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.




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.





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.


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.





New in: Stuff I got lately

Do excuse me if this post is rather rambly, as I am sick – I’m at that stage where my illness is still getting a lot worse before it gets better.

First up is an his and hers order from Uniqlo that came in a few days ago. Uniqlo was doing a winter sale on winter staples the previous week. It was a good time for T to get another cashmere jumper and a merino wool sweater. He already owns these, and being a creature of habit who dislikes shopping, getting the same things in different colours is the way to go. The cashmere jumper was a good price, down from $149.90 to $99.90 (no longer on sale). Between us I’m pretty sure we own almost every fabric that Uniqlo makes clothes in! I also ordered a cable knit jumper that’s been on my wishlist. It wasn’t on sale but as an online order I will be getting a few dollars of cashback.





Uniqlo Middle Gauge Cable Crew Neck Sweater via Uniqlo | Extra Fine Merino V Neck Sweater (Men) Uniqlo | Cashmere V Neck Sweater (Men) via Uniqlo

I also finally upgraded my phone to the iPhone 6s (from 5c – blue) in rose gold. I was unsure about upgrading because at this time of year it’s closer to the release of iPhone 7 than the release of iPhone 6s. I picked a case from Sonix. This wasn’t the case I wanted the most but all the ones I wanted would be expensive to buy from America.


Sonix Rosalie iPhone 6/6s case via JB Hi-Fi; via ShopSonix

A few days ago my parents also came back from six weeks of travelling. It was so good to see them again! They brought back with them sooo much stuff for me (I had only asked them to keep an eye out for one thing). I was really spoilt rotten! There were a lot of random souvenirs including snacks. I love geting food! I was pretty excited for the snacks. They very kindly got me a perfume I’ve been wanting for a long time as it was about 30% cheaper overseas in duty free than it retails for in Australia. Thank you so much, parents!


English Pear & Freesia! (Probably can’t even read it)


Jo Malone London English Pear & Freesia Cologne via Jo Malone

Also how about these super adorable mug and bowl lids? Love them! Thanks to my aunt for picking these for me.


By far the most unbelievable thing they got me was a new suitcase. I certainly didn’t need one and this was way too much money spent on a suitcase for me (I literally can’t even bring myself to think how much it costs)! Plus bringing a suitcase back from across the globe! Eep! This makes me feel so guilty. #feelingsuperspoilt But it is incredibly pretty and well made.


First home anniversary!

I had originally intended to post about something else on my mind, but when I got home today I had a mail from the real estate agent congratulating me on my first home anniversary. It took me a while to process because I’ve certainly not lived here for a year yet. I realised that the agent meant a year since the contract signing… so I guess anniversary of the actual purchase?

I dug through the contract and it turns out it was officially signed off at the start of June. I had first signed my preliminary offer in the last week of May. We negotiated for a week and then the owners signed off. Then I had a 90-day settlement – gosh 90 days can be a long time.

I can’t believe it’s been a year! I had been apartment hunting for a few months, but when I found this one, I pretty much had a feeling instantly that I would be serious about it. I think it was only a couple of weeks between my first inspection and making a serious offer to buy. The whole process was stressful, exciting and more stressful. There were various bouts of panic too (what’s new?). I had no real idea what I was doing, and no one really had clear and consistent answers for me. Somehow I managed alright, by constantly nagging and querying everyone involved (a lot). I couldn’t have done it without the support of the people around me, their experiences, and Google!

I still have a long way to go in the short and long term plans for this apartment and my financial goals. One step at a time.

(The picture is actually from when I officially settled the property and got my keys. The agents gave me champagne and that was the first picture I took in the pitch black apartment without electricity.)