Birthday in Melbourne + Book of Mormon

15:25

I just belated realised that my title of choice for this blog post has the initials of B.i.M.B.o.M..

Ha.

*funny bone is tickled*

As I welcomed another year of the late 20s on my birthday this year, I received a barrage of well-wishes from people I didn't even know a year ago.

My current colleagues, whom I met in August 2016, bombarded the group chat at my midnight and their 10PM back in Kuala Lumpur. One even uploaded a video singing "happy birthday" to my Facebook. 😄

When I consider the year that happened between April 2016 to April 2017, if I only had one word to describe it, it'd be this:

"Progressive." ❤️

I mean that in the best sense of the word. In April 2016, I had recently lost a job which I had such high hopes for. It was a start-up that wanted to hire a writer, but after three months, decided it did NOT need a writer after all.

It was demoralising. 😢

I spent my 2016 birthday at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, and while it was fun, my birthday then was tinged with a sense of anxiety about when my new job would be.



What this picture doesn't show is the crippling fear about dwindling bank accounts and existential crisis about a lack of full-time jobs with job security.

Fast forward a year later, I'm still employed... and to be exact, I'm HAPPILY employed, and for this, I'm grateful.

This, along with other factors that contributed to my happiness, made this year's birthday much more relaxing as I woke up, ready to take on another day in Melbourne on MY BIRTHDAY.

Financial security is SO fundamental to one's happiness, wouldn't you say?

The weather on my birthday was sunny, the birds were chirping, the wind was balmy...

NOT.

In a complete 180° turnabout from my day exploring Carlton just the day before, the weather was gloomy, raining, and I was FREEZING.

 Thank you, Melbourne, for your amazing weather. I practically experienced it all in the few days I was there - except for snow.

I did not have an umbrella, so I borrowed my friend's coat and braved my way towards the bus stop for my first stop of the day - Queen Victoria Market.

It was oh-so-touristy, but it was a nice walk to see all the Australian produce, especially the FOOD SECTION.

The smell was heavenly. 😋

Breakfast of the day was something I frequently had in Australia back when I was a student.


That's right. Sausage in a bun, with tons of onions and mustard. Australian delicacy, let me tell ya.

You may think this looks ordinary, but it is not. It is an Australian institution - at least, it is to me. It brings to mind all the sausage sizzles I have been to, especially the ones at university orientation, where I was fed this FOR FREE.

When you find yourself in Australia, please, by all means, go to a sausage sizzle.

After I ticked the Queen Victoria Market off my "Melbourne tourist" list, I made my way to another. This particular spot was extremely special to me, because it's one of my favourite places, even though I had not been to this particular one yet.

I went to the library.

To be specific, I went to the State Library of Victoria (SLV).

As soon as I clocked the building (I walked all the way from the Queen Victoria Market to the library!), all I could think of was "I wish that Kuala Lumpur has a library exactly like this".

The SLV was a thing of history, beauty, and gorgeousness, all wrapped up in one building. If I were to get married (HAHA), it'd be in a library like this.

I marvelled at the paintings and sculptures in the gallery, and made my way to the most recognisable aspect of the SLV, the La Trobe Reading Room.


(Source

I had a rare moment of falling in love at first sight upon seeing this.

There's a gallery that spans all floors that you see above, so I literally went around in circles to check out the exhibitions on display, like this one.


There were rare old books on display, which I lingered over. This one features The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer as published by Kelmscott Press in 1896. 😍😍😍

After climbing to the very top of the La Trobe Reading Room, this famous figure in literature greeted me.


Years of studying his work, and I can only remember one sonnet and a short speech from MacBeth vividly 😷 (Sonnet 18 and the bit about 'out, out, brief candle!').

If I live in Melbourne, I foresee that I'd make trips here frequently.

From the library, I walked towards the iconic Flinders Street railway station (so much walking!), and had to stop every few minutes or so depending on the rain's mood.

Thanks, Melbourne.



I got this picture, and wanted to walk in the Royal Botanic Gardens. As the weather wasn't cooperating, however, I walked all the way back to the library again.

Well, to be exact, I walked all the way back for THIS.


😋😋😋😋😋😋😋

In many ways, this trip was a trip down memory lane about my international student days in Australia. While I may have been in another part of the country, the chain stores were the same, and I JUST had to have San Churro.

I felt a bit like a Disney princess at this San Churro. The table next to me was almost empty, except for one patron that I couldn't stop sneaking a peek at. It was a fat little sparrow, hopping around on the table, chair, and floor, but not leaving the store.

It also glanced curiously at me from time to time. 😍 My heart not-so-secretly yearns to be a Disney princess. Who doesn't want animals that clean your house for you?

So there I was. It was my birthday, I was in a completely new city, and I had spent most of the day by myself.

You know what?

I loved it. 

A decade ago, I still wanted to have parties with friends on my birthdays. Heck, even a couple of years ago, I secretly felt upset whenever certain friends didn't wish me at midnight on the dot - after all, *I* made the effort to do that on their birthdays.

This year? Yeah, whatever. It didn't matter if people remembered my birthday or not (my birthday is not visible on Facebook), or if my close friends wished me late. Of course, I was still touched that my colleagues made the effort to wish me a happy birthday at the stroke of midnight, but if they didn't, I wouldn't have felt offended.

IS THIS WHAT IT IS LIKE TO BE FREE FROM ONE MORE SOCIETAL EXPECTATION?!?!

Societal expectations used to tell me that I'd be a loser if I didn't have huge parties surrounded by friends, and I subscribed to that. I look back on my 16th birthday from time to time, and think that I could have saved A LOT OF HASSLE AND HEARTACHE if I didn't insist on having a party.

Like, how many people from that party am I still in touch with? Literally 3, and we MAYBE meet once a year. Maybe. How many times was I reminded that the party-planners have sacrificed their time and money for me to have that party? Tons of times.

Yep. Talk about a #wasteoftime 😑.

Nowadays, if societal expectations still think I'm a loser for travelling solo on my birthday, it's fine. I shall embrace being a HAPPY loser.

I wasn't expecting to get cake on my birthday, even. I had not told my friends in Melbourne that I was coming over to celebrate my birthday - they had already given me the gift of FREE ACCOMMODATION - and I was expecting to have the day end without acknowledgement of it from the people I was staying with.

Yet I came back in the early evening to this.



 Flowers, a birthday card, and 🎂🎂🎂.

What did I do to deserve this? 😄😄😄

My friends had accidentally found out it was my birthday due to a conversation we had the day before, which went like this (paraphrased):

Friend: "Oh I wanted to watch Beauty and the Beast! Was it good?"
Me: "It was so good! Oh, but I adore Emma Watson, so I'm kind of biased."
Friend: "I love her too. She's gorgeous, smart, and she's a feminist, and she's always wearing fashion that's environmentally friendly... she's perfect."
Me: "Right?! Emma's just slightly older than me, so I always tell myself that I want to grow up to be Emma Watson."
Friend: "So you'll be Emma Watson in *insert amount of time here*? Sounds doable." 😂
Me: "Well, us April babies are pretty good at getting what we want."
Friend: "Wait... April? When's your birthday, Mich?"
Me: "Um. Tomorrow." 

😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

And that, folks, is how I gave away my birthday, and it's why I got surprised with flowers, a birthday card, and cake when I came back.

Yep.

I'm a pretty happy loser indeed.

***

Before long, I headed out again by myself. The entire Melbourne trip was a birthday gift to myself, and this... this was one of the highlights I had planned for the actual day of my birthday.

The Book of Mormon musical. 


😍😍😍😍😍😍😍

I don't believe that any musical will be able to top my love for Wicked, but this immediately shot up to my top 3 list in terms of my favourite musicals.

I won't recommend this musical to just anyone, though. While Wicked is great viewing for the family, The Book of Mormon is NOT a musical for the following types of people:

1) Children,
2) Sensitive people,
3) Religious people, and
4) Politically correct people.

I didn't know what to expect, but from the moment the musical started, I couldn't stop cackling at the rude, crude, and politically incorrect jokes and implied scenes.



Someone did not regret paying so much to be watching The Book of Mormon from this seat.

The only thing that marred my experience of The Book of Mormon slightly was the man who sat next to me. I was fairly perplexed by his reaction, to be honest.

Before the show started, there was the prerequisite announcement of: "please ensure that your mobile phones are turned off...", to which the guy next to me said "NO" vehemently.

Me inside: "...okay?"

Then, when the announcement went on to say: "please note that all photography and videography is prohibited during the performance", the guy next to me then said "F*CK YOU."

Me inside: "Oh my God (pun not intended), is this guy going to keep this up during the musical?!?!" 😱😱😱

I'm happy to report he didn't, ALTHOUGH I was still perplexed by his initial reaction. Like... what was that even about? 👺

I really enjoyed the musical, and my only regret of the night was that I did not purchase the musical programme. 😭 I was all like "I AM GOING TO SAVE MONEY BY NOT PURCHASING THIS AUD25 PROGRAMME" that night, only to buy the AUD25 Aladdin programme the very next day anyway.

So folks, let this be a lesson to you. If something has sparked joy in you, and you know having a memento of the event will spark even more joy in you every time you look at it, GET THAT THING.

I wanted to go back to Princess Theatre to buy it, except... the day I went, The Book of Mormon was closed for two days, and I was scheduled to fly back the day it reopened. 😭

Sigh.

***

My birthday in Melbourne was quiet and gloomy (weather-wise). It had no big parties, no over the top celebrations, and no one sang 'Happy Birthday' to me in person, and yet...

... it was a day that filled me with contentment and joy, a day that reminded me that I am in a good place work-wise, a day that let me know that I can financially afford a trip to Melbourne AND have fancy musical seats if I saved up (and starved myself 😂) enough, and a day that made me feel cherished by friends, colleagues, and family.

If that's not a good way to spend a birthday, I don't know what is.  🙂

I hope that this year will be good to me, too ❤️. May I always remember to be content, and to cherish the little things so many people take for granted - food, shelter, running water, health, and all that.

Now. Where to next year, I wonder?

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