Good evening ladies and gentlemen, distinguished toastmaster and guests. My name is Iliya *pause* This name might not be familiar to you. I don’t blame you….. It is quite rare. However it does and I am here to explain to you the origins of my name #pause# Consider yourself lucky if you have a simple name like Ben, Tom, Alex, Angela #pause# you don’t have to spell it out every time you have to buy a coffee. Iliya, *spell* I l I y a oh so many I’s and l’s it’s just too confusing. My family came to Australia in the year 1997 from the European country of Croatia. I completed a Bachelor of Science in 2010 and I have worked ever since following my passions and interests.
So today I will give you a brief autobiography of my life. How my NAME came to be and its origins. Where I came from and how my IDNETITY was formed and finally what I ended up doing at university and a good part of my life.
I was born in the year 1988 and I was named after my grandfather. It is Hebrew name…… meaning “the name of my God is Yahweh”…… It has many derivatives, Elijah in English, Elias in Greek, Iliyas in Arabic and Iliya is the Slavic version, and we also have a Female version Ilijana. The name also has many deviations in spelling depending on the country you are in. However the best definition of it comes from the website Urban Dictionary.
“Someone who is very zen, in touch with himself, and channels his inner being to perfection. Never in a rush, always laidback, cool and calm but that doesn’t mean he won’t be a wise-ass and slick when needed. Charmer with the people and very well-educated.” Which is quite faltering. Thanks Urban Dictionary.
I was born on the Croatian Adriatic Coast in a city called Zadar. The region is called Dalmatia and I could call myself a Dalmatian, but that would confuse people with the dog….. So I don’t do that. I only lived there for about 5 years before moving to the capital of Serbia Belgrade and finally at the age of 9 my family settled in Australia. This was in the year 1997. My ethnicity is truly mixed now, I was born in Croatia, to Serbian parents but consider myself culturally Australian. I grew up on the South Coast, the most stunning coast in Australia, I went to Wollongong Primary School, Wollongong High School and finally Wollongong University. Completing the Wollongong education trifecta. The outcome of all this education in Wollongong is a Bachelor Degree in Science majoring in geology.
Science has always been my strong suit and a passion of mine. I have been trying to understanding the world around us and how we all fit in it. I would read science text books given in class in a matter of days, while other students would not read it at all. I found out I was a natural in Earth Sciences and understanding concepts from that field was easy for me …….so I naturally gravitated to it. This led me to complete my BSC in geology and 2 months later I was working on drillings rigs in Queensland.
The geologist life is not for everyone, you are constantly on the move. Your office is outside and the scenery changes every time the drilling rig moves. You start work at 530 in the morning. You will work in -5 degree mornings and 40 degree afternoons, you will encounter dangerous animals like brown snakes and funnel web spiders , you might get run over by a dump truck, literally squashed in your car. You drive your car a lot, practically living it and your car will get stuck in mud, you will get a flat tire and you will have to open a hundreds of barbed wire gates If you get chosen you can end up working in the depths of an underground mine. Working in the underground environment is especially dangerous due to geotechnical hazards. The roof collapsing on your head is a real and present danger. The upside is of all of this danger is that you get paid 6 figure sums.
You could consider it a bad ass life and in some instances it is. On the other hand it can be quite lonely and isolated life. It has its upsides and downsides but you take the good with the bad. Looking back I really enjoyed being a geologist even though at time I tough it was a very tough job.
Around the middle of 2012 the mining boom ended, everybody got made redundant and I decided to switch it up. At first I moved into the geotechnical industry starting a masters in Geotechnical Engineering, trying to learn how to build foundations of buildings and infrastructure but what I really wanted to do is move into the tech industry. At first I learnt how to code so I started designing websites and then I moved into the Electronic Security Industry, implementing security architectures. It’s a large pivot from where I originally started in Earth Sciences but by diversifying my knowledge base into science, technology, computer science and business I can really achieve more than just being a geologist. My current job is not the same as traveling 500kms by car to reach a place in the middle of nowhere but I enjoy the services that large cities provide. Great restaurants, good coffee and fast internet. I currently live with my girlfriend in Alexandria and I have joined the dreaded daily commute into the CBD.
My name is weird and its meaning is equally weird. The name of my god is Yahway, but I have accepted it for what it is. I am culturally Australian but my background is European. I have learnt so much and traveled widely. My current work is not as exciting as my previous work but it gives me an opportunity to learn new things. One day I hope to return to doing geology but right now I love living in Sydney. Thank You.