Sometimes the best experiences come when you least expect them. These are the ones I enjoy and cherish the most.
If you would have talked to me a week ago I would have told you that I hated Walgett, the town in which I was staying, and my so-called Jillaroo experience. I was disappointed and bored out of my mind and consequently very frustrated about wasting my precious last days in Australia out in the middle of no where. And then one day everything fell into place, just not in a way I was expecting.
The reason I was disappointed with the jillaroo experience was after my first day working with the cattle I never worked with cattle again. I did get to ride though so I was more or less content. The horses were great and the landscape was beautiful. But even after a few days of camping out with Wayne and taking care of his horses the isolation was began to grate on me. Then disaster struck, or at least that is what I considered it to be when it first happened. Wayne’s truck broke down on the way into town one day leaving us stuck in Walgett, the town 45 minutes from his property. Then it started raining and never stopped. Usually I don’t mind a little bit of rain but out in the country when it rains everything shuts down. Because I was supposed to be exercising the horses the rain condemned me indoors, with the most of the population in town. As a reader this would not normally be a bad thing except that I had not brought a good selection of books. Having nothing to do all day coupled with annoyingly boring books left me wavering on the edge of insanity. On the fourth day I woke up at 11am, took the longest shower I possibly could, ate breakfast as slow as I could and then sat on my bed staring at the wall for about 20 minutes. It occurred to me then why prison is such an effective cause of punishment. I ended up going back to bed and watching movies all day until 7pm.
It seems that life never gives you too much of a challenge that you cannot handle it. When I was nearing my breaking point I was in the kitchen trying to read one the books I had brought with me. I had known that there were some Irish people around my age staying in the hostel that I was staying at but I had not really hung out with them. It was then that they had happened to come in with a slab of beer and offered me a stubbie. Although I did not accept their offer of alcohol it was the small spark I needed to remedy my isolation. I started hanging out with the Irish group for the next couple of days. The one girl in the group was working as a waitress across the street at a small cafe and I ended up being able to land a job with her. The best part? Wages were $25.50 on the weekend and $20 on the weekdays. I was able to make $500 in four days!
The other best part was meeting Lee, my Australian mother. She was also the owner of Lee’s Kitchen, the café in which I worked. She made us a hang over breakfast the morning after she knew we had went to an Irish house party. She gave us medicine when we didn’t feel well and sent me home every night with a delicious dinner coupled with dessert. She is just one of those truly good hearted people who likes to make the people around her happy if she can. She has owned the kitchen for the past two years and for that long has been employing backpackers looking for some temporary work in the outback.
Besides being able to make some money and occupy my time in Walgett knowing the Irish group ended up being such a blessing because they introduced me to all their other Irish friends in the area. I ended up becoming friends with a lot of them. It is random and I am not sure what the allure was but there ended up being about 12 Irish people working in Walgett. And I could not have been happier to know them. They took me under their wing and included me in their group. After the first week and a half of boredom I was so grateful for that small act of kindness.
So I may not have ended up being a cowgirl but I ended up having a great time in Walgett anyway. Not in any way that I had planned or expected but I feel like that just made it more fun.