Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Gold Museum - Ballarat Trip (Part 1)

Finally I’m sitting down here to blog about my Ballarat trip which we went in November last year. Ever since I saw the photos of Ballarat, well Souvereign Hill to be specific, I knew I had to go there. It's a place where you'd feel as if you just hopped onto a time machine and travelled back in time to the 1850s!!! I'm not going to spoil the surprise here as I'm going to have a whole long blogpost on Souvereign Hill itself, stay tuned :P
 
After I finished my PTE test, I knew I had to go on a getaway trip. My life was incredibly crazy at that time and I really wanted a break to go somewhere far where I could just forget about everything else behind my head. Since Chernie was on her short semester break before the commencement of her summer subjects, we decided to just go to Ballarat to our Saturday and Sunday there. It’s our first time travelling together as well so we were very excited!! Plus, it’s time for us to bring our new cameras out for an adventure too!
 
The original plan was to travel there by V-line and get around the city and Souvereign Hill by taxi or Uber. However, after working out the Maths we realised it’s not really cost-effective. Then, we found a cheaper and more convenient option. To weigh the pros and cons:
 
Plan A - going there on our own 
-tram fees to get to Southern cross station for V-line $3.8
-V-line ticket (1 way) approx $14
-cab fare to get to Souvereign Hill approx $15-20

-Souvereign Hill and Gold Museum tickets $54
Biggest advantage: Having all the freedom to do whatever we want without having to take anyone else into consideration
Biggest downside: Having no where to put our luggage

Plan B - going there with a tour
inclusive of transporation, Souvereign Hill and Gold Musuem tickets $68 + $4 tip for the tour guide
Biggest advantage: We'd arrive right in front of the Gold Museum and wouldn't need to purchase our tickets in a queue. We could opt to drop out from the tour at any point of the day to follow our activities but the other travel destination (ie a visit to a winery) would
 not be refunded.

Eventually, we went with PLAN B. Thinking it's the easier way out! 

In summary, our travel itinery will be something like this:

Day 1:
Get on the bus at Lonsdale Street >> Gold Museum >> Souvereign Hill >> our AirBnb place >> Dinner at Pizzeria >> Recharge for the next day

Day 2:
Breakfast at a local cafe >> Lake Wendouree >> Tour the Ballarat City >> Lunch >> Back to pick up luggage >> To train station to go back to Melbourne city




After rambling about this trip for so long, now we are finally in the tour bus.





 
It took about 1-1.5 hours to get there. I didn't keep track of the time because I was too busy Snapchatting away.
 



Our first stop was Gold Museum




The Gold Museum acts as the extension of the majestic story of the city of gold, Sovereign Hill in the 1850s.





The tour guide told us the story about how the migrants arrived in Victoria and started the gold mining business.




 

The gold museum's not really big. Prolly around 45 mins will suffice.






 



 


Golden nuggets. Can I just have one of these and I wouldn't need to work forever.
 












 


 





 



 

 



 

 




This light house kinda thing's really amusing in the middle of no where.


 



We were not allowed to take any photos in the souvenir shop of the gold products so I could only take a photo with the lavender teddy bear. The souvenir shop sells a great selection of fine jewelry and giftware BUT my advice is not buy any souvenir BEFORE you head to all of the souvenir shops in Sovereign Hill. Just in case you'd have to carry all the shopping items around. 


Gold Museum Ballarat
Bradshaw St, Ballarat Central VIC 3350
(03) 5337 1107





Next stop to Souvereign Hill! There will be crazy lots of photos coming up stay tuned!

Friday, January 6, 2017

2016 In A Nutshell

2016 was a major roller coaster for me!

So much had happened and I can't believe how much one year could change one's life, well at least that's true for me!

On the 2nd of January, the night before I went back to work officially, I couldn't sleep despite being in bed since 11pm. I rolled around until 12am and decided that I should do a little recap on my 2016 since I had nothing better to do than kicking my blanket in frustration. 

So here it is, a quick glance of my 2016:
1. Getting over the past toxic relationship
It took a lot of tears, frustration, anger, grief and stress for me to finally let go off what's killing. The process hurt a lot but it's much better than being in the self-destructive cycle that goes on forever. Thanks to all of my friends who listened to my ramblings and dealt with my nonsense patiently all the time despite me being a repetitive whiner in life. I wouldn't have done it without you guys ♥  


2. Got my first job out of university

Never had I imagined how stressful the job search process would be in my entire life. I had to be a joy-killer but the saying that the time you become a fresh grad is the time you become officially unemployed. Especially for us international students struggling to secure a job in Australia with no PR, it just seemed SO impossible. With majority of the friends leaving the Australia and heading back home for good, I couldn't stop doubting myself. "Am I choosing the right path?", "Why do I have to put myself into such difficult situation and will it be worthy eventually?", "Will I be forever unemployed and unwanted by anyone?" My confidence and self-esteem were at the lowest of their lowest!
Thank goodness I met a lot of helpful people along the way who tried to help me with everything and I finally landed myself a job in a bank! Colleagues and managers are incredibly nice people too who make me feel accepted and belonged. I'm ultimately thankful for that ♥ They taught me so much and I've learnt to deal with things through trial and error or just braving myself up in handling different types of customers etc.
This was the BEST thing that had ever happened to me in 2015!


3. Started and developed my gym rituals 


I started hitting the gym with Erica somewhere around March or April just for the sake of escaping the reality. The job search process was killing me and with the constant pressure that my mom put on me, I really didn't know how to release my stress. In amidst of denial, I fell in love with the idea of leaving my phone and going to the gym with my iPod only so I'd be cut off from the outside world. Erica was in denial of studying for her exams and doing her assignments thus we became gym buddies for quite some time.

It wasn't until she went to New Zealand for her graduation trip, she quit our gym rituals. From that time onwards, I signed a gym membership, which is definitely something that I have never ever thought I would do because I never liked exercising let alone spending so much money on gym.

Growing up I always hated exercising because I hate sweating (I still do though) but now if I don't go to the gym I would feel shitty. Thanks to this new developed habit I have finally achieved something that I didn't even dare to dream of: a 22-inch waist! ♥☺ That's the biggest pay off that I'm really proud of myself and I'm still working hard to maintain this!

4. Passed my PTE test with all band 8

5. First time being able to afford splurging on luxury possessions for myself - new handbags AND a camera!!!! Now I know why people say the best feeling is spending the money you earn yourself on the things you love without depending on anyone. Am I getting nearer to the legit adult life?! hmmmm....


6. Getting out of my comfort zone / Trying new things


I've been much more opened to meeting friends of friends although I would be mentally afraid of any sort of potential awkwardness; offering to help out for free at my favourite florist; making conversations with random people; going to a club with a Michael Jackson theme. 

Another thing was...dancing solo at company parties in front of my colleagues, even those who I don't know at all. Gangnam Style was the dance that my mom loves to see me do whenever we go to karaokes together and all the while it's something that I do exclusively for her. Somehow...I had the guts to do it in front of a bunch of people and it has now become my signature dance in the company LOLZ!


7. Went to concerts - I will always have this on my yearly recap I suppose! :P


Saw some of the singers that I really love in Melbourne, namely: Sam Tsui & Kurt, Tiffany Alvord and Mike Tompkins. 



On top of that, I also saw Orianthi for the second time in my life in Melbourne with her partner Richie Sambora (
read here)

8. First time planning and travelling with a friend (blog post coming soon)


Had been talking about doing a trip to Ballarat for quite some time but never had a chance to do it. When I was having a really stressful time in November, I told Chern that we should just not overthink and overplan it and just GO! So, we went for a 2 days and 1 night trip over the weekend for a mini getaway!!


9. Visited Gold Coast (blog post coming soon)


Mommy flew over from Malaysia to Gold Coast and I met her there. Ever since I graduated from university in 2015, I had never asked for a penny from my mom while I stayed in Australia and this time around, I actually could give her some money for shopping. Although it's not a significant sum of money, I believe as I work hard down the road I will be able to provide more and more to her and the rest of the family! AJA AJA HWAITING! 


10. Enrolled in CFA level 1 

No matter how much I hate studying especially now that I am out of university, the idea of studying is much more a pain in the ass than it was previously. Yet, life's about "you gotta do what you gotta do", Fingers crossed that I'd pass!!!


11. First time experiencing the death of someone I love (read here)

When the news first broke out, I had a really really hard time accepting and dealing with the passing of Christina Grimmie. I cried my eyes out day and night and didn't know what to do...I guess, time truly heals everything. Although whenever I see her Youtube videos I will feel a pierce in my heart, I have stopped crying and started to appreciate and be thankful for all the legacy she had left behind for us.

12. Started to enjoy and be appreciative towards the small little things in life

As much as I love some occasional extravagant stuffs in my life, I have grown to enjoy the limited downtime that I have nowadays seeing my life is either at work or at the gym. Small little things like a lavender essential oil that makes my room smell heavenly, fairy lights, the cup of coffee which brings me alive etc are also the things that I realise that happiness doesn't have to come with a big price tag all the time (though I still love shopping).


Wonder what 2017 will have for me?!

I don't know what the future has for me but I do know that there are a couple of big tasks that I just HAVE TO complete by this year. I'll keep that to myself for now and work hard on it! Wish me luck~


ALL THE BEST in 2017 to YOU who's currently reading this blog post! 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

My Graduation...from 1 Year Ago


Exactly one year ago, I graduated from the University of Melbourne.

Looking back, these 365 days seem to have flown by really quickly. Not sure whether I should consider much has happened or little has happened within this year.

The reason why it took me 1 year to blog about my graduation was because I wasn't ready to face my past. I broke up with my ex right before my graduation. In fact, he picked a major fight with me and threatened to break up with me 2 days before my final paper. I had to force myself to study while fighting back my tears and right after the paper, I broke up with him. Screw that shit! However, things did not end right away after the break up. He dragged on the bullshit up till April or May this year. Thus, I really did not want to look back to my days in university because I couldn't stomach the fact that I actually did make the choice of making him my boyfriend in the first place and thought that he was my everything!

Anyway, one year later, I have moved on from him and from the heartbreak. As a matter of fact, I am doing way better than I had ever been. The most precious and heartfelt lesson that I learnt from university is not from my lectures/tutorials/exams BUT this relationship.

In life, you just gotta get rid of the toxic people who are trying to bring you down. Those people who tell you that you can't achieve anything, tell them to mind their own F***ing business because you can achieve whatever you want to achieve even if it means through a lot of hardship and/or patience. 
Remember, those negative voices around you are just pathetic people who just don't have a life of their own. Thanks to that douche, for the first time in my life, I FINALLY managed to tick off all the boxes for my 2016 resolution. 



It's like tearing off a bandage, it hurts but the wound won't heal if you never deal with it personally. 

Well yeah, now that 2016 is coming to an end, I thought I shall get my ass down and blog about my convocation before it became a history that I can't be bothered to look back anymore :P 


12.12.2015 was the convocation for Melbourne University's Commerce students at the Royal Exhibition Building. This is the place where we used to have all of our examinations. It's kinda amusing how we bid goodbye at the place where everything started. There's a saying that goes something like this for Commerce students "this place is where dreams come true and where dreams shatter". No pun intended. You either pass your exams and graduate or you don't!

After 3 years of studying OR should I say 3 years of fumbling between procrastinating and forcing myself to meet all the deadlines and fulfilling all sorts of academic commitments, this journey finally ended.

As I recall, I haven't done much in university.  I didn't go to prom. I didn't go on a graduation trip or any road trips with my friends. I didn't have drunk party nights...

Hmm...Then what the hell was I doing?!

In year 1, I boldly entered the Korean Students' Society without knowing more than 3 Korean words. I learnt K-Pop dances for the first time, did a few performances and became the K-Pop dance class instructor. A year later, I became the treasurer of the club. How ironic, a non-Korean being one of the executives of the club!


Truth was, when I first entered university, I made a bunch of new friends and innocently I thought we were going to BFFs forever. Until one day they told me "If you can't afford to shop Prada, LV and Chanel with us, then we can't hang out together anymore". That's why I went out to look for a new life for myself, a life without them. It then turned out to be the most incredible adventure of my university life because I got to learn so much!

I also took up a part time job in a cupcake shop after I went for my barista course! Nah, joking, I went to the barista course right after I saw the vacancy sign in front of the cupcake shop because it's the place where I always wanted to work in. Thank goodness I was lucky enough to get the job!

Don't be fooled by how I string all these into words as if I knew how to manage things in an orderly manner at all times. I had my crazy days where I felt hopeless and helpless because I needed 3 heads and 6 arms and 8 eyes to finish everything that I had on my plate - the days of crying over my last minute study sessions; the days of trying to hold back my desire to whack those useless people who abandoned the group assignment; the days of going to school acting as if nothing had happened when my ex boyfriend picked up fights; the days of speaking Korean in Japanese classes; the days of staring at the exam papers in pure confusion and anxiety because I didn't know what the F was going on...

On the other hand, I surely am missing the days of ordering my lunches from the same sushi place; the days of me keeping my fingers crossed that the matcha frappuccino machine was in order so I could satisfy my craving after walking all the way there; the days of contemplating whether I should stay in bed or go to classes when it was rainy/too cold/too hot; the days of me going to lectures just so that I wouldn't feel guilty but ended up zoning out big time and draining my phone battery by scrolling through all of my social media apps.

All of these seem so near yet so far. It's kinda amusing and scary at the time that just in 1 year everything had changed. I would save that for another blog post sometime down the road. 




In summary, university life was no where as fun as how Legally Blonde made it seem. The idealistic expectations of studies, friendship, romance, life and life-after-university were just myths that never existed in the very first place. I grew up believing everything I saw on TV and then I realised that my dreams were shattered and that my life's just a major lie! 


So on the day of graduation, I got up really early to TRY to get my makeup on point and also to iron my button shirt for the umpteenth time! I got that top 2 days before convocation because I didn't know what to wear.


Chuen, who was in the same group assignment with Alanis and I came to congratulate us and guide us through the process of registering for our convocation. Perks of having seniors around if not the 2 of us were just rushing up and down without knowing anything.


The situation was chaotic enough but of course how could I possibly miss out on this girl xxx


First time in our 4-year friendship I got to see her so early in the morning haha~ We have a long history. She sat beside me in Accounting class during college (before our Uni days) and somehow out of no where I figured out that we actually lived in the same dorm. Then everything escalated from there! We made vows that we wanted to get into Melbourne University and studied like crazy when we were in college and WE DID IT!





I had Yi Huey sitting behind me. Coincidentally, she's also the first friend I met in college when I first moved to Melbourne. Talk about everything-in-life-goes-in-circles!


Before the ceremony started, of course I had nothing to do but take a selfie








Basically the ceremony was listening to some high achieving professors/scholars present their supposed-to-be-inspiring speeches and waiting to collect our certificates on stage. As a bonus, we had some opera-ish choir performances as well.


Spent my whole life studying just for this 5 seconds and that piece of paper!

After the ceremony, basically everyone's just busy rushing around trying to find their own friends and families.

The situation was just DOUBLE Cs - crowded & chaotic! 

So here's a brain dump of photos that I took during my graduation and some pre-graduation shots! 







Her Majesty who nags the shit out of me throughout my whole life and we get on each others' nerves :P Still, she's my everything!








Granny and grandpa flew in with mommy from Malaysia to Melbourne for the very first time.

















Family friends in Melbourne who came from the suburbs for my convocation






Housemate cum the supporter for my all sorts of crime and crap, thanks hun for putting up with me xx


Dea's one of the smartest and prettiest girls I've ever come across


TJ who used to play TAP TAP with me in college


TJ & Michelle from my Trinity days 


Su Yee who handles exams with lots of chill!


Shuwen from Peekashu.com who I got to know through blogging then later discovered that we were from the same college. What a small world!


Micah with the brightest and bubbliest smile ever 




Sue Jen & David were the best groupmates that one could ever ask for


Elsha who stubbornly splurge on flowers for me even though I told her not to 


Sarah the big sister with the most mature and rational life advice 


The clique of people who make me feel that I actually do belong somewhere. 

They are my best peeps from the Korean society committee. 










Sadly, after our graduation, everyone has parted different ways so does the rest of the committee members. Seems like a wishful thinking to have everyone back on the same spot for our usual Korean BBQ rituals </3 Probably we should organize a trip to Korea and meet everyone else there!


I'm NEVER a good studier. I hate studying. 


However, I grew up knowing that education is the best investment for one's development. 

Although I can't agree entirely to that statement as there are much more things to learn in the real world than school, I would highly encourage people to pursue a tertiary degree - be it abroad or overseas with the condition that you should leave home for that. 


To me, it's not merely for the sake of the piece of certificate because we all know there are amazing people out there doing great things and achieving mindblowing results in life without having a college/university degree. In fact, university is definitely lacking in the department of prepping one for the real life world such as how to write a good resume, how to nail a job interview, how to deal with workplace politics, how tax really works etc...Trust me when I say that I don't have the faintest clue on how tax really works despite having a double degree in Accounting and Finance! Everything is theoretical in school but in life it's far from that!!!! 


It's just the process of fumbling and learning in university that's crucial as well as being more independent in life. 

Maybe it's because I came from Malaysia where everything was pretty much spoon-fed to us in school and everything in life was taken care of by our families,the people you mingle with were pretty much the people who you've known since young, growing up it was as if the only thing I needed to focus on was achieving good scores in exams and attending school co-curricular activities. 

It's not like that anymore when I came to Australia to further my studies. I had to do everything on my own. 

There were tonnes of things that I had to learn on my own. Still are though.




Firstly, it would be cooking. Back at home, after coming back from a long day of school, food would be ready for me by grandma or mommy on the table. I never had to cook a dish on my own. However, I couldn't afford to eat out all the time being in Australia as everything was super expensive (and I'd rather spend money on shopping than eating out), I learnt how to buy my own fresh ingredients and make the dishes that I crave for. I only go out once in a while for foods that I can't be bothered to make at home such as the Korean fried chickens, french fries, pizzas and burgers because I don't like cooking oily food at home HAH!



Next it would be laundry, how time consuming this shit is. Grandma always took care of this for me - OH GOSH I am ultimately thankful for all her effort. It wasn't until I had to do this on my own that I realised it's a pain-in-the-ass chore. I hate it big time but it feels satisfying when you have all freshly ironed pieces in your closet! I'm very OCD when it comes to my closet! 


Then it'd be the issue of pocket money which might not be a big deal to other people but to me it was. 
My mom never gave me any pocket money periodically and with my great pride, I felt embarrassed to ask it from her. So, I sort of worked out my financial on my own so I could survive without having to drastically deprive my urge to shop!


How amusing it is when I look at most of my friends never have to juggle between their work and studies because they get financial support from their families for everything! I would be lying if I say that I'm never envious towards them but I don't think I'd want it that way because for me to figure things out on my own, I  will be aware that there's still a lot for me to learn and improve on. 


The other important one would be for me to learn how to shoulder all sorts of responsibilities on my own including my sadness. I have never been really expressive towards my family members and when I came to Australia on my own, I have always been trying to only show the best side of things to my family. I don't want them to worry about me, especially my mom who's always paranoid about everything. So, I would figure a way to turn things around or just live through it on my own. 


At the end of the day, I survived all of those dark moments. That's the only thing that matters! 



Of course I am NO WHERE near to have my life all sorted out. 

Nevertheless, I truly believe that fumbling and learning things on my own is the best way for me to learn things, in a heart felt way because I'm stubborn like that LOLZ! Frankly speaking, I have seen people who are being sheltered from everything by their family and throughout their lives they didn't have much to worry about apart from work stress and school stress where it's beyond the control of their families AND the difference between them and the people who learn things through going through hardships in life are very apparent, as well as their level of maturity and humbleness. 



For those who are still in university/college, please enjoy your days and embark on more adventures and try more new experience. 

For those who have finished school and is now in the workforce, good luck to both you and I! Yet, congratulations on surviving the tedious days of studying :P 

Guess what...after putting off this blog post for 1 year, I have come to realisation that I have been out of school for so long, so much have changed for my life and I'm slowly making progress in life. 

Hope that when it comes to my 2nd anniversary of out-of-school I have achieved much more than I had in my 1st year! 

That's all for today! 

I'm sorry for the lack of updates recently but I promise there will be more to come in 2017! I promise I'd try my best :D

Have a good year ahead!!!