Misc //

The compassionate side of the housing market

Cassie Wu applied for a house and found a home.

Image: thinkpanama, via Flickr.

I completed the student accommodation form online last November. It seemed like they had put me on an endless waiting list. I went to the office in the JFR Building in February three times before they even asked me to write down my name and email. I almost wanted to give up applying but I’m certainly glad that I didn’t. The three-storey house was light green outside with long grass growing up to the roof. I ran upstairs to see my single room. It was the biggest one I had ever seen, bigger than the one at home. The golden afternoon sunshine came through two bright windows and made shadows under the desk.

My Dad used to tell me it does not matter how beautiful and luxurious your place is, people are more important. I have three beloved housemates in this not very huge house: Roo, Peter and Liam. From the moment that I met them all, I knew that my uni life had really started.

Roo is the only housemate younger than me. She is very sensible. I still treasure the moment when we talked in the kitchen about the assignment she found terrible. I will always remember the two sentences of Indonesian that she taught me. I told her my dream was working in Yogurberry and then she could visit me. I promised that if it came true, I would give her a lot of kiwi toppings!

Peter loves karate. Every Tuesday he asks me whether I will go to his Muay Thai training.He puts up his karate poster at midnight everywhere around Uni. He can clean all the oily plates in ten minutes. He cooks pasta so quickly, leaving me alone cutting onion in the kitchen for a long time. He always laughs at the way I chop them. Liam is my housemate with blonde curly hair. He always makes our house full of laughter and noise. He really cares about international students and makes me feel welcome.

On my first Monday at uni, he invited me to do bonding time with other housemates and his friends. That was the first time I really talked to Australians. He encouraged me not to worry too much and be confident. This has really helped me.

Days living in this house change my life a lot. We share the toilet paper in bathroom. We share the smell in the kitchen. We share the stories on the carpet. I have more chances to speak English, which has helped me improve speaking skills quickly. However, tough things also happen. For example, when the local students talk to each other I cannot follow at all. It is much harder than any lecture or tutorial. But Roo said that’s why you live here to listen and talk every day and anytime you need help just come to me. More importantly, I can get deeper into Australian culture and more involved at uni. I have really started to enjoy the life outside the classroom. According to Liam the ‘poet’, I am the heart of this house, Roo is soul, Peter is strength and he is the crazy spirit.

We make Arundel Street.