Paige Templeman spent her early years in Hong Kong and then faced her initial post-school years in the midst of a pandemic. Confident, funny and very honest, even without a plan you get the feeling that Paige will go on to do some great things.
You lived in Hong Kong for a while, how long were you there?
My family (Mum, Dad and brother Donovan) lived in Hong Kong for five years before they had me. Donovan was born in Australia and they moved to Hong Kong when he was little. Mum came back to Australia to have me.
Was that for your Dad’s work?
Yes, he was an engineer working on the Hong Kong airport.
Did you go back to Hong Kong after you were born?
Once I was fine to travel, Mum took me back. I don’t remember anything about Australia before I moved here when I was eight.
Do you remember much of Hong Kong?
I loved it. I feel sad that I wouldn’t go there now that China is in charge of it. Our friends say it’s not the same anymore.
What was it like moving from Hong Kong to Australia?
I remember the first day of primary school at Canungra, they put me in Grade Seven because I was so big and tall, they thought I was in Grade Seven.
I went into this classroom and they were learning multiplication and I had no idea what that was.
You were eight?
Yes. I was supposed to be in Grade Two. They quickly came and got me and said “this girl is supposed to be in Grade Two”. It was funny, because they were learning multiplication and I was like “What’s this? I don’t know what this is.”
Was it a culture shock?
In Hong Kong I went to a big international school and there were people from all over the world.
But I’m glad I came to Canungra, I like it.
You finished school in 2019 and we’ve been in a pandemic since – did that affect your plans for after school?
I didn’t really have a plan for after school.
My friend and I were going to Germany and Europe in 2020. I bought tickets and the pandemic got worse and we couldn’t go.
I went to Uni for two weeks to do Forensic Science. I just struggled so much. I kind of knew I wouldn’t like it, and I gave up after two weeks so I didn’t have to pay the HELP fees. Since then I don’t know what I’m doing.
I’ve been told when you go out you tell people you’re a Pie Maker.
Yeah, it’s just easier, and it sounds better than saying “I’m a dishie”. People are like “oh what pies do you make?” They’re not going to ask “what dishes do you wash?”
In reality, do you do both?
At The Outpost Cafe I do a bit of everything. I serve customers, I wash dishes, I do cooking, I do the pies, whatever they need me to do.
I think Pie Maker sounds better – it’s a conversation starter.
How has the pandemic affected you socially?
For a whole year we didn’t go out, now I’m 20 I should be over my clubbing stage but I’m not, I’m just getting into my party stage.
I’m a pretty confident person but I find it so hard talking to people now. A lot of people my age haven’t had much social interaction.
I feel like young people have lost their communication skills with each other. Which is so sad, I think.
I feel sorry for people my age who went to uni (not myself). They’ve hardly made any friends because they’ve done uni online. Everyone says it is supposed to be the best time of your life but it’s just not for them.