Journal Entry #003

Monday, December 3rd, 2018

It’s finally summer in Melbourne!

A few days ago, I had a nice steak dinner. Meat out in Australia is super cheap! For two cuts, it was only $11 and it was a pretty decent cut. I mean, I’m not an expert in steaks but can’t beat 2 for $11 and have it tasty.

Last week, I also finished my one-week contract. Originally it had a high potential to extend to a two-week contract but on my last day, they struggled to find any work for me so they didn’t extend. 

Yesterday was a day full of yummy food. I’ve been wanting to learn how to make sushi for the longest time but didn’t want to fork out the money to take cooking classes. My housemate, Tolis, offered to teach me how to make sushi so we went to the marketplace and grabbed the necessary things and sashimi-grade tuna and salmon. 

Unfortunately, I missed out how to make the sushi rice, which is a bummer because that’s the step I would obviously struggle with. Dan and I had a talk the night before and it made me so mad and upset that I couldn’t sleep and when I woke up, I basically felt this sadness and stayed in bed until noon. 

Nonetheless, I got to make my rolls and learn how to cut sashimi.

And yes, we made it in our PJs and I have a Hello Kitty robe.

To top it all off, for dinner, we had a bbq! We didn’t prep too much with it – it was literally just peri peri chicken wings and Tolis made some Greek appie with red peppers.

Today, I went over to Oakleigh, a Greek district and had myself a nice cup of iced vanilla latte from Vanilla (seriously, soooooo good!). I’m normally not a fan of doughnuts but… I had myself an Oreo & cream doughnut from The Oakleigh Doughnut Co.

It’s pretty much the best doughnut I’ve ever had.

Since my contract ended last Thursday, I’ve been having myself super chill days. I played The Sims a lot, lol. 

Tomorrow it’ll be a fairly busy day. One of the HR roles I applied for when I first arrived in Australia finally called back and I’m meeting with them tomorrow for an interview. I guess it’s a good thing because my chances are pretty high since a decent amount of people probably found jobs within a month.

The downside is the commute to Footscray is about an hour but hey, a job is a job. I can probably kill a lot of audiobooks this way too.

I’m also going to email ME tomorrow as well. I’m hoping they could provide an update on the role but I’m thinking it won’t start until January. My only concern is that I don’t want to be a dick and work for a place and then bounce a month or so later… but, if it is a guaranteed role, I do have enough money to last me through December without work… so we’ll see! 

Since I’m in the city tomorrow as well, I’m hoping to finalize the Christmas package I’ll be sending back home. I just need to pick up a t-shirt for my Dad and something for a Mom… and a few random knick-knacks and chocolates for my old colleagues and have it shipped sometime this week.

Journal Entry #002

Saturday, November 24th, 2018

It’s been a week since I moved into this place! Right after moving in, we went to Target to grab some bed sheets and a shelving unit. I also started unpacking and found myself a nice little corner of the house to work on my laptop!

Building our cheap little shelving unit.

Tiffany (roommate) is also a singer/songwriter so to get out of the house and visit some local joints and to show support to our new roomie, we went out to On Top Bar to catch her performance. She’s is suuuuuch an amazing singer! 

Last week, we also visited St. Kilda’s beach on the hottest day of the week. Seriously, it was high of 30-something and then for the remainder of the week, it’s been low 10s with wind and rainstorms.

Ugh, I am so excited for the sun and to get a nice year-round tan again…

This week….

On Tuesday, I went back to my interview with ME… and it went well! They specifically turned me down for the first role I applied for because my experience didn’t match but they ended up having a new HR Role that is opening up. It’s so new that they don’t have a formal description of the role, or even advertised it yet. They called me up to give me a first crack at it. 

So, I went to chat with the HR Manager and Recruiter. It sounds like this position is pretty much mine, however, it may not start until early 2019. I told them that I took a two-weeks contract that they were super supportive on that and would give me an update prior to the contract ending. My agency that I work through also gave me a call on Thursday asking if I’m interested in a 4-months HR contract. I said yes and they’re putting me forward because I don’t know when I could start at ME. Ideally, I would love to work at ME because the environment suits me more (and it’s closer to home!) but I also can’t be unemployed for a month or two waiting on them to get back to me. 

Soooo…. there’s that. Fingers cross that ME chooses to move the role along quicker so I can start shortly after my contract ends!

If I got hired at ME, I would see this street art everyday, haha. How cool is this, though?!

On Wednesday, I went to Melbourne’s biggest shopping mall and literally spent like 3-4 hours shopping for some corporate attire. Back at home, I’ve worked in a start up environment so I never had to bother with corporate attire, and the one pair of slacks and blazer I own, I decided to not bring that with me because everyone told me I probably won’t be working in an corporate environment.

Buuuut… turns out, a lot of temp contracts are in corporations. To keep things within budget and cheap (lol), I went to Target to find a blazer, an office dress, and slacks. I wanted something that could pass in an office, BUT also something that I can wear on a fancy dinner or something without looking too corporal.

Little did I know, the sizing in Australia (or in Target only?) is a bit different than North America. I’m used to XS to XXL and the odd numbers whenever I shop in H&M. But, in Australia, there’s XXXS or whatever so all this time, I thought sizes 6-10 were for bigger people BUT they’re actually a size small! WTF!!!

I was going to complain about how I couldn’t find anything in my size but it turns out, the sizing is just done differently. I purchased size 6 clothes and they were actually a small… lol.

Thursday was my first day on contract. I arrived at the office and holy moly, it’s massive. This company owns about 7 floors in the building and each floor houses different departments. 

On top of this, there’s cafes and cafeterias within the offices, and ping pong tables, fooseball, jenga, and a library. They promote collaboration so no one is assigned a seat – you literally pick up your laptop and move wherever you want to sit and each seat comes with a laptop charger, mouse and keyboard, and dual monitors. 

It was overwhelming at first and I still get lost within the building but it’s my first ever corporate job. Startups are generally small and have some games but maybe a level or two at most? I now understand what my cousin was saying when she said she met a co-worker from a “different floor”. 

I’m part of the talent acquisition team (fancy, eh?) and they’re a team of 19-20ish wonderful, wonderful people. They’ve been nothing but warm and welcoming over the last two days. They’re really showing me the ropes and stuff, buuuut… I don’t think they know I’m only here for a week or two. I don’t want to be a bitch but I also don’t want to get close to any of these girls and then have to leave…

What I wore on my first day. Everything is new except for the top and shoes.

Journal Entry #001

Saturday, November 17th, 2018

Today, we finally moved out of our Airbnb and into our Aussie home! Despite the lovely location of the Airbnb, I hated having no living room/dining area, and I hated sharing one single bathroom with 5 other travellers. During our time at the Airbnb, if we weren’t out and about exploring the city or going to job interviews, we were pretty much crammed in our little room, sitting on a queen-sized bed and watching Shameless or browsing the internet. 

It wasn’t fun and I was getting tired of being trapped in a room. Plus, near the last two days, we were moved to a “garage room” which is basically exactly what it sounds like – a garage converted to a bedroom. All there was was just rugs on the ground, a bed, wardrobe and desk. It was freaking freezing late nights and early mornings. 

Despite the great location (it was like 10 minutes into CBD), it wasn’t worth staying in that room for the long run. 

We ended up finding a place about 25ish minutes out of the CBD with a gal named Tiffany and her dog, Charlie. The room is spacious, and not to mention we have a full dining room and living room to relax and socialize in. We’re living with two Aussies so it’ll be nice to pick up the slang and in the ins and outs of Australia rather than living with another traveller. 

We had KFC for lunch (yuck, I know… it’s only because it was the only thing around at that time). After my meal, I was hit with a bad stomachache but luckily I was carrying my Eater’s Digest roll on and that really helped alleviate the pain within a few minutes.

The good news is that I landed a two- weeks contract as a Recruiting Coordinator with one of Australia’s biggest health company! It starts next Wednesday or Thursday (whenever they finish officially onboarding me). I also have another interview with this restaurant giant for an HR role on Tuesday and hopefully, that’s a permanent full-time position. What happened with this company was I originally interviewed for this Guest Coordinator role but they turned me down and instead asked if I would like to come in for the HR role that would better suit my skills instead… so I’m meeting with the HR manager on Tuesday for that… fingers crossed it all works out!

Why I'm Not Letting Student Loans Hold Me Back Anymore

On a bright sunny day in September of 2016, I handed in my last final exam of my undergrad. I was unofficially done school!

I told myself so many times that I’ll move to New Zealand once I’m done my schooling but the more I thought about it, the more I was hesitant. I was scared to move halfway around the world with student loans. I was scared that I didn’t have a “safety net” to fall back into if I couldn’t make a monthly payment. I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to pay rent, expenses, and my monthly loan repayment.

So, I told myself that I’ll pay at least half of my debt before I move. I won’t travel for the entire year of 2017 to prioritize my loans. I’ll just work and get some experience on my resume before moving overseas. I don’t know if I was just making excuses up for myself or genuinely considering this as my plan.

Why I'm not letting student loans hold me back anymore

Vancouver is a social hub for young travellers on the working holiday visa. I’ve met many thus far with different backgrounds. Some have no money whatsoever; some have student loans that they’ve barely made a dent on; some saved their money.

The more I got to realize, and the more I took my responsibilities seriously, something clicked in my head. If I can manage my finances perfectly fine, and experience first hand from other people that moved across the world with student debts… well, why can’t I?

If everyone kept to themselves because of their debt, how far would we progress, culturally? Where would I have met all my foreign friends from Ireland? Spain? Australia? The UK? I started to realize that my scenario wasn’t uncommon. There are billions of other people with debts, some bigger than mine, that is still moving on with their lives, seizing opportunities and moving to foreign places and lands.

What’s so different that I can’t do that despite having an education, experiences and most likely a smaller debt?

Nothing is different. It’s just the matter of breaking out of your comfort zone and accepting the fact that a student loan isn’t a debt sentence. The other day, my colleague described student debt as something that’s “just part of life nowadays”. As I reflect on this newfound feeling and realization, I honestly believe I was just making excuses to delay my move to another country… because I was scared. Excuses to not see at least one new city a year because my student loans would cripple me if I dare go out and enjoyed myself.

I’m not saying that I’m going to forgo paying back my loans and take my precious time and rack interests up. All I’m saying is that I’m still going to move on with my life, take fantastic opportunities and risks and just go with the flow with my loans. There will be months when I pay back only a few hundreds of dollars, and there’ll be months that I’ll drop hundreds down on my loan. All I know is that I’m still going to travel and see new places, and have fun, and pay off my loans within 2-3 years (the average Canadian takes approximately 9 years to pay off their student debt)! I don’t want to view my loan as a debt sentence anymore; I’m starting to view my loans as just another part of my life that I’ll need to get over and I will. Not ten years from now, but in a few years.

Student loans seem so scary when you’re fresh out of school, but is so many people can do what you want to do with (bigger) debt on their back, why can’t you?

I’m excited to not view my student loans as set back and using it as an excuse for things I want in my life. I think with proper management and handling, loans are just another mountain to slowly hike and climb over. It’s right in front of you, and it can look big, but you’ll get over it one day. Just keep moving!

With that being said, I promise that I won’t use my student loans as another petty excuse to not achieving one of my goals and seizing the opportunity to move abroad to Australia.

I'm a grown up….?

I think I’ve grasped the concept of adulting.

As I mentioned in my previous post, this is the year that I want to grow and essentially ‘become an adult’. It’s the year that I put my future in focus rather than leaving Vancouver on a regular basis for holidays.

I’ve started my job hunt for an entry-level Human Resources position back in early February and wow… it’s insanely hard. I’ve been to a few promising interviews only to get shot down at the final round because someone happens to have a little bit more over me. I absolutely hate being told I’m a strong candidate but unfortunately someone has a little bit more experience.

I’m currently waiting to see if I made it to the short list for one of the companies I applied for and interviewed with last Wednesday. I absolutely loooooove this company (already) and really hope they consider me for this position!

In addition to looking for jobs on an near daily basis, I’ve also started meal prepping. I figured, if I want to pay off my student loans ASAP, I need to drastically change my financial habits. I would spend about $6-7 on my lunches everyday at work and at the time, it doesn’t look too much but eventually when I load up Mint, I see the bigger picture. Every paycheque I get, I automatically deduct $200 for expenses and put the rest into repaying my loans back, and ever since I meal prepped, I’m surprised I can survive on $200 bi-weekly! The great thing is that I don’t even do ‘roll overs’ so if I don’t spend my entire $200, I include the left over into my debt repayment.

My meals are heavily protein based because I hit the gym a few times a week. But, nonetheless, it’s very nice to see how much money I can save just because I take a few hours out of my weekend to do a week’s meal prep! I’m also starting to slowly try new recipes and pick up new cooking tips and tricks.

One of my other accomplishment just happened a few hours ago. I finally purchased a new table and decluttered my desk.

The new desk is significantly smaller than my old one which gives me more room in my bedroom and less space to be tempted to clutter my desk with. The only thing I keep on my desk now is my laptop, lamp, two decors, and my make up. I’m going to eventually downgrade my make up collection as well because my make-up routine is very simple.

It’s so nice and refreshing to declutter and look at a new change! I’m on a path to minimalism and I absolutely love it. I’m going through my closet every day to see what I don’t need and I now consider purchasing clothes that can be worn for work and outings, rather than buying things on sales or just for one occassion.

Literally, I’ve only spent $10 on clothes this year…(so far)!

Adulting isn’t as bad as I thought it’d be… I’m looking to start my career; I meal prep to save money; and now that I’m adapting a minimalism lifestyle, I don’t shop or waste money anymore. I prioritize my debt over my wants of travelling and that’s a bit difficult but the idea of getting rid of my school loans is very rewarding.

This is the part where you begin to drift from your friends

I was hanging out with my cousin the other day to catch the Canada vs. Mexico soccer game which Canada lost drastically buuuut oddly enough, I’m not too bummed out because I don’t consider summer sports to be Canada’s forte. I mean… who seriously tunes in to watch the summer Olympic games in Canada? Haha.
Post game. 0-3 Canada vs. Mexico

My cousin and I were walking towards a late night sushi restaurant to grab something to eat. I was complaining about my Saturday plans because at the time I agreed to it, I was down but as the days crept closer, I wasn’t in the mood.

I told my cousin I felt that my lifestyle no longer revolves around clubbing and spending a fortune drinking with a bunch of strangers. I told my cousin that clubbing is no longer my scene because it’s not a place to catch up with my friends or meet new people. I’m no longer phased by having half my boobs pop out in order for guys to pay attention.

I mean, is it even genuine interest if you’re half naked? I’d rather appreciate a compliment when I’m fully clothed than wearing a short mini-skirt and low cut shirts.

My cousin told me I’m at the stage in life where I’d start to stray away from friends that I no longer share the same lifestyle with and associate myself with those more similar to me.

I’m not a prune. I still have fun but I’d rather do it elsewhere and not at a club. I don’t know when society deemed that the best thing you can do is go clubbing.

I noticed I hang out with my co workers more than my girlfriends because I see them much more than I do my actual friends but it’s also the fact that they’re similar in age but seek fun elsewhere than a club. And that not all outings requires us to drink. They have similar goals in trying to reach their careers or finish school.

I think everyone knows friends stray after high school or during your mid 20s but I think it’s interesting to experience it for yourself rather than read about it.

I no longer share the same lifestyle as some of my best friends and that’s okay. We may drift but that’s okay because I still trust and rely on them. I just hope that they’re understanding of my lifestyle differences and respect that as well.

I still keep in touch with my girlfriends via messages and occasionally meet up for dinners and movies but I honestly don’t think I can continue hanging out with those who revolve themselves around nightclubs and drinks. There are so many other ways to have fun without getting drunk, half naked, and struggling to find out how you’ve been for the past few weeks over loud blaring music and strangers.

And right now, I’m so close to graduating and starting my career. Maybe in the past few years when I was nowhere near finishing my school, I’d join them in nights out but now, I’m more focused on my career than anything else and I’m alright with that 🙂