Tuesday, March 21, 2006 | 21:44
rippling effects
A month has passed since I departed from Malaysia. Not exactly a tumultuous or extremely celebratory event but a special moment to be treasured I suppose. I somehow love doing these one-month annivesary things to cap it off and move on to another month and so on.

My mind is clogged once again with so many things and people and topics and random oddities I've learnt from, be awed by, charmed off, and appreciate the little and big things in life and within the crazy octagon or heptagon walls of International House which will be known as IH from now on therein.

Happy belated St. Patrick's Day (and to you too Pat, who is IH Student Council's Vice President and hails from Klang. At least I think so.) to everyone who is Irish or non-Irish. It was the first time I myself made time to celebrate this green day of festive drinking and making merry just for the sake of it. The meaning of St. Pat's Day got lost throughout the years with hordes of people skowing beer and drinking beer and enjoy getting pissed and drunk in the name of Pat. A small entourage of us journeyed to 'Puggs' which claims to be the quintessential Irish pub where we, five or six girls with a male escort, waited in line to get in for almost more than an hour just to get squashed in the two-storeys pub with sticky and gooey textured floor carpeting and swaying away to some local band playing rehashed American songs and definitely non-Irish music as far as I know. It was a good experience which I don't think I plan on reliving it anytime soon and it only cost me AUD$5 that night. Decked out in green and sipping cocktailed beer. On another note, walking home with two wasted and drunk guys randomly shouting at passing cars and even denting the hood of a parked car was both funny and scary at the same time. Scarily funny is not something one should do on a daily basis. Take note.

There's just too much to say about the medley of people and different cultures and habits and speeches coming together in a place like IH. I want to invite everyone I know to come here for just two nights and experience what it feels to be an IHer. I had thought that it would be difficult of a transition to come here and feel at home considering I am still but not so much missing my life back in Malaysia. Surprisingly it was not and I really do love waking in the morning to chilling coldness, being shocked at the appearance of another human at the entrance on the way to the toilet, getting brekkie in the dining hall, which usually consists of toasts or cereal and on Sunday we get brunch which is actually quite good, and making small but interesting talks with different people every other day, before making my way to uni along the sun drenched pathways. Returning from the humdrum of lectures and tutorials, I walk into people in the foyer where we talk some more and maybe read the headlines in the Junior Common Room, which will also be from now on declared the JCR, and chat with more newly made and met friends for almost an hour or so before retiring in my room. Dinner is somewhat a mundane affair now as we've gotten used to wearing our academic gowns to dinner every Tuesday and Thursday evenings while Monday and Wednesday is more
of a casual dining thing. Then come Friday where it's my official once fortnightly laundry and cleaning and vacuuming the room day. Occasionally I do venture out from my comfort IH zone and into the city where the streets and roads are a labyrinth of mazes and hieroglyphics to me and only me and I always need someone with me to guide me through the trams and public transport. At five pm every Friday for the next eight weeks I have self-help dining duties where I just basically wipe tables, help around the kitchen a bit and annoy the weekend peer supervisor, kitchen staff and chef while dolling out food for ravishly hungry residents of IH as they bring their tray along the assembly line. Saturdays and Sundays are relaxing and fun days as I never know what the next weekend might bring me. The week repeats itself again but without the monotony that I always get back home.

I still can't believe that I'm here and really here. I need a moment of silence to reflect and record it all mentally.

Now that that's done. Dutch National Night! To say the least, it was great, awesome and a whole lot of fun. Choir was good and so was the rest of the performances including Pat's skit titled 'What Google has to say about Dutch Culture', another hilarious and maybe slightly too mean for words skit describing Dutch's 'titi' culture aka prostitution, marijuana, and cheese, Dutch dancing, and slave auctioning off the O-weekers. Food was pretty alright considering it was Eurest which provided it. The Dutch pudding magically disappeared though I don't know if there is such a thing as Dutch pudding. However I do know there is such a thing as Dutch potato patties and that was good along with the red cabbage which was shockingly the best thing out of the entire meal. Granted, I was left still feeling hungry even after the cheeses and crackers and pumpernickle bread which was not so good. The after-party was held in this basement slash cellar under the dining hall which I never knew existed till that night. Never knew that there were so many IH dancers that could actually move but nothing really surprises me anymore since coming here. All in all, I want to do National Night all over again and yay for another one next semester. I hope it'll be a good country again.

I just realized that I'm joining and taking up quite a few stuff now. Even if it is just the first month, it all seems pretty overwhelming yet I want to do more. Odd. Signed myself up on the deco team for Cafe International which is one and a half month away and which Ling calls it "National Night on steroids!". Should be good stuff. There's this other club in uni that I've joined as well called AIESEC which is actually quite interesting. Well, the most attractive part of it is actually the internship program part of it which is what they really are about. It's really quite complicated and hard to explain so will leave it at that till I actually do something substantial or worth telling about.

The IH Ball themed 'Viva Las Vegas', is coming up as well on next Thursday and I'm so grateful that I don't have classes the next day unlike some unlucky souls. The dress thing is currently pending and am planning on browsing or shopping for a proper and affordable one on Friday at Myers. Otherwise it'll be a repeat dress from last CNY's.

Come Easter break, Sharon will get a visit from my friend and I for about a week in Sydney. Will be traveling on the overnight train so should be an interesting and cool trip. Following directly after that, am planning on going for an AIESEC State Conference trip which goes on for three days and two nights and is held on the last weekend of Easter break before returning to uni. Hopefully the conference will be good and interesting fun as well. I can feel the money evaporating as I think about the plans and events that I have for the next month or so.

It's been the longest I've ever gone without watching TV and for that I feel so proud of myself. There's an IH photo session at seven in the morning tomorrow where we bring our academic gowns for the serious shot and random stuff for the fun shot. Whatever the random stuff that may be I still don't know. I just don't want to look too sleepy in the photo.

It's about time I start on my tutorials once more and more reading of BusFi, IFA, BPA, and QM2 lecture notes and additional textbooks readings. Don't bother asking me about those acronyms because they're just boring stuff.

Lastly, I just want to make passing mentions that the photo is of the State Victorian Library located along Swanston Street, I think.
There are two guys named James here who are probably the only guys that have captured my attention so far. Damn my infatuation with the British born and boyish good looks.
Jill |

Sunday, March 12, 2006 | 13:41
jitters among other things

Abode to the best hot chocolate, chocolate fondue, signature 'suckao', and everything that has to do with chocolate in the world.

The pictures I post up here are getting pretty much less people oriented. But I will try to get something more interesting by next week's Dutch National Night event thing. Oh, I so dearly wish I could let you guys back home watch me get embarrassed and mocked at by attempting to sing the Dutch national anthem in front of the entire dining hall audience. Whatever happened to the sardonic and passive self in me of yesteryears?

Just passing some time after indulging in a brunch this early morning cum late afternoon session. Food is starting to become a pretty monotonous affair of late except for Friday's 'nasi lemak' dinner which was pretty alright but the non-appearance of the 'sambal' disappointed a little. The curry was bland as in not spicy but tasted okay. The 'ikan bilis' and peanuts were the best part along with the coconut rice. It was pretty funny looking at the reactions of the local people when they saw the 'ikan bilis' or fried anchovies for the first time, I gather and turning them away with gross misconception and disgust to instead go for the other mediocre option of fish and chips. That night was also my first 3-hour
'self-help' session in the dining hall and kitchen duty. It was not as bad as I had imagined it to be but I was pretty worn out after wiping tables, polishing silverware, and serving mounds of rice on famished diners' plates.

I'm beginning to feel more like a regular Melbourne-ite now with traveling up and down from Swanston Street to Bourke Street and Bridge Road now. I have still got to get my hand around navigating the tram stops and trains but it's not so foreign to me now as it was about three weeks ago. It's not even a month that I've been here and I'm already boasting about myself being all city savvy. The unpretentious confidence in my is surfacing way too fast now.

Oh what else to regale about my tales in the city? A group of friends where I was the odd one out or rather I felt like I was managed to get some pretty random stuff at an auction held in a church on Swanston yesterday night where I came out with a mini shelf like thing, two second hand books, and a tissue box cover thing. The rest of us got two table lamps, some cooking utensils and things like that and four ring bind folders. So we were pretty much walking along the streets at night around ten holding all these random stuff and people were staring at us thinking we were refugees or homeless students who couldn't pay the rent and got kicked out of our apartment. The randomness of it all was just too weird and an oddity to pass up. I should've brought my camera along.

My room is probably about 30 degrees and rising as I write this. I have about a metre high of books to cover by tonight. The air-conditioning in the library and computer lab are my friends. I want to talk to old friends and not do my tutes. My tutors and lecturers are weird people and one of them creeps me out a little as I don't really know what to make of him. But he's nice still. Really.

Tomorrow's agenda include maybe catching the Moomba Parade along Swanston Street in the city at eleven in the morning before my lectures at one in the aft, enquiring about the invoicing of my year-long stay here in IH, and seeking to swap my self-help times with someone in the weekend as the weekend dining supervisor guy is nicer and more approachable than the regular lady one during the week as he was the one who let me off half an hour earlier on Friday. She scares me. And so does everyone else new to this who've worked under her this week. Did I mention that he's also an RMIT student studying aerospace engineering and management at the same time during the weekdays? Cool.
Jill |

Wednesday, March 08, 2006 | 22:24
pressure cooked
Television is beginning to be something of a foreign entity to me now. I don't think I could even begin to tell you who won the Oscars the other night or who wore what and what's happening in the latest season of Lost or House. It's like no one even bothers with TV here where back home, everything revolves around the idiot box.

I kind of love it but hate it as well. Will get back on that to reconfirm feelings about lack of TV watching since I arrived here.

There're so many things I want to say yet I can't recall most of them. The little bits of information are probably lodged in the back of my head where I just have to dig them up someday and put them into comprehensible sentences known to humankind.
So far, I've been singing in the IH choir where we're going to be performing the Dutch national anthem titled 'Wilhelmus van Nassouwe' on National Night which is a week from tomorrow and I have no idea whatsoever as to how we'll sound like come Thursday night. Went to my first house warming cum drinking party and discovered more long lost high school seniors on the way. Begun reading up on lecture notes, long and droning text books, and half-heartedly finishing up tutes. The laundry basket is piling up with dirt-sodden clothes while the room's dark corners are collecting dust. Attended the first official High Table dinner last Thursday night where I donned my first academic gown thing and actually sat down to a proper sit-down dinner where we were nicely served to. So, yes, to answer the all holy question of whether I'm doing fine; it is an affirmative 'Yes'.

The homesickness feeling is starting to sink in now. It's not like I'm thoroughly missing home but just the familiarity of home. Trying to find your place here and where you actually fit in is a challenge but a cool and exciting one at that. I can feel my stomach expanding with every passing morning I wake up to but I'm not one who will go join a gym just to loose a few pounds but have fifty strangers looking at me attempting the weights and thigh-firming machine.

Thick and newly purchased and falsified "new" edition textbooks are calling out to me to peruse through them for the night. Heard a juicy gossip back at the house warming party where a Fresher got laid with an O-weeker behind a garbage dump on one of the nights during O-week and there was some alcohol involved.

Cool. Yeah.
Jill |

Friday, March 03, 2006 | 18:23
foreigner in a native land
That's what I feel sometimes. I may have mentioned this before that there're a lot of Asians in where I stay where half of the inhabitants in IH are from the land of black hair and yellow skin. Sometimes on and off again I'll hear someone speaking in the Australian slang with 'cunt' and 'Puggs' and then he'll be speaking in Cantonese or Hokkien the next second with some 'lahs' and 'mahai' thrown in altogether. It can get a bit weird as even with different cultures and people all around here, it still somehow twistedly feels a little bit like back home.

Today is officially my first "Off Day" from everything IH and uni. I have absolutely no plans to boast off and am concentrating on cleaning my room and catching up on some reading of lecture notes and pretending to do my tutorials. I have a list of reading materials to do before next week and my text books I asked my parents to airmail to me here will only arrive on Tuesday. I suppose it's about time I visit the library for a while if only to flaunt my stature as a hardworking uni student who finally can map her way through the Union House, Baillieu Library building, Sydney Myer Asia Centre, and actually know where the Copland Theatre and Old Arts building are located.

There're just too many things that have passed and happened in the past week. I really want to purge them out into comprehensible sentences where I can happily relate my new found experiences here but so far it's not been working too well. Met old and new friends in and out of uni and within IH. Trying to warm myself up with the cat even though he's resisted my trying to carry him. Visited three ex-IHers in their all-guy and messy apartment which I love but don't think can afford to stay. Indulged in two random trips for the best gelato I have ever had in two consecutive nights. Who knew fruity flavoured and green tea gelato could taste so good? Had my first formal and official IH dinner last night whilst donning a slightly oversized academic gown. I think I probably walked more in this week alone than I have ever done in five years back home. Am still trying to not convert the money spent back to ringgit or not I'll be bare foot and naked by the end of the year. I'm missing my car where I can just drive myself freely to 1U or Mid Valley for a movie or whatever. It's not homesickness getting to me but transport-disabled-ness. Navigating through the tram routes and stops is a pain in the arse for me so am very afraid of taking trams by my lonesome for now. Did an impulsive visit to a family friend's house and returned with a bagful of peaches and freshly picked pears.

Plan-less and numb-less again. Hoping to go crash a party or just go out and discover Melbourne. Or at the very least find out where Max Brenner actually is and try out the best chocolate place ever.
Jill |


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