Thursday, 26 February 2009

What I learned in school today...

1. AGE is no limit to education here in Australia. Much to my surprise older (and by older I mean 10+ years older than me) people are still just getting around to attending uni! I have heaps of classmates who are quite possibly, mums and dads and professionals-turned-students again! I find it to be awesome because I've never experienced being in a class with a wide age range. In my old school, I even used to be close to being the eldest.

2. BLENDED ADULT LEARNING is pretty cool. I was supposed to have 2 lectures every Monday, but, as it turns out, the course believes that blended learning optimises learning, and so all lectures for that class has been made into e-lectures. Story made short, no more face-to-face lectures for Intro. to Research Methods on Mondays. In addition, my Human Behaviour lecture isn't compulsory, either. The lectures are downloadable as PODCASTS! How cool is that. Lulz.

3. The WEIGHT of each course is so much different from what I'm used to. I remember having an early summer/Christmas break cos I didn't have final exams, but all my subjects have sit down, 3 hour exams. Plus there's heaps of research and papers to make, and it seems like I can't 'write' my way out of it. I'd usually just blab and reiterate important points on my papers (sans REFERENCING) but written works are taken so seriously here!

4. Speaking of REFERENCING, all universities here in Oz have this thing called Turnitin (turn-it-in) where you can (rather, highly encouraged) to submit your work before submitting it to check it against a MASSIVE database of all previous students' works, other published material etc. They're big on plagiarism here, and to emphasise, the database covers around 4 billion websites, 10 million past students' works, and journal articles. Yes, one has to be careful before handing in an assignment.

5. WiFi is ALL OVER the uni!!! It's so exciting. You can lay around on the grass and still be browsing the net. The government funded the uni $2.1 million for all UWS campuses to have it! I've activated mine on my laptop yesterday, and wow, the speed of the net considering the amount of users was really good!

6. Best of all, people are SO NICE! My campus isn't filled with Asians (AKA FILOS!) unlike the Parramatta one and I was at first really anxious about meeting friends and that. But hey, I've only been there 2 days, and what I noticed was that when I accidentally look at someone he/she just smiles at me. When I ask for something I missed during the lecture, they answer politely. My seat mates in lectures chat to me and are very friendly. I like the mix of the student population in my uni. Mostly there's Wogs (1. a non-Anglo-Celtic European, esp. from Southern or Eastern Europe (e.g. Greek, Italian, Balkan, Slavic, etc.) ; 2. an Asian, esp. a West Asian (e.g. Lebanese, Turkish, Armenian, Iranian, etc.), but now also inclusive of South Asians and Pacific Islanders*), then Australians, Blacks, Chinese, Korean and Japanese. So far, I've only spoken to the Wogs and Aussies, and they've made me feel as if I'm no different. I remember back in Manila, when you accidentally look at someone you don't know in school and try to smile at them, they pretend they don't see, or act like you're a freak.

7. And last, but most amusing, the university has a BAR. I haven't checked our one yet, but in Parramatta, they sell beer. Yes. Alcohol is available for purchase here in uni, but not cigarrettes! I guess they really believe that people who go to uni are adults and to be assumed responsible and treated as such. The one in Blacktown/Nirimba campus stopped selling because of the fights. I should check our one soon.

Yeah, so those are the things I learned in school this week. I am 7 points smarter. Lol.

Monday, 16 February 2009


I swear, I thought I'd never get lost if I followed the CityRail timetable.


This morning I got up at 6am so I could catch the 745am train at Rooty Hill. It's the latest train from our area that would let me arrive in Bankstown at 930am. Phil and I left the house at 730 as the station is only a 2-minute drive from our house. I got there and there was a long but moving queue and I knew I wasn't going to miss that train.

Few minutes after falling in line, the 734am train was announced delayed by 5 minutes. I thought it was great cos this one person took so long in purchasing his weekly ticket (EFTPOS NOT FTW IN THIS SITUATION!!!). Finally, I got my return ticket to Bankstown (which cost me $10 cos it was peak hour - what a fucking joke!) then I went to the platform to wait for the train.

I felt lucky to have been able to catch the 734am train because the timetable showed that it would stop at Lidcombe, where I needed to change trains to get to Bankstown. I immediately hopped in the train and stood next to the door knowing it was a fast train so stops are greatly limited. The ride was smooth and cool thanks to the rain and wind! By the time I got to Parramatta, I realised that I was so close to my stop. I stopped reading my book and waited for the train to arrive at Lidcombe. Much to my surprise... IT WENT PAST THE STATION. I was like, "holy fuck what do I do???"

I WAS LOST! But not really.

The best thing I could come up with at the time was to get off Strathfield - thank God it stopped there. I rang Phil and told him what happened. He just told me to not put my ticket through and just pass through one of the gates. I was able to do so effortlessly. I knew where the bus stop was to get to Uni from Strathfield, but little did I know that it would take so much time. I was standing there outside the train station and it was raining like it never has in days. I thought it was the worst day of my life.

2 buses went past me, telling me that the UWS one was coming soon. HOW SOON IS SOON??? My patience was really starting to run out and I was getting cutties. It arrived 840ish, and things started to get better. I got student discount which I'm not really supposed to (thank you to the Islander driver I love you!) and just enjoyed the drive from Strathfield to Bankstown.

That's my story. I got lost but I found my way. The funniest thing was, when I got to uni I really thought I was late... but it turns out I was the only one who showed up! LOL. Can't wait to go on another train adventure. Hahaha! :-D

Monday, 9 February 2009

Heatwaves are my thing

but obviously not. I always thought the Philippines was H-O-T, but I thought wrong!

Temperatures here reach up to a frightening 45 degrees (west) and up to 40 in the city! I reckon it's much worse this year than any other year, as there's the Victorian Bushfire Crisis and my heart's broken for all those who ended up homeless and alone.

I haven't got a clue as to why arsonists do what they do and end up destroying thousands of homes and lives. Just this morning when I woke up the death toll has risen to 173. What's so good about Australia though is that they've all come together to help all the people out in VIC. And by that I mean a total of $15,182,395 in donations via the 1-800 number, a million dollars from all the major banks, and the relief funds from the government. Just now, the cricketers are raising money to donate as well!

However, in Queensland, there's a great flood at the moment making people lose their properties. It's great that the rains have stopped, and that's one less problem.

I hope things get better soon in Victoria, so people can start rebuilding their lives. I can't do much to help (as I am quite broke from traveling to uni last Friday) and it sucks but this is the number to call should anyone feel like pitching in to help out in this devastating event.


Better, more positive/happy blogs to come soon - I'm getting there. Lol


Tuesday, 3 February 2009

To the city and beyond

I've been spending heaps of time in the city and I figured it would be nice to share how beautiful the place is. From where I'm staying, the city is around 15 minutes away by bus. I usually take the one called 440 and stop at Town Hall, which I reckon is the central area of the city. But I can't be too sure just yet. LOL.

Town Hall from across George street, at rush hour.

The bus stop right across Town Hall, where I wait to get home.

What I love about strolling around that area is its busyness and the designs of the buildings! Take for instance The Strand Arcade, a place where Australian designers are showcased. I reckon it's something like the Filo area at Greenbelt 5, but it doesn't look anything similar. Here's a photo.

See how they maintained the old building? This one is the only one left of Victorian Sydney, and it was opened in 1892. I find that really amazing. I should've taken photos of the interior but I was in a hurry as my mum was being her wild, shopaholic self.

I also had the chance to visit the Apple Store, and my was it massive. I like how they made it was made of glass panels:

Here's a photo from the outside, lol. Again, we were in a hurry to get to QVB. Will try and do a better job next time.

My favourite among all the places in the city is the Queen Victoria Building. It's been there since 1898, and I've loved it since I was 5! The place is just so quaint and pretty :3

QVB, top view (I took this when I was at Sydney Tower last week)

And the best part is the lifts!!! They're the old fashioned wooden-door-type ones. Such a shame that I've got no photo. But, the interior is just as amazing:

I adore the hallways!

The center of the building where the the clock is. What a beauty.

Me, by the staircase. Look at those antique tiles! They're treasures!!!

QVB is like the best place to find designer goods. It was perfect timing that I went yesterday cos so much stuff was on sale! I got a belt from Sportscraft, and I really wanted this hat:

The Rita Cloche in Berry
or in Black!

Ah... I feel like I'll be going back for that hat sometime by the end of the week, because it's too cute to lose. My mum says otherwise though. She thinks I should wait for the sale to come (it's currently selling for AU$69.95).

How do you feel about it?

Monday, 2 February 2009

Eighteen plus!

I woke up early today so I could get my NSW photo card from the RTA in Five Dock. It's like a proof of age card, less the permission to drive. Haha.

Here's a photo of the thing -

Excuse me for looking so lame, I was shy and I just woke up. Personal details (i.e., my address) will not be disclosed of course. LAWL.

So yeah, the only thing I'm waiting for at the moment is my Tax File Number (TFN) then I'm all set. The process was really quick - only queuing took some time. I went up to the counter then the lady just entered all my details and made copies of my IDs. I then paid $43 (cheap as, the card's valid for 5 years!). I went back to my seat and 2 minutes later, another lady called my name out (MARIAAA!!!) then the deed was done.

So now, I'm back at home and I'll head out to Broadway for lunch in awhile. Cheers to having a 18+ card, I won't be mistaken for a 16-year-old anymore! :-D


Sunday, 1 February 2009

Can I tell you about...

Sydney's Paddy's Markets. It's a place that people go to if they want fresh fruits, meat & vegetables at really low prices. And I mean low, in comparison to Coles, Wooly's and the rest.

So. I went there this morning after mass, and my was it packed. I was greeted by Lebbo guys screaming out "CHEEEPAAAAH" and enumerating their stocks. There was so much to choose from, and everything was massive.

Exhibit A - Cauliflowers. They may look tiny but they're not!

Just one of the price tags - they're a sight for sore eyes, especially for those looking to save on food expense!

The scenario when you shop at Paddy's Mkts

I love these big Valencia Oranges!

Large gingers, sweet potatoes, eggplants and capsicum. LAWL

Gross looking but extremely delish, FLOUNDERS!

Yup, I spent my morning at Paddy's, just adoring the freshness of the fruits and vegetables. Of course we bought supplies to last us the whole week, otherwise the trip to the market would've been useless.

What I noticed was that it looked (and by that I mean organised) exactly like the markets in Phils, as it is run by Asians, Indians & Middle Easterners. The noise and the hustle & bustle are exactly the same that I felt I was home. The difference was that it was cleaner and less stinky than the ones in Manila and the shoppers were either Chinese or backpackers from Europe.

One more thing that's different about it is that it also has stalls that sell clothing and shoes amongst others. It's something like what we'd call a 'tiangge' back home. So yeah, Paddy's is one of the places you should shop at when you visit Sydney because as we all know, New South Wales has the highest cost of living in all of Australia. Hahaha.

Sydney's Paddy's Markets is at Haymarket, Sydney (Click to view map).