February 18th 2010
"Champs Elysées", NoFX
It's been about ten days since I arrived in Melbourne and while some interesting things have happened here and there it didn't seem prudent to update you all until I was able to find a permanent place to live. I'm happy to say I've done just that!
I've been living out of a dorm, and consequently a suitcase, since I landed last Tuesday and I've been dividing my time between eating, sleeping and trying to locate a place to stay. I looked online and at residential services for whatever room vacancies were available in the area and then bought a mobile phone as soon as I could so I could make contact with people. I can tell you that the first few places I saw made the entire process a bit discouraging. Even for student rental properties some of the houses I saw were pretty bare and the sad part is that some poor student will eventually move into the rooms I saw and turned down. Thankfully I found an ad for a room in the suburb of Ivanhoe, about fifteen minutes by bus from the uni. It was the best I had seen yet and in a pretty ideal location. The rent was right and so I took it! The place is quite nice. It's on a quiet street not far from the main road with shops and groceries within walking distance. I share the house with two others; a guy of about thirty who runs his own heating and air conditioning business and a girl doing post-graduate work at the uni. I can't tell you how glad I was to unpack. The room itself is comfortable and newly renovated but I'll be posting some photos as soon as I take them. At the moment it just has a bed, desk, and wardrobe but I intend to buy a few small side tables soon. I think I'll be very comfortable here. It's clean and quiet.
The rest of this week was spent doing various orientation week activities. I can't say I was very surprised that the international orientation week was aimed more at students from non-English speaking countries as opposed to those of us from Canada. There was a lot of cultural hand-holding which might have been useful if I had come from Taiwan but being of Anglo heritage already I didn't get the full benefit of the week's events. Somehow learning when it was appropriate to use the word "b*****ed" (as in "b*****ed if I know!" as a response to a question) wasn't exactly valid when I'm certain I and the other Canadians were the only ones who knew what the word "b*****" even meant. I did get free lunch for three days though, which means it was totally worth it. I suppose the best part was getting to meet up with some of the other students in my program, some of whom I already knew since we connected before leaving Canada. We had a seminar on Australian slang, on Australian history (which I was proud to say I already knew a great deal about), and some other talks on adjusting to life and the campus here at La Trobe. It was surprising to see so many nationalities represented and it reminded me a bit of back home, where "multiculturalism" is big.
I've learned this week that tipping is neither expected nor encouraged the way it is in Canada, that I should expect at least one more day this year when the temperature rises above forty Celsius, and that I have to attend at least one cricket and footy match here in Melbourne before I go home (which I intend to).
I'm heading to the city this weekend to explore a bit (and perhaps go to Ikea) since I haven't even seen Melbourne itself yet, being a little stuck in suburbia since Tuesday. I'm sorry if this entry seems a little mundane but I used up a lot of my enthusiasm on moving in today.
I love and miss you all!