Sunday, March 12, 2017

Four Months Down, Eight Months to Go

13th March 2017 will mark my fourth month of being here in Sydney. I have passed one-third mark of my journey here and I am sincerely grateful.

I am far away from everything I am familiar with. Breaking through that custom and familiarity is sure hard. I cried out of fear before my flight, afraid of not being able to stand 12 months of all the new things and all the unthinkable experience.

As time goes by, I know my fear is unjustifiable. I still cry when I miss my dear ones but the universe has been treating me so well here.

I enjoy being down under and it's saddening for me to have this journey come to an end in eight months.

Some of the highlights in these four months:

1. Christmas and Christmas Break

There is no White Christmas or Freaking Cold Christmas here. Christmas that I experienced here is smoking hot one with UV index reaching 12 but I enjoyed it. The atmosphere of the season was just so cheerful and when my dearest company flew 8 hours from Singapore to be with me during the break, that's my best Christmas present.

2.  Australia Day

Australia Day is celebrated yearly on 26th January as the official national day of Australia. It marks the anniversary of the landing of first fleet in Port Jackson and the raising of British flag in Sydney Cove in 1788. Until now, there is so much controversy about this date. Some people strongly object this date as the official date for national day due to the irony, this is the day when British started conquering the Aborigines.

Apart from the protests being held at different parts of the country, people had fun during the Australia Day.

I spent my day by going to Barangaroo Reserve early in the morning to watch Wugul-Ora or Smoking Ceremony. Wugul-Ora is a sacred tradition of the Aborigines that involves burning native plants continuously to produce cleansing smoke. The smoke is believed to be able to heal sickness, ward of bad spirits, acknowledge the ancestors and pay respect to the country.

The fire was lit up the night before in Goat Island and transported to Barangaroo Reserve the next day. The ceremony was then performed by Koomuri Aboriginal Dance Troupe before transported to other places in Sydney.

The fire was coming from Goat Island
The dance troupe brought the fire around while chanting

The sacred dance
Uncle Max's speech on peace and racial harmony

The dance troupe, some are not purely Aboriginal

I spent the rest of the day wandering around The Rocks to watch many things happening there: markets, wheelchair race, jamming session, etc.

Free London bus ride for the day

Some people dressed up

Activities for kids

3. Chinese New Year
This year, Chinese New Year falls on 28th January 2017 on a Saturday. There is no Chinese New Year feeling that I used to feel this year. I spent it as a normal Saturday. I went for yoga, I watched some TV series, I had my meal as per usual.

I decided to go to Pyrmont Bay Park for Lunar New Year Markets in the afternoon. I expected something more but I did not find anything with 'the mood' there. It's just a normal market with red lanterns decoration.

Pyrmont Bay Park on Chinese New Year


In the end I decided to treat myself

The next day someone was distributing fortune cookie in the office building. Mine says "No one ever injured his eyesights by looking on the bright side of things"

And Thu brought Vietnamese's Chinese New Year cake to the office. It is so delicious. Thơm ngon!

4. Summer Gatherings

One thing I realise here, summer is the time to gather. Despite the sun, people enjoy the time and the togetherness.

I was invited a few times. I met new people, I enjoyed the summer.

And of course, I burnt myself.

Never. Ever. Underestimate. Sun. Down. Under.

Team Yum Cha at Sky Phoenix, 14th December 2017
For Christmas, for summer, for working hard throughout the year (I did not get the work but the food)

An informal office gathering in Southern Highland on 21st January 2017

BBQ Chef of the day

Play time for the kids

Proofing the engineering side of the team: fixing the fountain session
Gathering with new group of people on 12th February 2017

Wattamoolla Beach, Royal National Park

Our lunch for the day
Gathering with the view is always fun!

Swimming time!
Dinner gathering with YPE mates on 12th February 2017, thanks David for cooking the special meal!

5. More Works

And the most important of all, the works. I was sent here to work, right? With many other bonuses, for sure.

I feel like I have passed my adaptation phase within these four months. I am not sure when that point was but I have started to run the works comfortably, whether applying engineering judgement or liaising with other people within the project.

I am thankful that my manager thinks about my experience here. He tasked me to handle a small project, so to enable me to get the big picture of the project and to give me the chance to be involved in many aspects of it.

I want to learn as much as possible during my stay here and I am maximising every single moment that I have.

Captain Cook landed here in Kurnell in 1770 and my job landed me here too

Four months have passed. Summer have passed. I am welcoming autumn and embracing the remaining eight months with all my hearts.

Love is in the air,
Little Feet

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