Browsing Tag: melbourne

    Inspirational, Migration

    Red Cross SHOP…what is it?

    November 19, 2018

    Have you heard about Red Cross Shops? No? That’s okay. I was in your position until we moved in Australia. Red Cross is not all about blood donation, first-aid, help during and after disasters which we normally see on television. Australian Red Cross has shops: boutique and pop-up shops. Their facebook page says, “We sell fab recycled and new goods to raise funds for the everyday work of Australian Red Cross.”

    South Melbourne Red Cross Shop is one of the A grade red cross shops in Victoria. It means the shop sells new and pre-loved fashion with quality. Yes. You heard it right. They also purchase and sell brand new items. Some of their new products are:

    • Jewelries
    • Socks
    • Underwear or padded undergarments
    • Lingerie
    • Beauty products such as soap, lotion or bath sets
    • Stationery such as greeting cards, gift cards and gift wrappers.
    • Pillows
    • Tableware such as dining sets and cups
    • Scented candles and aroma reeds
    • Scarves

    Outside the shop is a bin where people drop their donations. They can also go inside the shop to personally give them to the staffs. So how do an A grade shop sort your donations? Well, there are guidelines to follow.

    1. Definitely, clothes with stain, even how small it is, will not go to the display.
    2. A missing button is a big no.
    3. Zipper must be smoothly functioning.
    4. Worn out clothes are not tagged.
    5. Shoes, bags, homewares, toys, books must still be in good condition.
    6. Pre-loved underwear, bra or padded undergarments go to trash bin. DO NOT donate these items.

    Today is my second day as a retail volunteer. It requires minimum of 4 hours per week with 2 shifts to choose from: 10am – 2pm and 2pm – 6pm . What do we do? On a daily basis, we clean the shop, sort your donations, clean and tag the items that will go to the display, steam the clothes, dress the mannequin(if necessary), sort the displays to make them look more appealing, assist the customers or those who need help in the fitting rooms, take charge of the cash registry, chat and make friends with other staffs.  It’s a fulfilling job and an opportunity to learn new things.

    So if you are in Melbourne, thinking of buying some Christmas presents and like pre-loved things, head on to the nearest red cross shops. You get what you want, you shop with a cause. And if it is not enough and you want to do more, support the community by applying as a volunteer.

     

     

    Parenting & Kids

    What could possibly happen when you got stuck in a traffic jam with almost 20 kids in the bus?

    November 2, 2018

    It wasn’t boring at all.

    Last October 28, 2018, we boarded bus 439 in Werribee Park and Mansion bus stop which is actually inside the park at 3:05pm. We expected to reach Werribee station at 3:20pm. Little did we(4 adults, 2 kids) know that there was a traffic jam ahead that’s why the bus was late for 15min. We’re just so happy coz we thought we missed the bus. Going to the next bus stop(Werrribee Zoo) took almost 1 hour. The passengers were mostly families with small kids. We got stuck in a heavy traffic jam, that’s the last bus,  the bus driver took his mandatory break for 15min and reached the Werribee train station at 6:43pm. Finally. But that was almost 4hrs inside the bus. Oh my butt and legs!

    So what happened in those 4hrs? It’s all about kids and parents. We are aware that each kid is unique and parents’ response mostly depends on how they behave.

    1. Almost half of the kids left. One mother has 4 daughters and she’s still breastfeeding the youngest. Salute! Two of the kids cried and so they left. Those who left were the kids who cried inside the bus or the parents decided to alight. We didn’t know what they do next to get out of the place.
    2. Play drum and piano toys. Two kids have their piano and drum toys. You know what happened next. Of course, it was noisy but what can you do if that’s their way of killing the time.
    3. Bubbles inside the bus? Why not?! Even I poked the bubbles and enjoyed it.
    4. Change seat, walk on the aisle and play with other kids. Will your kids stay still in their seat for almost 4hrs? I guess not and this was expected to happen.
    5. Going up and down of their seat. Some kids were obedient and won’t leave their parents. But it doesn’t mean they will stay still. It’s the least they can do. The two kids with us, are among them.
    6. Watch a movie. If you want to make them sit all through out the journey, take the tablet out and let them watch the Minion movies.
    7. Sing like The Wiggles and that’s what the boy did. “Everybody clap, everybody sing, la, la, la, la, la
      Bow to your partner, then you turn around, wohoo!
      Hands in the air, rock-a-bye your bear
      Bear’s now asleep, sh, sh, sh
      Bear’s now asleep, sh, sh, sh”
    8. Sleep, eat and watch the other kids. These were our daughter and my friend’s daughter. They were tired and it was their nap time so they slept for more than 1 hour. Afterwards, they ate biscuits, watched the other kids, talked and laughed.
    9. Pee on the tree. Hahaha! That’s one of the advantage of being a boy. He can just asked the driver to open the door, pull down his shorts and release. Being a kid, he didn’t care if he peed right in front of our eyes and many can see his precious little thing.
    10. Clap their hands when we reached the main road. Finally we were out and noticed the empty lawn which was full of cars in the morning.

    Most parents keep their cool including us, unexpectedly. Maybe that’s because we were with another family but most of all the kids had so much fun that there was no room for tantrums. We even queued for the famous ramen in the CBD since it was already late to prepare dinner at home.

    Are you curious why and how we got into that situation? Ok read more.

    We attended the Children’s Week Picnic in Werribee Park and Mansion which is located on the west side of Melbourne. It was the first ever event we attended in Melbourne. It was my daughter and my husband’s first train ride outside Melbourne CBD. It was our first journey to the west. It was our first time in Werribee. It was our friend’s birthday and they also went with us. Sounds super fun and exciting, right? It was.

    The event was held in front of the Werribee Mansion. It took us almost 2hrs to reach the place, 30min waiting time for the train. From the Werribee station, we took bus 439 which took us directly inside the park vicinity. Kids must wear a wristband with contact number just in case they get lost. The event has many activity booths and people can setup their picnic mats on the middle. So many things to do but our kids didn’t like the face painting and no patience for queuing, so as the parents. We settled outside of the event’s place where kids were free to run around. Eating our packed lunch and nibbles under the sun in a cool breeze surrounded by the beautiful view of the mansion and spring flowers, was so much fun.

    At the end of the day, if your kid said she was happy, whatever mishaps we encountered didn’t matter anymore.

    Migration

    Melbourne in My Eyes

    October 17, 2018

    In my previous post, I promised to write about Melbourne. It’s been 8 months since we started living in this city. When I say Melbourne, I meant Melbourne(with 3000 zip code) and Inner Suburbs. It is the second most populous city in Australia and we choose to live here in spite of the fact that we do not have any friends nor relatives here. Why? You know the this-is-it feeling when you see something, that was what I exactly felt the first time we visited last year around this time. The cheaper rent(compare to Sydney) and the tram, to be honest, attracted me too.

    The Place. There are very few malls or maybe none if I take Manila and Singapore malls as the definition of mall. It has a Munich, Germany feel: old buildings and structures, the smell of coffee and breads in the morning, the smell of beer in the beer garden at night especially on Fridays. Shops mostly close at 5pm. Melbourne is known for their arts that’s why most of the places have graffiti. Playgrounds have wood chips not rubberized. There are many beautiful parks which are perfect location for friends and family bonding. Our favorite is Albert Park and Lake being the one nearest from our apartment, just 20min walk. Libraries have many activities for the community from babies to oldies and most of them are free. Membership signup and borrowing books are free. They provide eBooks and renewal of borrowed items online. Melbourne is not as clean as Singapore. You can see trash everywhere, broken bottles, human’s spits, dog/birds’ poop and even leftover foods. But they are serious when it comes to segregating recyclables from general waste.

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    The Food. Australia’s common foods are fresh salads, avocados, cheese, hummus, crackers, steaks, BBQ and sausages. I think every local household has cheese board. Woolworths, Coles and Aldi are the three major supermarkets and they already stop giving single-use plastic bags. People don’t care anyway if they bring the goods without any bag. They all have a wide-range of ready meals or ready-to-cook(with seasonings) foods which make working people’s lives easier. Perfect for mom who’s already juggling between work and home. Their favorite drinks are coffee and beers. Melbourne has a Colonial Tramcar Restaurant that goes around the city while diners are enjoying their meal.

    The People. Ohhh they are so warm. Smiling and greeting a stranger is a common thing. They love dogs. Some shops have water bowls for dogs outside and drinking fountains in the parks and beaches. Black is their fashion color and fashion style is like European’s. And the look, I find them gorgeous but they are not brand conscious. They are friendly people and they greet people by saying, “Hi! How are you?”. I admit I found it awkward and unable to respond on the first few months. Should I answer? Then I only ended up smiling. But now, I am already used to it and adapting the same whenever I meet someone(except Filipinos). It’s is normal to see police officers in the city with their horses. With all the good things I said, you’ll see the opposite as well. There are homeless people who live in the street or in their car or yacht. There are also people who lose their minds and you’ll see them shouting or talking to nobody or simply talk to you without any sense. Some people are also asking for money from young to old. I got scared many times already but one person who saw me said, “Although Melbourne has people with special characters, they are harmless in general.” Depression seems like a normal topic. I already heard from few mothers I met that they experienced it and the community offers lots of support.

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    #melbournepolice 🇦🇺

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    The Transportation. Melbourne is known for its tram network. There are also trains and buses but car is a necessity especially if you are living in the suburb or travels most of the time. One good thing is that you only need to use 1 card called Myki to pay for the public transports. However, I find their fare system a bit complicated. There are free tram zone. It means you don’t need to touch on or touch off. In tram, you only touch on on Zone 1. Touch off is not required unless you’re travelling to Zone 2.  But for buses and trains, touch on and off are required. Daily fare is AUD8.60. Some may find the trains and tram’s seats dirty. But I think it is expected when the seat is padded and not easy to clean. There are many taxi companies too but you cannot hail them anywhere you want but the taxi stand. A 20-minute walk is near. Train and tram doors are not automatic. You have to press for the door to open or manually slide them sideways. Tram stops can have a proper station but sometimes they are in the middle of the road which are on the same lane as the cars. I’ve been to many suburbs, got lost a few times already when finding the stops but I still like taking the public transports. I like the view of trees, graffiti, houses and building structures.

    The Weather: One word, as many people say, CRAZY. Now is sunny, later cloudy, then cold, then rain, then sunny. What do they say about it? Ah, four seasons in a day. Today’s weather prediction, may not be the same tomorrow. It is always advisable to carry a pocketable jacket and a sunscreen if you will be out for the entire day. But hey, don’t be discouraged to visit Melbourne. Although, the weather is crazy, it makes the place unique and it is not happening everyday anyways. In my 8 months here, I only experienced this kind of craziness twice. Also, it feels nice to be a bit colder early in the morning before it gets hot mid-day and then a bit cold again at night.

    credits to fragrantica.com

    Our life is far from perfect but I can still say that we have a better quality of life here in Melbourne.

    Disclaimer: All the information I mentioned are based on my observation only. Should there be any incorrect details, feel free to tell me.

    Thank you for reading my blog.

    Inspirational, Migration

    Time to make things right

    June 21, 2018

    For the past months, I was really emotionally unstable and my brain was a mess and my previous post have the details. I really felt the stress all over my body and I also got sick. Thanks God I was able to get out of that situation.

    One day, we were in the library and saw one of the books with warning tag, “The Less Stress Lifestyle”. Maybe it’s time to read this and it might help me. But one week had passed and I was still in the first chapter. I am not a bookworm. I only read pocketbooks(novels) and 3 inspirational ones but that’s ages ago. However, I cannot let go of that book so I keep renewing it. Somehow, deep inside I know it will change my perspective of handling stress.

    One night, a friend messaged me and confided her situation. She was also not okay. As a friend, I wanted to help her. I gave some opinions and shared my issues too. We comforted each other. Unknowingly, our advice seems like a strong reminder on how to deal with our issues. It goes down to talking heart to heart with your partner. Of course, the best person to help you is your partner or the person who live under the same roof as yours. If he will not understand, then who will.

    We were almost finishing our lunch that day when I broke down in tears. I told my husband my thoughts, my failures, my failed wants, everything. I know it will make him feel bad but he needs to know. We talked about the issues and how we’re going to fix them. I thank God for giving me a supportive husband. It really feels a lot better after talking to him.

    First of all, I need to fix my relationship with my daughter. I stop looking for job(but only for sometime). If I see an opportunity, I will apply. I try to do some chores when she is sleeping and set them aside when she’s awake so that I have more time with her. Deep breathing whenever she throws tantrums but of course there are still “face the wall” moments.

    Last month, we went to Sydney to renew our passports and met our friends. I had the chance to chat with my female friends and 2 of them are moms. This vacation which gave us time to bond as a family and with friends, hearing their stories and sharing mine completely got me out of the mess. Yes, I can share my issues with my friends in chat application but nothing really beats when you share them personally to your friends and learn from their stories too. Everyone has a story and sometimes all we need is to listen and learn from their experiences.

    Know that difficult time will resurface, it’s just that we don’t know when, but we are never alone in the battle. We just need to keep trying, accept our situation, admit that we need help and let go the things we cannot control. Worrying too much will not help. My husband is right. Instead of worrying, I should do something to improve myself. I will by learning web development(typescript and angular). This is hard for me coz I realize I am too lazy to study. I fell asleep most of the time, I get bored. I am easily distracted by other stuffs. But I will continue and hopefully will get what I want to achieve. I will try my best to finish the book. As of this writing, I am already in chapter 7. There are so many things I want to do. But time to be realistic and only do what I can do, one at a time. Things will always get better. One had reminded me to trust God, to enjoy the journey. I will.

    For now I am a housewife, a stay at home mom. I enjoy every bit of it. I can fulfill my duties as wife and mom and for now that’s all that matters to me. There are so many work inside the house but sometimes I still miss working outside. I joined the Melbourne playgroup to meet more moms and establish my network. Sometimes, I still think about money. But this time, I don’t let this eat me.

    I have a lot of realizations for the past months. I learned a lot. Thank you to my friends who are always with me even we’re miles and miles away and for my family in Philippines who support my decisions even if they will affect them. To my own family, for being the anchor of my life. Most of all, thanks God for giving me these wonderful people. I will forever be grateful for having such blessing and for surrounding me with so much love.

    This is the situation that gives birth to kusinelda. I’m back to blogging and it really feels good. Why am I into blogging? I will tell you next time. 🙂

    Inspirational, Migration

    When things seem to be going wrong

    June 21, 2018

    Place to live is ticked. It’s time to focus on finding a job. Oh man, it’s so difficult. There are not much C++ opportunities in Australia. If there is, it’s either not match with my skills or need to obtain a security clearance which is only given to citizens or for some with special cases. Because of this, I have too much time to think, to reflect on so many things and look into the future. Now it’s not good. Overthinking will result to unwanted and unnecessary stress. Migration itself is already a stress.

    What if we did not leave Singapore? What if I applied in Germany? What if we went back to Philippines? … If I write all my “what-if”, I’ll have a long list.

    Should I create an application using C++ Qt to improve my skills? Should I continue learning the C# WPF? Should I learn database, typescript and angular? Should I change my career and try testing and support? And so many questions whenever I didn’t hear from the recruiter anymore.

    We have outstanding loans and we give support to our families. I have this pride of earning my own money to support my family and doesn’t like the idea of forking it out from my husband’s earned income. My husband and my family in Philippines are facing some issues too. The pressure started to creep inside of me.

    I would like to help but what should I do? Should I apply for casual job? Should I sell something? Should I do freelance job? Should I apply for online tutor? Another list of questions.

    Being emotionally not okay means I easily became impatient and angry whenever my daughter did something wrong or throwing tantrums and wanting her daddy even he’s working. Until I realized that our relationship was no longer ok. She cried. I cried. And then we decided to enroll her in a child care center twice a week. The search for the child care center and meeting all their requirements like immunization record in Australia, having a maternal and child health nurse and proof of allergic reactions signed by a pediatrician, consume most of my time and set aside my job hunting. When the session started, I am back with my questions although things got a little bit better coz I have 2 days to do some household chores, study and look for job. Still me and my daughter were like dog and cat.

    One day, my husband received a call from a recruiter(oh yes, he has call even if he is not looking for job, how ironic). It went pretty smooth and fast and he gets the job. Now what? He will be working outside. This is not the plan. The plan is he will work from home, I work full time outside and our daughter will go to childcare at most 3 days/week. How are we going to manage this?

    I really felt that I failed as a mom, as a career woman and as a daughter. I am good for nothing. One once told me not to worry because things will be okay because he knows that I will do my best. Am I really that kind of person ‘coz right now, I am not seeing her. I was not telling these thoughts to my husband. I was ashamed to admit that I am not helping to make our situation better. I started to take comfort from watching series but at the end of the day, it made me feel miserable because I was aware that I was wasting my time. Was I in the brink of having depression? Maybe but I felt really stressed and I need to get out of there as soon as possible. Actually I did and I will tell you on my next post ‘coz this is already long enough to read. Thank you for your time.

    Migration

    When finding a place to rent feels like finding a job

    May 23, 2018

    Migrating to another country is really a tough one. In Australia, at least in Melbourne, finding a place to rent is more difficult than Singapore and Philippines. Here, when I was looking for a place to rent, I felt like I was looking for a job and when I got it, my heart was overjoyed.

    We booked an airbnb apartment unit in Docklands for 3 weeks. Our requirements for the house/apartment were: near to tram/train station, not too far from the city, near to supermarket (Woolworths or Coles), as much as possible newly built or newly renovated or well-maintained one, lots of natural light and most of all within our budget. First area is of course Melbourne City. As you know or may not know, Melbourne means Melbourne City and inner suburbs. Come the first inspection day in the city, I was so excited. When I reached the place, it was like I am queuing for a blockbuster movie. But the place was not as good as I expected it to be. After few more inspections in the city, I decided to forget the city and focus on searching in the inner suburbs. This means I will be travelling outside the free tram zone and a bit far.

    After our first inspection in St. Kilda suburb with my husband and my daughter, we realized it was more expensive and tiring if we all go together for inspection. Expensive because we have to take the taxi so that we can reach the place and return as soon as possible. Why? Because my husband is working remotely so he cannot be out for long during office hours. Tiring because my daughter can be very impatient, very active inside the property and sometimes she had to give into the call of nature and we have to find a nearby toilet.

    The tram stop in the middle of the street in an unfamiliar suburb and I was alone.

    I am not good in direction. I know in this journey that I will get lost but I have no choice. I can only pray and rely on maps. I just ensure that I have cash in case my myki card, use for paying in public transports, needs reloading. Yes, extra cash for reload not for taking taxi. In Philippines and Singapore, I use extra cash for taxi if I get lost. Taxi in city has taxi stands and you can’t just hail them. It is also difficult to get a taxi outside the city. On the first week, that was Saturday, I booked 8 inspections in a day. Unlike on weekdays that I can only leave after lunch, that time I left at 9am. I went to Hawthorn, Armadale, Malvern and St. Kilda. I traveled in 5 trams with total of 68 tram stops, walked almost 2.5 hours in total and guess what, I have to give up the last 2 inspections in Coburg because I was too tired. I came home at 5pm and submitted 3 applications.

    One week had passed but negative. I inspected many properties but there are 10 or more who viewed and probably submitted their application too. Our chance was small because I have no job and we are new in Melbourne compared to others. We revised our profile in 1Form. This is the website where you submit your application to rent a property. Agent and owner will review your profile and they will decide whether they will accept or reject your application. We wrote almost 2 paragraphs stating why we were the best candidate for the property we applied. Sounds familiar? I know right, it’s like when you are writing a cover letter for job application.

    I thought I can find a place and at the same time find a job. But actually, I cannot do both. It was stressful and not to mention there is a toddler and I have to do household chores. My husband is working at the same time taking care of our daughter while I am away. It’s a teamwork but still stressful. Maybe because we were used to a comfortable life in Singapore.

    On the second week, I could not find a good property. All my inspections didn’t meet my standards. We decided to stretch our budget a bit more to increase our options. I started to lose hope and thought that maybe we need to extend our stay in airbnb.

    After 12 days, while I was viewing one property, I received a call from the first property I inspected outside the city. She asked about my husband’s job and called my husband for more details. Later in the afternoon, she confirmed verbally that our application was accepted. We were so happy and thankful. The next day we received the confirmation email and we can get the keys after 4 days. That’s 3 days before our booking ends in airbnb. Thank you Lord!

    The place we get is actually the best among the properties I viewed and the first property I inspected outside the city. It’s near to tram station and few stops to city. One minute to supermarket and near to the wet market. The place is newly built and we are the first tenant. It has 1 bedroom, 1 study room and a balcony. Just enough for the 3 of us.

    In those 2 weeks, I got lost twice. The tram stops do not look the same. Some has nice-looking tram station. Some are in the middle of the street. Some are in the same lanes as the cars and you will only rely on the signs. That is where I get lost the first time. The second time was navigating through the map. I went to the wrong direction. Hehehe. But that’s ok. I still reached home and didn’t need to call for some help. Getting around Melbourne and inner suburbs to look for a place to rent was part of our journey. I learned a lot and I got to know Melbourne more. And I will write about it next time.

    Bake, Foods

    Banana Bread with Cheese

    May 20, 2018

    Our typical breakfast is having a bread and a cup of coffee or chocolate drink for adults and a soy milk for the toddler. It has always been my task to think of what bread to serve. My husband and I are not fans of eating the same food at least in 2 weeks unless we don’t have any other choices.

    One week ago, I bought the Paradise’s banana bread mix in Woolworths. It is exclusively packed for woolies anyways. I like this brand because I can use our overripe bananas coz banana is one of the staple foods at home. Again, the same question, what could be different?

    My daughter has allergic reactions on cow’s milk that is why when baking, I use soy or almond milk as replacement. At this time, I am currently doing the Home Introduction and Immunology program from my daughter’s paediatrician to slowly introduce dairies, cow’s milk and tree nuts(except peanuts). I checked the fridge and found excess cheese from the pizza I made few days ago. Baking with milk and cheese is part of the program. I asked my husband if it’s okay for him to eat banana with cheese and he said ok.

    I added the cheese on the last 10min of baking. The result is yumminess! It is really tasty. Although to be honest, I can work on the texture next time. Maybe I will add the cheese 5 min before baking or I will include the cheese in the batter. That’s for the next version of banana bread.

    Oh, my daughter did not show any sign of reaction with the milk and cheese. Another milestone, yey! 😛

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    Migration

    This is how it started…

    May 17, 2018

    I moved to Singapore in 2010 and my life becomes so comfortable. I have a career as a Software Engineer. I have a husband and eventually a child. We have a helper. Singapore is a beautiful country. It’s known for a very low crime rate and convenient public transportation. That is why many are asking why are we here in Melbourne.

    Our answer is maybe the same as the others who migrated in Australia. Although life is comfortable in Singapore, everything is temporary for a foreigner. Having a child makes you look into the future and we want to settle in a place where we can be a permanent resident. How about Germany? At first we did not consider it because we thought it’s difficult for my husband to get a job there. How about Canada? That’s too far and too cold for me. How about New Zealand? Oh I love it. But after we talk to a consultant, he recommended Australia.

    Sydney Opera House

    After receiving the visa, we have to choose between 3 cities: Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland in New Zealand. We went to these cities during our first entry. Sydney is surprisingly beautiful compared to what we read in the internet. It was raining and gloomy when we arrived in Auckland. Something that made me feel uneasy. Hahaha. New Zealand is really good if you want a very laid back place. It’s very relaxing. But Melbourne gave me the “this is it” feeling when we arrived. I like the trams which for me is a plus if you don’t know how to drive. We were really confused on where to move after our trip but eventually Melbourne won.

    Cornwall Park, Auckland

    For 7 years, I develop good relationship with my friends in Singapore. I like the comfort that Singapore is giving me. I know I will terribly miss this and them once we move out. The thought of migration makes me sad, scared and excited. Sad for what I will leave behind. Scared for what is in store for us in the Land Down Under. Excited for the thought of living just the 3 of us.

    Tram Restaurant in Melbourne CBD

    We started planning our migration. My husband will find a home-base job. We will temporary stay in an airbnb property for 3 weeks while looking for a place to rent. I will look for a full-time permanent job and my daughter will go to childcare 3 days/week. My husband will learn how to drive, we will buy a car and a house.

    Everything is settled and well-planned when we board the flight to Melbourne early this year. We are aware that starting a new life will be difficult. But how difficult it is? As of this moment, all our initial plans seem not to be working. Surprise, surprise. I will write it on my next blog.