Sydney or Perth?

Left to right: Lillian, Daniel and me.

Ever since I've came back from my volunteer trip, I've been contemplating about whether I should move to Sydney one day. "Sydney or Perth?" This question keeps repeating itself over and over again in my mind. Why the sudden thought, you may ask? Well, most of my new friends (that were on the same volunteer program) are from Sydney. We have bonded very well, to the extent that I feel like I know and get along better with them as compared to my old friends. Friendship chemistry, maybe? On top of that, I get all the support, understanding, trust, encouragement, love and care I need from these amazing people.

Perth has been hit with a dry spell in regards to job-seeking, as the unemployment rate is rising. It doesn't help that I'm due to graduate on the 10th of February this year. To be exact, in two weeks' time. What are my chances of getting a job in Perth? Submitted a stack of resumes during mid-June last year, to no avail. I didn't even get a 'rejection letter' from any of those companies which was disappointing as the waiting game went on for what seems like forever. It's like watching a movie that seems promising, but you end up not knowing the ending. All I ask is for a 'yes' or 'no' answer. Is it so hard?

Nevertheless, I'm still undecided on whether to choose Sydney or Perth. There are pros and cons to living in both states. Rent and property prices are more expensive in Sydney, but other than that, Sydney takes the lead. I'm fully aware that my choice depends on priority and what I deem important, except I haven't really done a proper comparison to be able to come to a conclusion. Besides, I haven't brought up this issue with my parents yet. Ah, Sydney or Perth? Dilemma, dilemma.

My Volunteer Experience in Taiwan

It has been less than a week since I came back from my volunteer trip in Taiwan. Five days, to be exact. In order to remember all the good memories I had in Taiwan (to look back on it in the near future), I've decided to pen everything down in one blog entry. One word to describe my experience: Unforgettable. Deciding to go on this volunteer trip was the best decision that I had ever made in my life, and my only regret was the fact that I didn't make this decision earlier.

I've gotten so much out of this experience. I've formed close friendships with some amazing people from different countries and states, found out about my hidden strengths and weaknesses, learnt how to be more independent and discovered that I could actually hold a decent conversation with others in a language that wasn't my mother tongue. So thankful that I made the most out of my seven weeks in Taiwan by cherishing and treasuring every moment I had there.

I would like to thank the following people for the good memories:

AIESEC NTPU: Kelly, Leonardo, Max, Daphne, Lucy, Vivian, Lily and the rest of the team.

Exchange Participants (EPs): Lillian, Daniel, Annette, Ann, Oweyn, Jasminee, Eileen, Kevin, Yun, and Tan.

Of course for the sake of self-improvement, I want to list the positive changes I saw in myself after my volunteer trip in Taiwan. To do so, I'll do a comparison with a 'Before' and 'After' so that it'd be easier to identify the change.

01. BEFORE: Was shy and reserved.

Before my exchange experience in Taiwan, I would avoid any situations that required me to interact with others. It even got to the point when I began to run away whenever I saw my friends on the street (and would refuse to approach them to say hi). Every time I had to do a presentation in my classes for University, I wouldn't be able to fall asleep the night before. This was because I kept worrying about speaking in front of 15-20 students, and this would keep replaying in my mind.

01. AFTER: Gained confidence.

During my volunteer exchange experience in Taiwan, I would say that I have gained confidence. When I taught my first class at 桃子腳國小學 (Tao Zi Jiao Elementary and Junior High School) which was assigned to me by AIESEC NTPU, I was not only made to stand on the stage, but was also given a microphone to speak into. It was my first time doing both of these things, although it may be normal for others. Over time, I saw the positive changes in myself. I no longer feel nervous having to speak in front of 30 students, and I'm even able to manage the class well.

02. BEFORE: Having no sense of direction.

If you ask my friends and family, you'd know that I'm horrible with directions. It took me 1 month to remember the route from my house to Perth City via car, and mind you, it's only 10 minutes away. On top of that, I'm supposed to be reasonably familiar with the area as I've been living there since 2003. Thus, it's not surprising that my boyfriend was afraid for my safety in Taiwan, especially since I had no one to depend on for directions. That was how bad my sense of direction was.

02. AFTER: I learnt to find my way around.

After some help from my new friends in Taiwan), it took me only three days to familiarize myself with the area that I was living in. I'm not only able to take buses and trains (MRT) by myself, but I can also go around Taipei without having too much trouble finding my way around. It was amazing that I had never gotten lost in Taiwan - not even once.

03. BEFORE: Struggled to 'find myself'.

I've always struggled to find out the purpose of life, who I am as a person, what I want in life and how I can improve myself. This has been something that has been bugging me for years and I've always wanted to find the answer to these questions.

03. AFTER: Finding yourself.

My journey in Taiwan wasn't exactly smooth-sailing, and there were many obstacles that I had to face. A few weeks back, I had a really bad day and was feeling rather upset. After having a chat with a friend, I was reminded that this experience is merely a challenge for me to 'find myself'. On top of that, he told me that 'finding yourself' isn't just a one-off thing but an ongoing process. And to think that I haven't never thought of it that way. That gave me a clearer idea of what the definition of 'finding yourself' is, and from that, I was able to work my way towards it. PS: I have found the answers to these questions.

Quote: "Life is filled with unanswered questions, but it is the courage to seek those answers that continues to give meaning to life. You can spend your life wallowing in despair, wondering why you were the one who was led towards the road strewn with pain, or you can be grateful that you are strong enough to survive it." ― J.D. Stroube, Caged by Damnation

There are definitely more changes I saw in myself, but these are some of the more obvious ones that are worth highlighting. Anyway, I'm glad that I took a step out of my comfort zone because it was totally worth it. Although I spent quite a lot of money to volunteer in a foreign country such as Taiwan (I'm talking a few thousand AUD), the experience was priceless.

5 Worst Types of Housemates

I've never really had much contact with the real world, until the last few years. My life in the past mostly consisted of interaction with family and friends from High School, which led me to have an unrealistic expectation of the world. I was under the assumption that life was pretty smooth and straightforward, and that life summed up in several words was to 'work for survival until the end'. My priority before University was to study hard, and my parents basically did the rest.

Digressing a little, no, they did not engage in the practice of 'helicopter parenting'. In fact, I must admit that it was a combination of naivety and the mere lack of life experience that made me see the world in this way. It was only after I moved out from home that I realised what the real world was really about. I guess what they say about moving out of home is true: You learn, you grow, and you become much more independent when you don't depend on your parents anymore.

Living out of home has helped me realise that some people lack basic respect.
In this case, I'm mainly referring to the 'forbidden' word: Housemates.

Top 5: The Violent One

This person seems to break everything he/she comes in contact with. Oh look, the towel holder mysteriously fell to the ground. Why is there a hole in the wall? Occasionally, you hear loud swearing followed by banging noises. It wouldn't be surprising if this housemate ends up with a broken wrist and bleeding fingers. I suppose unless you're the one that has to fork out money to fix broken areas of the house, having 'The Violent One' in the house wouldn't affect you too much.

Top 4: The Thief

Expect to see your belongings disappear, whether it be food or personal items. What's yours is his/hers, but what's his/hers is not yours. This kind of housemate pretty much raids your food in the fridge, and uses your shampoo when they have run out of their own supply. You're pretty much financially supporting another person, as you're paying for them to use your stuff. To put it in simple words, it's like being in a financial relationship with your worst enemy.

Top 3: The Loud One

Home is meant to be comfortable, peaceful and relaxing. But this housemate will break all silence that you're deserving of. Slamming of doors, stomping of feet, laughing and talking loudly...etc. You name it, this housemate does it all. You're woken up at odd hours in the morning from loud sounds that should not have even be heard during this time. Because you're a light sleeper, you can't go back to sleep and end up being cranky the next day due to fatigue.

Top 2: The Filthy One

This housemate will fill up the sink with dirty dishes, while you have to manage to wash your own on top of all the mess. You'll see cockroaches, worms, mold and every other thing you wouldn't want to touch with your bare hands. There will be rubbish in places that it shouldn't belong at, like toilet rolls on the toilet floor or chicken bones under the dining table. If you have such a housemate, I hope you're able to brave the bad smells and filth. Or else, I wish you good luck.

Top 1: The Couple

This housemate invites their significant other over on a frequent basis to use the common utilities in the house. As far as I know, this is the worst housemate that anyone could ever have. The problems you have with that housemate are now multiplied by two, with an extra person in the house at all times. Nope, they don't pay their share of the rent or help out with bills. They expect to pay one share of the rent and bills, while two people take advantage of it. 'Double the trouble' indeed.

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Here is a summary of my personal/first-hand experience with 3 of the worst housemates: (Names will be kept confidential!)

Housemate A

- Would host parties late at night, without informing other housemates in advance. Loud and noisy.
- Stole my boyfriend's wine and money.
- Stole another housemate's loose change.
- Leave a puddle of pee and pile of faeces on the floor in the common toilet.
- Invite guys to sleep over on a regular basis.

Housemate B

- Slam the door when entering and leaving bedroom. Woke housemates up from their sleep.
- Left freshly-washed clothes in the washing machine for the whole day. Others can't use it.
- Invited significant other to sleep over on a regular basis.
- Broke the toilet roll holder as well as the towel holder.
- Forgot to lock the front door almost everyday - safety issues.

Housemate C

- Slam the door when entering and leaving bedroom. Woke housemates up from their sleep.
- Play loud music at 3 or 4 am in the morning when people are trying to sleep.
- Invite significant other to sleep over every weekday (5 days a week).
- Laugh and talk loudly at 3 or 4 am in the morning, with the door open.
- Leave rubbish in common areas of the house.
- Does not help out with weekly cleaning.
- Touched my towel everyday - hygiene issues.

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Having lived out of home for 3 years have allowed me to see what the real world is really like. It's quite disappointing that some people lack of common sense or basic respect that should have been taught by their parents from a young age. Never knew that there were such people out there until I was faced with these issues first-hand. So thankful that I had good upbringing and was educated on etiquette and basic respect that has shaped me to be the person I am today.

AIESEC: Journey of Self-Discovery

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” ― Aristotle

I've finally embarked on the journey of self-discovery. Unlike most of my peers, I've always struggled with each and every stage I go through in life. For the past 23 years, these questions often come up in my head:

01. What do I want to do in the future?
02. Who am I as a person?
03. What is my mission/goal in life?

Being a perfectionist, self-improvement is something that I work on, on a regular basis. The fact that I haven't 'discovered myself' yet makes it more of an arduous task for me to work on self-improvement. Thankfully, I'm pleased to announce that I'm currently on the journey of self-discovery to uncover my hidden strengths and weaknesses.

Next focus? Self-improvement.

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➤ ➤ Here's an announcement: I'll be doing volunteer work in Taiwan for 6 weeks.

Truth be told, it has always been my dream to experience the Taiwanese culture on a first-hand basis. Ever since coming back from my first Taiwan trip in 2010, I made a decision to do a study exchange there as I fell in love with the language as well as the culture. Unfortunately, the plan never materialized. I ended up being held back by numerous excuses that I gave myself as a result of my fear of the unknown. Not living my dream was something I'd always regretted doing, until I discovered AIESEC.

Image credit: AIESEC Australia

Why? Well, AIESEC Curtin gave me an opportunity to live my dream in my last semester of University. I was given a chance to take part in a Global Community Development Program (GCDP), which allows me to do volunteer work in a country of my choice (obviously, I had to choose Taiwan). From participating in this program, I'll be getting a lot out of this experience.

01. Allows me to immerse myself in other cultures.
02. Make a difference in others' lives.
03. Boost my confidence.
04. Get out of my comfort zone.
05. Increase cultural understanding on society.
06. Drive a positive impact on society.
07. Cultivate cultural sensitivity.
08. Expand international network.
09. Gain overseas working experience.
10. See the world from another perspective.

At first, I was afraid to take the first step and go ahead with the program. But I eventually pushed past my doubts, and had a serious talk to my parents about making my dream (that I had used to talk about, but ultimately gave up) come true. I've always been rather shy and quiet, and tend to hide in my shell most of the time. So considering the fact that I was willing to take a step out of my comfort zone, this was a big thing to them as this was something that they would never have expected from me. So to speak, this was the contributing reason why my parents were supportive and encouraged me to go for it!

So basically, here were the stages I had to go through:

Image credit: AIESEC Australia

In fact, I was accepted for all projects that I had applied for, making it an arduous task to choose my favourite one. Both of them were equally as good as the other, and there wasn't something that really stood out during comparison. The only difference was the area where the project would take place - one project required me to work in Kaohsiung, and the other in Taipei. After much contemplation, I made the long and tough decision of accepting the job in Taipei. Wonder what my job scope is? Well, I'll be teaching Taiwanese kids English and sharing the Australian culture with them for six weeks.

Project duration: 01.12.2014 - 15.01.2015.

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My journey of self-discovery actually started from my plan to volunteer in Taiwan. I began to realize that I was extremely passionate about helping others. Therefore, I wanted to give back to society in some way, whether it be volunteering to help the disadvantaged or to give advice to those who are mentally troubled (aka counselling). Upon realization that this was what I wanted to do in life, it definitely guided my decision on my future career path. I can't believe an epiphany came to me only a week before I finished my last semester of University. Well, I suppose it's better late than never, huh?

Matching Grey

It has been a while since I've taken pictures for my OOTD posts. Due to the current scorching weather, as well as the lack of space, it makes it an arduous task to arrange for a photoshoot to take place. Took the opportunity to do so when I was asked to house-sit for my parents two weeks ago, as they left for a trip to Bangkok for several days.

Sadly, the pictures did not turn out as I had expected, as the tripod stand for my DSLR refused to cooperate. Anyway, I spotted this two-piece set from an online store based in China, except it was priced at $110 AUD. Decided to give it a pass, despite the fact that I really wanted to give it a good home. So pleased that I made the right decision, as I stumbled across the same outfit on a Singapore blogshop. The best part was that it was priced 30% cheaper, including shipping. Score!

Outfit: Grey Damask Knit Two-Piece from Drmers and Black Faux Leather Cap from Mossman


Happy New Year 2014! Following tradition, it's a time to reflect on the changes we need or want to make and resolve to follow through on those changes. It's a new start to the year, so there are new goals and achievements to be set. I personally hope to achieve at least five resolutions this year, and to improve myself as a person.

Here are ten of my New Year Resolutions for the year:

01. Update my blog more often.
02. Start exercising and get fit.
03. Spend more time with family and friends.
04. Learn a new language.
05. Travel more often.
06. Save more, and spend less.
07. Stop complaining so much.
08. Keep in touch with my friends.
09. Be more productive.
10. Stop late-night snacking.

Turning 23 has made me realise that I'm no longer as young as I used to be. I want to do the things that I love and enjoy, and achieve goals that I've always longed to achieve. Currently saving for my trip to Hong Kong in June to visit my boyfriend's family, and we might possibly do a stopover in Singapore for a few days.