Month: January, 2010

The Joys of Settling In

I’m at my new place and as it turns out, I lied in my last post and didn’t give an update the day after. But I’ve been super busy and without internet until the 28th! I’m using Shawn’s mobile broadband USB key and he wouldn’t want me to be blogging right now. So just checking in to say that all is well (no more furniture overhaul from Ikea), I am eating very well (fresh produce from the Central Market) and I am having fun (Tour Down Under – a cycling competition – is in town and there are lots of events). I went out for drinks with other Canadians living in Adelaide and met a doctor there who works at Flinders, so she might be my supervisor one day. 🙂


Humble abode – teaser

I apologize for slacking off with blogging. All is well but I’ve been busy for the last few days getting my accommodation sorted out and furnishing the place. I’ve been passing out on the bed every night and tonight will be no different.

But here are few words about the place – great location, nice neighbourhood, good value, plenty of space, lots of natural light, and decent furnishings.

I think I will be taking it easy tomorrow so I will write an update post then! Sorry!

Odd pieces

There have been some oddities that I have experienced in my whole 4 days of being here.

Australian English takes a bit longer to process than Canadian English. This happens when they substitute commonly used words with their synonyms, insert slangs in sentences, speak very fast (because of different intonation), or any combination of the three.

The ‘falling of tree branches’ is a serious matter. I’ve seen a number of big tree branches on the ground throughout the heat wave. They can fall due to extreme weather and it’s no joke when camp officers advise against pitching a tent under a tree. Yesterday, a girl was killed because her car was crushed by a tree branch that fell onto a major road. Very bad luck and pretty scary.

Nothing is free in Australia and having some sort of unlimited service (e.g. internet, phone) can be quite expensive. But then again, prices listed include tax and there’s no need to tip.

Mangos are in season now and they are deeeelicious. Very sweet and perfectly soft. At the Central Market today, mangos were on display at many corners for competitive prices with some vendors shouting, “mangos only a dollar each!” In Brisbane, they are having a problem with overstocked mangos because they are producing faster than selling. I am so glad that I came when mangos are in season.

First Impressions

I am in Adelaide!!

It’s not a megatropolis of a city but it’s not a sad little town either. It’s better described as booming in some places and quite quaint in other places. I arrived in the middle of a 40 degree heat wave and riding in a van with a welcome guy from Flinders was a workout in itself. In my short stay here so far, I have seen and done a lot, thanks to my future classmate, Kate. She has been very accommodating and helpful, giving lots of advice for living in Adelaide. She is one of many students of FMS 2010 who have changed their careers to pursue their dream of practicing medicine.

I have visited some tourist destinations like the Central Market, Marion shopping centre, and the Rundle mall. I was totally overwhelmed at a Saturday afternoon in Central Market. It was so busy with people yelling about mangoes for sale, which are in season and gloriously delicious.  The Marion was much bigger than I expected with great post-Christmas sales going on. Shawn treated me to a 3-D Avatar movie. He had been talking it up for a while and I must say, it was pretty damn good. The Rundle mall is an outdoor strip of stores – not what Torontonians would call a mall but it is what Saskatoonians (?) would call a mall. There are buskers playing their instruments or singing while people stroll by and hop in and out of shops.

My first impression of Adelaide is pretty positive. I like the feel of the city and neighbourhoods. I like that Australians prefer a bit more elbow room than North Americans – theatre seats are roomier and lands are bigger. I am having a slight difficulty with the accents but I’m sure I’ll get over it soon. The heat wave doesn’t bother me too much because Toronto has had similar heat waves. The only negative I can find is that the Adelaide hills are not full of trees and I think I prefer full coverage like in Cape Breton Islands…but that’s a pretty minor negative. Oh I’m so tired because of the jet lag so I’m going to crash again. Good night.

Cathay Pacific Flights Review

I flew Cathay Pacific for my Vancouver – Hong Kong (13.5 hrs) and Hong Kong – Adelaide (10.5 hrs) trips and I was pleasantly surprised with the service in the economy class in the first trip, although the lack of leg room killed my knees by the end. I thought I was well-fed and entertained in the economy class but Cathay business class rocks!

Shawn and I knew that Hong Kong – Adelaide leg of our trip would be pretty comfortable but we were very impressed!
The staff addressed is by our names and kept the drinks flowing. I particularly liked “oriental breeze”, which is “a sour-plum tea and cranberry juiced based non-alcoholic drink with honey and fresh lemon juice and a hint or rosewater”. It tastes as fresh as it sounds.
We were pampered with hot towels, amenities package filled with goodies, heavy cutleries (which Shawn loves) and a five-course dinner. Our entertainment screen was much larger (4x as big) than in the economy class and the headsets were noise-cancelling. And of course, the seats were awesome and fully adjustable however we wanted them. I had a nice 2-hr nap on my seat reclined to a bed with a comfy thick blanket and a pillow.
For breakfast, I had a glass of pulpy orange juice and Chinese-style dim sum with a selection of tropical fruits splashed with lime juice. The dim sum wasn’t as greasy as it was in Saskatoon which was a big plus but Shawn said that it missed some flavour. With some more down-time watching TV shows, we landed in the 40 degree heat wave of Adelaide. And of course, there wasn’t waiting for people to move along as we were the first ones to de-board.
I will be putting up pictures later when I can find my USB cord for my camera. My business class flight was so much more pleasant than my economy class flight, and I would be very tempted to upgrade for my future flights because seriously, when you are flying more than half-way across the globe over two days, it is worth it.

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong right now, waiting for my next flight…it’s been kind of smooth flying so far. I really like Cathay Pacific. Great service and decent food too, all for free. Fun interactive entertainment screen too with movies, TV, games, and music. From Vancouver to Hong Kong, I was in Economy class but upon arrival, I found out that we’ve been boosted up to Business class. I hope there’s more leg room there because my knees were getting sore. Shawn just checked the pdf of Business class seats and seats recline all the way to become beds with plenty of leg room. Awesome! I wonder if the upgrade is because we racked up points flying from Vancouver to Hong Kong..?

I called home from Vancouver and I’ll be Skyping soon before my flight to Adelaide. (I called home and my dad told me that they found Skylar alone in my room on his little blanket. He said that although Skylar can’t speak he probably knows what’s going on and he will adapt again to me being gone. His blanket is now moved to my sister’s room so I really hope that he will be well soon. It makes me sad that he misses me.) My sleeping schedule is all over the place. I haven’t been sleeping well this past week anyways due to anxiety and stress (and excitement?) so it’s no different now.

I was excited to come check out the Hong Kong airport and all its shops but I’m not hungry and they are pretty ritzy (more like boutiques). So I got an original bubble tea and am relaxing for now. I will be somewhat disoriented when I land in Adelaide but hopefully all will go as planned.


Ah, it’s only a day away!

I bathed and groomed my babyska and passed along some instructions to my mom and brother – he will be getting his nails filed now, not cut, diligently getting his ears wiped, and going for exercise in the summer. I ate my mom’s home-cooked meal as my last meal tonight.

All is packed and while I am anxious to go, I don’t want to go. As unrealistic as it is, I want to do nothing all day long and stay like this forever. I like it here with my family. It’s sad now. 😦

To people that I haven’t been in contact with for a while – I am sorry but you can catch up through my blog for now and I will send you e-mails/messages when I get things in order. I haven’t forgotten about you.

Two More Sleeps

There are now only two more nights at home until I have to catch a series of planes to Adelaide, a city that I will be living in for (at least) the next four years.

While this stay has been similar to times before I left for Saskatoon – packing, seeing people, relaxing – it has quite a different feeling. The main difference is that there have been more heart-to-hearts, especially with my family. Things may go unsaid in my family but a lot of things are understood. But in past few weeks, some things have happened that makes me feel closer to them.

My babyska got new toys and clothes. He is a vicious chewer and destroyed the toys within 12 hours of getting them. He still looks at me with all the love in his little body and soul and trusts me entirely, even when I am grooming his pads and nails. My brother, who wanted to get a motorcycle license, had a difficult time convincing my mom so I sat him down and gave him tactics on how to persuade them or at least make it hard for them to say no. It’s a skill that I have learned that works on my parents, which is information overload with deep serious attitude. My sister, who spends her time studying for school, getting her braces fixed, and making money to get her braces fixed, got some money from me to help pay to get her braces fixed (Note: Just found out that she blew the money irresponsibly. Idiot.)

My mom, who is a firm believer in God, took me to a pastor at her new Mississauga Korean church to pray over me as I head out to study. I have never met the pastor but he was nice and his prayer was very caring and thoughtful. I heard my mom cry as he prayed and I understood how much she loves me. My dad, who was once an old-fashioned disciplinarian of the family, apologized for times that he was too harsh. He even remembered things from my junior kindergarten days and explained that he really loves me and perhaps it’s even more so because I am his first baby.

Tomorrow, I will spend my day eating congee, taking a bath, giving babyska a bath, and weighing my baggages.

Turn It Around

Maybe it’s the feel-good talk at yoga classes or the overpriced anti-stress massage lotion that I keep rubbing on behind my neck. Or maybe I’ve finally gone past the maximum point of frustration and prospective homesickness, and am now all “come-what-may”.

When my friends were expecting a baby and didn’t want to know the sex of their baby, I asked them why. How else were they going to decide on decorations for the nursery? Will they be happy dressing their newborn in green all the time with the clothes they got at their baby shower from friends who were aiming for gender-neutral clothing? Then they gave me an unexpected answer that was quite satisfying: the moment when their baby is born and its sex is revealed would be one of the very few times in life when they would be completely surprised, and they didn’t want to forgo that opportunity.

It’s true. It’s hard to find truly surprising moments in every day life. A bit of stability and peace of mind is nice but by shaking it up once in a while, things settle differently and I can add that much more texture to my life. I will try not to worry as it is for certain that I will not be homeless or go hungry, and can hop on a plane to Toronto whenever I want. I will try to enjoy this uncertainty as much as I can because everything will work out beautifully. 🙂