December 2004, everyone was congratulating me for the pre-placement in college. Offer letter in my hand from a German global banking corporation, was opened and read million times that day. The energy around me was palpable. Excited to begin a new – independent life, I hopped on the bandwagon of – hopes, aspirations and dreams.
However, reality is not always the same as it seems from outside. Uneven working conditions, suffocation of mismanagement by tyrant seniors, pushed me to the verge of wrecking. After dilly dallying for 2 years in the hope of some change – I decided to Quit. But life had some other plans for me in stores.
Whatever happens, Happens for Good.
Just two days with the tag of ‘jobless, I got a call from an Australian banking giant. Before depression of being unemployed (even after holding a A+ degree of M.B.A) could kick in, I had a new job in hand. A better remuneration, breathable work-life balance with a higher designation. Well, someone was keeping a close eye on me from above 😉 Soon the new job got fresh lease of opportunities and I was selected in ‘knowledge matter transfer’ team. First assignment – Learn a banking process in Australia and transfer it back India. What – Go to Australia!! Hurray
Passport and Visa were taken care by office travel department, all I had to do was just collect few advises. In a jiffy learned Do’s & Don’ts of a new country I had no clue about. Department head’s advice – As you are solo female traveller, we are upgrading you to Business Class. HAHAH, this is called blessing in disguise! My first International trip, ALONE, Company Sponsored that too in Business Class.
Day at the Airport
Anxiety hit at the worst time possible, inching closer to immigration officer but all my eyes were frantically searching for – A Washroom. Once all formalities were over, was shown a way towards Business Class lounge. Trust me I had no clue (that time); Airports had lounges too 😉 with free drinks. Oh my! Anxiety …what’s that? Who said drinking is adverse for health? It gave my nervousness wings – which happily took a flight. Leaving me with a happy feeling of travelling solo to an INTERNATIONAL destination.
Boarded Malaysian Airlines around midnight from Bangalore, India to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Four hours halt at KL and then connecting flight to Melbourne. Gigantic airport bays at Kuala Lumpur, inter-airport shuttles and moving from one gate to another was like walking an entire planet in one go. Buy anything in 1$ was my first shopping destination – on foreign land. Next haul of flight was quite taxing, reached Melbourne around 10 – 12 hours later. The Tullamarine Airport at Melbourne was not as big as KL, but I witnessed how ‘security check’ is taken so seriously. Sniffer squad, Electronic gadgets and much more. Phew… once out, I could see my name on a placard & few smiling faces.
Colleagues cum Apartment mates
Stay was in official serviced apartments named Madina in South Yarra. Beautiful lanes, illuminous billboards, clean & pristine surroundings. Fell in love with the neighbourhood instantly. Office colleagues knew my arrival hence, arranged a small welcome party. I had a lovely fully furnished serviced apartment all to my disposal.
Weekdays were work from 8 – 5 pm, post 5 it was always exploring time for us. Few gave up being wanderer, but some of us continued the hunt. We learnt about some awesome pubs, casinos, hangout places in the area.
Crown Casino at Southbank – most glamorous casino I had ever seen.
Flinder’s Street Station – A beautiful station building with a mini Karol bagh (New Delhi’s favourite shopping street) style of market.
MCG – Melbourne Cricket Ground. I had no interest in cricket that time, hence it did not interest me much. Though my partner (then boy-friend) expected some souvenirs. Lol
Parliament House – beautiful magnum architectural wonder building. A must visit to get your picture clicked in-front of those huge gates.
Queen Victoria Market – A local market sprawling across huge space, drawing scores of shoppers.
Great Ocean Road – Visit to Melbourne is incomplete without checking out the mesmerizing Great Ocean Road. During the visit, I was told an Indian Bollywood Movie was shot at a beach facing villa on Great Ocean Road. The movie was – Salaam Namaste.
St. Kilda’s – Pristine beach front with a long shore to see wooden esplanade. Clean and beautiful, clear blue water. Perfect to catch sunset in your camera.
Phillip Island – Those cute little penguins coming all the way from ocean and going back to their small little nests. Best memories ever.
Suburban transport – The ticketing system was centrally designed, just a swipe of card and you are free to ride on any suburban train. Trams were commuter friendly and again no issues of ticketing.
I had an amazing first stay at Melbourne, mesmerised how the city and its infrastructure is planned. However, I missed my home and people badly. Even when with colleagues, the emptiness was intense. With this guest post I am reliving all my travel sojourn, unfortunately missed all the pictures and physical memories due to technical malfunctions. However, my first stay & journey is always fresh in memory. After this visit, I had done to-n-fro couple of times to Melbourne & Sydney. But as they say – First Time is hard to Forget.
*All pictures are from google, as author has lost her original images due to HDD crash.
Howdy folks! This december starts with a bang on my blog as I run a unique bloghop with 28 bloggers to write guestposts for me and each other all this month. I hope my readers will catch all the action and support this drive with their comments and feedback to encourage the writing. To know more about this blog hop in detail, you could catch this post here.
Dipika Singh is a freelancer educator who loves writing from heart. Having worked in Banking and Hospitality industry for over a decade, today she enjoys her dual role as a mother and as freelance associate professor.
She began blogging journey early this year with her blog www.gleefulblogger.com
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