Survey challenge: day 25

Got agreement for another 2 interviews. That will make it to 10 the interviews done or booked to be done. I really need to interview growers, retailer and exporter. If only I had 4-5 more that would be fantastic! How do I get to chat to real growers? Or retailers? Exporters I know that would be harder, but growers?

Yesterday we didn’t go to Bondi, boys preferred to go to Chinatown for lunch. Then went out around Darling Harbour, and at night went out for dinner at the Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurant in the city. Great time and lovely weather. Even a Brazilian festival in town. Today we are off to cold Canberra. Looking forward to seeing friendly faces and getting out of this crazed traffic.

We are leaving Mosman soon, lovely area if you can afford it. Our airbnb was a great find. The Colombia it was meant to be.



Survey challenge: day 24

Just had a wonderful breakfast in the North Shore of Sydney, then went to Kirribilly House, the official residence of the PM of Australia.  The views are amazing. No wonder why the 0.01% want to defend their way of living and see the rest of us, partícularly us brownies, as a threat.

Trying to take boys out for another walk around Sydney. Thinking we should go around Bondi Beach. Boys are insoportable, responding back, not wanting to do anything or go anywhere, just bhaving like entitled kids. The silver lining is knowing that their kids will do the same to them. I do love those brats though, put up with all the whining when travelling because exploring the world is the best for them. That’s how memories are formed, stories are told and traditions are created. Life is good.  Our little place in Mosman resulted to be the best spot for exploring Sydney, close to the ferry and plenty of buses. Boys happy watching TV and wifi, even a Macca’s around the corner. Perfection.

Another break from PhD work, great times. Although I am thinking that I should go tomorrow to the Flemington markets to explore horticulture product into Sydney.

Survey challenge: day 23

Weekend!! We are in bed still in our small apartment is Mosman, a little enclave North of Sydney. Beautiful grand houses, shops, coffee houses, trendy bars, parks, bush walks and the Sydney Bay.  Great living if you had $10m+ for a house.  Still good to know how the other 0.01% live.

In Australia the politicians have given the people the ‘right’ to participate in a non-binding, non-compulsory survey for us to give an opinion on whether gay people have the same rights as non-gay. I am upset about this imposition of the Parliament on us, worse it is all because the PM doesn’t want to loose the support of the party and give it to the ex-MP. Political survival at the expense of national harmony. I’m starting to feel it personally, because I am so upset to be receiving emails and msgs asking me to support the NO campaign. Very upset with my friends and family for being so fucking stupid, upset with me for being upset with them. All thanks to our elected representatives. I don’t want to start a debate with them because I don’t want to be disrespectful calling then bloody uneducated biggots, particularly the younger ones. People that are divorced, using contraception, having affairs, sex before marriage, abortions … now talking about the sanctity of marriage in a civil court, WTF?? That double moral makes my blood boil. I agree as a Catholic you may not want gay marriage in the church, but as a legal marriage in the civil court, what’s the fucking issue? Above all I believe in the separation church – state.

No time for PhD work, I am on holidays anyway. 

Interview challenge: day 22

We are here in Sydney, Australia. After more that 15 hours driving we arrived this afternoon in beautiful Watson Bay. I must say that 50% or more of the time I spent it worrying about the driving, so I didn’t get to enjoy the road. I am worried about tomorrow’s drive from here to the other hotel on the other side of town, besides I need to pick up Boy 1 from airport and take hubby to conference.  So anxious!! 

As for PhD work today I had a day off. Great! I got 7 interviews, but still at least 5-8 interviews.  Only have 2 extra interviews booked, so really need to book 3-6 interviews. Tonight I have to send the one message. 

Ethics challenge: day 20

Feeling over the moon right now! I GOT THE JOB! Yes, just got a letter of offer: permanent A07, meaning a made it to the +$100k club. It took me almost 14 years to get this far, some people get here in a couple of years, but me working part-time, funny accent brown skin, I just had to put that bit more of extra effort. Also, as always you need to have someone who can give you a hint when there is an opening, for me it was one of my ex-bosses who suggested I applied for this role, just to gain high level experience. Thanks KC, your advice was so valuable, and thanks to my current boss, colleagues, family who have provided so much support. Thank you Lord, you have responded to my prayers. I will cherish this opportunity and share the fruits of my labour. The role is demanding, but ‘enjoyable’. Enjoy the pain. Feeling very grateful.

As for the interviews, it has gone so well so far. Today’s interview was an eye opener. Plenty of good information. With my interviews yesterday got what I wanted: an invite to North Queensland, plus ok to run surveys with the industry database. The need to visit a DC plus Qantas terminals very important after today’s interviews. I hope I van get an introduction to a QC in Brisbane. Tomorrow off to the Sunshine Coast. My little boy is going camping tomorrow morning, must pack up today.


Interview challenge: day 18

Beautiful Sunday! Cleaning, cooking and wining. Perfect spring day with good old friends. My oldest friend and her daughters lots of laughter and memories. My cooking was awesome: classic Italian osso buco and potato mash with gremolata, yum, yum.

Boy 1 is growing fast and become quite aggressive, almost had a domestic with dad. All is a pain and too much work. I am finding really hard dealing with his teenagers moods. All I needed a hormonal boy plus mum!! Brother called to say that mum was looking for a receipt because I was angry she’s lost it! She’s imagining it because I hadn’t even spoken to her. I think I am angry that dementia has finally caught up with her. I am so angry at life, at fate, at God. How cruel, after all the pain and suffering to end up like this: lonely, bitter and lost.

No PhD work today and it was good. Two interviews tomorrow.

Interview challenge: day 17

No interview today, my interviewee had to go to a funeral in NQ, and will likely reschedule for late September.  I am contemplating asking her for help with growers, as no much luck yet locating growers that may be interested in participating in the study.  Granted I have not approached one yet, but will do after a couple more interviews.   I tried to contact retailer plus IT provider, we’ll see if I get a response.

I had I good old chat with with supervisors, who commented in lack of enunciation when talking. He is deaf of one hear and finds it hard to understand my accent, also I speak to fast with high pitch.  I was taken aback by his comment, but was not offended as I do think he is right, and I need to work on my pronunciation and slow down when talking. Anyway, we were taking about the preliminary research and had a discussion on what people were saying and how that related to my thesis.  I was asked to go back to my basic model, so I don’t get lost with all the data. Good idea I think. I will read again on model and come up with a good definition for trust.  Maybe I am working on this as a project again, forgetting this is all about academic research and theories are paramount.  Still so much to learn.

On a positive note, I am on holidays from today. Got three weeks to concentrate on my studies and family. Got 10 days straight for PhD research, a luxury for a part-time student. Got 12 days of blissful holidays with the boys, visiting some of the most beautiful parts in the country, a big drive.  On the way, I am sure I’ll be reading, thinking, listening to the interview – I will have 7 recordings – and exploring how to integrate it all.  There will be 11 days holidays, with lost of PhD work in the middle.  I just wish I could stop and talk to someone in Canberra with expertise in horticulture and digital agriculture.

By the way, before leaving on leave I asked my boss about the outcome of my job interview, but could not tell me because an interview panel member was in hospital and she hadn’t finished her scoring. So more waiting at least another 3 weeks until I am back from leave. What a pain! He gave me a small hint in the positive, but nothing concrete.


Interview challenge: day 16

Had another interview today. Felt a bit anxious at the beginning worse when the subject had little knowledge of the technologies.  However, as the interview preogressed, the discussion got easier. Good thing is that the questions could be adapted. So still managed to get about 60mins of recording. I felt that my interview technique could be improved immensely, at times I felt trapped and didn’t know how to keep the conversation going. Must have a definition for what I am asking.  In real life people may not know what ‘digital agriculture’ is, I guess that in itself is an outcome of the research. Interview for tomorrow cancelled, but not worried about it as I can reschedule.

Good thing after my chat with other university is that I don’t have to pay for fees. Also I can transfer at level. I should start organising the paper work as the end of October is the last day to apply.  There is a lot of paper work, starting with an Academic  CV, plus letters of support, previous marks, etc. I am a bit concerned about the uni, but more prestigious and with access to resources and contacts.  Way more rigorous too, so harder to graduate, harder to complete.  Better academic at the end?

Tomorrow, I’ll make the appointment with supermarket, check all my bookings for next week, plus transcribe today’s interview.  I am thinking what when i get to the capital city, maybe i should go an interview some people at CSIRO?  They are doing the most up-to-date research in digital agriculture.  Must talk to my supervisors.

No news yet on the job and my application. It’s two weeks after my interview, chances is that I don’t do well enough in the interview and didn’t get the role. Calm, calm mamita. God always knows what’s best.


Interview challenge: day 15

My mum’s tumour drama continued today. Got a phone call from her doctor, no, the doctor does not think mum got a tumour given her medical history. She has a broken rib, which has given her so much pain. The doctor is still going to send her to do breast cancer screening just to be on the safe side. Thank you Lord. Sad is that mum’s memory is going. She had been talking for days about the same thing: get a document signed even though it was already signed in early August. Better finish this PhD soon so she can see me graduate and still recognise me.  How I love my poor mum, and I just hope her last days are not that painful.  I hope my boys keep inside the good memory of her as a happy, hard working and loving Lala. I am so angry, sad and scared that this is happening to her, to us, after all we have suffered.  This is her time, the time to enjoy her hard work, but her brain has failed her, just like many people in her life have failed, including probably me. Sad.

I conducted an interview today. At first I thought it would only be a pilot test, but the discussion was so good and the answers quite insightful that I will ask for consent to be used in the research. Did some reading of journal articles on technologies to measure consignment conditions. Booked the room for my first industry interview. I also modified slightly my interview questions and sent the final draft to my supervisors.  Tomorrow morning I’ll email me and print consent form and project information. Well, it’s happening: the real interview challenge starts tomorrow. I think I am as ready as I’m ever going to be. Very anxious, but glad the time has come.

BTW, I am having a chat with the Graduate School of another university, plus one of the recently graduated PhD students. I am considering changing unis, if the price is right. Still early stages, but if it happens it will be after I finish the interviews and transcription of discussion.  That one I will leave in God’s hands.  I’ll do whatever is necessary to move, if conditions are ready right for me, but will not be attached to the outcome.