After many obstacles overcome and a seven hour flight, I am finally in the southern hemisphere. From the muggy, humid tropical heat of the resurgent summer in Manila, I am now shivering in the foggy, grey winter of Melbourne, Australia for a four day pit stop before I start my on-my-own saga in far away Perth.
Although I've been here a few times, it was never in winter. And while winter here is not as hardcore as what they have in other temperate countries, for a girl weaned under perennially summer weather of the Pinas, this kind of cold is a bit of a culture shock. To wake up at eight only to find the sun barely up is disconcerting, to say the least.
Of course the weather is not the only change I have to deal with.
I've been here only a couple of days, and already I have swung into one "nosebleed" moment to the next. It's tough speaking in straight English! And don't let people who say Australia is an easy destination because everyone here speaks English. English, when spoken with the broad Oz strine, sounds quite foreign. I've also been steering away from shops - because aside from having very little to spend until I start work, the prices when converted from dollar to pesos is quite enough to keep me away from any form of retail.
This short visit in Melbourne is more of a vacation rather than a real part of my adventure. But I can already feel just how very different everything is going to be for me in the next few months. Yet there is comfort in this unfamiliar because over here I am still surrounded by extended family - and in easy touch with home through email, Skype voice calls, and telecommunications.
Thank goodness for amazing technology that has shrunk the world - that allows one to travel from summer to winter in a day and back home in the space of a few seconds with a few clicks of a mouse.