Hello, world!

I want to start off this blog post with a question.

Why do we do things when they don’t matter in the end?

A quite gloomy question to start off a blog post I must admit, and my first post on this brand new site no less 😅

It’s just a thought that has been on my mind since these past few years. As everyone must have known by now, Covid-19 happened and the world was left scrambling. I was no different, although in retrospect, I had struggled with my life and career even before that.

I was fresh out of my Bachelor degree in Economics and Finance at The University of Melbourne, full of lofty dreams about a good-paying and stable corporate job in Melbourne, Victoria. Instead, I got served a healthy dose of reality.

The thing is, I’m not originally from Melbourne, Victoria. I was born and raised in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. My family and I decided together 7 years ago that I would have gotten a better education here, and many other reasons. Long story short, I got on a plane and started a new chapter of my life, full of excitement and anxiety.

But, even now after 7 years, to many I have met, as well as to me, I’m a foreigner in this city. I rarely feel at home or in my element. I don’t have the mannerism or accent of an Aussie, and I definitely don’t look the part 🤓

Maybe it is all in my head and I’m just imagining things. But all the side glances and snarky comments do take their toll.

Why do I stay, not just go back to my home country? That is a question I often ask myself and probably one you have on your mind too if you are still reading this.

Life happens

Yes, it’s true. Might sound cliché but I don’t care 😎

Towards the end of my Bachelor degree, my family decided to initiate the process of getting PR (Permanent Residence) here in Australia. It involves lengthy paperwork and investments that span multiple years which I won’t get into. But, basically, if we satisfy a number of conditions, after a couple of years, our family will come out with PRs to settle permanently in Australia if we wish.

You probably think that I’m very lucky to have this, and I have to admit, I am, very.

I know firsthand how hard it is a PR can come by for international students like me in recent years. I have seen countless of my uni friends, struggling through their coursework and picking a degree that is on the Skilled Migrants list, but they are not necessarily interested in, just to have a fraction of a chance at fighting for that Australian PR.

Some move to less populated regions of Australia for less competition. Some through desperation, engage in sham marriages with Australians that cost thousands of dollars.

So yes, I am one of the few fortunate souls to have this all planned out for me, and I am eternally grateful to my parents for the sacrifices they have made to get our family this far.

I’m not strong enough

Another cliché but bear with me if you will 😉

I could not find it in my heart to tell my parents that I feel like I don’t belong here in Melbourne, Australia, after them having spent so much effort and money just to get the process going.

I could not find the strength to storm off on my own and do something completely on my own either. I didn’t know what to do because I often felt I’m not good enough, without any special talents or particularly charming personalities.

So, I put on a brave face and kept on doing what I was doing.

A year passed by

All I managed to find was a casual position at a fast food restaurant. Not exactly my dream place to work at, but I kept telling myself I will find a job that I prepared so hard at university for soon.

It never happened. Perhaps it was my fault for holding myself to such a high standard, while having little skills to back it up. Perhaps it was because the degree I studied is in an industry that doesn’t take too kindly to international students. Perhaps it was a compounding effect of many years of feeling like a foreigner in this city and isolated, that left me bitter and unmotivated most of the time.

Excuses were easy to come by, because I didn’t want to feel broken. Even so, they shielded me from my worst thoughts.

I felt empty. I felt like I was wandering about aimlessly, living it day by day with no sense of purpose. My social life suffered as I was closing myself off to the world.

The dark place in your heart

Now looking back, I still wonder how I made it out of that dark place. All the more, I wonder how all my fellow human beings manage to make it out of their own dark places, if they ever do.

Some succumb to it and are lost forever. Some make peace and become one with it. Some fight it and reject it with their whole being.

It just occured to me as I began planning out this blog post that, those who make it out one way or another, all share one thing in common.

They struggle

Yes, indeed they struggle. They give it time to consume them, and then slowly find their way out of the dark one way or another. It is like the old and timeless adage:

This too shall pass.

I find myself repeating this phrase to myself often nowadays. To me, it is at the same time comforting and cautionary. It reminds me of how ephemeral my happiness and sorrow are in the grand scheme of the universe. It reminds me to not place too much weight on my sorrow and enjoy every single minute of happiness that life gives, because they all will pass, and I too one day.

But why?

Why do they struggle? To have a chance at making it out, and to find the fickle and ephemeral happiness that is utterly meaningless in this vast and uncaring universe, only to suffer once more after?

Hell yes, I say, to all of that.

Is that not pointless, you ask? I have to admit, it is.

But, to me, that is the beauty of humanity. We struggle anyway with the full weight of knowing it is pointless at the end of the day. There is beauty and courage in this irony.

Some say ignorance is bliss. I don’t think that is always the case. If we are not aware of how pointless it is, how can we blissfully marvel at our own foolishness, beauty and courage?

Coming full circle

Going back to the question that I started this post with, I want to ask it because I feel that making this blog is another meaningless endeavour of mine, and that these words might never get read by anyone else but me.

But that is okay, because to struggle in the face of pointlessness is to be human, and I promised myself I will try to be as human as I can for the rest of my life.

December 2021 - Melbourne, Victoria.

I only intended for my first blog post to be a short introduction to my personal site, but it took an interesting turn 😅

Thanks for reading! Check out my projects and other blog posts as well if you would like.