tank in Amsterdam, dressing up as a mermaid in downtown Singapore and spruiking at a London pub just to name a few. I’m sure all short-listed candidates find their risky efforts well worth-while now.

Tourism Queensland has estimated the campaign has achieved about $100 million worth of global publicity for Queensland.

The Top 16 will fly to Hamilton Island on May 3 and the successful candidate will be announced on May 6.

Best Job in the World finalists:

Anjaan RJ – India

Ben Henry – France

Ben Southall – UK

Cali Lewis – USA

Clare Wang – Taiwan (wild card applicant)

Clarke Gayford – New Zealand

Erik Rolfsen – Canada

George Karellas – Ireland

Greg Reynen – Singapore

Hailey Turner – Australia

James Hill – Australia

Juweon Kim – Korea

Magali Heuberger – Netherlands

Mieko Kobayashi – Japan

Mirjam Novak – Germany

Yi Yao – China


STA World Travel Internship – Top 20 Announced!

March 19, 2009

Back in January I blogged about the STA (America) World Travel Internship. STA Travel is the largest student travel organization in the world and over the last few months, they have been on the hunt for two world travel interns to traverse the globe and experience a number of travel adventures showcasing their experiences daily via journal/blog, video and podcasts.

Unlike previous years, this years entrants did not have to be undergraduate students. Entrants needed to be aged 18-26, hold a US passport and submit a video to STA Travel outlining why they think they deserve this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Well, the STA Gods have finally spoken and hand picked the top 20 finalists, all of which can be viewed at the STA Travel Wire Blog. Two of these 20 finalists will experience the opportunity to travel from the tropical waters of Fiji, to the red rock outback of Australia, India, Eastern Africa, Berlin, Scandinavia/Russia, Scotland and to the luscious greenery of Ireland.

Any feedback on the entrants videos is much appreciated by the judges to help them narrow the competition down to determine the two winners, so head over to the STA Travel Wire Blog and get watching and commenting!

My personal favourites:

Melissa Landry

Dana Arschin

Best of luck to the top 20 finalists!