Thursday, 19 November 2015

The end of my semester at UNSW

I keep saying it: time flies. Yesterday was my last day at UNSW, or at least I hope so, assuming that I do not have to do a supplementary exam for my coding course. It's been a strange 3-4 months. When I first came here, I didn't feel much different. Sydney was just a bigger city to me, but culturally speaking I did not have any trouble blending in. Of course my exchange was a bit easier as I didn't live on my own, or didn't have to find a job. Hence, most struggles were internal, as they've always been. It's the same old story: discovering who I am, being more easy on myself, taming my stress.

"It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life."
The transition to Sydney was a whole new page in my life. I finally met up with someone who has had a special place in my heart for a long time. We are oceans apart, but together, we grow. I am still a kid, there is so much to learn, and going on exchange isn't some miracle drug into independence, as some dream-like stories make us believe it is. But being away from home has allowed me to explore myself more. Being in another place makes you more aware of things having an once-in-a-lifetime nature. Chrome taught me to be aware of all of the regrets I've had throughout my life, and he's keen on pushing me just enough to make me stop regretting.

Facing our fears and doing new things is always difficult. Just the time we spend doubting ourselves takes more memory space than happier moments. Yet, those happy moments, despite short-lived, have as much of an impact. One of the things that taught me this was going to Surf Camp: waves will keep crashing onto you, you will feel cold, and your muscles will tire, but that moment you finally get to stand on your board and ride a wave is magical. It's been quite a ride.
I know I did not take full advantage of being here; socialising has never been my forte, but the cultural events I have attended have made up for that. Sydney is certainly not any different in the way that everyone just speaks English (a language I've always been font of) and that it is just another first-world country's big modern city. What made it different to me were my chances to explore the arts. I have never been able to write so much and consistently as I have done these last few months, despite it not being poetry. I have never taken so many pictures, inspiring me to start with Project365. Pictures and stories go hand in hand with me, it's much easier to braid my words around a picture to guide a story. But other than pictures and courage, I've also been collecting inspiration and memories:
I've always been a collector, and also, for once, I am proud of some of the assignments I did.
As a kid I was never allowed to stick anything to my walls; it would make too much of a mess. Then again I wouldn't know what to stick to my walls anyway because there was nothing that defined me but negativity. I was a monster for wanting to dye my hair blue; laughing-stock for liking heavy metal and gothic musicl; a man for not liking dresses, high heels and make-up; a weirdo for my peculiar interests in the arts, such as macabre paintings and poetry; strange for investing so much time on the internet, writing poetry for God's sake. Whatever I liked was simply not the kind of socially-acceptable-hipster-difference that is popular nowadays. The world does not embrace difference, it only embraces a difference that is to its liking.
And so, here I was, in a brand-new country where nobody knew me and nobody had to like me. I did not go into any radical change, no worries. I do not have piercings, tattoos or bright hair. I did not go into drugs, and in fact I haven't sipped a droplet of alcohol in this country. I was just free to go wherever I wanted. Still, nothing rebellious, just poetry, more poetry, even performing my own poetry. Yes, I am boring like that. Other than that, let's see... chocolate, beach, and a whole lot of ShutterSpamming. I guess that sounds less exciting than the way it did in my head, but oh wells I've always been labelled boring anyway. I didn't do an exciting roadtrip either, but wandering around Melbourne was satisfying enough, and soon I will be going to New Zealand as well.
It's been an explorative journey, not only around Sydney, but also within UNSW itself. Where was I supposed to hang out without an oh-so-familiar 'Balustrade', sipping hot chocolate with a bunch of tightly-knitted wackos? Who would I share plans of world domination with? Who do I work with till the middle of the night before a deadline? On campus I was mostly on my own, but quite frankly I didn't mind, I needed the gaps in between classes to finish some work anyway, and there's enough grass and sun at UNSW to dream away. Guess now it's time to pack my memories and dream in colder regions again.

I guess now would be the time to say goodbye to those huge lawns and lengthy hills/stairs.

Also goodbye to the Red Centre, where I spent most of my gap hours with its make-shift 'balustrade'. No more stepping into bus 891 either, which always brought me from Central Station to UNSW. No more flocks of birds trying to steal your lunch, no more cut sandwiches or pasta at the Quad's Foodcourt, no more luxury of having two screens while doing CAD.
And no more randomness around campus...

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