Once upon a time, a young girl left everything behind to go live in Australia for a while. Once upon a more recent time, she decided that having been away from home for a whole year wasn’t enough, so she went out into the vast country and started looking for farm work. Once upon a yesterday, she had yet another existential crisis, and doubted whether this was all worth it. There’s a certain irony in being a farmer’s daughter, never really having any intentions to be the next actual farmer, moving to a farm in rural Australia to work. I’m not as smart as I think I am, hey.

The good news is, as I’m writing this, I already completed 29 out of 88 days – and given that tomorrow is my day off, we can kick it up to 30. I did not want to count the days like this – nor did I want to make them count, looking at you, #qotd-hipsters – I just wanted to have an alright time going through a necessary evil. Finishing this would mean another six months in Australia, working some more, doing the travelling I haven’t done yet, figuring shit out.  I guess I can still say my time here is alright, but the mental burden can be a bit much; I don’t mean this as wanky as it sounds, but it’s pretty goddamn difficult living in the absolute middle of nowhere, playing the role of a young girl practising to be a wife and mother – which is a totally valid thing, just something I have always tried so hard not to be.

Let me first clarify this one thing: when I say literal middle of nowhere, I mean literally the literal absolute middle of nowhere. This cattle station is a little village on its own, with a main house, school room, guest houses, and quarters for the staff. The next-door neighbours are a good 20-minute drive away, the nearest town about two hours, and to get to the closest city you would have to spend a solid four hours in your car. About nine out of twelve months, this place is densely populated with cattle boys and cleaning girls, and events are organised all over the place, so I reckon it’s pretty good to live here then. However, you guessed right, I’m here in those three months nothing happens. It’s the family, me, and some other backpacker boy who is leaving tomorrow. All by my-fucking-self would be the best way to describe it.

My days consist of wiping surfaces, sweeping paths, cleaning shit, and gardening. It’s not as bad as it sounds, were it not for the constant idea that you’re not doing it entirely right. My boss-lady is pretty nice, always available for a talk and a cup of tea, but I just can’t shake the feeling she’s not that happy with my work. Same goes for my boss-man, who goes from hot to cold faster than that guy Katy Perry wrote her song about. Add to that three little girls who one minute want to be your best friend, and the next completely ignore you, and you’ll see why I feel like a modern-day Cinderella – without the Prince Charming part, of course, it’s still me we’re talking about.

The hardest part about it all, however, is probably the fact that I haven’t left these same square meters in a month now. Normally, when you have a hard day at work, you can go out with your friends, relax, recharge for a new day. Here, I can go back to my room, 20 meters away from the main house, and have a night by myself. However, last week, they were talking about taking me to a Christmas party in town, and I couldn’t have been more excited. Mind you, on Fridays we usually have some drinks to unwind from the week, which is pretty fucking great, but the idea of actually getting in a car and driving off to see other people had me dancing. I could wear an outfit that wasn’t entirely sensible Kmart couture, or put on some lipstick instead of help-the-sun-is-roasting-me-lip balm, and maybe if I got lucky, flirt with some cute cattle boys. Unfortunately, as today is Sunday, I stopped holding my breath for the party. Maybe next time. I’m pretty sure the small-town Catholic farmers community wasn’t ready to see my golden velvet slip-on dress anyway. I’ll put my shoes back in the closet – metaphorically speaking, I’m still a big mess and I don’t ever put anything back where it belongs – and wait for the next occasion to leave a slipper behind.