A ripper of a yarn
It was a typical Wednesday night when I finished work late (side-note: I’ve recently been asked a lot if this newsletter is my full-time gig, nope, I spend about 2-3 hours a week on this outside my day job, but I digress) and caught an Uber back home.
My driver turned out to be from Eritrea and, the curious lad that I am, I started asking what brought him to the Bay, what life was like back home and so on. Then this happened:
UD: “So Chris, where are you from?”
Me: “Australia, Sydney specifically.”
I saw his eyes perk up in the rearview mirror and he said: “Oh, Australia! Do you know which Australian is famous in my country?”
I guessed Steve Irwin.
UD: “No Chris, it’s Fred Hollows. Actually, he is the reason my mother can see.”
Well, what do you say to a thing like that? I was blown away by this. He ended up telling me the whole story. See, back in the day there were the rebels in Eritrea who wanted to be in power (note: I’m by no means an Eritrean historian so Google for a more accurate history).
Fred Hollows, the man we all grew up knowing could cure blindness for $20, was there in the mountains of Eritrea despite having what turned out to be terminal cancer (speaking of which he also hung out with Sir Edmund Hillary in 1951 two years before Hillary climbed Everest, seriously, if this bloke was American he’d have at least 5 biopics by now).
My driver’s brother was among them and his job was to bang the drum when air raids came so folks could get in the caves for protection. Only his brother was a bit too slow getting under cover himself one time and he ended up injured and unable to be a combat soldier anymore.
At that time Fred was around and the brother got training from him to be a medic and he was then able to do eye surgeries in his own right. I can’t remember if it was Fred or the brother who cured my driver’s mother of blindness but either way it happened.
What happened to the rebels? They ended up prevailing and, when they formed government, they didn’t forget their old pal Fred. So they made him the country’s first honorary citizen and there was a lot of national mourning when he passed away just two years after Eritrea achieved nationhood.
When I got home I’d forgotten most of my day and work and traded email addresses with the driver. I also felt no small amount of pride in Fred (even if he was born in NZ). Here’s a short 60 mins segment where he speaks in plain Aussie language about it all. Highly recommended viewing.
Redo: Congrats to Aussie Bob for starting his new charter business (link)
I accidentally got the link wrong for Bob’s Facebook page, here’s the updated one :).
Working at Gusto in SF and like cricket?
This is just me selfishly asking. If you work at Gusto and like cricket please get in touch with me.
Congrats to Felicite Flynn for starting here hypnotherapy business (link)
For personal and corporate wellness. If you’re a believer then check it out.
Bay Area Aussie Parents (link)
Are you an Aussie parent in the Bay Area who wants to help your kids meet other Aussies or trade advice on the unique challenges that come with raising kids away as an expat in the USA? Then this Facebook group is for you.
- Elyse and Jake are looking for accommodation in SF 28th March
- Jillian with a $1,200 furnished room in Presidio
- Ankit looking for a room in SF from April
- Michele with a Berkeley sublet for $780 until end of May
- Alexa wants to know if you can fill out DS160 without LCA
- Alexia with question about Vancouver E3 mailing
- Saskia looking for immigration lawyer
- Will looking to transfer from L1 to E3 without leaving USA
- Genevieve asking about applying for E3 from South America
- Kat with an expat guide to US preschools
- Erica looking for a sofa bed
- Marz going to Colossal Clusterfest, want to join?
- Marz going to watch AFL women’s final
- Marz with a political event for artists
- Tish looking for UHT milk
- Kate looking for a good school for 5 and 6 yo
- Jess asking about ITIN for a child
What brought you to the Bay?
“I moved to the Bay Area about 4 years ago after meeting a local boy (much to my parents’ dismay!). I currently work in HR in Marin County, and absolutely love being in this part of the world!” – Kaitlyn. In fact, there’s a full profile on Kaitlyn on the G’day SF blog.
“Hi Chris, I came over originally to work for Google and I lived in Mountain View. Then I fell in love and so now live in the Marina in SF with my American girlfriend.” – Robert
Awesome events (you won’t get in Aus)
Here are some of the highlights for the next month:
Every Wednesday | Aussie Tech Meetup | John Colins | Free
22 Mar | The Kills | Fox Theatre | $53
22 Mar | The Band Perry | Great American Music Hall | $92
23 Mar | Big Sean | The Masonic | $103
24 Mar | Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn | Freight & Salvage | $60
24 Mar | The Old 97’s | The Fillmore | $25
25 Mar | Panic! At The Disco | Oracle Arena | $88
25 Mar | Viceroy | Mezzanine | $22
25 Mar | Sun Kill Moon | Palace Of Fine Arts | $45
26 Mar | Vince Gill | Nourse Theatre | $104
27 Mar | Crystal Fighters | Mezzanine | $68
30 Mar | Passenger | Fox Theater | $49
4 Apr | Squirrel Nut Zippers | The Fillmore | $56
5 Apr | Richard Ashcroft | Fox Theatre | $35
6 Apr | Senses Fail | Great American Music Hall | $104
6 Apr | Third Eye Blind | The Chapel | $902
7 Apr | Regina Spektor | Greek Theatre | $68
8 Apr | Mayday Parade | The Fillmore | $32
9 Apr | Sigur Ros | Fox Theatre | $66
11 Apr | The Damned | The Fillmore | $44
14 Apr | Coheed and Cambria | Fox Theater | $47
15-17 Apr | The xx | Bill Graham Civic Auditorium | $68
17 Apr | Gucci Mane | The Warfield | $53
17 Apr | Simple Plan | The Fillmore | $46
18 Apr | Radiohead | Greek Theatre | $246
18 Apr | Mastadon | The Warfield | $66
18 Apr | The Avalanches | Mezzanine | $63
18 Apr | Frontier Psychiatrist | Mezzanine | $30
For more cheap/free events see here.
Bay Area jobs with Aussie founded companies
Know any Aussie founded companies not listed above? Hit reply and let me know.
E-3 Friendly Companies
Aussies open to opportunities
Looking for opportunities in the Bay Area? Hit reply and I can include a one paragraph in the next edition of the newsletter.
“Sinclaire Prowse is a foreign and public policy research specialist, currently working as a researcher in Asia Pacific security and trade. I’ve worked for the Australian Government for the past few years and moving to the Bay area in a few months – looking for opportunities in Government Relations and Public Policy. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org”
“I arrived in San Francisco about a month ago and I am looking for in-house legal roles in the Bay Area. I have 7+ years experience working in top tier law firms in Australia and the UK (mainly in corporate M&A/private equity) as well as some in-house experience for an international construction company. Email is email@example.com or you can find me at https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidpbrown33/”
News from back home
- Malcolm Turnbull channels Donald Trump in tweet meltdown
- Man attacked by crocodile in Innisfail river
- Bert Newton rushed to hospital with pneumonia
- Obeid family hit with massive bill over ‘irresponsible’ ICAC lawsuit
- NSW government against keeping rises in Sydney tolls capped at inflation rate
Comedy and satire from back home
- Lack of NBN delays further Turnbull Twitter rants
- S.A to harness energy from awkward tension between Frydenberg and Weatherill
- Man miraculously transforms from ⅛ Irish to St. Patrick himself after one Guinness
- Cafe owner acting like you should feel privileged to be able to pay with Eftpos
- Sneaky woman reckons housemate won’t notice slice of pizza going missing
Old School – Not Happy Jan (link)
This one pretty much speaks for itself. I remember hearing it around school, at the corner shop, everywhere in fact. Still good all these years later :).
And that’s it for another week. Hit reply if you have any comments, requests or if you need an excuse to share a yarn over email.
Chris, G’day SF
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