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FINALLY, this year 2020 is coming to an end.
Probably one of the worst years for most people, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on the world and the health of some people, certainly overshadowing the timing of the end of the year holidays and making us wonder “what are we celebrating?” And I think what we want to celebrate is that this frustrated, unusual and difficult year that we had to go through is ending.
Personally, the year 2020 for me was even more complicated. I’m going to tell you a little more!
I received the 2020 in Sydney. I was in Australia since July 2019. The situation in Argentina had me rotten for a long time. I spent the winter and spring 2019 working on farms in eastern Australia, near Coffs Harbor, NSW.
I worked as a blueberry picker, the pay was not very good at first, until you start getting the hang of it, and find yourself a better employer xD Actually, the farm is hard because you have to get up VERY early, depending on the fruit it starts between 4 and 5 AM, the days are very hot there, and a lot of physical effort is made, not to mention that you have to be quick with your hands working since you are often paid by “piece-rate agreement” instead of hourly on most farms.
At the end of 2019 we headed south with my girlfriend, to Sydney, one of the most important cities in Australia, with the aim of finding other types of jobs as a waiter, bartender, barista or something similar and live in the city. My goal was to save money and then start performing live in bars and making some money from music.
We had never been to Sydney but everyone told us to go, that there was a lot of movement and work, and we would definitely find a job quickly. They also warned us that it was extremely expensive, especially compared to rental prices in remote areas of Australia (roughly double).
Summer at Maroubra Beach (Sydney)
We took the night train from Coffs Harbor to Sydney, a journey of about 7 hours.
We rented a room in a share house in Maroubra Beach, one block away from the ocean, with an ocean view. The location was perfect. The house was not what it appeared in the ad, and we did not have the best experience with the hostess, nor did she with us.
This added to the fact that it was VERY EXPENSIVE to pay that rent per week, without having an income. We started eating the money we made so hard on the farm.
We arrived in Sydney on December 8, 2019, and we started looking for work like crazy, but nobody had warned us that arriving at this time would not be ideal: in December, the year comes to an end and in Australia everything stops, in Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and during January, the “work” is on pause, so that businesses do not have open searches for job positions, they are all covered. You really start to lose your mind when you see your finances vanish due to such expensive rents without getting an income. Every day I walked different areas of the Eastern Suburbs handing my resume, looking for a job in a cafe, restaurant, or whatever. But it was difficult. I did everything I could and nothing came out. So the rest of the day I tried to enjoy being in Sydney, a block away from the beach, and relax after several months of working on the farms.
I bought a surfboard and spent the middle of December looking for work and applying to every online job that exists, and learning to surf the waves of Maroubra Beach, a really beautiful beach.
Getting a job in Sydney
By mid-January I managed to get a job thanks to a piece of information that a friend I made on the farm, my great friend Germán.
It was a SHUTTLE HOST job at the Sydney cruise terminal, I had to receive cruise passengers and guide them on their excursions. It was a long shift job, 8-12 hours a day, but they paid by the hour, and I didn’t have any income so obviously I took it. At the same time, I kept applying for sales jobs and whatever. I managed to attend 3 interviews for working as a salesperson, from which I was selected to 2 of them. Suddenly I had three jobs, the port job and two more sales jobs. One selling solar energy (solar panels) door-to-door. Yes, we were going to knock on people and ask if they wanted to install solar panels. Tough! But when you don’t have the dough, you can’t act as a playboy. The other job was as a salesman inside a shopping mall, in a small stall, selling subscriptions for Hello Fresh.
In February, we went from Maroubra’s house to a shared house with 4 other Argentines in Bondi. We needed to change the air. Almost a month after successfully doing the work at the port, another backpacker who worked with the company informed me that there was a position in the office, if I was interested, obviously I said YES! and my friend Marta recommended me to process receipts and approve payments, an embarrassing job! but much better than standing only 12 hours in the sun with an umbrella. Thanks MARTA!
Moving to Bondi and the nightmare
In Bondi’s house, everything seemed to be improving. We both found work, the guys from the house made us feel home, my girlfriend was working as a Bartender, and I was about to get into the office. Everything was going well until… on a day off, we decided to go for a walk along the coast of Bondi Beach, in the area of Ben Buckler, a cliff overlooking the sea. We always spent as much time as possible close to nature, walking, discovering places, and enjoying the outdoors. Australia really has amazing places. Unfortunately that day we had no good luck and on that walk my girlfriend slipped on a stone and her ankle broke … we both fell to the ground and instantly I knew that something was not right. She started screaming in pain and her foot was very twisted, in an area where there were no people around, and they were all irregular stones. I tried to sit her down on a rock, I started screaming for help from people around us, but they were too far away, no one was close to us. Her pain was so strong that she almost fainted, we had almost no water left in our the bottle, and it was evident that the accident was something serious. One of the most stressful situations that we went through… I had to adjust the foot that was twisted, to avoid more pain, I don’t know how I did it but I just took a deep breath and tried to align the foot with respect to the tibia.
Since then everything turned to hell, what was our day-off of relax at 3 o’clock in the afternoon we ended up spending in an ambulance, arriving at the hospital, getting films and x-rays, to determine his triple ankle fracture (trimalleolar fracture) one of the worse injuries as all 3 bones were damaged. She was left in a wheelchair and everything turned uphill from that moment. THANK GOD we had travel insurance (ASSIST CARD saved us) and paid the transportation costs (just the ambulance to the hospital was about 500 Australian dollars), supplies, surgery costs (yes she had to get surgery ABROAD), and more.
Despite this misfortune, luckily I got the office job, and Soni could no longer work in the restaurant because she could not walk. Suddenly my office job was our only livelihood, and I had to take care of her because she couldn’t even bathe alone. March 2020 was striking hard, and as if that were not enough, that is where the issue of coronavirus began in earnest in the world and in Australia as well.
Luckily the boys in the house, Emma, Leti, Flor, Vale, Lu, Luri, were amazing and helped us with everything they could 🙂 but it was difficult to endure the day to day working and taking care of everything, cooking, buying injections in the pharmacy that she had to apply to control blood clotting, and see my girlfriend fractured, in another country, unable to move and having to go to the hospital for surgery. This month I had my first panic attack, I was going through a lot of tension and uncertainty, and to top it off, it felt like the pandemic was advancing at full speed, there was talk of border closures and repatriation flights … it was very uphill from there and shortly after it was confirmed that at the end of March the airports would close, I worked in the office with cruise ships (tourist services) that would be affected by a pandemic, and I had already been informed that by May my temporary contract would not be renewed given the situation.
End of our Journey (Flight back to ARG)
Shortly after we got a flight to Buenos Aires, via Santiago. We were with all the bags, backpack, I had my acoustic guitar, and she was on a wheelchair with a broken foot, another shitty moment!
We took the flight on March 23 from Sydney to Santiago de Chile, and when we got there we found out that several days ago there had been MISCELLANEOUS people at the SCL airport, waiting for connecting flights that were not being executed due to administrative and governmental situations of each airport, and the airline reception was a riot. A total mess, no distancing protocol whatsoever in the middle of a “pandemic” situation, all of them complaining because they are located at once on their canceled flights. With Soni in a wheelchair and all our belongings, after a few hours, we were able to be relocated to a flight that would leave 36 hours later. We had to sleep in the airport, after the 14 hour flight from Sydney, and with Soni’s broken leg. A lot of stress… really shitty moments that leave a mark on you…
Fortunately after all that QUILOMBO we arrived in Buenos Aires on March 24, 2020, our trip to Australia was over and we are still waiting for the borders to open to resume our migration effort abroad. Once I decide to travel, a pandemic breaks out and my girlfriend breaks her ankle, now that’s some accuracy!
Back in Argentina (March 2020)
Since then, I reunited with my family and I was able to relax a little. Given the situation of preventive isolation, it was hard to return and not be able to meet with friends or relatives that I had not seen since I left the country. It was ugly that my trip to Australia was kind of forgotten and went unnoticed.
I progressively gave back priority to my musical project, which had been on hiatus during 2019.
In April I resumed work on my next album “Cyan”, which already had some demos and electric guitars recorded, and continued to advance with the creation of these songs. I spent all of May, June and July working primarily on these issues, and also shaping the idea and content for my YouTube channel, to bring more visibility to my artistic endeavors.
In August, I don’t know where or how but I got coronavirus. Probably when I went to the market or to buy fruits, I am not sure; but I started to feel bad and after two days of sustained fever I decided to do that swab and I had to isolate myself by government measures in a hotel for 10 days. The first 2 days were horrible, a tremendous headache, and a significant feeling of fatigue. I had no trouble breathing, no loss of taste or smell, but the headache was the strongest I ever felt. Fortunately, on the fourth day I started to feel good, until I was able to go home.
After this pause forced by my health I continued with the production of my next album and the goal of developing my YouTube channel.
I finished composing and producing the songs that will be the singles on the album, recording guitars, basses and vocals. I managed to move almost twice as fast with creating the themes for Metamorphosis.
Indica Stout (November 2020)
In November I decided to try to put together a band to present the new material “Cyan”, since the Australian border does not seem to open until March or July 2021, it would give me enough time to form a group and rehearse these songs to maximize promotion of the new album with live performances and streaming shows. I contacted musicians I knew to see if they were interested in the project and if they were available. I also contacted studios and rehearsal rooms to find a place where we could prepare.
Shortly after I consolidated the base of the band, with Christian on bass and Paul on drums, two musicians I already knew, and who were interested in integrating the project to give shape to this version of Indica Stout.
In December we started rehearsing the singles for the next album “Cyan”, and we are preparing songs from the previous album “Metamorphosis”, and also other new songs.
Metamorphosis is an album that revolves mainly around the electric guitar, while Cyan orbits more on the piano and keyboards. It is something different but it maintains the essence. Those who already listened to the singles were delighted, and if you haven’t heard them, you can still do it for free at my music section on my website.
Musical evolution & piano progress
Musically this year will be marked as the year where I was able to prepare my second solo album, but mainly in which I started to make considerable progress with the piano. I’ve been playing the piano for about 5 years, but this year I really spent many hours improving my piano and keyboard skills, and little by little it is paying off. Before I always felt it was kinda mandatory to incorporate a keyboard player in the band, however nowadays I still think that it would be great to have a keyboardist, but that I can also occupy that role myself, and thus continue to develop. I’m going to try to get the CHARLY GARCIA out of myself xD
Undoubtedly during this bloody pandemic, isolation, distancing and all that sh#t in April, I made it my goal that this entire period be productive, although I also spent a lot of it playing Counter-Strike xD
I invested a lot of time in my songs, practicing with the piano, creating the contents of the YouTube channel, etc. And now at the end of 2020, to see all these things done after pushing and all the learning involved, is quite satisfying; seeing that all effort is now visible in my YouTube channel, it will be seen in my new songs, in my new band, and especially in the future when I go out into the world again, with a second album under my arm and more experience.
Certainly 2020 was a difficult year for everyone and for me too. Probably one of the hardest of my life. But this also came with a lot of learning, and I continue to reassure what I want to do and the direction I want to take my life.
Sometimes we don’t know why things happen, but over time we can see that what happened happened for a reason, and it will be up to us to learn to understand the outcome of things.
And how was your 2020? Did you have coronavirus? Leave me a comment and tell me. I sincerely hope that 2021 is better for everyone. Cheers!
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