Monday, May 28, 2007
It's a truth universally acknowledged that a person in search of a purpose will eventually come face to face with it just when they near give up hope.

Unfortunately, I have yet to come face to face with my purpose, and fortunately, I've yet to give up hope on it. I know it's a more 'romantic' notion, to think we have some meaningful purpose in our life to fulfill - something that makes it seem like we made a difference or at the very least will be remembered after we've passed.

Sitting here so far from home I've gained the perspective that though no one knows how long they will live, there are plenty of moments that we can grasp and flip upside down to change what we want in our lives. Not to say we have any true control - I'm a firm believer in destiny and we will travel down the path that God has intended for us. But we're fortunate that every day allows a new beginning to change what we did yesterday.

I sound like a sedated wannabe-poet. But, I actually have a point, somewhere.

I've always been a fairly shy person, just my nature. And having moved around so much in my life (count is now at 11 different places, and 10 different schools) I've developed a dependency on myself. I've never been one to ask others advice (not that I don't think they will help me or won't have anything of value to say) just because it seemed that by the time I trusted someone and gained their friendship, something would happen that got me to start all over. But then again, I've always been the eldest in my own household and my mom's side so I've been the one everyone else, including the elders, came to to get advice.

I'm also a believer in "everything happens for a reason".

Take VDGfor example. Sure, she's kooky, and no, I'm not sharing an apartment with her next term, but one of her better qualities is that she says what she wants, when she wants to. Though that may not be the best thing in certain situations, it's gotten her to criticize (not in a rude way) some characteristics of mine that I'd never thought about - such as my insistence on being as independent as possible. She pointed out that though it is a good quality, you need to learn to trust people and share your problems to help grow a friendship. I've actually struggled a long time with this, especially with a very good friend of mine who I'd get into arguments with when it was obvious I was upset, but wouldn't tell anyone why.

My thinking on it was that I shouldn't bother people with my problems and that no one would really care, so I need to take care of it on my own. But it does make sense the other way, doesn't it?

Another girl I met here has such a bright personality that she can (and does) go up to a group of strangers and start up a conversation and come back 15 minutes later having made friends with all of them (including adding them to MSN and Facebook - the blooming ground for friends...ha). I am in total awe of that. I could never imagine myself doing that - even if I knew one person within that group I'd still think twice (ok, thrice) about going up to them. "What if they look at me? And judge me?? And don't like me?! And find out that I am neurotic and strange and overly addicted to ER???"

But, having watched and talked to her made me realize that I could be missing out on making some great friends and that I do not have a Friendship Magnet that will attract unsuspecting potential-friends my way. I have to make the effort and go out in search of them and be more open.

Somehow people have got it in their head that I'm supposed to meet the love of my life down here (maybe they are just desperate to see me get married..!?) and although I have no idea whether that will happen, I can say that so far Australia is helping me grow into a better person.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
[I'm still having trouble uploading all my picture - I wanted a website that would mass-upload them rather than having to select each file individually because I have so many pictures, so instead I've post a random selection of picture of my university campus. And yes, that's a real lake in the middle of the campus that stretches all around the suburbs. And no, people don't go swimming in it - there are bull sharks and those crazy jumping fish in there]

I'm now an official student at my univeristy - meaning I bought a sweatshirt with huge lettering. School pride, baby.

Thank you all so much for your encouraging words. I knew homesickness was going to be a factor in the first few weeks while being here, but can you blame me? I had to leave so many wonderful people behind. But no one said making this my home would happen overnight. Everyday you get a little more comfortable and the process is tough, but if I couldn't cope, I wouldn't have done it [got that Anonymous? Write it down if you need help remembering. And then check this out and learn a little something].

There are some who hide behind the label of "Anonymous" when speaking their mind, and then there are those who will stand up at a podium and shout it. Both are extremes but I envy the latter. I've met a couple people recently who are anything but shy about expressing themselves. It's interesting to watch but puzzling. I've never been able to say what I wanted when I wanted to say it. The moments tend to pass me by leaving only the aftertaste of the "shoulda, woulda, coulda". Though these types of people may get in trouble for what comes out of their mouth, my take is that at least they've said their mind and will deal with what they need to. On the other end of the spectrum there are the people-pleasers who need to be agreeable and maintain the peace and avoid confrontation - people like me.

I've never been able to deal with confrontation. I dread it, unless it's talking to a family member, in which case I'll make myself heard around the neighbourhood if I need to. But usually I'm one to let things slide and don't get upset over little things. So I have trouble understanding why people create such drama and have meltdowns when small things go wrong - getting the wrong entree in a restaurant, person not calling you back, someone who was late, why so-and-so is not talking to such-and-such over this-and-that. It's all just fluff to fill up our lives so why pay so much mind to it?!

It's known to be more of a ''girl'' trait - this over-obsessing and over-analyzing of little situations. Then talking about it with ten other people. Then figuring out why it happened. Then would should have happened. It's all too exhausting...

Basically it all boils down to this girl I met here let's call her TTM (Talks/Thinks Too Much). TTM seems to have met the whole campus in the last two weeks, including all the other Indian people (all from there anywhere we don't travel in packs!?) so which automatically means the some sort of drama is soon to follow. And follow it did. Now TTM is telling me about how this guy said this to her and how she thinks that. About how she met someone who got her mad so she told him off but wants to stay friendly with him anyways (after which the questions started "should I be friendly?" "Why?", "Why not?", "He shouldn't have said what he said to me, right...right? RIGHT!?!?".

Chicks....sheesh! Where are all the sensible, fun, smart girls?! Like the ones who read this blog and the ones I know back home? Don't they come to Australia? TTM is nice and she's cool to hang around but if I get dragged into another "dramatic" situation, I will jump into the lake in front of our school which is said to have bull sharks. Trust me, it'd be worth it. I came all this way to escape that whole 'brown' scene that is so prevalent back home, but somehow landed smack into it without knowing it.

But Aussie is fun still. Aside from being a beautiful place you start to find so many people from all over the world on the campus. My neighbour to the left is from South Africa, and the one to the right is from Korea. Though the lecture halls average about 100-150 people, the tutorial sessions are broken down to groups of 10-15 people so you get to talk a lot more with people you may have otherwise passed by. People are friendly with others, although there are small cliques - which you can never escape - you get to hang around all sorts of people.

Here's the bad part - anyone who's travelled very far for university (meaning no weekend trips home) could tell you that life here is found to be in a bubble. You live, eat, sleep, learn all within the same grounds so one day seems to stretch on forever. You forget that you're even in a different country and surrounded by so much because everything around you quickly (took two weeks for me!) becomes normal. Although I didn't expect that the novelty of being in Australia would last forever, I'm already looking for escape routes to get off campus more because my trip home in August just seems too far away.

Life is so much so bubble-fied (bubble-ized?...Bubbly?) that I have no idea what to blog about now. Don't get me wrong, I'm still very happy and enjoying my work, but the routine settled in quicker than I thought it would! And now I fear I've become a boring person with no life on the outside world. Maybe I'm just in a blog-rut? Nothing really of substance to say but I'm still typing away, possibly to make some contact with the outside world!

P.S. I know it seems I'm complaining about people here, but those are just the two weirdos I've found (VDG and TTM) - soooo many others are perfectly normal and super great, but the weirdos are always more interesting.

P.P.S. The picture on the left is the view from my room - overlooks the lake.

UPDATE: Okay, so I'm through feeling like I'm in a rut. Nobody other than myself can help me from feeling this way so I've decided to take some control and get more involved in campus life. I'm going to join the Student Council and some other clubs/organizations around school and meet people and have fun, dammit! I used to be pretty involved in undergrad, so why stop now, right?? And I set out to make the most of this experience and the "experience" won't come to me, so I'm going to "it". So THERE!

Sunday, May 20, 2007
I don't know what it is about being here but I suddenly feel quiet old. And boderline desperate? I'm here for two years and I have this heavy feeling that when I arrive back home after finishing my degree, people at home will have moved on and settled into their own lives while I am still trying to find one.

I know that I'm here to do something good, and everyone is proud of me, but I can't help but feel a little lost. It doesn't help that many of the people here are 18 or so, just out high school and entering unversity to complete a LLB degree, while me, Miss Post-Graduate is in the "mature student" category.

Anyone who knows me that "mature" is the last label that I'd have attached to me. On that same note, people who do know me tend to think I'm a super-confident, brainy girl which I can't see myself being. I did take this big step and move here, and maybe I'm weird, but I didn't see that as monumental as entering my mid-20s. I'm hoplessly spiralling back into in a quarter-life crisis...

A friend told me I have to quit complaining because I was in Australia - to which I replied that Customs here didn't confiscate my right to feel sorry for myself and I didn't think I was exactly breaking a local law. Maybe I have problem with self-sorry-feeling, or maybe I'm just like everyone else. Why can't I just wallow in the yucky feeling sometimes? I have a right to wallow and wallow I shall.

I have no idea where I was going with this post but I did start out with a point...which has slowly seeped to the back of my mind. VDG is adamant on moving off campus next term and taking me with her. I have no clue what I want. Nothing new...I've always been indecisive and easy going to the point that sometimes I just don't know what was my decision and what was someone elses.

Maybe homesickness is starting to set in - it's been exactly a week since my family left and that I've been on campus. No matter how many lovely new people you meet, it doesn't substitute for family and friends back home right? Again, "friend" says that sure they miss me too, but that I'm in Australia, so I'm very lucky and shouldn't feel this way. Needless to say "friend" is now a blocked entity on MSN.

And I'm out of peanut butter...*sigh*
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
After so much thought and planning, I've finally landed in my new home for the next two years!

It took a long time to get internet access because I came earlier than when school was to start (pre-planned) since my family was travelling with me and the place where we were all staying was going through some big change-over from dial-up to wireless so had no internet. Internet cafe just seemed pricey so I had to wait until school started to get myself set-up.

[picture on the left is of Sydney taken while I was on the plane]
Thank you again to everyone who had been so wonderful in sending messages all throughout!

I had a lot of things I wanted to write about so I'm just going to have to break it down for y'all (Aussie styles)

[picture above is of the city of Brisbane]

Food (most important)

There are SO many restaurants in this city, I wonder how any of them make money. The good things is you have an amazing variety of food - Traditional Western, Thai, Arab, Indian, Malay, Indonesian, Japanese, Morroccan, Chinese - you get the picture. And many of the places are halal so it's great selection.

As for grocery items, I found pretty much everything the same as back home as for selection, except that it's a little more expensive here, but only by a couple dollars or so. But pop/soda (whatever you prefer) is expensive here so has caused me to break my - albeit, bad - habit of drinking Coke everyday. A regular 2L bottle will run you around $4AUD while a case of 24 cans can be from $18-24AUD. So, water it is (bottles also slightly more expensive but will have to do).

[picture on the right is of my dorm room (there's more to it, I promise, just can't see it because it's around the corner...)]

On campus there's a fair bit of selection - I never went to a university that had meal plans or anything so I don't know how it's supposed to be, but it seems fairly good in variety and taste. Since I am living on campus I have a meal plan, but my lovely parents got my a fridge and microwave so I can store things like cereal, bread etc in my room.

[picture on the right is the sunrise as seen from my family's hotel]


I haven't seen as many bigger luxury cars here (your standard BMW, Benz etc) but they're still around. A lot more Toyotas and Hyundai cars with most of them being smaller hatch-backs or mid-size cars. You'll still see lots of SUVs and 4x4, but not as many as in Toronto I think.

Buses are clean and affordable - much more so than the TTC I think, but I never depended on that too much so I may be wrong. There are also many trains, but no subway system - which I believe can't be done because I think there are earthquakes here...?

[picture on the left is the beach in front of my parents' hotel]


Despite the reputation of being a more "racist" country, the people here have been nothing but welcoming and nice all around. They generally seem to have the same mannerisms as Canadians (they say their "please" and "thank you") and are talkative.

There isn't a huge deal of diversity where I'm living (but then again, I live in a city thats probably 60-70% Indian so I'm used to seeing that and other cultures) but still many people of various backgrounds.

People are very laid back here - flip flops are natio
nal dress code, but many people walk around barefoot everywhere in malls, outside etc (maybe it's where Britney Spears picked it up?). But girls are always dressed casual, but also dressed up, if that makes sense. The latest of every style is adorned by women of all ages. Men are also casual, t-shirt, shorts, flip flops. But with gorgeous weather there's nothing else you really need.

Social Life

I haven't really caught on to the social scene here because I've been trapped in the bubble of university life (which I've never experienced having lived at home during undergrad and off campus while in Michigan). But there are LOTS of shopp
ing centres here - all with and outdoor/indoor style so you get to be outside with the stores. The pictures below show some of it. There are tons and tons and TONS of clothing and shoe stores which puts me in a very dangerous place. So tempting, but no money...what's a girl to do!?!?! They have a lot of the big store names like we have in North America - Target, K Mart, Toys R Us and Tandy (which became Radio Shack in Canada, which is now The Source by Circuit City) so getting things for my room has been easy enough.

I really am enjoying myself here for the most part. My classes started this week so I'm back to the books and have been busy otherwise setting up my dorm room and meeting new people and exploring my new home away from home.

My family, who came here with me, got back home this past week but because I've kept busy I haven't been overly homesick. Though once my family left I did sit in my room just wondering how it is that I ended up all the way here...this time last year I was getting ready for Michigan!

[The picture on the left is of my dad and sister on the beach]

I'm sorry for the late post but the internet itself took awhile to get set-up and then everything else. I've been updating myself on everyone else's blogs as much as I can - though it's only been about 2 weeks or so, I feel so out of touch with everyone.

Hope you're all doing well.

P.S. VDG has actually mellowed out and become a very sweet and fun girl. Since she was the only person I knew when I got here we hung around together and she turns out to be quite the social butterfly so has managed to meet a lot of people which she has made a point to introduce me too so it's been fun getting to know her and others around campus.

P.P.S. Flickr is having many issues and won't upload all my pictures so I will try another way of getting around it soon...the ones above are just a few of them
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
It's 9:02pm on Wednesday May 02 here in Australia...

At least, that's what I think I am...I hope I am...

It should be 7:02pm on Tuesday night back home...

My brain is mush and the sunlight pouring into the airport terminal where I am waiting for a (domestic) connecting flight has caused me to wear sunglasses indoors. And I don't wear sunglasses indoors.

I don't know if I'm supposed to be eating breakfast or dinner, all I know is that I'm having trouble understand how I managed eat to the so called "food" served in the plane.


This 'ish is bananas people...B-A-N-A-ANAY-S

To illustrate the inaneness that is the state of my mind the following happened while waiting in San Francisco to take our direct (15 hour) flight to here:

Me: "Wow...look at all those tiny lights down there. They look so small and pretty! But why don't we see any cars or houses..!?"
Brother (still in a respectable state of mind): "Umm...those are the lights on the jetway - we haven't even taken off yet..."
Me: "Oh..."


Me: OH THANK GOD! There's only one more hour on this flight!! YAAAAAAAAA-
Passing by Flight Attendant who smiles too much and looks like a Ken doll in his mid 30s: No, actually there about 2.5 hours more to go...
Me: AAAAAAAAAAYYY - Wait what?! Oh Holy God no...

Mom: Why don't you go to sleep for a bit?
Me: Kind hard with M's (my sister) foot in my rib and the bright movie screen glaring in my face.


So far in the airport I've seen a Krispy Kreme, McDonald's, Hertz and Budget car rental, heard on the airport shuttle talk radio about Muslim terrorists, children being abducted by their father, health system problems, high homicide rates.

Feels like I never left home...

Hope you're all having a lovely day.

I'm not complaing - the weather is beautiful and I saw a real live palm tree...and I'm thrilled to finally be here in the country, though still not at my final destination, but I'm just insanely tired and need to decompress. I can't take my shoes off one more time and walk through airport security only be told to stand there until they scan me over. Nor can I be told again that my father's name has caused there to be a security alert on "the system" (happened only in Toronto). And with the number of bags, adults and an 8-year old to keep together, I had no time to take pictures of any airports or anything yet. But will soon...just can't remember where the heck I put the stupid camera....