Thursday, October 17, 2013


It has been windy for the past days. There were times that I felt I will be blown away and so I need to hold on to a tree or a pole. Thank goodness, here I am, still thriving!

One thing is for sure in Melbourne. The weather is simply bipolar. Sometimes it's sunny and warm, and sometimes it's just wet and cold. This is fascinating eh.Despite checking my weather app and wearing the "hopefully right clothes" to fit the weather, still, I usually end up saying "What did just happen?" From a cold and windy morning, here comes the afternoon with a warm breeze. So in times like this, I remove the other layer of my "I thought it's cold" outfit. One of my other options in Melbourne's misbehaved and erratic weather is to bring an extra jacket. You never know when and where the cold wind will hit you.

The past days have been challenging for me. There's the "metaphorical wind" that blows me away. It's not that I have a "major major" problem, but I just felt that my body is saying that "I'm a bit exhausted". Quantify a bit? Can? I guess my "exhaustion" is caused by too much reading and not really imbibing the art of relaxation. For that, I've assessed myself and I've thought of some stress busting tips to help me combat my "exhaustion". Let's do this!

It is said that Hay fever affects many people during the Spring season. This is not HAY in Filipino or an expression of "HAY!" or a sigh of relief. I am referring to the season. Yeah. This is the season that pollens or whatever invincible foreign particles are carried by the "terrible" wind. So obviously, you unnoticeably inhale them. Soon, you get to sneeze, experience a dry throat, teary eyes, and running nose. There you go, you just got hay fever. In my case, I think, I had it for one day. Well, you don't literally get a fever with hay fever. It's just that the symptoms that I just mentioned becomes evident. To cure such fever, it's either you drink a medicine or simply eat fruits and drink lots of liquids.

I recognize that I do get sick sometimes, but not a serious one. It only shows that I'm human and my body gets tired too. Well, homesickness is a different story. Paranoia is another issue. In the past months before I did my confirmation, I've been a frequent visitor of the campus clinic because I usually get tension headaches and previously I had a gallstones scare. I know that the reason I get all of these is because of stress and also with Melbourne's bipolar weather. Yeah. I am sometimes stressed with school related to-dos. And with facing the computer the whole day and reading book chapters/journals or writing papers, my eyes get tired and so headaches build up. At the moment, I am planning to have my eyes checked once I start my vacation.

Some may feel that I just wander in Melbourne and enjoy the streets and restaurants. If you will visit my Facebook page, I'm not the typical PhD student who talks about their research or share whatever scholarly or newsworthy materials that they read. In my case, my Facebook page is packaged to represent the simple stuff that I encounter. A lot of my posts are about food that I try, street arts that I encounter, witty lines that I think, and updates about my social life such as my passion in Zumba and in singing. I often post updates about my PhD. With what I post, it seems that others may not see  the whole picture of doing a PhD. I tell you, it's stressful. I have this stress meter and it's on a danger zone. Especially when I did my confirmation, I lost a lot of weight (Zumba also paved the way noh?) and sleepless nights were massive! Having said this, it is best to de-stress.

The reason why I'm sharing this is because I had a chit chat with a PhD candidate a few days ago. I asked about how does he handle stress. He was eager to share his experiences. Based on our conversation, what I picked up is that we (PhD students/candidates) should recognize stress and should do something about it.

So here I am and I am reflecting on the different ways that I can handle stress!

FOOD-STAGRAMMING. I'm not good in cooking. I can cook the basics. Yeah. I can fry eggs and cook noodles. But I can also cook Filipino dishes, excuse me! Since day one in Melbourne, I've started to check out different restaurants in the city. Either I'm with friends or in a date, I've tried Asian, International, Mexican, Italian, and a lot more. But of course, to achieve these "pricey" culinary masterpieces, I bring my homecooked lunch so I get to save some dollars for eating out. Instagramming food is what I do enjoy in eating out. I get to take a snapshot of these cuisines and somehow immortalize memories.

Food-stagramming is a stress buster for me because I enjoy photoshooting food. Yeah, do I hear comments like "You're too shallow!", Well, I don't care. For me, taking food shots is enjoyable. Plus, I get to experiment with the different filters. And yeah, hashtags are interesting as well. For the past months, I've used the hashtag "#Melbourne" in my posts. So, you can follow me at earvsc.


Ice cream from Movenpick!

FUN IN FRIENDSHIP. I love hanging out with people, especially with optimistic and happy people. Although I enjoy the solitude in studying, I also long for random chit chats with friends. Here in Melbourne, I'm blessed to have a lot of Filipino friends. Their presence helps me to combat the stressful road to getting a PhD.

As much as possible, I refrain from talking about my research with my friends, and all that theories and paradigms. Why? because I want to relax. I am too serious (and hardworking) at Uni and I would like hear other stories such as news about the Philippines or personal insights on even trivial topics. Sometimes, I just want to laugh and laugh and laugh (crazy,eh?).

With Filipino Friends
Hanging out with friends (and traveling) with them also helps a lot. I get to know about what's happening about their lives and they're able to share their insights on some of my personal (intimate and hot) questions. Whenever I'm with them, I just want to laugh the night (or afternoon) away.
With Sydney Boy, and my best buddy, Raimo!
With Carisse!

With Jo!

With a bunch of great Filipino students!

SING, SING, SING! Whether I'm in the toilet, in my room or in a lounge of a bar where I do part-time work, I am unstoppable in singing. That's because I love singing. In fact when I was a kid, I dreamt of having my own album. Yeah, not a photo album, but a CD (casette tape during our times) that showcases my singing prowess (Naks!). But since I love research and all that intellectually stimulating engagement more than anything else, I've decided to just put singing (and performing) as a hobby and earn money from it (which is so amazing noh?). So now that I'm in Melbourne, singing in parties or for work helps me to de-stress and escape the world of academia.

With co-PhD friends!

Those are my top 3 stress-buster in Melbourne. So far, what I need is a good break for my body to recover from stress. I'm kinda getting paranoid with my headaches. I even googled topics like "tumors" or "neuropathy" or whatever Dr. Google can say. Weird noh? But the basics come, I assume that my eyes are probably just strained because of too much work! Yeah, I need to address that, immediately, like, now na! Meanwhile, so far, I'm okay. I have no "major major" sickness over the past days, months and years. As an ambassador of good health (naks!), I try to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

I know that the journey to getting a PhD is still a long and bumpy way. With God's help and my hardwork (and everyone else's support and prayers), I am positive that I can finish it on time. Although we're allowed to extend, I am targeting to finish it on time (cross fingers). Take note, I am on scholarship. Stress will surely build up in the future and I am ready to face it. I know prayers will help and a balanced lifestyle.

I guess "dating" and "getting to know the real me" have also contributed in my stress. My well-being was somehow cajoled with not-so-pleasant encounters. But I see all of these "encounters" as a learning experience. Now, I can say that I'm wiser and better (and not BITTER, fyi!). Also, I've stopped chasing people and I've shifted my gear (back!) to chasing dreams that I know my dedication will paved the way towards success.

2014 will surely be an exciting year for me. It's the year to attend conferences, do publications (yeah, Cabalquinto, 2014!), and hopefully do more speaking engagement. I won't give up Zumba and singing. Those are my stress-busters.Meanwhile, I hope to start tutoring after I gathered my data and finished drafts of a few chapters as needed for my Mid-Candidature. I know God is good. I trust him.

I am going on a two-week (I deserve this noh?) vacation starting next week and I am soooooooooooo looking forward to it. No books. No journals. No paper work. Just me, having fun (define FUN?), and being with the people that I love the most. Yeah, it's a vacation that I've always longed for. Thank God, my prayers are answered. Kahit two weeks yan, bongga yan. Amen!


  1. Hi! I will be studying in Monash in 2014, can you recommend a place to stay?

  2. Hi! I will be studying in Monash this coming year, can you suggest where I can stay? Thank you.

  3. HI Chuckie! Email me at I can ask some of my friends in Monash about accommodation.