What rejection does to your morale…

(The following is a demonstration, entirely in sound effects.)

Wheeee!

Tralalala..

Uh oh.

BOOOOOMM!

Pshshhhhhh.

Pfft.

Poof.

Crashed and burned, baby. Crashed. And. Burned.

And the funny thing is, I didn’t even want that job.

I just thought I’d get into the practice of sending out resumes. But then I thought, if I can’t even get a job I don’t even want — if I can’t even have the option to refuse a job I don’t want (but got) — then then then who’s to say I can get anything, anything at all?!

This isn’t my first ever rejected attempt, of course, and I was already expecting it. But still.

I think I might start to… uhmm.. sniff, sniff–

Waahh! WAAAAHHHH!!

(Here is Nadia, stomping her feet and trashing her room, throwing books onto the floor and screaming the world is unfair, THE WORLD IS UNFAAAAIIIIR. Where is the silver spoon now, wheeere?)

—–

Bah. I’ll be fine. I moped all day yesterday. You’d think it’d be out of my system by now.

26 May, 2008 at 11:43 am 2 comments

All in the name of Wisdom.

Uuuggghhhhh.

Stupid, stupid wisdom teeth.

It’s true, then. It seems I am at that age where my biggest problem in life is not that I have no job, no school, no immediate future plans, no clue as to What to Do With My Life — no! All of that is secondary to the excruciating pain in one side of my mouth, and the pain doesn’t stay there, oh no, it invites itself to bloom to the entire right side of my face and all the way to the right side of my head.

(For those who haven’t been following the progress of my dental health (or lack of it), I had two wisdom teeth last year, and it seems the third has just gotten the memo and decided to arrive fashionably late.)

I’ve been spitting out mouthfuls of blood when I brush my teeth. It now even hurts to swallow. I have to smile only on one side of my face because the other hurts. I’ve been living on panadol, soup and mashed potatoes… and yesterday a plate of nachos which I couldn’t resist. Not a good idea, but the nachos were good.

I can totally understand why babies cry their lungs out when teething. But at least their teeth don’t have to compete for space, and my mouth is already over-crowded as it is. And they don’t know the joys of a burger anyway.

This sucks.

Whine, whine, whine. Pity, pity, pity me now.

So ironic that they’re called wisdom teeth, isn’t it? But as a particularly chatty dwarf told me in World of Warcraft, it wouldn’t make much of a difference if they’re called stupid teeth.

(Yes, I complain about my teeth to random dwarfs and elves.)

Pity, pity, pity me now.

But on to other news, since I’m here. Yes? Yes.

Contrary to popular belief, I haven’t been idle since I got back to Melbourne. What? You think because I have no job, no school, and a blinding tooth ache, I stay in bed all day?

Well… kinda. But I have been doing some job hunting, joo know. I sent out applications and have been waiting nervously ever since. There is also a media internship which I want to try for, because it seems kinda perfect.

This whole waiting-for-money-to-fall-in-my-lap thing is kinda harder than I thought. I can kinda understand if my mother is getting impatient with me, because I’m all the way over here spending her money on rent and bills and having no success in seeking work when I could be at home doing the same thing spending a third of the amount. I can kinda understand if she wants me to start a job just start something already just start, or come home. But I don’t want to just yet, you see. I’m not ready to give up Melbourne.

At the same time, I don’t want to stay and get a job making sandwiches. Even if that would pay better than an actual wroiter job in Malaysia. Hmm.

Oh well. I’ll know the outcome of my applications in a couple of weeks. In the meantime I’ll send out resumes to whoever that might be remotely interested. And so we wait.

—–

Being jobless and uniless has also given me a lot of time for my friends. They ask for help and I help in any way that I can. Usually it involves proofreading and editing essays. I am particularly proud of a certain flatmate (and by proxy, my editing skills) who has churned out all H1 essays this semester. With another friend, a certain fellow procrastinator, the best help I can offer is telling her to get started, and walking her to the computer lab.

Sometimes helping involves pretending to go in and out of a pub five times (for a photography major’s photography assignment) – before I realised the bartender was standing right there and staring at me suspiciously. I managed to stammer, “I.. was just passing by.. and this looked like a nice place.”

That particular assignment also involved me standing in dangerously close proximity to cat poop, and I accidentally dropped my juggling ball in it. And then of course I yelled EEWWWWW a hundred times, pointed at the dropped ball touching (touching!) the poop, stomped my feet, and waved my arms about, to demonstrate my displeasure with the situation.

The things you do, eh. She is so lucky she’s actually a pretty damn good photographer. If she didn’t come up with pictures like this…

… I might get mad, or something.

(Aren’t I a rawk star? Heeeee.)

Alright, alright, I admit it. This whole paragraph of this entry wasn’t about me helping my friends with their assignments. It was a rather narcissistic excuse to tell you I edit H1 essays and have rawkstar hair.

—–

And now I’m hungry. Food choices are quite limited when you have a blinding toothache. Shall I have soup, or soup? Hmmm. I guess I’ll go fix myself a cup of soup.

Y’all have a good day now. Toodles!

20 May, 2008 at 1:01 pm 4 comments

Lazy.

Here is a case of typical Laziness, cleverly disguised as “Writer’s Block”.

Here is Nadia, with brand new leather-bound journal, and favourite ball point black pen.

Here is Nadia, shackled for the longest time by assignments and deadlines and “Critical Thinking” and people generally telling her what to do.

Nadia has grand visions of her name on the cover of books, those books on shelves, those shelves in bookstores.

Here is Nadia doodling her own name over and over.

Nadia fancies herself as a Writer, although yet to be published beyond the comforts of her own blog.

Here is Nadia’s blog, not updated for weeks.

Nadia feels a trickling sensation creep down her spine. It feels a little like Dread. It feels a lot like Failure.

Here is Nadia staring off into space.

Stare at the journal. Empty.

Stare at the Word screen. Empty.

Nadia sighs, and goes back into the world of gnomes and trolls and kick-ass elves.

5 May, 2008 at 11:22 am 2 comments

And it’s all over.

Last Friday I got an email from Student Admin saying that my results have been amended, and the Failed subject, which was Withheld for the longest time, is now a Pass.

In case you have trouble following the chronology of the Drama That Is My Academic Career, here is what happened:

Last semester, which was supposed to be my final semester, I was bogged down by general slackerness and handed in that particular assignment late. I’d been granted Special Consideration on the grounds of my sleep disorder (which was an actual medical problem that semester, instead of something I bring up at convenient times), but I still couldn’t meet the extended deadline. Thus, the (rather snobbish) lecturer failed me automatically, without even reading it. This felt like an enormous failure (instead of the regular kind) because it was a huge essay of 4000 words, and I’d put considerable effort into it. When, two days into the new semester, the Withheld result was changed into a Fail, I enrolled in Novels and flew back to Melbourne in a hurry, with about a week left on my student visa.

A new student visa application (>$400 on credit card), a new medical examination for the said application (>$200 on savings account), and a new subject enrollment (>$2000, invoiced but yet to be paid) later, I get an email saying I actually passed, and that I’m back here, basically, for no reason.

All weekend I thought about continuing with the current subject anyway. It will be a better grade than a Pass, it’s a Creative Wroiting subject, I actually enjoy the class, and, five weeks into the semester, it feels like a waste to not complete it.

On Monday I got a call from the Arts Faculty, confirming the completion of my course, and my two majors in Media & Communications and Creative Wroiting.

When I asked if I could continue with Novels anyway, the lady said no. I’d already completed 300 points, and I’d have to apply to over-enroll, and there was really no reason for the Faculty to grant me that permission. I hung up the phone and involuntarily began to cry, which turned into continuous bouts of heaving sobs, after which I felt slightly better, but also rather silly.

I don’t know. I just get really upset when I’m told I can’t do something, even if I wanted to.

On Tuesday I went to see International Student Services, who were very understanding of my situation. Laura* congratulated me and asked how I felt about it all. I poured my heart out to her and it felt very much like a therapy session. (Not that I’ve ever been, but you know.)

I got advice on what to do, where to go from here. I would have to wait for the next graduation ceremonies in August, because I’d missed the ones in March. I would also have to apply for a new visa within 28 days, if I were to go ahead with my plan of Getting Some Work Experience while I’m here. I would have to request from Student Admin the “evidence of qualification”, the piece of paper saying I’m finished with uni. And technically, I would have to turn in my student card.

I thanked them for all their help, and walked out of the office in a sort of daze.

I’m done with uni.

I’ve finished.

Suddenly.

It’s like an absurd tug-of-war, these past few months. No no, you fail, they said. Come back, go to class, do assignments. Hold on a second, on second thought, you pass, congratulations, hand in your student card, kthxbye.

And I’ve worn the label ‘Student’ for so long I hardly know what to do with myself now.

So I walked around uni, pretending to be one, for one more day. I walked through the hallways, past the rooms where I went to (or rather, more often, skipped) classes. Past the computer lab where I spent many midnights, frantically working on and printing my assignments. Through the buildings where I’d managed to become and remain anonymous for much of my uni life; on pathways and shortcuts where you can walk for hours without ever bumping into a familiar face. Into the main library with its endless rows of books and journals, where you can browse for hours without ever passing by the same shelf twice.

It took me months to feel like I have any business or right to be here at all.

And now that it’s all over, what have I got to show for it, really?

What have I learned, really?

Lots. And also, very little, depending which way you look at it.

My university student email will cease to exist tomorrow. I have mixed feelings about it all. There’s relief, of course, that it’s all over. There’s a bit of happiness, a bit of sadness. But mostly, I’m just terrified, I guess.

Meh. I’ll figure it out.

9 April, 2008 at 4:02 pm 4 comments

More random conversations.

My morning (ie afternoon) started out rather hazily. After stumbling out past the receptionists, through the door, with coffee in hand, I headed to my usual smoking spot to find somebody else sitting there. This is unacceptable. (Also, after a few unsuccessful attempts to spell unexceptable I looked up the dictionary and found out I’d been trying to spell unacceptable.) If you know how much I laugh when other people get their spelling wrong you’d know I’m mentally kicking myself right now.

After I had my coffee and smoked my cigarette (at a different spot) I went back upstairs, and a lady rushed for the lift just before the door closed. She smiled, and I thought oh God she wants to talk. It is way too early for a random conversation.

“Hi,” she said.

I managed a smile, which, with fuzzy brain, unwashed face and poofy hair, might as well have been a squirm, a feeble attempt to contract my facial muscles upwards in the general direction of a smile.

“Hi,” I said, squinting.

“Are you from Malaysia?” she said.

“Yes,” I said. Hint hint, don’t talk to me.

“Oh! I’m from Singapore.”

“Oh,” I said. “Cool.” Hint hint, feel free to stop this conversation.

“Are you Malay?” she said.

“Yes.”

“Oh! Me too!”

(God damn it what is she so happy about. Has she honestly not met another Malay in Melbourne before? Throw a stone in any direction; you’re likely to hit one. Why is this lift so damn slow? Are we really only at the second floor?!)

“At first I wasn’t sure,” she said, “But then I saw your family around and I thought hmm—“

“Oh did you really?”

“Yeah!”

“Cool.”

“Anyway, I’m Faridah*,” she extends her hand.

“Nadia.”

Ding, my floor. Shake hands. New friend. See ya around. Take care.

She didn’t see my family around. The last time my family was here was almost three years ago, and I lived somewhere else.

*Shrug.*

I’ve realized that if I ever leave my apartment, I meet one random stranger every other day.

Like that crazy dude on the ferry in Sydney (oh I went to Sydney, did I tell you?) who played the harmonica and was almost in tears when I told him I liked his music. He asked me where we were, walked with me for a bit and then said goodbye by way of sticking up three fingers in the air and saying “Peace!”

“Do you mean,” I said, showing him two fingers, “Peace?”

He looked at his hand, counted his fingers, adjusted them, then said “Oh yeah yeah, PEACE!”

Or that dude in Hungry Jack’s (ie Burger King) who complained about the long line and got excited when Bonnie Tyler’s song was played.

Or little Chloe and her dad, who I met on the train. Chloe is three years old and sat next to me when I moved my bag which was taking up the extra seat. Big blue eyes, blond curly hair, and just learning to talk. As soon as I sat down, we waved at each other, and she showed me her juice and her glittery bookmark from McDonalds. I moved my bag when more passengers got on the train.

“Who sit there?” she asked, pointing at the empty seat.

“Nobody’s sitting here, “ I said.

So she said there.

“Hi,” she said. “I’m going.”

“You’re going? Where are you going?”

“No,” said her dad. “She said hi I’m Chloe.”

“Oh! I’m Nadia. It’s very nice to meet you Chloe.”

“Look outside! It’s all dark!”

“Yes. We’re in a tunnel.”

She looked confused. “Where did the skyyyy go?”

I just laughed. Her dad said it must be night time.
Out of the tunnel, blue sky outside.

“LOOK AT THE SKY LOOK AT THE SKY!”

“Yes, I see the sky.”

“LOOK AT THE SKY LOOK AT THE SKYYYY!!!” She touches my arm, nudging me nudging me to look, look, LOOOK!!

Other passengers turning to look at the sky, then at Chloe, then at me. Some with looks of aww, she’s so cute. Some with looks of ughh, be quiet. I’m laughing.

Her dad tells her shhh. I say shhh, a little softer.. we need to use our inside voice.

Shhh she says, whispering, shhhh… the bowalas are sleeping.

Chloe shows me her glittery bookmark again. Then a plastic bag from a souvenir shop, with a picture of a kawaroo (kangaroo) on it. Inside, a pair of bunny bowala (koala) slippers, which she pats lovingly.

All through the train ride she talks to me, making jokes, giggling, and I talk back the way I talk to my younger siblings. At my stop I tell her I’m getting off here. Her dad explains that means we need to say byebye. We say byebye, she waves, I pat her head, and I walk out of the train station still smiling.

At certain times of the day, random strangers are great. Not very early in the morning (ie afternoon) when my brain’s all fuzzy and I don’t appreciate being asked if I’m of a particular race. I feel like launching into a Bangsa Malaysia (Malaysian race) essay, but it’s too much effort and my brain’s still fuzzy.

9 April, 2008 at 11:41 am Leave a comment

Random conversations.

 Sybille had a foot “injury” the other day, a result of wearing horrible girly shoes for too long in the blistering heat. She made me go with her to the clinic to get the blister looked at, in case there was an infection.

(Hypochondriac? Who?)

While waiting for the nurse…

Sybille:  What does ‘psychedelic’ mean?

Me:  Hmm?

Sybille:  Psychedelic. I use that word all the time but I just realized I don’t know what it means exactly.

Me:  Uhmm.. it means.. uhmm. Well you know. Psychedeliiiic!

Sybille:  Psychedeliiiic! What is it?

Me:  Uhmm. I think it means.. head-tripping. You know. Psychedeliiiiic! Gained popular usage in the ’60s, with the hippie movement. I think.

Sybille:  (Blink. Blink.) Oh.

Me:  Why? What did you use it for?

Sybille:  (Starts laughing.)

Me:  Did you use it in a sentence?

Sybille:  (Laughs.)

Me:  What did you say was psychedelic??

Sybille:  … A pigeon.

Me:  HAHAHAHAHAHA!

—–

A psychedelic pigeon. Classic.

—–

Yesterday I went to my regular butcher shop and there was a dude I’d never seen before, and we had a random conversation. The dude’s from Turkey, and probably new here. Or at least new at the butcher shop.

Dude:  Would you like anything else?

Me:  Some salami, maybe.

Dude:  Mild or hot?

Me:  Hot, please.

Dude:  Sorry?

Me:  Hot.

Dude:  Yeah?

Me:  Yes.

Dude:  You like hot?

Me:  Very much.

(Blink. Blink.)

Is it weird that I think he was being flirty?

Dude:  What do you study?

Me:  Media.

Dude:  Ooh. Interesting. Clever girl.

Me:  Meh. I hope so.

Dude:  How long have you been here?

Me:  Me? Almost three years now.

Dude:  Wow, three years.

Me:  Yeah. I come here all the time for my… (dammit, ‘come’ and ‘meat’ should never ever be in a sentence together)… halal… meat.

Dude just grins.

Me:  Okay gotta go byebye!

Dude:  Nice talking to you. Come again!

Me: (Blush, turn, run out.)

—–

The end.

19 March, 2008 at 4:12 pm 2 comments

Back in Melburn.

I really should get in the habit of updating this blog more often.

I mean, I really should get in the habit of updating this blog. Heee. But in any case, if any of you still bother, I really do apologize for my pseudo-return to the blogosphere and mysteriously disappearing again. I promise think I’ll have really really hope for more regular updates from here on end.

Heee.

I dunno. I *think* I still want to maintain a blog. I wrote lots of draft posts, mini-posts, pathetic unreadable posts, but somehow never got around to actually putting them up. Somehow all my posts seem unpostable. I start a sentence and it sounds wrong. I finish a paragraph and there’s a voice inside my head going uhhh, no.

*Shrug.*

And once you stop, you know how hard it is to start again. It just isn’t in your routine anymore, the whole setting- aside- half-an-hour-a- day-to-type-random-nonsense -to-be-read-by- random-strangers- thing.

But I still think I want to do it. I dunno, maybe it’ll be good for me.

So let’s get on with it, yes? Yes.

—–

Before we get into the dirty juicy shtuff (why yes, of course I have some dirty juicy shtuff to tell you) let’s just get the most pressing updates out of the way, yes? Yes.

I am back in Melburn (burn baby, buuurrrnn). I got back a week ago, expecting some kind of an “Autumn” kind of weather, vaguely processing the logic of coming back from “Summer” holidays, therefore it should be “Autumn”, right? Right?

Wrong.

It is. Insanely. Hot.

I think we’re in the middle of some insane “autumn” heatwave or something, because it is. Insanely. Hot.

Day temperature’s been in the high thirties (that’s Celsius, darling) all week. It’s like living in someone’s armpit. You step out the door and your skin burns, the top of your head sizzles, and you sweat in places you weren’t aware could sweat. You get on the tram and it smells like sweat, and everyone’s under-dressed, and it’s all skin and legs and thighs and cellulite and armpit hair galore.

Get the picture yet? Just imagine it. Imagine an insanely hot day.

Good. Now imagine an insanely hot day and all your clothes smell like curry.

Because that would be me, my first few days back in Melburn.

—–

I told my mom not to pack any food. I told her that there’s nothing I need to bring that I can’t get over here.

Actually, on second thought, I think I might have told her not to pack any food in my bag, while simultaneously sending mixed messages about how her poor hopeless daughter will possibly starve to death if she didn’t put any Maggi packets in my luggage. So she packed. Lovingly, she put those instant curry Maggi things in a plastic bag, and put it in my luggage.

Said Maggi curry packet decided to explode in my luggage.

Poor hopeless daughter realized it two days later. Went “Shit!”

And “SHIT SHIT SHIT ALL MY CLOTHES SMELL LIKE CURRY!”

Couldn’t be bothered to do anything about it at that particular time.

Hence, walked around with curry t-shirts for a whole week, before finally washing clothes today.

Anyway. The point of the story is, I now have clean, curry-free clothes. The end.

—–

The next thing I wanted to tell you, before anyone asks, is that I am back at uni.

I’m back for one subject, because it turns out that I failed that subject that was ‘Withheld’ for the longest time last year. They could have told me up front. I would have gotten upset for a while, but I wouldn’t hold it against them. If they’d told me earlier, I could’ve done a summer subject and gotten this whole uni thing over with already. Now I’m back, grudgingly, hesitantly, pissed-offly, that I’m denied my graduation for one more semester.

The upside of this is that I’m not actually late in graduating, I’m just not early. I would have completed a three-year course in two and a half, but now I have one more semester, to do one subject. Hey. It’s practically a six-month holiday.

And the subject I’m doing is a creative wroiting subject called Novels. We learn how to plan and write a novel. I figured, if I have to stay, I might as well learn something I actually want to learn. The only other choice was something in cinema studies, but my mom said I have to take this creative wroiting subject, even though the coordinator is the Person In Charge whom I begged, begged, to pass me for that other subject last semester.

Out of ego, and sheer Asian-ness, I wouldn’t have wanted anything to do with her after I begged and didn’t get that Pass. But my mother, out of ego, and sheer Asian-ness, said that I especially had to take her subject, “to prove to her that you’re not an idiot, actually.”

So yeah.

I’m enjoying it so far. The class is great. My tutor is awesome. But I think that deserves its own entry, another day.

You know. Because I update this blog so often, and all.

—–

I’m still living at the same apartment with Sybille. For now there’s a Canadian girl named Louise who’s living in our very liveable living room. She’s a high school friend of Sybille’s, and she’s nice, friendly and tidy enough, so I really don’t mind.

There’s a newish security guard downstairs, Omar*, who talks way too fast and way too much if you make the mistake of asking “How are you” and standing around for too long. When I walked in after three months away he said “Nadia! Long time no see!” and I felt very special because we’d only ever met briefly, once, and he remembered my name.

But still, I wonder if there’s something I do wrong, or something, because other people can walk by the reception area, mumble ‘how are you’ and keep walking, and they don’t have to stand around and listen. Me, I ask ‘how are you,’ and I can’t seem to leave, because they (the security guards) just keep talking and talkingandtalkingandtalking.

This past whole week, each of my smoke breaks have lasted no less than half an hour, when it only takes five minutes to smoke one.

I know that Omar is 38, is of Syrian descent, has four children, one of whom just turned 8 years old today. He and his wife were dating for 7 years after his then-girlfriend said marriage or we part ways, and four kids later he still sometimes wonders if it was the right choice. He likes sushi rolls and ‘those beautiful flat noodles’ (kuay teow, I assume) and was at one point on the verge of diabetes, but he’s been watching his diet. He smokes Winfield cigarettes and in his free time, trains would-be security guards at a training center he runs with his brother. He offered to train me, if I ever wanted to be a security guard, (I mentioned I was sort of looking for part-time work). Some time next month he is going back to Syria to transfer the deed of his father’s property into his and his brothers’ names, and he is looking forward to buying cheap CD’s and clothes.

He just keeps talking and talkingandtalking.

I know that Davin* is from India, and graduated in Law, but can’t practice law here because his degree isn’t recognized. At some point he wants to practice, but for now he works as a security guard to save enough money to settle down, and he is also waiting for his permanent residency application to go through. His girlfriend was born in Bangladesh and grew up in Canada, and they’ve been together for about a year, and she is the jealous possessive type who gets jealous when he talks to girls. Or when some random girls (*cough cough, flatmate, cough*) bring him a slurpee from 7-11 because the weather’s so hot. He’s been working out and watching his diet because he suddenly got aware of the effects of age, he even quit smoking, but he still smokes occasionally, especially when he is fighting with his girlfriend.

He also just keeps talking and talkingandtalking.

The other security guard, Harry*, talks of nothing but the weather. He can tell you exactly what temperature it is at any given time of night. He memorizes weather forecasts for the week to come. If you’re ever planning a trip somewhere, talk to Harry first and he’ll tell you whether or not to bring an umbrella.

He has the extraordinary ability to talk so much and say nothing at all.

So there you have it. The guys who keep me company at night. Sometimes I can’t sleep, go downstairs for a smoke and end up talking (or listening, rather) for hours. I like to think they’re glad of the company too.

—–

Oh would you look at the time. Almost 4 am. Methinks it’s time for bed. I’ll see y’all next time, then, for more random stories, eh?

So. Y’all be good now. Toodles!

17 March, 2008 at 12:24 am 3 comments

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