Wonderful Tea Times

tea time

I can not say that the food here in Melbourne is particularly better than what I have back in Semarang. But anyway I have gained at least six kilograms since my stay here for five months. I do not have anything to worry about since not only adopt the way of eating, but I also feel comfortable running a lap of the Princess Park nearby my house, just like the locals do. I run just recently, which explains my weight stability. Now the scale pointer is moving to the left. At least I believe so. But the fact that Aussie’s food is not better can not keep me from not eating them. I got to meet new friends by doing it too. How come? I will explain in a second.


There is this big tea room on the fifth floor of the hospital building. I go there like everyday. It has free biscuits, coffee, and tea. It has sinks, microwaves, sandwich grillers, and fridge (with milk!). The only thing you should bring is your own mug, because it does not provide any. Maybe there were some but then perhaps stolen so no more mugs. But if you don’t have any mug you can also buy the coffee through the vending machine for only 1 dollar. It’s not as nice as what you get from the café down on the ground floor, but still it’s got milk froth on it that helps.


Back to my intention to make this post, there are three boxes of biscuit. Box number one contains wholegrain biscuits. They are thin, crunchy, neither sweet nor savory, but definitely looking healthy. Box number two contains salada biscuits. It’s actually a brand, but people here call them that way. They are square which can be divided into four smaller squares, with fine holes here and there and sugar sprinkle on top. The last box contains mixes of biscuit; you can find coffee, buttermilk, chocolate biscuits, with cream in the middle, and in a form of teddy bear. I found out later that those biscuits are all from Arnott’s, the most famous biscuits here in this country, I guess. Beside those boxes, you can find a tub of margarine with a knife tugged onto it, and of course Aussie’s most favorite condiment; vegemite. A margarine-covered salada biscuit is the best for me. Eaten while sitting on the chair facing the vast glass windows overlooking the city of Melbourne in the afternoon is quite mind refreshing.


And if you are lucky enough like me today, you can make new friends in that big tea room. One day I came across my classmate in the genetic counseling eating her lunch. I took some biscuits and sat next to her, said a polite hi and continued with a conversation. The next week she said she was looking forward to catching up with me over lunch in that big tea room.


The other day I was sitting near the window reading a woman magazine (yes, the tables have magazines, some are Nature, Natgeo, but some are Women’s Weekly or anything alike) which displayed skinny ladies whose body I’d like to exchange. A friend I knew from the prayer room (lately I also concluded that prayer room has so far been the best place to meet new friends) looked gloomy despite her bright complexion and shiny heejab. I remembered last time we met in front of the prayer room when she was in a rush telling me that she’d been busy with her thesis writing. So at that time I thought she needed to go back to her desk finishing stuffs, but she approached me after making a cup of coffee. The Gold one, she said, which was much nicer than the regular coffee. I agreed, at least it smelled better. We talked briefly before she finally rushed again. She said she wanted to live in Indonesia, being an Iraqi I think she would love to be surrounded by an Islamic environment.


It is this particular meeting that moved me to write this post. I met a British girl. I was in the elevator from the ground floor to go up to the fifth floor. She went in on the fourth floor. Just an ordinary caucasian (read: beautiful), long blond hair, taller and slimmer than me, wearing a tight tee and a tight pair of jeans. Anyway I believe she smiled at me when entering the elevator, and I don’t think I gave mine back to her. I was not feeling good that day.. Haha no excuse.


Anyway, we came out on the fifth floor and turned left and entered the big tea room. Wow we had the same direction, I realized. Than I calmly opened the box’s lid like I always do for these five months (no wonder I gained weight), took the coffee biscuit after briefly touching the milk one. At that moment she said something which was directed to me, something like, ‘wondering which one to take since they are all good, huh.’


I was still in my bad mood so I think I made a smirk, and I was thinking that this girl is a bit attention seeking or overly friendly until I turned my face to her to see her properly. She was indeed beautiful, cheerful, young, and.. Sincere. She intended to greet me. She intended to have a conversation with me.


After a few minutes I knew that she was from Hampshire, south to London. Yes, United Kingdom! And she came from the same uni as Matty, my British friend, who happened to spend two months in my house. What a fun thing to know.


Along the conversation I was thinking to keep her number which in the end I forgot to do, and kept adoring her accent. I managed to tell her that her accent was no near to Matty’s accent. Hahaha, anyway we splitted up in front of the elevator, I went straight to the lab and she went in the elevator to the fourth floor where she should be.


Oh and I remember the reason why I went in the elevator in the first place, from the ground floor to the fifth floor. It was really a random afternoon because a friend from Indonesia who lived here texted me. She invited me for lunch. So I went down to the ground floor to the cafe to see her, got a free spinach roll and a skinny flat white coffee (Aussie’s typical, I guess), and a long good talk with her. I was cancelling my fast and escaping briefly from the lab. I reckoned being invited to go for lunch equals to being invited to someone’s house and served food; it is better to accept and eat even when you are fasting sunnah.


It is always nice to bump into new friends. I hope they feel good to know me, too.




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