Long overdue life update

It’s been a while!

I quickly lost the energy to blog last year as my life was taken over by work during the day and study at nights. My wonderful boyfriend, T, is credited to feeding me almost every single day. I made it through my Master’s with more grit and determination than my five years of university, finishing as one of the top graduates! I certainly feel a sense of smugness at the course coordinators who had heavily advised against students taking a full-time load while working full-time, haha. My favourite subject ended up being biostatistics, which one one of my two least favourite subjects in undergrad.

From October, I starting applying for job, though I still didn’t really know how I could get to what I wanted to do. Sharing the frustration with most applicants, I didn’t know how to get into the field to get experience when experience was an essential requirement! I had one interview but it was only a part-time role so I wasn’t too disappointed to not get the role. My Master’s finished in November and I finished off all my applications in a week before leaving for a 3-week trip to Europe. I actually had a Skype interview while there, but again didn’t get the role.

Returning to Melbourne in December, the end of my contract (there was mutual understanding that renewal was not a possibility due to funding, and I knew when I took the contract role with no renewal potential that it would be the kick in the butt I needed to move fields) and Christmas period was looming and I was officially stressed! I only had one interview lined up for after the New Year by the time Christmas rolled around and no one was advertising anymore.

I didn’t get the role in my interview after New Year’s, and had an emotional breakdown during my first week of unemployment. I’ve never been unemployed, and it was a tough time. I was really questioning my life choices and wondering whether I had wasted a year of my life pursuing something new. January was a quiet period for applications, but thankfully I did get an interview for early February, which lead to an offer a few weeks later. I started my new job on February 26. It’s been quite an adjustment from working in biomedical research to public health research. I still want to leave research, and hope this job will be a more relevant stepping stone to reach that destination.

In February, I also moved into T’s, apartment. We had decided this last year but I decided I really needed my own space to get me through my studies. Combining living arrangements and finances would help us save more money. We had wanted to rent a different apartment in his building but missed out on the single opportunity that came around in January despite offering a really long lease and quite a lot more money! We had landed on that compromise because the location of his building is better than mine, but I really wanted my green army to thrive, and his apartment unfortunately gets next to no sun. Now that I’ve moved into his apartment (and my goodness was that a struggle and a half) and I’ve been able to maintain most of my plants while giving some away, I really cannot be bothered moving apartments again! So I guess we’ll just stay here for the near future. In the meantime, I have turned my apartment into an Airbnb, a venture which is proving difficult and costly but I’ll give it some time to see if it can turn profitable.

Since then, we’ve been so busy everyday, barely managing to keep up with housework while still organising our combined junk to clear out or sell. The apartment is STILL a dumpster after almost three months! I hadn’t realised how difficult it was for two people to fit in a one-bedroom apartment, when we’ve both been living comfortably in our own apartments!

Last week, I flew up to Sydney with T and Mum for four days (with Dad joining for the middle two days) to attend my graduation ceremony. This will probably be my last tertiary degree (or at least I don’t intend to progress beyond Master’s) and UniMelb undergraduates do not get a hat (humph), so I really wanted to attend. At least I can say now I’ve attend the USyd campus! It was a lovely trip and we ate lots of good food.

We’ve just booked a short (by my standards) trip to the USA in September. Surprisingly this has probably been the hardest trip to plan, and it is likely going to be much more costly than the last two trips which were longer.

“julycheee”


I remember walking through the city on White Night Melbourne last year, trying to get home after dinner. T and I were brainstorming blog names. I wanted a “made up” name that was a mash of words. I was throwing around a lot of fruits, particularly melon, pineapple and lychee because I’m known as a bit of a fruit lady, and those are some of my favourite fruits that also have cute names (in my opinion). I also liked July because it’s my birth month and the seventh month and that’s my favourite number. July + Lychee was a winner the moment it left my mouth. We had to Google whether anyone was using the handle and unfortunately it appeared there was a July Chee, haha! I was a bit devastated, but couldn’t quite give up on the name. Hence the third E was added.

I was reminding T of the birth of julycheee last night as we were walking through the dense crowds to get home again. He had no recollection!


Unexpected life lately

I originally wrote the below post to go up before Christmas, but then the Monday before Christmas, we received news that my grandmother living in China had had a stroke. That night I packed my things and went to my parents’ house. Some time after midnight my dad received the call that his mother had passed away. The next day was spent running around getting flights and processing emergency Visas for my parents and I. Three years ago, also a few days before Christmas, we had to make the same emergency flight back to China so we were well prepared for how to get it done. We flew out that night and arrived the next night (after a horrible delay due to pollution resulting in a seven hour transit in China). It was a crazy and tiring trip. She was my third grandparent to pass away so I am now more or less prepared for Chinese death rituals, although my dad’s siblings kept this one really simple (we were able to sleep every night). The funeral was on Saturday, and on Sunday (Christmas day), I flew back home with my mum (my dad would stay another week). On that day I also got sick and spent the the flight and week between Christmas and New Years being quite sick. Such is getting sick in China. So that was my Christmas. Although it was an emotionally and physically distressing – not least because my grandmother’s passing was so utterly sudden and unexpected, there is peace to knowing that she lived a wholesome and healthy life without any illnesses, and although she went too soon, she was surrounded by friends in the local park when she collapsed (and not alone in her house) and experienced little discomfort while unconscious. May she rest in peace with my grandfather.


The last couple of months have been rather eventful. Job security isn’t really a reality in my area of science, but I had wanted to leave my current job regardless if my contract could be extended at the end of November or not. Of course it would be a huge risk to voluntarily leave without securing another job. I decided to go for it anyway and push myself out of a comfort zone. Since I already know I don’t want to stay in this job role forever, it was time to be proactive. I sent out about a dozen job applications. Surprisingly, I actually got two offers! The first was basically the same as my current job but in a better environment. The second offer was unexpected me because it was from industry and I only went to the interview for practice. I turned down returning for a second chat on account of liking my other offer more. They were rather insistent that industry was better and paid better (which is true but despite a $13k pay difference on paper, my current salary packaging benefits means I still earn within a few thousand of the industry pay) and asked me to come in again anyway. Once I did that maths, I no longer felt guilty about turning down a significantly higher paying job because it wasn’t. In the end I managed to firmly turn them down. My current boss also extended my contract for a few more months to finish off projects, so I will be starting in a new (but very similar) job mid February. Things ended up working out really well and I won’t be in a worse situation next year, although I’m not sure if the initial decision to leave was a good call (because of the risks) and it was probably very irresponsible. I would have loved to find a job which was more different, but I am so thankful for what I have lined up. Somehow all the pieces fell in to place and I’m counting my lucky stars.

I will also be studying a Masters course in 2017 at The University of Sydney by distance. I am resolved to do this full time and work full time. I never put enough effort into any of my studies in high school or undergraduate university. I can only own up to putting in effort for Honours. I owe myself at least one year of hard work. I hated my Bachelor so much and I still have no idea what I’m doing with my life so I really want to make this degree count. I actually applied for a mid year 2016 intake and was already accepted but decided to wait for the end of 2016 in the hopes of securing a CSP (Commonwealth Supported Placement) placement for 2017. This would effectively make my tuition fees two thirds subsidised. I had been wondering if it was even worth studying full-fee, as full-fee study is a difficult concept for me. I was fairly certain I wouldn’t get a place based on academic standing (poor university performance mentioned) so I had unhappily resigned myself to pushing ahead in a full-fee placement. What’s some five additional years of paying back student loans? However against all odds, I received news that I had secured one of the additional CSP spots! I was quite emotional at my work desk, crying silent tears (don’t worry, nobody saw). I’m not sure if it’s an achievement but somehow it feels like an achievement. I’m so thankful to be given a fairly competitive CSP spot. Somehow the pieces all fell into place again. Thank you, lucky stars!

Needless to say, 2017 is going to be a big, intense and very different year.

Life Lately

August disappeared in a blur and I barely know where it went!

For starters, I’m completely addicted to Pokemon Go! I feel like I wasted the first month of play as I only began to understand the complexity of the game like two weeks ago and wish I had done things a bit differently. T has been an absolute monster at the game, going about it with military precision and dedication (as expected) – last week he registered everything available to be caught in Australia. I’ve probably got two to three weeks of hard grind to get the last few difficult ones. When people ask what happens when you catch them all… well that’s probably where the tough journey begins. I’ve still got a lot to learn! I definitely struggle a lot with understanding the Pokemon elements… this is what happens when you don’t grow up playing Pokemon (or watching Pokemon… I watched casually but I followed Dragon Ball a lot more eagerly, haha!)

I’ve also been busy starting a side hustle. It’s been hard and quite stressful, but hopefully it will bring in some extra cash! I definitely want to be as aggressive as possible with my savings/mortgage.

My dad was briefly hospitalised over the weekend because he had a virus that got complicated. Thankfully it was pretty straightforward and apart from quite a lot of pain initially, he’s much better now and back at home. He was very pleased with the ward he got at the Alfred with a wonderful view of Fawkner Park, hehe. The moral of the story: if getting worse, visit the GP again!

A year ago today, I moved into my apartment! I’m looking around now though and I’m pretty embarrassed because of how messy it is – I haven’t cleaned in a long time. Shaking my head.

A winter Saturday

A winter Saturday

The last few days Melbourne has seen some of the coldest June weather in decades. Saturday was actually a really nice day. It was absolutely my kind of weather – crisp and chilly, only a few clouds, no wind (or rain). As a winter lover, I thought it was beautiful, and really wanted to be out and about!

For brunch we checked out Noisette in Port Melbourne. We went to town on pastries and took the cakes for eating later. It was nice, but the pastries were not outstanding. Given it’s reputation, I was slightly underwhelmed.

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After several changes of plan (I wanted to go to a market but they would probably close soon after we could get there), we just spent the afternoon walking around the city. I couldn’t believe that it was only a few days ago when Melbourne was enveloped in so much fog that the top of buildings weren’t even visible.

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I picked up a treat for myself from La Belle Miet. The one at the end of Collins St is so tiny and adorable but really needs better signage. It’s no wonder I never noticed it before.

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For dinner we tried out Ponshu Kiroro, a relatively new Japanese restaurant. They define themselves as Hokkaido fusion cuisine. It was quite nice, but the portions were surprisingly heftier than we had anticipated. We totally could have done without the kurobuta ribs, which we ended up taking almost all of back home (and were also a bit rubbery and chewy). The chicken senbei was not what I had expected, but addictively good! We’ve already decided to return in the future to try the ramen and other dishes. Having learnt from our mistakes this time, we will order with restraint.

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