Dora Houpis saw her life in meltdown around this time last year. After a brief spurt at normalcy, Melbourne has plunged into another Lockdown, and Dora sent us a brief update as to what life is like during Lockdown 5.0
What are you eating?
Greek street food. I was standing outside the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria’s Greek Centre for contemporary culture, located on Lonsdale St, last week, when a man dressed as a “Σοκοφρετα” stopped me . He gave me a packet of the Greek chocolate wafer bar, so I opened it and ate it while standing on the street curb.
What are you listening to?
“Ανοιχτε τα Τρελαδικα“ by Greek singer, Ελένη Βιτάλη.
She sings about opening up the mental asylums to test which people, those inside or outside the institutions, are crazier. The song has something for every Victorian in hard lockdown. I particularly like the lyrics:
“Βαρέθηκα, κουράστηκα και πόνεσα’’
“Βαρέθηκα, κουράστηκα κι αηδίασα”
So, you are a lover of Greek songs and dance?
Yes. I constantly play “The coronavirus Greek song”, by Giannis Paximadakis, Ellie Petrou and Nick Stamatakis, from March 2020.
I dance the modern Greek dance “συρτό’’ to the song with my 88-year-old parents. We link hands to form a circle and “drag” each other along.
Sometimes, I adjust their walkers, put them at the front of the dance circle and they twirl around.
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What are you reading?
Module one of an online real estate agent course.
I enrolled in the 10-module course on the first day of Victoria’s fifth hard lockdown, last Friday 16 July.
I’m doing the course to give myself another skill and to help me make a tree change.
My new job involves a lot of traveling around rural and regional Victoria.
So, after 25 years of Melbourne inner-city apartment living, I’m putting my North Richmond flat on the market. To save on agent’s fees, I will be selling it myself. I believe my studies for the Real Estate Certificate will help me get a good price.
I’m already working on the advertisement. The first draft reads like this:
“Spacious, 3sqm one-bedroom flats, like this one in Richmond, don’t come on the market often.
“The address has a 10cm balcony accessed by opening the front door, breathing in and walking out sideways. The main entrance boasts a Praxiteles-inspired statue of Hermes and the Infant Dionysus sourced from a box of donated items left outside the Salvation Army Opportunity shop, in nearby Victoria St.
“This top floor property stands at the absolute elite end of Melbourne’s safe injecting room real estate and is a stone’s throw from the Melbourne CBD.
“Blessed with multiple transport options, the new owner can catch a tram, train or bus into the city or cycle virtually unimpeded on the wide bike paths with the other two cyclists a day who use the paths. The title includes a parking space for one skateboard and also comes with a valid Yarra Council street car parking permit to accommodate car owners. For a COVID-safe virtual tour of the property, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.”
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What work are you doing?
I have a new job. I am working for the Victorian Health Department doing wastewater testing to pick up coronavirus fragments.
It’s an important job that involves hands-on experience and travel.
I wear an Augmented Reality (AR) headset. I share real-time footage with my team who work remotely. It’s a strong team who prefer to analyse the data I send them from their home offices. My Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) has the option of me working from home after one year, but pen pushing is not for me anymore. I like to get my hands dirty. I like to get out amongst it.
I’ve seen so much of rural and regional Victoria with this job. I’ve traveled to catchments and wastewater treatment plants in Halls Gap, Nhill, Pakenham, Riddells Creek, Romsey, Stawell, Brushy Creek, Craigeburn , Woodend and Lakes Entrance.
In December last year and early January this year, work paid for me to travel to NSW and do wastewater testing in Wollongong and the Greater Sydney area. I’m lucky. My job takes me to interesting places all around Australia.
What do you do in your spare time?
I’m reading ProjectPete, “Sunken fire pit inspiration”, www.workshop.bunnings.com.au, dated October 2017. I am going to buy a vacant block in the country with the money I get from selling my flat. I’m going to build a DIY kit home on it. I’m also going to construct a sunken fire pit to spit roast lamb at Easter and Christmas.
Where will you be in one year’s time?
I will be in rural Victoria living in the home I built.
I will also have completed another two online courses, this time on farming and animal husbandry.
So, I’ll be attending to my animals. I will be mustering Alpha, the ewe, her mate Beta, the ram, and their flock, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, Zeta, Iota and Kappa which they spawned from close contact.
Which is the first place you will visit in Greece when the borders open?
The Parthenon, at the Acropolis. I want to see the new pathway paved in reinforced concrete across much of the hill’s open space that was laid during Greece’s lockdown.
I’ve already pre-booked the tour with the Greek-Australian owned ecotourism travel group, the “Concrete Revivalists Adventurers of the Southern Hemisphere and Surrounds” or CRASS for short.
The trip includes attending the Acropolis Monuments Conservation committee’s discussion on, “Concrete and culture: The aesthetic integration of modern cement concrete into 5th century BC ancient Greek marble architecture”.
I hope to use what I learn from the talk and tour to pave my rural property in an environmentally-friendly way that respects Victoria’s flora and fauna and the natural landscape.
I also hope to pass on my newly-acquired knowledge about cementing to all Greek-Australians home owners and the Greek diaspora.