Friday, August 22, 2014

Cultural Differences

Before moving over to Melbourne, Eg and I have been reminding ourselves about the cultural difference in Australia comparing to Malaysia. So far we've been coping quite well as things are within our expectation, and we're always talking to others, and learning the ways of living from the locals here.

But there're a few conversations that EG and I shared after work that make us chuckle. As much as we awe on some of the ways things are done here, the locals here also find our lifestyle back home rather unusual, or bizzare.

1: Milo
Aussies put milk into everything - tea, chocolate, milo, coffee, etc. Local milk here is nice, I don't deny that. Even the cheapest milk in the supermarket also taste really good. But the way I drink milo is only put milo powder, and hot water. I once told my colleagues about it, and they went big eyes and asked,"Serious? No milk?"

2. Sambal
EG's workplace (a university) has a student union house that sells Malaysia food. Once, his colleague bought mee mamak and it came with sambal. He shared with EG and EG put into his home-packed noodle for extra kick. And when his colleague saw the amount of sambal EG took, he went, "That's suicidal!"... And EG told him we're used to this taste. And he asked,"And you have nasi lemak for breakfast?" EG said yes, and they all went shocked as they couldn't understand why would us take such a heavy tasted spicy food for breakfast. But later on they deduced that it's probably healthier as it contains rice, eggs; instead of usual local breakfast of cereal which contains more sugar. EG begged for differ and lots of explanations went on that I'd skip here. :)

3. Coffee
This is again from EG's workplace. When he introduced himself and mentioned that he's from Malaysia, a lady asked him, Oh, you guys eat nasi lemak for breakfast right? (point #2 above), and next that we never expect - "And you drink coffee with ice?".. Hmm at first we thought what's wrong with that, and later we found out, locals here they drink coffee to keep warm due to the cold weather here. No wonder I never see Starbucks being any popular here.

4. Leaving home
While chit chatting during lunch in the pantry, my another colleague who came from Malaysia and been staying here for the past 9 years shared his story. He said he left home to Melbourne at the age of 17 until now. All my colleagues were shocked and asked him how did he cope initially. I told them it's common in Malaysia for someone to leave home after high school. And one of my colleagues mentioned, "Oh yea, I have a friend who did this. He left home to another state, and the parents paid for his fees, rental, food, everything!" And later on they just kept saying that they can't imagine themselves doing this etc etc. Hmmm.....

So far these four are those that we thought it's the usual common which really make locals here jaw dropped. I'd think the coffee is really something that we never expect from anyone.

Anyway, it's interesting to see how others think about us. Nevertheless, we're having lots of fun exchanging our experiences with others here too.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

About Introverts

Saw a friend shared this in Facebook and just clicked in to have a look while taking a break from work.

I was laughing while reading it. I believe I used to be an extrovert. But after marrying EG, as a submissive wife,  I believe his introvert genes has eaten into me. Now, EG sometimes thinks I can be more introvert than him. The article explains us pretty well - I could relate to almost all the points. But the one that makes me laugh out loud is #7. :D.. I think only EG and I will share this joke. Hehehe! :)

I do hope some friends will read this and know why sometimes we're just so reluctant to come out. And we hate it when we have to justify or give reason why. Gee, there're times when we just want to be left alone (refer #1). :P.

So, excuses us if we sounded rude. And don't ask why. :D

Copied from:

Things You Should Know About Introverts

1) We need to recharge alone.
This right here is the cusp of the entire introvert v. extrovert debate (if there is one, anyway) – Introverts need to be alone to recharge. We tend to get completely worn out by socializing. This is basically what it means to be an introvert.

2) We don’t hate being around people, but we probably hate crowds.
I love being with people, but if you drop me into a large crowd I instantly feel like I’m alone and invisible. I try to avoid situations where I feel that way, so I may decline your open invitation to some random event. It doesn’t mean I don’t like to be around you, it just means I like to have more control over my surroundings.

3) We don’t mind silence.
I can sit beside you in silence and not think we are having a bad time. This is especially true on road trips and can be a little confounding to true extroverts. For this reason, I especially like going to the movies where it is already considered rude to chat. Rule #1 for dealing with introverts – Don’t tell me I’m “too quiet.” I hate that. Sorry I’m making you uncomfortable, but you really don’t get to decide how much I have to talk.

4) Just because we are introverted doesn’t mean we are shy.
Introvert and shy are actually two different things. Google it! In my case, I’m a shy introvert (the double whammy!).

5) We can turn on an extroverted personality when necessary, but it is especially draining.
See #1 and #2. I have no problem getting up in front of a group of people and giving a talk. I don’t even get nervous by a question and answer period. But – here is the thing – I will need major recharge time afterwards and I won’t be able to keep up this extroverted illusion all day. I can turn it on to dazzle a crowd, but if you take me out for lunch afterwards, I’ll probably just listen to you talk. I am an excellent listener.

6) We aren’t judging you.
See #3. Did I get quiet? Do I have a mean look on my face? I’m not judging you; I’m just wrapped up in my thoughts with my bitchy-resting-face on. I might have even forgotten you were there. Sorry, just poke me. I didn’t do it on purpose.

7) We secretly love it when you cancel plans.
I like being with you, but finding out I suddenly don’t need to be “on” and it wasn’t actually me that backed out? – priceless! Don’t worry if you have to cancel, I’m probably thrilled to be able to stay in my pajamas.

8) We can get very wrapped up in our own thoughts.
My inner monologue is epic. When you have a strong monologue constantly running in the background, it is pretty easy to settle-in and listen for a while. I have to work through things in my head before I proceed, so I usually need a few minutes. When I’m ready to move forward though, I am 100% on top of it!

9) We can be pretty bad at connecting.
You know when you have had a really bad day and you just want to call up a friend and chat? Yeah, I’m bad at that. I tend to wait for extroverts to reach out and include me, so when the time comes that I need support, I can be a bit lost.

10) We don’t like to hang around.
That time after an event or meeting ends and stragglers hang around to talk – yeah, I know this is the perfect time to make more plans, connect with new people, and get involved with future projects, but I really really really hate this. I’m probably already checking my phone in my car before you have even picked up your purse. Small talk with strangers is my kryptonite.

11) We have strong opinions.
Just because I have difficultly sharing them sometimes doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions. Give me an extra minute to compose my thoughts and I will continue to push myself to speak up sooner. It is a give and take here.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Working.... in Australia

Never in my life that I ever thought that I'll be working overseas.

Ah well, I did travel a lot in my first job, where I went to Indonesia for a month, and then Vietnam for 11 months, before I decided to quit the job and got myself another job that doesn't need me to travel often.

Now that we moved to Australia, it's truly God's blessing that I can get a job in such a short time. I consider myself really lucky to work in this company. It's a small local company that does survey collection and I am hired as the Business Intelligence Analyst who is supposed to help with the IT support, data warehouse, data analysis and reporting.

My office is only 5km away from my house. When I first started work and while we're still staying with my aunt, I took bus to work most of the time as EG needed the car to chauffeur Eunice to/back from kinder. But ever since we move to our own place in June, I've been driving. It's only a 10 minutes drive. And the office hour is from 9am to 5pm, hence I could still cook lunch, and prepare breakfast for everyone, and only leave home around 8.45am.

Many have told me about racism in Australia. Deep inside me, I used to fear to work in a whole new environment in a whole new culture. However, I over-worried! My colleagues are most young chaps, so they're really a fun bunch. Of course, they have their unique working ways (foul words, relax, take-it-easy) but so far they treat me really well. I have a few female colleagues who have children and we have total different topics when we bump into each other in pantry, or during lunch. I have heard stories of Asians being discriminated in the work place but not for me. Most of my colleagues greet each other in the morning when they came in, and when they leave, they'd even come to my place to say bye to me as well. :)

Communication used to be a little bit of problem as we're still adjusting to each other's slang, but after 3 months here, I think I have picked up the right way to talk here, and now I can chit chat with my colleagues pretty well. But ah, most of them are young chaps so they have their jokes that might be too "modern" for me to comprehend but nevertheless, it's still good. I am pretty happy about it.

For my bosses - I report directly to my MD and a director. They're really nice to me and have been very accommodating. There are times where I need to go and settle some of the children's stuff and they let me have my time-off. Besides, they also trust me and allow me to work from home for 2 days a week so I could save cost on the childcare. I am really glad and thankful for their trust. Besides, they treat me with respect and lots of courtesy. They are really courteous when talking to me (maybe I have the good-girl look) but so far, I am very thankful for them.

None of my colleague eat out. Most of them bring their own lunches from home so I did that too. And we normally sat on the table in pantry for lunch together. I joined sometimes, but half of the time, I took the 30 minutes lunch break for a walk at the nearby shops near my office. Just to have some window shopping and looking for things that I might be interested in. Besides, the lunch break walking also helps me to take a break apart of sitting at the computer the whole day.

I wouldn't say Australians are very laid back, but it is probably more appropriate to say that Australians are very understanding, or accommodating. There are times when my director would ask if I am overloaded before passing me more work, or even ask me to pass some of my work to others when they see me looked really overwhelmed. Besides, they are very family oriented. Never once in my 3 months of working experience here that they request me to work over time. Most of the time they'll just tell me to do it the next day when I come back to office. I was so worried for the children arrangement when EG found a good job, and was thinking hard for 2 weeks to think how I should tell my director that I'd wish to work from home since childcare is just too expensive. When I finally gathered all my courage to tell her, I could be very frank on the reasons, and all she said was, "Hey Winnie, no worry, go ahead! Just let me know the plan when it's all confirm." You cannot imagine how relieve I felt deep inside me at that moment.

Anyway, this is a small company that I am working in. Probably this is why everything is more relax as there're less red tapes or processes. But so far I really enjoy myself working here. I do have job satisfactions, keeping some of my technical skills intact, earning some income to help paying bills and buying food, while still be able to mind our children is office is nearby to home/school/childcare.

As a summary, I'd say I am really, really lucky and blessed to get this job. And I am really thankful that it's an all awesome good experience for me. :)

The bus station that I waited for bus for first 2 months before we moved

The busy street

Right outside my office entrance. I love the sunlight in Melbourne in the cold weather. Ironic, I know. :)

The side street that I walk everyday from carpark to my office

PS: If you're curious, EG is enjoying his work place even more than me. He works in Melbourne University with all the technical teams, so the buildings are awesome, good facilities, nice colleagues and fantastic team members and colleagues.

I really can't ask for more. :)