Monday, February 19, 2007

Greetings From Melbourne

Mino, (australian of egyptian descent) and Anna (her mum's malaysian, can you tell?) - 17 yr olds from Richardson Hall; Preparing for lunch; Lisa, a final year Shanghainese fashion and design student at Melb Uni at the Sambal Kampung restaurant (Chinatown Melbourne) enjoying a bowl of curry laksa with her friend for CNY eve;

The past few days have been a blast. The day I arrived at Monash Clayton, I visited Clayton town. The next day, I went to Melbourne City with some other international foreign students. Watched an orchestra performance in the park and visited Queen Victoria Market. Every day has been filled to the brim with activities. I really enjoyed myself. So much to say that I dont know where to start. Below is my diary entry for 15th Feb 2007 - my third day in Melbourne.

Woke at 7.45am. Had a nutella sandwich and milk for breakfast. By 8.30, headed to Medical Faculty to fill up some forms. Met Gina, a friendly staff that was coincidently keying in my details from enrollment when i showed up. Will do a money order and request for the police check tomorrow. Will also settle the Working With Children permit at the post office tomorrow. At 10.00am, met up and the Kick Start program began. The other 7 from Howitt went looking for external accomodation (as they didnt make it for registration on enrollment day). First off, we had a basic icebreaking session. Then, we broke off into groups and headed for the bus station. My bus ticket got swallowed by the machine(!). So i ended up having to buy a new one for $4.10. The conductor was very polite and professional though. She asked for my address and said that my jammed ticket will be replaced and sent to me. Still, $4.10 is much higher than the $2 subsidized fare I paid for during enrollment.

My group consisted of Jason (Singapore), Mai (Vietnam), Noriko (Japan), Risman (Indonesia), Kriss (India) and Myself. The "Summer Swoop" program was done ala-'amazing race'. Our first checkpoint was Chadstone shopping center. It was a large mall similar to Midvalley. The puzzle we had to solve to get to our next checkpoint was relatively easy. We needed to say "Hello" in five different languages. Ok, we were supposed to go around asking the locals - but considering the diverse group I was in, it was a piece of cake. We then had lunch at the foodcourt. I had a 6" beef sandwich made with parmesan bread and all the toppings (pickles, onions, lettuce, peppers, tomatos) drizzled with Honey Mustard sauce. Next, we went to Clayton, the place where I went two days ago. We then proceeded to Springvale, a Vietnamese/Chinese mall. We had to choose between 'beauty' or 'brains'. We chose beauty. Krish had his face painted by us. Of all the groups, i think we put the most paint on our 'canvas' =). Our last checkpoint was Glenwaverly. On the bus ride there, a schoolgirl boarded the bus and sat right at the back. I was one row from the back row, so i turned around and said 'hi'. She was very friendly. Dressed in a checkered navy blue uniform with knee length white stockings, Jenna, a year-12 student had slightly wavy hair, a nice figure and beautiful hazel eyes. Her parents are backpackers and her sister's a travel-agent. It wasnt surprising then that she had recently semi-backpacked across asia. I really wish I could do what she did one day. As I guessed, she was of mixed chinese-caucasian descent.

All too soon, we reached our destination (Glenwaverly mall). The previous puzzles were quite ordinary (crosswords, jigsaws and such). We now had to mime out a scene from a movie to pass the checkpoint. The movie we were given was "Titanic". A handsome young man ;-) played Leonardo De Caprio while Noriko played Kate Winslet. The others mimed the outline of the boat's hull. Noriko's a 19yr old student from Kobe doing a double degree 5 year program that includes (zomg!) aerospace engineering. She has a petite figure and a really nice smile (I later learnt her parents are dentists). As we couldnt talk or make any sounds, we did the iconic scene from The Titanic as seen on the movie posters.

We got back and did a summary of the day's events. We then were given free biscuits (Arnold's Tam Tam's), coke, lemonade, pizza and sushi. Headed over to Howitt's lawn after that for a free BBQ. However, the queue was long and just as well i didnt want to be seen eating from a grill that was used to cook ham sausages. I just had some juice and met up with Hashrul and the gang in the Mess Hall nearby. They went out looking for a house that day.

Went back to my room after that. By that time it was getting dark. Had a nutella sandwich and milk. After that, I settled my room internet connection and helped my neighbour Lee set his up too. Today has been a long day. I really regret I did not bring along my camera for the trip. It would have been very nice to have taken pics along the way.

I later learnt that my team won the summer swoop treasure hunt. I now have two free movie passes =) "We come as strangers, but leave as friends..." - Krish, The Vegetarian Post-Graduate Indian Love-Doctor from our team (no, im not kiddin ya, he really is a doctor specializing in reproductive sciences).

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