So after my span of seemingly “soul-searching” kinds of entries, I deemed it necessary to fiiinally actually write about you know, living in Australia and all. And so don’t worry, this is a TRAVEL entry, not a life entry (thank God, I know).

I have obviously been struggling with quite a few things in life right now (yes, I realize this is already starting to sound like a LIFE entry, promise it’s not…not completely anyway), and so here is a list of the ongoing BATTLES I have with this country. (I still love you Australia, don’t worry)

Public Transportation:

There are pros and cons to everything. I thought that the good outweighed the bad in this area, but I am increasingly despising public transportation a little bit more every time the tram is late (which is several times a day).

I am honestly almost impressed at how the Trams & Trains know me so well. And when I say “know me”, I mean HATE me. Or how it bases its being on Murphy’s Law. How can it possibly know that I need to go to an interview across town, so it makes sure the times on the internet are wrong? And then of course, when I get to the tram stop 2 minutes late, the tram was on time and I had missed it. When EVERY single other tram I wait for, is always AT LEAST 3-5 minutes late. You can almost rely on it (unless you’re trying to make it to an interview of course).

The best solution I have come up with for this problem, is to not check times. Always go extra early and more often than not, you end up waiting less than you would if you had prepared and checked the times online before (because like I said, they’re often wrong, and the trams are always late anyway). This unfortunately will not work after about, 7 or 8 o clock when you decide to go out in the city to get drinks because the trams don’t come as often (perhaps every half hour or so). So you may end up waiting longer than you would if you had planned it. Fortunately, you’re usually somewhat inebriated in this situation so waiting isn’t a huge issue. 

As frustrating as it may be, I still enjoy the economically sound (AKA cheapness) and peacefulness of riding on public transportation. There’s no better time to gather your thoughts and relax. Unless you, like me, have a tendency of falling asleep in any kind of moving vehicles and have had to be woken up by the driver on multiple occasions because you’ve reached the last stop. On the last tram of the night. 

So school has never been my strong point. I guess that’s not really true. In elementary school I was a real “star”. Unfortunately, “uni” involves a tad bit more effort and focus, that I just don’t seem to be able to muster. So I thought that I had senioritis last semester but I didn’t even KNOW what senioritis was until this semester. Granted, these classes don’t actually count for anything because I’m graduating regardless, so I have a good excuse for lacking motivation. However, it’s too bad because these classes can be quite interesting. When I do decide to go.

Other than the battle of trying to even make it to classes, I also have a little bit of difficulty keeping up in one of my classes: Contemporary Australian Politics. When I began the class, I had no idea what the Australian Political system was like AT ALL, but that's not even the problem. It’s actually their viewpoints and perspectives that I have trouble with, because sometimes it’s just so completely different to how we think in The States.

For example, we talked about Australia’s Welfare system. Each class, a few people come to class prepared to debate certain topics. Yesterday we talked about Welfare and “Mutual Obligation”, which in short, is just certain things people that are receiving Welfare need to do in return. Such as getting a college education or doing specific types of community service, regardless if it’s related to “what you want to do in life”. So I kid you not, but students were legitimately saying that these people, who the government was GIVING money to, shouldn’t have to do anything in return. And this just BLOWS my mind because I’m thinking, why should tax payers have to pay for the living costs of lazy individuals? And I mean, if you know me at all, I am in no way conservative/Republican/right-winged AT ALL. I have an almost socialist view of how I would want our society to be.

But anyway, students were arguing for these teen moms and unemployed people – who mind you, aren’t necessarily from poor families and neighborhoods. We’re talking about your normal every-day people who just don’t want to work. It’s NOT hard to get welfare in this country. My teacher admittedly went on about how he got welfare when he was younger because it was so easy to get and you could literally live off of it fairly well. We’re not talking food-stamps here. These people get decent checks in the mail of amounts that people in The States don’t get for actually doing labor and working.

And so they’re arguing about how the Australian government is acting as a dictator by saying these teen-mom-welfare-receiving individuals need to get an education (which they will PAY for) because if someone doesn’t want to go to college, then they shouldn’t be forced to. I thought OUR government babied us, but it turns out that we’re quite harsh. (Granted we have a very high poverty and unemployment rate) but people shouldn’t just be GIVEN money and so much support by hard working tax payers because they don’t feel like working at a job that “isn’t what they want to do”. Tony Abbott, the Liberal Party leader (and “Liberal” to Australians means Republic basically), named these people “job snobs”. There are people here that could get a job and are qualified for jobs, but they don’t want to get work because it’s not the “right job” for them and are waiting around for the right one. And THESE are the people who are receiving welfare. Obviously there are people in need that are receiving it as well, but far too many people in this country get a free ride. There’s a “high unemployment rate” (which to them is about 5%) & also a shortage of skilled labour in many occupations (http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/stories/s27562.htm). (I actually have to write a paper about Welfare and I decided not to because I figured I was going to fail the class anyway. And yet here I am, quoting politicians and citing sources).

Anyway, like I said, these are the battles I’m dealing with. Like shutting my mouth during the class debate so people didn’t think all Americans are heartless. Since you know, these people are just “lost and confused and don’t know what they want to do in life”. Umm yes, I can relate, yet I’m still working two jobs and I’m not even a citizen of this country. But like I said, their perspectives are just so different. Australia is so much more laid-back and relaxed and I suppose, much nicer (as in the opposite of mean), than America. And maybe this kind of perspective has given them an advantage. I mean, it’s given them a LOT lower of an unemployment rate so I guess they did SOMETHING right. In the States if the same issues were brought up, our government would laugh at them and would definitely NOT give them any money just because they haven't found that right job that suited them. But then again, America is a power-hungry country with a high poverty/unemployment rate that can't afford to give any money away because we spent all our money on the war. (Still love you though, US!) So I guess it's all about perspective on which of these two countries is better off. And in what sense "better off" would mean.


So it seems fairly hypocritical that I am going to complain about work right after that whole welfare shpeal…schpeal? However you spell that word…but at LEAST I have a job. Although I don’t think this country would give me welfare checks regardless, so maybe I’m just biased ha. Anyway, I’m struggling with this whole “not-tipping” concept. Right, it’s great when I go out to bars and restaurants and the price on the menu is what I’ll ACTUALLY be paying, and not 30% more (tax + tip). But when I’m on the other side of it, NOT receiving tips, it’s quite a bust.

I’ve worked in the serving/restaurant industry for what, 7 years now? Ever since my lovely little hostess gig at the Denny’s down the street from my house in Orangevale. And even THEN I got tipped. Anyway, I have dealt with a fair amount of abuse from customers saying their food sucked, or their drink wasn’t strong enough, or they put too much tomato sauce – whoa, I mean KETCHUP – on their burger so they need a new one and blah blah blah. Okay, you’re giving me money – like literally handing me money that I get to put in my pocket and go home with and spend on drinks later. SOO, I will put up with your nonsense. But Mr. I-don’t-want-to-get-out-of-my-seat-and-order-at-the-register-even-though-this-is-a-café-where-everyone-else-is-but-you-should-serve-me-at-my-table-and-then-I’m-going-to-yell-at-you-because-you-should’ve-known-I-wanted-a-large-sized-latte-even-though-I-never-told-you-but-you-should’ve-read-my-mind – I don’t want to deal with you because YOU are not giving me my future rum&coke money. I am clearly losing a lot of patience with these people. Especially since I live in & work in this apparently “up-scale” town of Camberwell where even Australians can be snobby and a PAIN in my “arse” (that’s what Aussie’s say instead of ASS…weird). 

Unfortunately there’s no way to spin this battle to make it into a half-full cup of water or whatever the phrase is.

Oh the Weather Outside is Weather…:

(Forgetting Sarah Marshall reference if you didn’t know. If you didn’t know, go watch it). So I for some reason, used to call San Diego weather bipolar. And I’m honestly confused as to why I did that. Because from what I remember, it was about 70-75 degrees and PERFECT about 300 days out of the year. Yes, there are 65 more days where the weather was a little less than perfect. Perhaps 65 degrees or 80 degrees. Every now and then it would rain.

I now know, like how I know how what senioritis is, what BIPOLAR WEATHER is. People actually call Melbourne the city that has 4 seasons in a day, or something more eloquently said than that. I am literally sitting in my room at this moment with the sun glaring off the neighbors’ window and straight into my eyes, when it was dark and cloudy about 10 minutes ago. No joke. It will rain for 20 seconds sometimes and then suddenly subside long enough for the sun to come out for about 15 minutes and then 10 minutes after that, I hear thunder and lightning. Sure, it sounds kinda cool. But what the hell am I supposed to wear when I’m getting dressed for the day? 

My iPhone weather app says it has a 40% chance of rain. I look out the weather and it’s completely sunny. I get ready and the clouds take over so I put on my rainboots, only to trudge around in school in them, feeling like an idiot while everyone else is wearing sandals in the sunshine and humidity. The only thing worse than that is deciding on wearing Toms and getting completely soaked because it starts pouring rain. And usually I would just bring my umbrella just because of how sporadic the weather is, but the wind & rain destroyed mine. That was also during an episode of battling the trams and having to run to my interview. (Evidence below).

Fortunately, all the rain and bad weather (I’ve actually NEVER been in so much rain in my entire life) makes me appreciate every single day of good weather. Unfortunately, most of the days happen to be on the days I’m stuck inside working. (Murphy’s Law at it again..or is Catch 22? I honestly never could remember which was which and which applied to my life. Probably both ha). But regardless, it's nice to wake up to a beautiful day when your weather app told you there was a 95% chance of rain every single day. Every now and then, the unlikely 5% can endure:)

I should have some sort of symbol or warning or something before each blog entry. Saying that the following isn’t a “travel entry” but more of a “life entry”. I realize that I started this blog to write about my travels, and I feel like I’ve done a decent job covering most of it thus far. However, I said in the beginning that I’ve kept a journal since I was in 3rd grade. And that I also stopped writing about 2 years ago. And so maybe it just feels nice to write again. Even if it’s about nonsense that people actually aren’t interested in reading. So I suppose this is my warning: this is more of a LIFE entry :)

Every now and then, I would go back on old journal entries and read them. I would always claim that I liked to write in a diary/journal because it’s therapeutic and don’t get me wrong, it really is. But I also have this guilty pleasure of going back and reading old entries. I’m not sure what I gain out of it, but it’s just nice to reminisce sometimes. Sometimes I read about old mistakes that I’m still making today. And as terrifying as that is, that I’m still not learning, it’s also amusing in a way.

Like I just said, I stopped writing about 2 years ago after my life got erased (dramatic pause) – via computer crash anyway. Luckily, I still had quite a few blog entries on my “Myspace” account, that I randomly decided to read this morning (& I put “Myspace” in quotes because it really is quite an irrelevant & seemingly juvenile site these days [Sorry Tom]…Although I’m still so reluctant to delete it ha. I’m telling you, I have an issue with letting go of the past). First of all, I can’t believe I actually posted all of those things for the public to read. Secondly, I actually was maybe getting at something. Some of the things I wrote weren’t half bad. I mean, they were awful and embarrassing and I would delete them if I had the balls to, but they were somewhat meaningful.

I read about my high school days and saw how absolutely obnoxious I was. I mean, I already knew how annoying I was back then, but seeing myself write was just way too blatant of evidence. Regardless, it was still rather entertaining. My favorite bits were (& when I say “favorite”, I mean “the worst parts were…”) about how I “hated drama” yet every single blog I wrote was about drama. There were perhaps 20-25 entries, all spaced out between my sophomore year in high school, up until my sophomore year in college. It was funny seeing how I at least matured a little bit but how the boy problems never went away. The last entry was my favorite. A completely inappropriate entry completely calling out a guy I had semi-dated for a year and a half. I think I made that one private after I finally got over him. I never had the heart to delete it because in all honesty, I did a pretty damn good job calling him out on his shit. (We're actually friends now, so it's okay).

I wish I had the passion, or maybe just the balls, to write about the things I wrote about back then. I suppose I’m a little more conscious to the fact that this IS the internet and everybody can read what I’m writing. I think back then I just didn’t give a shit. I envy that girl just a LITTLE.

It’s funny seeing how my life has just been a cycle of the same thing. And not in a bad way at all. I went through high school thinking my biggest problems were these 4 guys I couldn’t decide between. But I’m sure in 10 years from now, I’m going to think back on how stupid my problems were when I was 23. I managed to document the greatest milestones in my life, which I’m so glad I did. Graduating high school and moving away for the first time ever. Dealing with far too many deaths at a young age. Going to college and having the hardest time adjusting and all the while, just drinking my life away (sorry mom). Almost having to drop out and going through horrible “heartbreaks”. And then now here I am, about to graduate college and I feel just as vulnerable and immature as that 16-year-old girl that wrote about how “crazy” sophomore year had been. Everybody is leaving San Diego. I don’t know where to go after this. I’m almost scared to move back home because I don’t know if I have a home anymore. Well, I pretty much know I don’t. My friends are dispersed across the country, from Northern California, to Texas to Georgia. So where do I go from here?

I would love to keep traveling but is it because I want to travel, or is because I don’t want to grow up? Everybody else around me is growing up, it seems. I know I’ll eventually have to do the same. But then there’s still that other side of me that is saying I don’t NEED to grow up yet and I can travel and do what I want because THIS is the ONLY time I’ll be able to do it so carelessly and freely.

As much fun as it all is, I still feel like I don’t know what I’m doing in my life and that I should figure that out. There’s this void in me that I’m not quite sure how to fill. But in all honesty, is a JOB going to fill that void? I highly doubt it. There always seems to be something in me that I’m missing, that I’m always trying to fill. Something I’m searching for. But maybe that void is just what keeps you going. Keeps you looking for more, keeps you hungry for life. Maybe it’s meant to be there forever so you don’t get too comfortable and set in routine. Maybe it’s not a void at all. Maybe it’s just drive to keep you from settling for anything but amazing. 

**I also took the liberty of stealing the title from an old "MySpace" blog entry (which was a quote from Donnie Darko or something). Funny how things from your past can help you figure out the present. Sometimes even the future. It may or may not be such a bad thing to want to hold onto the Past.
Today I’m missing my family extra. It’s Mother’s Day. Well, yesterday was technically Mother’s Day, but today is yesterday in The States. So today is Mother’s Day since that’s where my mom is. And I don’t miss them all so much just because it’s Mother’s Day. They all went to one of my cousin’s wedding yesterday. I was invited, but I obviously couldn’t make it.

I have a ginormous family. That typical huge Filipino family. I really do have the best family though. We would have huge parties all the time, and I mean ALL the time. Every weekend was somebody’s birthday, or somebody was getting baptized or married or there was an anniversary or a Cotillion, which is like a coming-of-age kind of party? Like a Bar Mitzvah except we’re not Jewish haha. And I think it’s when you turn 18. Clearly I didn’t have one myself, but my family has had a bunch.

And so I say that in the past tense because we haven’t really been to one of these parties in….hmmmm perhaps a decade or so? Maybe longer. Since my Lola, or grandma, passed away and my mom and uncles all got in a huge fight. All grown up stuff and I was too young to understand and then it became a soft subject that people didn’t want to discuss, even years later. I want to say it was about money but that seems too petty, right? Like I couldn’t imagine NOT talking to my own sisters because of something as stupid as money. But like I said, it was all grown up stuff that I was too young to understand. And so we stopped making the trek to the Bay Area every weekend because we didn’t speak to half of our family. There’d be some family functions we would still get invited to because my mom was still on good terms with 2 of her brothers (she has 4 older brothers. She’s the baby like me :) And that was literally her nickname, “Baby”). But my sisters and I rarely made appearances because we were busy. Lame excuse, I know.

So anyway, this wedding yesterday was one of the first where we were all invited. And it was from the other side of the family that we “didn’t talk to”. So it was kind of a big deal. Everyone would be there that we haven’t seen in literally years and years. And so my entire [immediate] family went, except Mallory. My mom made up with one of her brothers, which is also a huge deal. It was the bride’s father who she reconnected with, and so I think all it really took was for her to show up to the wedding and he was more than willing to make up with her when she had made the effort to come.

That’s really all it takes. The nice thing about family is that you never really need to say sorry. I guess it’s a good thing to say you’re sorry, but it’s even nicer when you don’t need to. Isn’t there some quote that says “Love means never having to say you’re sorry”? I mean, I don’t really think that works so much in “relationships”, but for family, at least MY family, I think it makes perfect sense. Like with my sisters and I, for instance. We can get in a crazy fight over something (usually something fairly stupid) and storm out on each other. An hour later, or even 10 minutes later, if one of us says one nice or even just CIVIL thing, that’s a peace offering. That’s saying, okay I don’t want to fight anymore. And it’s over. We don’t have to say sorry because we know that both of us are already sorry. Just the gesture is enough. And THAT’s what love is. I miss my family.
So I've kind of been failing at writing in my blog. After New Zealand, it seemed like nothing as exciting was happening. I wrote about the "W Curve" a few entries back and how you leave to study abroad and you get really homesick and emotional and what not and then you start to adjust and then you're in the "honeymoon stage". And then after that, you go back home and it starts all over again where you miss being abroad and being home sucks, etc. Wellll, nobody mentioned that there could be another curve in between those two phases where you go and visit a different country and then come back after an amazing time and get all emotional about missing the country you just visited. Kinda weird, but that's how I felt. Like I had said, New Zealand had been the most amazing week and so I was just kinda sad when I came back and I wasn't embarking on crazy adventures every day.

I kind of realized that I was stuck in a semi-rut after that trip. I was just seeing that I maybe wasn't being as social or adventurous here in Australia as I could be and I got real panicky and felt like I was going through a[nother] quarter-life crisis because I didn't know what to do with my life. I'm going back home in July, which really isn't that far away. It's less than two months away and I don't want to go home thinking that I wasted my time here. I always get so pumped up about doing things like getting a good job or exploring all these other places in Australia, but then I kind of just get comfortable and get stuck doing the same routine.

I think it's really important to do the things that you want to do and not let anything get in the way. Sounds selfish but I think this is a time in my life I'm allowed to be selfish. Maybe there's not an actual time you're ever allowed to be selfish, but I think it's okay to do things for yourself. I feel like I'm just a little lost right now. So I'm just trying to figure things out.

I decided I might just be a "permanent temp worker" for the rest of my life. Well hopefully not the RESTof my life, but I wouldn't mind doing it for a few years. So I can save up money to travel to the next place. And we all know I don't like staying at jobs for too long anyway ha. OH and that reminds me - I got another job! Well let's first talk about my first job that I got - the cafe job. So it's at Cafe Moravia, which I love. I love the cafe I mean. The food is good, the coffee is delicious, everybody that works there (minus my boss) is awesome. But like I said before, the pay is shit and my boss tried to pull a fast one on me and pay me LESS than $11 an hour. So I talked to him and [hopefully] sorted everything out... we'll see when I get paid this Wednesday if he's going to pay me $12 like he said he would. But other than the low pay, I really like working there. The best part is that I tell them my availability week by week and so I essentially make my own schedule! They usually schedule me around 3 days a week, which isn't bad because they're usually 8 hour shifts and so it's a good amount of money to make on the side.

Anyway, I applied for a few other places and I ended up finding out today that I got a job at this company, Thumbprint Creative Promotions, as a Brand Ambassador. So it's essentially the same as a job I had in The States where I did promo work and basically just promoted Bacardi & Grey Goose and other alcohol brands by giving away samples at bars or doing in-store booths. Pretty easy work and so hopefully I'll get a couple shifts a week. And they pay $20, which isn't bad - more than my other job at least. But the hours are shorter but together with both jobs, I think I'll be fine in the earning money area. I just got my tax return finally but I'm trying not to touch any of it so I'll have money when I leave Australia.

Oh so that brings me back to what I was originally talking about... I leave in July but I don't really want to leave. I don't think that I've really experienced enough and so I think I'm going to come back after I go home for a few weeks in July. I'm going to one of my high school best friend's (Rosy) wedding and I also have other things I need to take care of when I go home - find a place to put my car and get the rest of my furniture and stuff out of my old place in San Diego. And of course it'll be nice to see my family and friends too. So I think the plan right now is to go visit and then come back here, maybe make a stop in the UK on the way back. Which really isn't on the way at all and actually will cost a shit ton, but I'm trying to go travel there for a bit too. Vince, my friend I met in New Zealand, lives in England and so he'll hopefully show me around a bit. I also want to go to Ireland while I'm over there too but we'll see how much money I'll actually save from these two jobs. Plane ticket prices are NO joke. It's actually only like, $400 to fly to London from LA, but from London back to Melbourne is like, $1300 one way. Ridiculous.

So after the UK, the plan is to go back to Australia. Ash, another friend I made in NZ, is all about scuba diving and I'm trying to get my scuba certification soon (I actually just got a Groupon deal that's super cheap to get certified!) and he's going to the Great Barrier Reef in September or something so that's another trip I'm planning on making! We're also trying to train to run a half marathon! Super exciting.

Nate and I are going to Fiji in June so I'm pretty excited about that as well. We got super cheap tickets for like, $150 each for a ticket there but we haven't gotten a ticket back, so we're probably gonna need to work on that soon. I've also been going to hip hop classes! Well technically I've only gone to 2 so far, but I LOOVE it so I'm planning on going every week! I've also been trying to explore different parts of the city more as well. Finally went to Brunswick Street last night and we went to a couple bars there - Bimbo Deluxe and Naked For Satan. Melbourne bar names are hilarious. Bimbo had $4 pizzas and Naked for Satan had $1 tapas so it was a pretty good deal. Every bar I go to I always ask if there are any "drink deals" or "happy hours" but I've concluded that NOWHERE in this state has anything like that, which is mildly depressing. Nate and I also went to the Crown Casino on Saturday and went to their sports bar to watch the NBA playoffs. We actually were only able to watch one game (Lakers Nuggets) because the rest of them started at 4am, 7am and 9am. But I'm probably going to live there during the finals because those will all be night games (AKA noon games here). It was kinda lame because there were footy games on the second half of the game and so they changed the NBA game to a small TV and had the AFL games on the big TVs w/ sound. I HATE watching games without sound. But just being able to watch them period is nice.

Anyway, this has been a relatively boring entry, my apologies if you actually read it the whole way through and feel as if it were a waste of time. Hopefully next entry I'll have more interesting things to talk about :)