It took place in the Wayville Showgrounds. We turned up and walked in to find an endless ocean of school children. Tons of them. It was like in scarab beetle infestation from The Mummy. I was expecting to try and walk through a pack of them only to be set upon like piranhas. It took us a while to figure out that we'd gone on the Friday - of COURSE that's when all the school kids go.
|Artist's Rendition of a school kid attack.|
Our first discovery upon entering the building was the Master Builders stand. It had a model of the frame of a house and a tacked on question - how many meters of wood go into a standard three-bedroom home? There were five options; 500m, 1000m, 2500m, 5000m and 10km. Jerida and I love a puzzle. We stood there for ten minutes trying to figure out logistics and variables. We knew that it had to be more than what you'd initially think. But 10km seemed like way too much and 500 meters wouldn't have even covered the outer frame. We measured out in our heads what the other distances look like, and I decided to go for 2500m while she went for 5000.
'Nup, both wrong,' said the guy behind the stand. 'It's 1000 meters of wood.'
So we trudged away disappointed, but impressed.
Next we came across the defence force section. That seemed to be the most popular space in the expo. I don't know if it's the same in other countries, but in Australia, they make it pretty appealing to join the defence force. They not only pay for your tertiary education, they give you an annual salary in the mean time. And it's enough to live off of by itself, especially if you're in the later years of the course.
We were watching a speech by a defence force representative who had worked on some pretty cutting-edge technology. He seemed really excited by what he'd been through and what we could do as well. He talked about the great camaraderie - how people could just get together a group of people and say 'We want to start a volleyball team,' and you'd get funding for it. He mentioned how many different pathways you could take - I believe there were 180 of them, divided into seven categories. And he described what it takes to get accepted. This is my favourite thing about the defence force. They're one of the few places in the world that don't just look at your school marks to decide how good you are for them. They do all sorts of aptitude tests and find out who you really are. As someone who clashed with everything high school stood for (there's a very long, separate post in that), I really appreciate that. They obviously prefer you to have excelled in high school, which I understand. But their absolute minimum requirement to enter any area of the force is to have completed year 10 and done at least one maths and English subject (and a science subject for some areas). I came away thinking there was no harm in taking their free aptitude test to see where I would fit best. Joining the army would certainly be a new thing I could blog about.
|One of the navy speed boats|
We kept looking. Most of the stands seemed to be dedicated to universities and colleges. Nothing I was interested in. But there was one stand that caught my attention. The banner said Camp America and was manned by a couple of good-looking young people. We went up to enquire. Turned out it was one of those summer camps they have for school kids in America. They were asking for applicants to be teachers and minders there. They'd have their accommodation and meals paid for as well as their J1 Visa (whatever that means). Then at the end they'd get paid a bunch of money and be allowed another 30 days on the Visa to travel around America at their own discretion.
Very enticing. I had a think about whether I could do something like that. I have no problem working with little kids, so that's no issue. Could I uproot my commitments for the three months required? I've got a casual job which isn't giving me a lot of hours at the moment, so that probably wouldn't be an issue. I have radio commitments on Tuesdays and Thursdays. And footy umpiring is now on Thursdays and Saturdays. I'd just be taking a three-month chunk right off the end of the season. They can certainly deal without me, but I've been waiting so long to do that that I wouldn't want to disrupt it now. And here's another thing, spoiled as I may seem... I'm incredibly lucky to have gone overseas three times in my short life. But it annoys me a lot that two of those times were not only the same country (America), but exactly the same cities (Los Angeles and Las Vegas). It was with my parents at a young age, so I didn't have a choice in the matter. If I ever get to go overseas on my own, it's going to be somewhere new.
|On the other hand, if it's good enough for this guy...|
There was a makeshift cafe set up in the corner, so we had a quick break for a chai latte. While we were drinking it, we noticed the stand for Aussie Home Loans. Jerida and I are both saving up for a deposit on a home, so we thought we'd go over to ask them what it takes to get a loan.
The nice man named Andrew told us there are two factors that banks consider above everything else - serviceability and sustainability. Serviceability is the person's current ability to pay the loan off. Or in simplest terms, what's the person's income? Sustainability is the person's likelihood of staying that way. If the person is on a salary of $50 000, but is on their third job in a year, the bank will see that as high risk. Who's to say the person won't lose their job or their earnings? This also covers people who have part-time or casual jobs. They're said to have low sustainability.
So I asked Andrew this question - I'm getting into radio as a career, which has a high serviceability, but low sustainability. How would that affect my chances?
'Look, it's all just risk assessment,' he said. 'If the bank looks at your circumstances and decides you'll be able to pay the money back, they'll give it to you. If not, they won't.'
Another factor to consider is whether you have a credit rating. If you've got a credit card which you've always paid off without any issues, that works in your favour. The standard deposit they look for is 20%, but if you come to them with 30% of the money you plan to borrow, they like that. It means their own fees will be lower, such as insurance etc. It was all very helpful.
|He also told us to stay away from this guy.|
But in the end, as the expo closed down for the day, I hadn't had any major revelations on a new direction in life. Jerida is already on her path, so of course there was no change there. There was one stand I found there that seemed to fit my skill set the most. I think it may be where I'm headed in the future.