Spending four months back home in the Philippines, and then moving to another country for my last two years of uni was not easy at all. I still get homesick from time to time, especially when someone visits me from back home, and leaves after a few days, the apartment feels so much emptier, it makes me cry sometimes.
But living the life of an international student is also as amazing as it sounds. You personally grow, and I have noticed that. I have gotten more mature, I have learnt to be more independent, and as simple as it may sound, I have learnt to be more responsible, as a whole.
One of the things that I very much enjoyed being responsible for is designing my own apartment. It’s great! Not many twenty-one year olds have the chance to do the same.
When I first saw the apartment, it was not empty. There was a family living in it, and I loved how they designed it – it seemed very country and cozy, but I thought that they filled up the space too much that the apartment looked tight. From then on, I came up with ideas of how I wanted my apartment to look like.
Six steps I took were:
- Picked an accent colour for every room.
- Decided on how I want my apartment to look as a whole. Basically, like a theme. Whether it be country, minimalist, and etc.
- Looked around furniture shops (this was my favourite part), got ideas.
- Funds. Made sure that I had enough funds to pay for all the furnitures that I wanted to purchase.
- Accepted deliveries for my first week in Sydney, arranged, rearranged.
- Saw empty spaces, and filled it up with more furniture pieces.
I’m no interior designer, but these few steps worked for me, and if you are in the same situation right now, I hope it works for you as well.
Moving into another country is always a big step. Imagine doing that three times. Yes, all those emotions, responsibilities and means to adapt to different cultures and people. Coming from Dubai, where shopping is one of their main cultures, malls normally close around 1:00AM. People under twenty-one years old are not allowed to go to bars, order drinks, or enter a restaurant that serves drinks after a specific time (no matter how good the food is, you can’t enter). That’s how strict they are. And women are always required to dress conservatively. If you are wearing an off-shoulder top with jeans, and closed shoes, people will definitely stare at you like you’re an animal in a zoo (which I passionately hate so much). It is really difficult and some people find it impossible to adjust to that kind of culture. Whereas here in Sydney, malls close at around 5:30-6:00PM, after which, there’s really nothing much to do anymore, but drink. Drinking is one of the biggest cultures here in Sydney. You see a bar or two in every block. I’m sure it’s paradise for some people. Although there are plenty of bars here in Sydney, I love how there’s a 1:30AM lockout law, and a 3:00AM last drinks law. In this case, people go home earlier, less danger, less drugs (hopefully). Sydney is a very laid back city. You can dress however you want and, you can say or do whatever you want, but of course there are still certain laws that people need to abide by, which I believe is really good to keep a well-balanced society.
Unlike my lifestyle in Dubai, I was always asleep after uni (around 1-4PM) because there was nothing to lose. There’s still time to go anywhere anyway. Here in Sydney, I’ve been living such active days because days end so early over here that if you stay home the whole day, that’s it for you – there isn’t much to do anymore. My body clock has been perfect since I moved to Sydney. I’ve been sleeping minimum of eight hours a night, and I almost never get sleepy in class.
What I love most about Sydney is that the government provides such amazing healthcare for its people. Yes, tax is high, but citizens get what is rightful to them anyway. Another thing that I love about Sydney is that people with disabilities are so independent. It isn’t the end of the world for them. I see them in malls shopping on their own, playing music in the middle of Pitt Street and so on. It’s truly inspiring how these people, despite certain restrictions, do not allow these things to hinder them to live normally as human beings. And that’s what I feel, we Filipinos, should do as well. Life must not stop because of the challenges thrown at us, instead embrace what is already there, and again, if you’ve read my previous blog, make the most out of it.