By 5 pm on Friday the Bowls Club bar had become the most coveted spot in Deloraine. The Ladies have a designated table at the bar where Winnie ordered a first round of chardonnay and Sandra took off her sneakers to massage her swollen bunions. Bill saddled up the bar and ordered beer for Team Lark. I was thirsty for some decompression time but opted to go on a run rather than start in with the booze. After making our way back to the barn, Jack (the Lark son) got cooking. He was recently awarded Junior Master Chef runner-up and was looking forward to showing off his skills with some pork belly. I quickly got out of his way and onto the country road with my ipod where Bon Iver distracted me from the repetition of “three types of whisky beginning at 43%…” that was still running through my head.
By Saturday, the quirkiness of Deloraine was starting to become amusing. Carlos and I brought our own cheese and jam sandwiches so that we didn’t have to eat sausage and wallaby pies again for lunch and as the sun blared down, I actually began to enjoy the people watching and notoriety that working the Lark table provided amongst Deloraine attendees. My sales technique wasn’t as aggressive as the mens’ but I was still doing quite well with my more subtle, attentive approach. I even got some points on the board in our internal competition for selling to someone without front teeth and (10pts) being mistaken for a member of the Lark family (10pts). Carlos was leading in top sale ($450 dollar= 25 pts) and handshakes (10 pts).
It was our turn to make dinner on Saturday and though the pork belly that Jack made had the best intentions, I knew we would easily show our kitchen prowess with a Mexican meal of handmade tortillas, grilled beef, several different salsas and fresh beans. Either we were so tired to converse after the day of sales or the dinner was outstanding, it’s hard to know but everyone was quietly moaning at dinner.
Come Sunday, the quirkiness was gone again and I was looking forward to wrapping things up at Deloraine. The communal living–particularly the birds in the walls– was wearing me down. Carlos was still rocking the sales department but I was sneaking more and more mini sips of whisky in between customers to pep me up. At least I can describe the brand with confidence now that I know Lark products so well. The weekend was culturally educational not just for the middle-of-the-country perspective on Tasmania but living with an Aussie family reminded me that there are some distinctive differences between our American inclinations and the mannerisms of our hosts. Generally speaking, Carlos and I are both more direct about plans and intentions than the Lark family. This difference often left us trying to decode their remarks because they seemed to be beating around the bush. I brought this up later in the week with another Aussie coworker and she agreed: Americans are blunt compared to the more tip-toeing nature of Australians. Though I often feel like I fit right in here, these differences are an important reminder that we are in a foreign country and things aren’t always as they seem. As the saying goes, assumptions make an ass…