Tomorrow is O-Day or 'Orientation Day' in USYD. It marks the first day of the semester -- MY LAST SEMESTER!
Time indeed flies. I can still remember everything when we first set foot here in the land down under. I remember what I wore (a maroon sweater and Gap jacket given by Tita Neneng), what Sydney Airport smelled like (poop, seriously something's terribly wrong with the exhaust system in their toilets), what I ate on the plane (beef stew something), and how nervous I felt when lining up for the customs check with the gigantic, sniffing K-9s (not that I brought anything illegal, except for the Jollibee burger "I forgot" to dispose of.) The memory is still fresh like it was only yesterday when a Filipino airport employee offered to take our "obligatory photo" because she heard us speaking in Filipino while walking along Duty Free.
Fast forward thirteen months, and here I am, down to my third (and last) semester.
This #AASjourney has nothing but a serious of ups and downs. Meeting new friends and forming bonds with other international students, I'd say, are the highlights of this once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Well, aside from the forthnightly stipend that allows us to shop every, er, once in a while (hello, Catch of the day) and go on trips and vacations, or in my case, tick items off my wishlist, without even having to find work. For those who brought along their families, it is also a great opportunity for them to earn Australian dollars while working odd jobs or for kids to earn free Australian education. More importantly, we are able to stash some savings for when we go back to the Philippines (I honestly need to work on this though. lol)
Speaking of trips, I was able to visit Melbourne and Canberra during the winter break, and yeah, some of the tourist attractions here in Sydney as well. Having visited other states, it made me realise that I definitely made the best choice in choosing a uni for my lifestyle (if I have any). Melbourne's weather is, to put it simply: "nakakapikon." It's literally four seasons in a day, or it can even change in a matter of minutes! haha. In addition, I was irked by their transport system, especially the tram. We did not know when to top on or off, or what the heck were we supposed to do. I remember we only tapped twice, and our $27 was gone just like that. On a happier note, I love its artsy, hipster vibe and they have interesting architecture... and oh, got to experience snow. Our snow experience made me forget my irritability for a while. On the other hand, Canberra was like walking around in a huge, yet empty freezer. It was -4 degrees when we arrived at 6 a.m. Anyway, will try to blog about my winter break trip in detail some other time.
Nobody said it was easy
I am more than grateful for being here. Although, sometimes I tend to forget my purpose, get distracted or disheartened. Being an international postgraduate student is definitely not easy. I could not count how many sleepless nights I spent in Badham to work on a paper (or papers!), or how many KFC chicken wings (comfort food) I ate during those grueling times or how much acne have broken out from my face because of that. Haha. Yet I need to prepare myself for another round, and hopefully, I can still come out alive.
Some of our co-scholar friends who only had one year programs already went home to their home countries. It's sad, but it is going to happen. Like I said in my previous post, Australia is only temporary. Although bittersweet, we know that we all NEED to go home soon.
I can only pray and look forward to the coming months. I pray for good health, wisdom, and strength for everyone who is still in this journey with me, and for our families to be healthy and safe back home.
I hope He will guide me in making the right decisions or learn from the bad ones, and lastly, that everything I do, will be His will.