This city makes breathing wonderful and difficult at the same time. Lols. The latter is quite true if you’re a smoker. As of date, I have been smoking an average of 1-2 sticks of cigarettes per day ever since I got here, which is somewhere around a couple of weeks. I am quite amazed at myself as to how I was able to do that. I usually smoke around 10 cigarettes a day and maybe even more. I hadn’t really put much effort into quitting or stopping, nor did I plan to drastically change my habits. I guess when you can’t smoke inside the house or anywhere within the compound; you’ll be more than forced to cut down on smoking.
As much as I would want to casually light up here or there, I’m basically afraid of getting caught not smoking where I shouldn’t be. And if I wanted to go out, sometimes I’d want coffee too, and a cup of joe can cost me anywhere between $3-$5, which is a bit heavy on the pocket if I do that at least twice a week. It may be chump change for some, but let’s do the math; Australia sells the most expensive cigarettes I know. For $16-18 dollars a pack, I could buy one, even two whole reams of cigarettes back home. And so, smokes and coffee can easily reach to $100 expenditure a month. Yikes! The government can really dissuade a lot of smokers if they keep adding up the numbers. Anyway, enough about my vices.
I am glad to be in Melbourne. I am loving our apartment, the neighborhood, the weather, the parks, the buildings, and the food. Oh, there is so much more to see and explore I can’t wait to tell you what I managed to find, to read and to do.
Even though I haven’t updated this blog with more recent post as much as I want to, (and even though that’s bound to happen one way or another either because I am living my life or other stuff kept getting in the way) I’ll be sharing my experiences however mundane they are so you could learn too and manage your expectations. Here’s a short summary of what I have encountered, and some tips too along the way:
1. I got the flu. The first week I arrived, I was shot down with the colds and fever. Boo (my partner) told me that almost everyone she knows who gets here becomes sick. I guess you just have to get used to the weather fast or else. But then again, if you have lived where there are 4 seasons in a year, or in Tagaytay, or in Baguio, I don’t think you’ll have any problems.
2. Know how to use your keys, which opens what gates, and which button buzzes in your partner, or your friend, or the courier delivering your package and other goods you ordered online.
3. Boo got me a prepaid sim card and I tried to talk to a machine with as much accent as I could muster so I could activate it. Tip: If you have the same telecommunications provider, SMS or text messages are free. Yes, just like back in the day when Globe or Smart didn’t charge you for anything.
4. You need to save your $1 and $2 coins if you live in an apartment with communal laundry. There are instructions left in place, either in the room itself or on the machines, so people like you and me who has never seen or used a coin-operated washing machine/ dryer can get these things to work and clean our undies.
5. Get to know the neighborhood so you know where you could do your errands or simply ride the nearest tram or train. And for that matter, get a Myki card. Boo got me one so I didn’t have to deal with that one.
6. I shopped at Coles and checked-out and bagged my own grocery without any hitch (I don’t live in a cave, but it’s kind of a novelty to me because we don’t have or do them back in the Philippines).
7. Always have a couple of tools handy like a screw driver and a hammer, especially when you have an unfurnished apartment. You know you need to assembly those pieces of furniture you bought from Ikea.
8. Know how to operate the oven. Actually, I’m still having a difficulty with this one as I can’t find any manual on the internet about Gorenje Pacific freestanding cooker/oven. All that the knob indicates are the numbers from 0 – 60. I am guessing that this is the timer, but I still can’t figure out how to properly manipulate the heat.
9. I tried doing all the simple things like getting a bottle of Coke from the vending machine. But stupid me, I wasn’t familiar with the denominations that when I dropped in a big coin that says 20, I had initially thought that I had already sufficiently paid for my drink. My Boo was kind enough not to laugh at me and said I dropped in 20 cents and not 20 dollars. Argh. The humiliation!
10. Collected the mail and saw how many catalogues and unsolicited posts are jammed in it. Yes, you will regularly get this. Even though others don’t want it, I kind of like it. It makes me feel like I have important shopping to do. Must not let those discounted items go to waste!
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