Straya

Thursday, August 11, 2016

So it's been almost half a year since I've stepped foot on Australian soil and prepared to make this place my home for the next 1 year.



Actual proof of how fearless the wildlife are here. You think the internet and I are joking but we're not. That shit's real.


So, how's life?



I am so used to having a different groups of friends to hang out with. It's not uncommon to have a friend hangout almost everyday of the week. So being thrown into the deep end of having my first year here being a 3rd year degree student, kinda takes away something I coin as the 'Freshman feels'. It's your first year there with everyone else in your cohort, no one knows what's to come and everyone has that novelty of being in university. You go through the whole process of meeting new people from your batch and getting to know them as you transition into a sense of normalcy. But being a transfer student on your last year of studies, everyone here kinda already knows everyone else. This is their territory, it's not mine. It makes it so difficult to make friends. Everyone's settled in long ago and found their own cliques. There's no room for people like me. And it's completely normal to feel that way.

So of course, the first few months here made me feel out of place, but that's not going to stop me from going all out to experience as much as I can. I've joined a few things: notably the faculty's Community Engagement Program and am helping out with the marketing of UQ Idea Hub, a startup pre-incubator for students. Partly to learn new things, partly to meet new people who share the same experiences.

6 months later, I've made a lot of friends here! Most of them hi and bye acquaintances because I am absolutely horrible at keeping in touch and following up after we meet. But enough to make me feel connected.

But so far, life has been okay. It helps to have Malaysian housemates - 2 of them I've already known before this, 2 who are in the Malaysian student association committee (and they have leftover Malaysian food from events that they bring back home, thanks girls!) and 1... well 1 who's love dilemmas keep me entertained. I admit, I would be lonely without these people.


Lose weight, gain weight?

Joey and I also do workouts together and try (and very often, fail) to keep each other accountable for our fitness goals. Now that I have a bit more freedom to eat what I want (because refusing my grandmother's food back at home was not an option), I'm trying to eat more vegetables and fruits, work out a bit more and be more mindful. Australia is the best place to achieve these goals, everyone's so fit and healthy here it's ridiculous.

I walk a lot here now, which I have started to not detest. Back in Malaysia, walking the less than 2 kilometers from my house to Leisure Mall on a hot, scorching, humid day would be unfavourable. But walking here doesn't seem as bad. Walking to university and back would already take 2 kilometers. I probably walked half a marathon on one of the days I visited Sydney. My ankle is not making it easy for me though. It's constantly quite stiff and standing/walking for a long time makes it sore. I wonder if my ankle will ever get back to the way it was.

My love for food knows no bounds

Did I miss late night mamak sessions where indomee is so easily accessible? Heck yeah. But fear not, affordable indomee can be found in abundance here even at the Korean marts. I thought that I was going to have to scrape through the 2 packages of indomee my mom brought over, but it's about $2 for 5 packets here so it's not that bad.

I also don't particularly miss a lot of the food back home, mainly because I don't like curry... but I do miss chili pan mee, obscenely affordable chicken rice, and my grandmother's cooking... oh who am I kidding I do miss Malaysian food. That craving for chicken rice brought me to Fortitude Valley, allegedly also called the Chinatown of Brisbane. The chinese traditional herbal stores (yeok choi po) remind me of Taman Cheras and old people. The dodgy alleys bring me back to the scene of night markets. But when I passed by a Chinese restaurant selling chicken rice for $15??? Nope. Nonono. I don't miss it enough to fork out almost 700% increase (in ringgit) from the price of chicken rice back at home. I was going to make Hainanese chicken rice by myself one day. A few months later, I gave in and got myself a plate of wantan mee and chicken. Maybe it was my long-abandoned impaired judgment of Malaysian food, but it tasted good and I needed that. Writing about it right now makes my mouth water. I also got some roasted duck from Burlington BBQ in Sunnybank. It tasted like home.

One thing I also am having difficulty with, is cooking in batches and eating similar food everyday. My stomach isn't used to having the same thing over and over again. My grandmother cooks everyday back at home, and each day she spoils us with her ambrosia-like food. I took it for granted! When I get back home I'm going to tell her how good her food is (I already do, but she needs to hear it more). I miss my grandma, I miss my family! My parents, aunts, nieces/nephews... Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Certain numbers have become so important to remember. In the effort of saving money and converting currencies, I feel like I am now a mathematician with all the guilty calculations I do in my head all day as to how much I'm spending in ringgit. As if my accounting courses don't give me enough problems with numbers.

Speaking of accounting...

So currently I'm doing a double major of accounting and finance, and it is not easy. My knowledge of accounting was basically almost NIL when I came here. Sure I did a few accounting subjects back at HELP University, but it's not like I remember anything?? Everything that was suppose to look familiar, became foreign. What a balance sheet looks like, what's a perpetual inventory system... I remembered only bits and pieces, nothing significant. So my first semester studying experience here was more challenging than I thought it would be. Everyone else was a step ahead of me because they did a lot of accounting before and I was lagging behind. Didn't do super well for my first semester and it was supposed to be the easier semester. Oh man.

Also, I have come to the conclusion that accounting is not for me. Maybe I could learn to love it, but deep down I probably know I would be unhappy doing this for the rest of my life.

Like the many promises I made and broke here about updating my blog consistently... I'm still planning to update my blog more consistently lol. I had a great trip to Melbourne and Sydney over winter break and would love to share it with the non-existent readers I have here yay! 

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