Currently, I’m not really living the life of an international student where I have to fend for myself (that will probably commence when school begins on the 16th). I am very fortunate to be living with a loving and caring family that really have helped ease my transition.

Two days before boarding the place, I had no idea where I would stay and what I would do (my naive mind told me that everything would be all right…I could stay in hostels, ya?). However, my parents felt uneasy with their little girl being plopped onto foreign land so after making a few phone calls my uncle’s friend agreed to pick me up from the airport and provide accommodation for the time being (who knew my family knew people in Melbourne?!). It was a very fortunate circumstance and I am currently still living with this awesome family whom I call my aunty and uncle. They have two children in their late 20’s who have already moved out, but they are currently housing their 20-year old nephew who moved here from Vietnam three years ago.

Before coming here, I was warned that the family I would be staying with owned a business and were highly respected so I had to be on my best behaviour. I wasn’t given a lot of information so I had no clue what they looked like or what they did. To my surprise, aunty is the owner of an up and coming fashion business. She has multiple retail stores across Melbourne, Sydney, and even China! Her husband also runs his own business. He is a mechanic and spends his day fixing things from 8am to 8pm! Both people work really hard and I admire them very much so.

The beautiful house I am staying in!
Celebrating my cousin Quang’s birthday!

Their house is in Lysterfield, a “countryside” suburb of Melbourne, located about 35 minutes from Melbourne’s Central Business District (CBD). Many people are shocked when I tell them I live in Lysterfield because it seems really inconvenient for a Monash University student. There is no method of transportation to get out other than by car and it is surrounded by vast fields and farmland. You would need to walk about 30 minutes to finally reach a bus stop. (Though this morning I ran 20 min in one direction and still couldn’t find a bus stop!).

On the other hand, living in the farmlands has its benefits like waking up to beautiful scenery and catching a glimpse of large, wild animals…

We live across a farm that owns dozens of horses!
These fellahs were trespassing on our front lawn… oh well. At least we don’t need a lawn mower…
The view of their front yard and their crazy dog, Mango!

Fortunately, I will not be living here while I attend Monash University. Aunty and uncle suggested that I move into one of their empty rooms in South Yarra. I don’t know why I keep getting lucky but South Yarra is THE place to be if you were a student here. Located in South Yarra is Chapel St., a world-renowned street filled with trendy shops, cafés, restaurants, and clubs. Many celebrities visit Chapel St. when they visit Melbourne (as people have told me). Not only does it have great day and night life, there is also a river nearby called the South Yarra River that is surrounded by running trails and parks (similar to the seawall at Stanley Park in Vancouver). Being a runner, I know I will definitely take advantage of those awesome paths. There is a train station, numerous bus stops, and trams within walking distance so I could basically transit anywhere I want to easily.

It is interesting how everything just falls into place. I did spend a good amount of time on Gumtree (a website similar to Craigslist) and Monash Marketplace (an online portal where Monash students post items/places to sell or buy) to find suitable accommodation. I even went to a couple of inspections (house viewings) during my first few days here to see whether or not I would like the fit. However, there were a lot of turn offs including dirty bathrooms, questionable living conditions, odd housemates, and unfavorable locations. Although this did give me some experience in finding accommodation, I am glad I waited and was able to weigh all of my options. I can’t wait to move into my new home where it will be safe and convenient for someone like me.