Today marks my last day here. Perth has treated me well for the past few months. Here, I managed to break away from the fast-paced and hectic Singapore (though honestly the break was a little too intense). Here, I learnt how to savour and appreciate solitude. Here, I witnessed many little acts of kindness. Here, I became more independent and adventurous. But most importantly, here, I grew as a person.
Before coming to Perth, I’d feel embarrassed whenever I wanted to have lunch alone, or go for a movie alone. I was afraid of what the people whom I know would think, if I were to bump into them. Would they cast me as a loner?
But when I’m here, I am less afraid. I have no qualms about travelling around the city alone, eating alone and even watching a movie alone. Which of course, may be due to the fact that I don’t have to worry about bumping into anyone I know (at least the chances of really bumping into someone I know is smaller than in Singapore).
And definitely, you’d argue that everyone that has the chance of studying abroad would have these experiences. But in my defence, many friends who I have met here who are international students don’t dare to travel alone. They are afraid of taking the bus out alone even with advanced GPS technology. They are not willing to explore the new foreign environment that they are in.
I just don’t see the need to fear losing your way because as undeveloped Perth may be when compared to Singapore or bigger cities like Sydney, the standard of their public transport is still pretty acceptable. And if worse come to worst, all you have to do is call for an Uber, hitch a ride from someone along the street or even dial 000. Of course unless you end up in the middle of the wilderness with no network coverage, then it’s okay to panic.
After spending close to 4 months here, I really see the difference. In my first few weeks here, Perth was perfect. Uncrowded streets of the city, starry skies, neighbourhood pizza stores that tastes so much better than Pizza Hut or Dominos, public transports that always have empty seats, friendly and cheery people almost everywhere.
But what I realised after the initial weeks was that, there really is a difference between the life of a tourist and a local. The view and scenery has never failed to impress me and it’d be even more impressive if there were more skyscrapers around to highlight the skyline of Perth.
Beyond that, after being inclined to a highly developing urban city for 17 years, making the switch from that to a relaxed, and perhaps, laid-back environment really feels otherwise. At least for me.
I have been trained to squeeze through hustling crowds, balance on buses and trains. And the sudden lack of the need for this skill makes me feel empty. Almost like I don’t belong. Ridiculous I know.
Nevertheless, as this chapter ends and a new one begins, thank you Perth for all the good times. I would gladly come back if I long for solace and solitude.
Till I’m back x