Hooray! I’m back! And this is a picture of The Playboy Mansion. (More of that shortly.)
The last of the marking for the school year has been done, we’re swinging into the last week of formal classes and our glorious 5 weeks of summer holidays are galloping towards us faster than you can say lickety-split. So much has been happening, but I thought I’d catch you all up on Evan22’s latest.
He has been an integral part of this blog right from the beginning, back in September 2007 on my very first blog post. He was so interested in what I was writing about and he’s grown up with the blog being part of his life from then on. Earlier this year you saw how he moved out of home to go and live in Ballarat in the Halls of Residence at Fed Uni when he started his acting course. He had to move out of there in November and he and 3 girls have decided to rent a house together. Hence ‘The Playboy Mansion’.
Last weekend we drove up there with a carload of stuff. We went to IKEA first to buy him another bed. When he left the old house and moved into The Best House in Melbourne with David25, Ryan23 and me, I bought him a double bed from IKEA as a ‘welcome home.’ He was going to take the bed apart and take it up to Ballarat with him, but then I realised that if he did that, I’d just have to get another bed to fill that room. I may as well keep the double bed and buy him a new one. Same/Same.
He looked at me and asked…”Could it please be a Queen-sized bed???” How can I resist those twinkling little eyes? Besides, I have a queen-sized bed and he’s FAR taller than I am. So we swung by IKEA, grabbed a mattress, bed base, mattress protector, some fitted sheets and a few other bits and bobs that he needed, and then we hit the road for Ballarat. It was a beautiful day and I was pleased that I was going to spend some time with my boy, trapped in the car beside me as he was.
Here he is, unpacking the car. I was really pleased to be able to see where he was going to be living so I can picture him in my mind. The girls have the main house, while he has a self-contained sleepout out the back. When he told me about it I was picturing some povvo enclosed verandah with louvres for windows which, given Ballarat’s awful winter climate – it actually SNOWS there sometimes!! – would be awful. However, he’s found himself a pretty sweet pad.
He was telling me that the landlord bought the place when his child was going to Uni there about 10 years ago and he’s rented it out to students ever since. There’s a rolling stock of third years leaving Ballarat and first and second years like Evan22 needing places to rent. Sound like the perfect set-up for a landlord to me!
This couch was one that the previous tenant left behind. It’s comfy enough to sleep on, and given Evan22’s hospitable nature, I’m sure some of his friends will be testing this out after a few parties.
He’s paying the most for his room at $150/week. He’s eligible for Centrelink benefits of being a full-time mature-aged student who is living out of home, but this rent will still stretch his budget. He plans on either working full-time during the long Uni holidays or picking up part-time work through the year.
Evan22 didn’t have a smooth ride to university. During his year 12 studies, he was adamant that he wasn’t going to be funnelled into attending uni – he even made a Media Studies film about how the ATAR turned students into zombies.
Of course, you can imagine how delighted this made me feel – a teacher firmly embedded in the education system! But if there’s one thing being a mother of 4 and a teacher of 4,000 has taught me – you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. So my little pony took a Gap Year, then another one and another one.
For the first 2 years, he worked in a fruit shop around the corner. Then he got a job in an office with a couple of his school friends and worked full-time. I didn’t know this at the time, but he’d already decided that he wanted to do an acting or writing course somewhere and he knew he’d need to have cash stashed to bankroll it.
Then, last year he auditioned, got into Ballarat and was on his way.
After we finished unpacking, I whisked him off to lunch at the Pancake Kitchen. My little vegetarian needed a full stomach before taking that Allen key and putting his bed together!
The 3 years he spent getting his head together have really paid off. When he left school he was a bit directionless. He knew he wanted to do something creative with his life but he wasn’t sure what. Working in the fruit shop gave him great skills dealing with the General Public – (hate those guys!)- while working in the office confirmed to him that, though he loved his co-workers, this wasn’t the environment for him.
He’s pouring his heart and soul into his course. I’ve never seen him work harder at anything before. Even he’s a bit surprised about how organised and ordered he is about his studies. He has a whiteboard that I used to use for my Thermomix team meetings when I had my business and he uses it to draw up a weekly schedule. He’s reading aloud 20 minutes a day to improve his pitch and timbre. He isn’t carrying on with his ballet classes but he loves tap and has elected to keep tippety-tapping away next year. I asked if he wanted to go to the supermarket with me after lunch so I could stock up his kitchen for him.
“No thanks,” he said cheerily. “I’ve got plenty of food already.”
It’s almost as if an adult has stolen the body of my child…