Sorry for the lack of blogs! Ever since I settled down at my new place, my online presence has decreased significantly due to not having access to wifi!!
Apparently there is wifi at the place I am staying at but nobody knows the password to it (?!) so until then, I will be stealing wifi from public places around the ‘hood. Luckily there are nearby cafés, restaurants, libraries, and food courts that have wifi. The down side is that internet is rarely “unlimited” in the city. There tends to be restrictions on wireless usage wherever I go. For example, The Jam Factory, a popular mall with a built-in cinema and spacious food court, only allows wifi usage for 15 minute intervals. I was trying to Skype with Shen the other day, but our call was disconnected after every 12-15min. It was really annoying having to reconnect, but it was the best option at that time.
I also visited the local library to create a library card, but haven’t tried connecting to wifi just yet. Let’s hope there are no time limits (I doubt it…).
Two weeks have passed by since my last blog post. The last post mentioned that I was feeling awfully sick. Fortunately I am happy to say I have overcome that bug and finally a happier, healthier person! Since then, tons of things have happened!
To summarize, the first week was spent at the Monash Abroad Orientation where 400 of us (exchange and study abroad students) were crammed into a lecture theatre to learn about Monash University, Melbourne, and life as an Australian. We were also given a bunch of swag including a reusable shopping bag with the Monash Uni emblem printed on it, a TimTam, and a bunch of promotional coupons for students to use around the campus. During that week, we were also provided with breakfast (coffee, tea, and a muffin) and lunch (a $10 lunch voucher to use at the “Meeting Point”, the campus food court). Free anything is good, but imagine how long the queues (“line ups” in Aussie lingo) would be! I felt like a first year all over again – eager to start school and meet new friends. I often find myself gravitating towards the lonely people because starting conversation would be easier instead of trying to butt in an already established clique.
First person I met was an UK gal named Jess. She probably didn’t want to talk to me when I first sat down beside her because I was shoving pancakes and ice cream down my face, but we ended up chatting and still kept contact after that first encounter. Last night we talked about how amazing cake was through a text conversation. I don’t think I have ever found someone so into sweets as I am, so bam – instant friendship.
Other cool cats who I have been spending most of my time with include Laura and Andrea from Spain. Laura is a tiny girl with a quirky personality. She is usually the organizer for our hangouts and is often on her phone finding our next destination (even though we all have Google Maps, she is quickest at opening the map). Andrea is young and carefree, often giggling at unfamiliar phrases. Yesterday she learned what “roasting in the sun” meant and tried to find opportunities to use it throughout the day. I love listening them say Spanish words like “guacamole” and “quesadilla,” because although they are pronouncing it oddly to me, it is actually the correct way!
By hanging out with people from different backgrounds, you quickly learn so much about their life, culture, and language. I love learning all of this new information and I can’t wait to visit their countries when I get the chance because now I know I will have someone to show me around!
Overall, orientation was pretty fun but the highlight of the week was when I got to hold a smooth fellah over my neck! Gotta love the Australian amphibians!
The second week was spent mostly hanging out with new companions, settling down at my new home, and sleeping. Since I was still recovering from my cold, I spent a couple of days completely resting and relaxing in my room. I also had to buy groceries and cook my own meals for the first time! First grocery shopping mistake was not bringing my own shopping bags. Since I didn’t want to buy a bunch of plastic bags because I knew I had a lot back in my room, I only bought one bag to fit in $40 worth of groceries. I don’t know how I ended up fitting milk, bread, vegetables, and other items into a bag, but it worked… (don’t try this at home). Luckily my place was just around the corner, but the walk home was brutal with the heavy load. I am just glad the bag didn’t rip into pieces.
Something else I learned while living alone is that I am actually a huge scaredy cat when the sun goes down. I often hear footsteps coming up and down the stairs even though I am the only person in the house. Maybe the sounds were coming from the building beside me but it often confuses me, so I sit in my bed feeling all paranoid. Before I go to bed, I check the other rooms in case there is someone playing hide-n-seek with me. It’s a weird habit, but I gotta do what I gotta do!
After spending over two decades of my life under a roof with seven people, the change feels a bit uncomfortable but I think I am getting used to it. I often send messages to my friends and family in hope they will respond quickly because I get antsy and bored easily when I am alone. I find myself cleaning more frequently and tidying up my home as well (which is a first…), so whenever I send my mom photos of my room she applauds at how clean it looks. Never have I ever heard that from my mom, haha.
Well, I have to jet to my first official lecture! Starts in 9 minutes and I still haven’t written down the building number… so good bye!! More updates to come soon 🙂