Monday, October 18, 2010

Melbourne - A Place Like No Other

Melbourne has become like a home to me. I was born in a small town in Malaysia but the pursue of a better education and a better future made Melbourne a home for me and a home it has been for the last 10 years.

I remember my trip in 2000 to Melbourne well. It wasn't my first trip to Melbourne as I had been here on holiday with my family 3-4 times when I was younger. However, this time, it was 'for real'. This time, I had to say good-bye to friends and families. This time, I was hugged by mum and for the first time in a long long time, she had tears in her eyes.

The flight on Malaysia Airlines in jump seat (essentially with the pilots due to special circumstance) all by myself, the move later to business class, sitting beside a guy who later happened to be my classmate in college, the blur of the airport, immigration, customs, the pick-up and drop-off in a foreign land, a foreign room with foreign housemates...

Back then, I wondered if I would ever be able to get use to living here. Would I ever be able to get my head around the public transport system? What do you mean by validating my card? How do you get 3 hours with a 2 hour metcard? Which bus do I need to get on? What is Melways? etc...

Today, 10 years down the road, it's so easy to forget the confusion that a new city brings. The sense of dislocation, of being completely and utterly lost, not knowing where to go, what to do...not knowing who to ask. Why do I suddenly decide to blog about this? Because I've just booked a holiday to Taiwan, a country that I haven't been to since I was 4, or 5? And after spending about 10 hours sifting through some of the material on offer, I am still completely and utterly lost. I am more confused now than I was and this experience brought back memories of my first few weeks in Melbourne as a young 16 year old girl trying to navigate around this big city which looks nothing like the small, safe town that I grew up in in East Malaysia.

So, I thought, for the sake of those who might be new to Melbourne, whether tourists or students, I would try to make your life easier by writing a bit about my past as well as recent and ongoing experiences in Melbourne. I will try to keep this blog updated and will also talk about my other trips around the world.