Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Year One - The adventure begins

On January 2004, 20 students from Mara College Banting arrived at Melbourne for their one-month orientation programme. The orientation programme was filled with random activities comprising of lectures, PBL tutorials and orientation to the university and visiting the city of Melbourne.

Out of 20 people, 7 of them are JPA scholars and the rest are MARA. 7 boys and 13 girls. Before coming to Melbourne, JPA let us to find our own accommodation but will not pay for any accommodation above the monthly allowance. At that time, the monthly allowance was only AUD 637 and the average rent for accommodation around the university could reach up to AUD 300 per week.

The JPA scholars were stranded and at one point, we had to ask permission from Malaysia Hall at Melbourne for temporary accommodation. Alhamdulillah, few days before arriving, one of our friends from Monash University managed to find an accommodation for JPA scholars (only for boys though). As a result of this, our female friends were left stranded randomly hopping from one house to another house for the next few months.

p/s: I have been living in the same house for the last 6 years. I guess I'm too lazy to get involved in the hassle of moving house.

I bought a bicycle in the middle of the first semester and has been using it to travel from home to university. I think the distance is roughly 4km. It was a good form of exercise for me. Whether it is summer or winter, raining or extremely hot weather, I persevere to use my bicycle as my main mode of transportation around the neighbourhood.

Right in the middle of the winter holiday, four of us, managed to cycle to Monash University, Clayton. It took us few hours to cycle from Melbourne to Monash University since we choose a route that was full of steep hills. It was a memorable experience for me and it was exciting to think that we have enough stamina to cycle for a trip that was roughly about 20km.

My grandmother passed away during my first semester exam. I was pretty close to her since she has been looking after me when I was little. I think the hardest bit when we are separated from someone is  not having the chance to show how much we love that person. Occasionally, the memory comes back to haunt me since I've never got the chance to say goodbye to her. Al-Fatihah to her.

On 15th of August 2004, I started this blog. Alhamdulillah, I managed to persevere with blogging until today despite that I have been blogging less frequently in the last few years.

Fruit picking and packing
During my first summer holiday, my friends and I tried various jobs to earn a bit of cash. Initially we went all the way to Mildura looking for job. Mildura is right at the border of Victoria, roughly about 300km north from Melbourne. Having no luck looking for job overthere, we went to Cobram which is also along the state border. Alhamdullilah, after few days searching for job, we got a job in one of the big farms over there.

My first job was as a cherry picker, but I quit after few days. The salary was not that attractive compared to the workload. Next, we worked as strawberry pickers. This job is quite good but it won't be good for your back since you have to squat throughout the day to pick the strawberries. Again we quit from the job.

Next, we went home to Melbourne and try our luck looking for job at Yarra Valley, which is about 50km west from Melbourne. We managed to find a job as a cherry picker again and this time, we managed to persevere with the job until the end of cherry season (middle of January).

I've written a lot of posts about my working experience as a cherry and strawberry picker. Read these post below if you are interested to know more :)

Cobram 1
Cobram 2
Cobram 3
Cobram 4
Cobram 5
Cobram 6
From Cobram to...
Wandin East 1
Wandin East 2
Wandin East 3
Wandin East 4
Wandin East 5
Final Note

p/s: I'm not sure whether I still have the talent to write that kind of post anymore.

I think that is a pretty good summary of my first year :)


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