a day in my life | part one

Monday, August 27, 2018


7 AM. Your eyes flutter open, you check the time, and turn your head to the cold side of the pillow. Your class starts later, and you have no early morning plans. The bed feels eight times nicer than it did when you slept into it the night before. The world is silent and undemanding. You wrap a blanket around you. You wish to go back to sleep.

But you thought too soon.

At 8, you awake, startled by the sound of the garbage truck that pulls up—8 AM, on the dot, always on time—each morning. You retrieve all your thoughts as you stand up from the bed of your empty apartment. You move your body a little to shake off the remaining slumber. Stretch as if you're going for a jog. Then not go for a jog. 

You pour yourself tea, as you do every morning. As the water rises to a boil, you place your hand above it, to catch the warm steam that escapes the kettle's mouth. 

The teabag sits for a minute or two, the water slowly changing colour to accept its presence. Your hands wrap around it like a tiny cup of warmth. You hold it close, you take a sip, you breathe. People think you wake early just to drink tea. You don't tell them you have a garbage truck to thank.

---

Your route to campus feels shorter the more you walk it. You pass by the square lined with massive trees; they change day by day as the seasons do. You cross a street with no traffic lights; you hate crossing these because the time to walk is solely your decision. A car is heading this way. Always an awkward encounter—do you walk and expect them to let you? Do you stay where you are in case they're in a rush? The car gets closer. It finally comes to a halt. You smile and cross the road with haste. Drivers are nice here.

Walking to campus, you like taking note of the places you pass by. The closed bar at the corner, always warm and lively in the evening. The cafe across it, which opens before the sun even rises. A row of houses with different-coloured doors. A convenience store with dull interiors. Two other caf├ęs. 

Then, the campus building where they hold the construction programs. Through the windows you see a room full of woodwork equipment. A large, metal gate guards the entrance. You walk through a group of burly men in boots, laughing and enjoying their big-sized lunches. You hope they don't notice. You wonder why they always talk so loud. 

Another campus building, where they hold the art programs. You glance at the people sitting by the sidewalks; cool tattoos and face piercings, smokey blue hair, canvas tote bags, cigarettes and dangling jewellery. You can tell they're artists.


---

Ten minutes later you're in class. Classmates file in, the tutor arrives, class begins, and class dismissed. All a grey blur. You're starving. This happens sometimes.

You walk out with your friends and buy lunch from campus, thanking the heavens for $5 lunch deals. It takes you 10 minutes to find a place to sit. Then you eat, you talk, you laugh, you work together, and after a few hours, you leave. All a grey blur. You're drained. This happens sometimes.

Walking away, you make a turn to the grocery store. You're out of eggs. You enter the store and the smell of baked goods greets you instantly. Before you, piles and piles of fresh produce. You take a few apples. You make your way around the produce section, taking your time, and wondering why blueberries and grapes have to be so expensive. 

In the aisles, you're overwhelmed with choices. You recall the days where all you had to do was push a cart, and let your mother direct you through the store and handpick all the right things. She'd scan through the shelves and ask you if you wanted anything at every opportunity.

"Do you want chocolate, dear? You used to love these."

"What about juice? Our house could use some juice, right?"

"Ooh, green tea, dear, your favourite. Do you still have plenty at home?"

You miss mindlessly walking through these grocery stores, everything being fully taken care of by your mother. You miss chatting with her, revelling in your mutual love for grocery shopping. You miss making commentaries together about every product, almost like old women gossiping; "What do gluten-free cookies even taste like?" "I don't like that brand of yogurt." "Look at these lowered prices; they just want to sell you things you don't need."

The basket sits in your hand. You snap back to reality; alone, staring at five different types of eggs they have. You wonder why anyone would need so many options. You go with the second cheapest, because you're on a student budget but the cheapest option always gives you trust issues.

Ten minutes later you're at checkout. The self-serve ones you love because you don't have to interact with anyone. You also get to keep your earphones in and go at your own pace. 

Scanning the items and placing them in your bag, you pay and take another look. 

Three apples. Eggs. Broccoli. An avocado. Two packets of soup. A box of tissues. A protein bar. 

Didn't you come here just for eggs?


---

You walk home listening to that jazz playlist you keep on Spotify; it goes well with Melbourne's city feel. As you wait to cross an overcrowded intersection, you glance at the trees rustled by the Melbourne wind. 

In your bag, a laptop with all your uni supplies. In your hand, a reusable grocery bag (because that's just the person you are now.) In your other hand, the keys to your apartment; you fiddle with it because you can't wait to get there. In your ears, a Sinatra serenade, enjoyed alongside the sight of Melbourne's tall buildings and yellow cabs passing your way.

The wind drifts through again, and strands of hair are swept across your face. You let it be. You slowly soak up the scene around you. A young man offers you crepes from behind his stall. A street performer sings a mainstream hit song. A person smokes a cigarette and blows it too near to where you're standing. The smoke invades your personal space. You cough and make it obvious. 

The light turns green. You start walking.

You just can't wait to get home.

---

"How was today, honey?" a text from your mother reads. Last year, at home, she'd say those words as she comes in through your bedroom door. You'd sit together after a long day. Sometimes for 15 minutes, others for 2 hours. Some days were more eventful than others.

But it feels different now. The sound of her voice, able to calm you down when your mind's been in a storm, has been replaced by a ringtone. The sight of her smiling as she enters your room, now replaced by typed words on a tiny screen. A FaceTime video. An Instagram photo of what she did last weekend. 

The heart-to-heart conversations you'd instantly have before, now replaced by pauses; waiting for each other's replies by minutes at unpredictable intervals. You read and reply to the text on your way home; these lonesome walks are bound to make one feel sentimental. 

You wonder if being sad so often is a side effect of growing up. You wonder if it's just a symptom for feeling lonely. You wonder how one can feel lonely even with friends they see multiple times a week. You wonder if this is what growing up actually looks like. 

Internalising every thought and emotion you have; making it your new nature. Growing into the habit of sitting at parks and staring at blank spaces and writing in your own little notebook. 

You recall the younger you, sitting in a classroom, daydreaming about a life she'll live "out there", the free little world she couldn't wait to build. And you smile at the thought, because your "free little world", you realise, 

is one you occupy on your own.


---

A while ago I did an Instagram poll of what topics readers would want me to write on, and one of them was What my typical day actually, realistically looks like. After writing this, I realised I barely covered everything, so I'm turning this into a part one of a series.

Each day is different, and I couldn't find a way to describe it better than to tap into my internal monologue and tell it through this style of narrative. Most bloggers do the timeline thing where they make timestamps and list out how their day went from morning to bedtime within the entire post. But being ambitious in my writing, I fail to stick to that status quo. 

At the surface, studying abroad may seem as a grandeur life experience—and in many moments it can certainly be—but I just thought I'd share a glimpse of the not-so-glamorous details, and a glimpse of the reality of living on your own at nineteen.

I hope this gave you a nice read, and if anything, I hope you stay tuned for part two.

Have a nice week.








9 comments

  1. staying tune to part 2, alright! hope you'd describe what your classmates look like and what subjects you're taking as a design student in melbourne, ce jo!

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  2. Oh, my heart. Your words are so lovely, and ache with so much truth. I know that feeling so well. I adore your writing, Joanne. <3

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    1. Grace, you are the sweetest. Thank you for reading my entries and for your kind words <3

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  3. This was beautiful. I read this in the morning as I entered my office. Looking forward to part 2. ♡♡

    http://helloannajo.blogspot.com

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    1. Aw thank you for reading Anna! This warmed my heart. x

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  4. You write beautifully Joanne. Aspire to write like you one day <3

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    1. That is so sweet of you to say, dear, thank you. x

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  5. This was so beautiful to read Joanne. There's nothing like family, right? I can definitely relate to the stress and sometimes loneliness that comes with studying abroad. I do hope that you're feeling much better, lots of love <3
    Coco Bella Blog

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