Study Melbourne partnered with Melbourne Writers Festival 2018 to host a storytelling competition for international students. ‘A Melbourne Memoir’ by Madeline Moey from Malaysia was shortlisted in the Higher Education category.

A Melbourne Memoir

Melbourne is a melting pot, a home to a blend of races and ethnicities. It is the ringing bells of trams warning you to either stop, or dash even faster across the street. It is the hustle and bustle of mothers pushing their prams, the Victorian H&M building, the buskers on Bourke Street and shoppers strolling with pride of their purchases. People sunbathing on the grass patch of the State Library, a kiosk selling assorted nuts meters away. The unpredictable weather when rain pours after merely five minutes of sun. The wild wind that breaks umbrellas, the amount of sunscreen to apply in summer.

This city was a journey that began with mixed feelings: a part of me wanted to grow up while the other part of me was more reluctant. I arrived at Tullamarine Airport for the first time bursting with excitement. The twenty-year-old me sparked with anticipation, ready to plunge into adulthood.

It was my first year in university. Life consisted of Microeconomics essays, the assignment presentation for my Management subject, study sessions with friends in the library until midnight. It was about making fast friendships at camps, throwing out hellos and byes to people I didn’t know at tutorials. Melbourne was stopping by Abbotsford for “free lunch” despite our short break. It was grocery shopping at Coles and Woolworths for dinner ingredients, trying to fulfill our cravings for our hometown dishes.

Melbourne was where I was first involved in sports tournaments. I volunteered and raised funds at the annual Melbourne Cup, and saw everyone dressed and suited up for the prestigious event, secretly hoping that I could be one of them. It was my first Australian Footy match, cheering for the Number 51 North Melbourne player as he scored perfectly.

Melbourne was the avenue for my greatest interest: music. It was me listening to the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra performing Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony at Sidney Myer Bowl. It was me sobbing with tears of joy as the curtains of the Lion King musical opened, giving a standing ovation as the Matilda musical ended and meeting one of my all-time favourite composers, Joe Hisaishi.

Melbourne was squeezing myself out of my comfort zone, to delve in the new unknown. Taking up leadership roles in university services, facing my fear of public speaking in front of audiences. Hosting and delivering workshops in front of my peers and colleagues confidently, despite English being my second language.

Most of all, Melbourne was about all of you. The Caregroup on Fridays, the fellowship on Saturdays, and the occasional meetups on weekdays. It was all of you who taught me again to be
myself, to be happy and to love. You who spent time teaching me to cook when I said I ate cereal three meals a day. You who came to me when I implored for help, passing me the tissue box as I unleashed my tears. It was you who believed in me and encouraged me to embrace my own weakness. That was the most audacious act I did for myself.

And to the six of us, as we laid under the stars in the cold May winter on the outskirts of Melbourne, waiting for shooting stars. Mythically, dreams come true as one wishes upon a star. We witnessed shooting stars that night and made our own wishes.

I hope that I am a part of your wish. Melbourne has a piece of my youth held tightly in my heart, a piece I will never trade for anything. Thank you, Melbourne.