Temitope Adebowale’s My Melbourne Story

TEMITOPE ADEBOWALES IS A CURRENT INTERNATIONAL STUDENT FROM NIGERIA STUDYING A MASTER OF ENGINEERING IN ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING AT  RMIT UNIVERSITY. THIS WAS HIS ENTRY IN THE MY MELBOURNE STORYTELLING COMPETITION.

MY FAVOURITE MELBOURNE STORY: A RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS…

When I am asked what my favourite story is about my journey and my experience of living in Melbourne, people expect me to come up with just one story. However, there are a couple of hundred I could talk about. This is because no day in Melbourne is the same for me. At times, the excitement could be overwhelming.

Most of the time, I have to decide whether to talk about my 30-hour flight from Lagos, Nigeria to Melbourne which involved a nine-hour transit period at Dubai, or to talk about the ‘freezing’ weather in Melbourne on my arrival even though it was midsummer. At times, I talk about my jolly good mates – from my Indian schoolmates, Korean, Iraqi and Pakistani housemates to a Singaporean crush. Other times, I make reference to my adjustment to the ‘laid-back’ culture of ‘Aussies’ where you can call your professor by just their first name and that you don’t have to refer to a superior as ‘sir’ or ‘mam’. I can discuss my surprise while experiencing the need for the daylight savings time – sunlight at 7pm in summer and darkness by 5.30pm in winter – even though I had learned this back in college.

Not forgetting my primary cause of being in this city, I will require a long number of hours to be able to discuss how mind blowing my course is turning and the ease with which I could interact with my lecturers compared to my country of origin.

Worthy mentions would also include my adventures to the Kokoda 1000 steps at Dandenong, the Docklands, my flight in the amazing jumbo jet Airbus A380, my first snorkelling experience, how I mistook an emu and a wallaby for a young ostrich and a young kangaroo respectively. The joke of me never getting sunburnt when out with my friends is also worth talking about.

Of all the awesome possible talking points, my favourite Melbourne story will have to be what I term ‘a random act of kindness I experienced from a perfect stranger’. It goes thus:

It was just like any other unique day sometime in mid-June. I had been ‘hunting’ for a part-time job to keep busy during semester break. One of my searches took me to a faraway place in Surrey Hills. I went into a fish and chip store to make a job enquiry. A man, probably in his mid-to-late 50s responded. He told me of how his business is experiencing a slow time. He felt so sorry he could not offer me any job at his store. We had a little conversation and he got to know I had just moved to this lovely country. After this, I bade him farewell and made for the exit. As I was about to step out, he called me back and offered me some warm meatballs (I can’t remember the exact name he called them) to help warm me up a bit, as I was shivering a little bit from the chilly rain falling that afternoon. I was so surprised. That is just one of the kindest things a perfect stranger has ever done for me. He told me he understood the challenges of being an immigrant because he experienced similar ones when he had arrived newly in Australia from China some decades back. I thanked him profusely, as expected of an omo Yoruba to the core (as a typical Yoruba boy) and departed.

These type of people are the everyday heroes who make Melbourne the greatest city on earth!

To the new folks just arriving Down Under, Wominjeka!

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