Wednesday, February 28, 2007 ______________________________________________________________________________

News From the Front 

As most of you have probably guessed, the reason the blog has been suspended for the amount of time it has is that I've been coordinating an international move. More accurately, I was putting off coordinating an international move and as a result arrived largely unprepared for living in Melbourne. You know, no accomodation and such-like.

I mean don't get me wrong. I was organized enough to arrange a hostel to stay in when I arrived. It's not like I got here completely unprepared. What I wasn't prepared for was the condition of the hostel. It was just about as bad as the Happiness Hotel (you know, the one in The Great Muppet Caper). Only the singing, dancing, friendliness and enthusiasm was replaced by...well...nothing. Nothing. If pushed, I would say it was replaced by a general air of apathy and resignation.

After having to step backwards to avoid being run over by a cockroach (which, the last time I checked, weren't diurnal, so wtf was this thing doing out running over people's feet?!) I went to my room (shared with 5 other people) only to be greeted by a sullen looking girl who said, "Don't ever leave the door open because shit gets stolen." She then proceeded to enumerate the various items (cell phones, ipods, cameras, etc.) that have been stolen from the various rooms on the floor. Apparently her cell phone was stolen just two days prior in the 5 minutes it took her to cross to the room across the hall and back. While she was talking I was making myself comfortable in my upper bunk. As comfortable as you can be with greasy sheets.

I decided that I didn't want to spend a minute more in the place. So, taking everything with me that could potentially get stolen (the short amounts of time it took for thefts to occur didn't exactly inspire trust in my roomates) I went down to the lobby (where internet access was a whopping $5/hr) and started looking for another place to spend the night. (By the way, the website stated that the hostel had "internet access", which I took to mean "free internet access". Evidently, I was wrong.)

A few desperate phone calls to various places around the city later, I found a budget hotel that was able to house me for the night, but that was unable to guarantee me a room for subsequent nights. Whatever man. I wasn't thinking that far ahead. I called a cab and I was out of there.

The other place (City Centre Budget Hotel) was completely different from Hotel Bakpak[sic]. The tiled floors were clean (as opposed to carpeting whose original colour is a mystery for the ages), the bathrooms could not assault your nose from any distance, the sheets were white, pressed and clean, the internet was wireless and free, the staff were sympathetic and helpful and hell, there was a TV and fridge in every room as opposed to one that was to be shared between 50 people. Sure it was three times the price. The accomodation was immeasurably better though.

Little did I know I was to stay there for the next three weeks. See, my dad told me that there was a housing glut in Melbourne, that I should have no problems at all finding a more permanent place to stay. The reality was that there's a housing crisis on right now. Less than 1% of all rental properties are available. (Interestingly enough, my current landlords are positing that the real estate agents are constructing this crisis. Reason being that they are losing business because the housing market is at an all time low due to a sharp increase in land tax. In order to not actually lose money, they started to hype the rental market...but that's another story.) In other news, there is a housing glut in Perth, but seeing as how it's a week's drive from my school and I have neither a car nor a helicopter nor am I willing to put up with an excessively long commute, that didn't really help me.

School started 2 days after I arrived here in Melbourne. So far it's been a cakewalk. I've already taken an introductory Audiology course at UBC, so alot of the information in lectures are nothing new. Plus two of the courses deal with material that was integral to my undergrad degree and focus on stuff that I ended up teaching during my stints as a Linguistic TA. It's not like class is completely boring though, we are doing interesting things in clinics (where we actually see actual patients!!). Right now I'm just concerned that I might be the only Audiology student in the world that thinks ears are really gross and who doesn't really want to have anything to do with ears if she can help it. Maybe I'll get over it. If I don't, well, I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

If there's a moral to this whole story to this point, it's that I should really think about thinking further ahead. You know, putting in the extra mental paces. For example, my thought processes for deciding to come here to study: "World's best program? Sure! Let's go!". I didn't think of the logistics, I didn't think of how much I would end up missing Jim. And I do. Alot. I never realised how big a part of my life he had become. I took our relationship for granted, the comfortable companionship we have. If I were looking for the silver lining, I suppose it's that I'm not going to take his company for granted anymore. But it's a long way to have to travel to come to that conclusion.

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posted by Joie! at 3:32 AM

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