Throwback: Arriving in Adelaide

Me, in front of the Fangirls banner.

Let us rejoice for the South Australian border has finally opened to international students!

To celebrate this wonderful news and opportunity for my fellow friends and readers from around the globe who are coming to Adelaide soon, I would like to share with you all the tale of when I arrived in this glorious city not long ago.

This 15th February marked the beginning of the 3rd year that I will be living in (and falling in love with) Adelaide. It’s surreal to think that I’ve spent 2 years away from home, exploring a foreign city on my own – well, not completely foreign since I’ve been to Adelaide a few times prior to my studies but still, doing it all alone gives the whole ordeal an even more special meaning.

So, let’s go back to a significant weekend in 2020. I had just finished packing my bags in the back of my parents’ car and before long, we were off to the airport. This was during the pre-pandemic days (Covid was just a local disease that we read of in the newspaper and not the evolving, world-touring virus it is now) so my cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends were there to send me off too. 

As I waved goodbye to the people I love, a rush of emotions washed over me. The primary feeling being sadness, duh! I mean, the longest I’ve ever been away from my family was when I went to a Scouts camping trip in primary school, and even then, I faked my own stomachache in hopes that my mom would pick me up and bring me home (she didn’t, she saw right through my Oscar-worthy performance of being sick). Then came the nervous jitters because it finally hit me that I would have to learn to live on my own and well, be a grown-up, really. 

But looking at the bigger picture, the excitement of navigating my way through a new city alone (think LadyBird when she got to New York) trumps it all. Of course, I still long for my family, friends and Malaysian food but it’s a melancholy feeling that I’ve learnt to live with. 

After I got off from my 8-hour flight, I was instantly greeted by a cool breeze – a clear indication that autumn was right around the corner. I settled down in an empty room which was to be my home for the next two years and then proceeded to ugly cry as I FaceTimed my parents.

The next few weeks were filled with a feeling of euphoria – an intense excitement of making new friends, discovering unfamiliar places and finally basking in the vast freedom that adulthood has to offer. 

O’Week was the first time I ever saw myself getting out of my comfort zone. I talked to countless students, some of which are still my friends to this day. Adelaide introduced me to a lot of my ‘firsts’ – my first ever Fringe show (acrobatics!), my first ever musical (Fangirls), my first-time cooking, surfing, and so much more!

I’m about to enter my 3rd year here and that euphoric feeling still hasn’t left. In fact, it’s only getting stronger as I continue to explore this city. I hope you’ll all enjoy your time here as much as I did and create your own sets of ‘firsts’ with Adelaide. See ya!

Tagged in What messes with your head, Travel, O Week