It's official

I'm enrolled in the PhD program. Till 2012. And I'm being paid to do it, which is utterly cool.

There were delays, of course - it's taken almost a month and a half to process everything. You'd think, with an unconditional offer and two full scholarships, there'd be no reason for any holdups, wouldn't you? I thought so too. I have seldom been so horribly wrong.

See Australia requires international students to have health insurance while they're in the country. In itself, this is not a problem. It becomes a problem, however, when you want to switch insurance companies. They don't like each other and while they're happy to have you, you need to be punished for ever going over to the competition in the first place. Once they work you over good and proper and make you swear a blood oath to never ever leave the fold again on pain of torture by red tape, you are finally redeemed and accepted into the fold.

You can imagine, then, what the company you're leaving does to you. Honestly, if my parents had divorced when I was 12 and I'd been forced to choose between them, it could not have been worse.

The incompetence of the people who are supposed to 'handle' us international students  was the next hurdle. Yes you need health cover for three years. No you don't. Yes you do. No you don't. Unfortunately, it was 'yes you do' when I went to accept my offer and I was sent packing straight to the insurance company with offerings of money and vows of eternal fidelity. They were in a benevolent mood - and hey, who isn't when you give them money - and back I went to finally, finally accept my offer. And then, naturally, I find out that the department of immigration only requires you to have cover for the first 12 months of your degree, after which it is your responsibility to keep it updated.

That stupidity aside though, it's done and I'm ready to start. I'm quite excited and nervous, but I have about four years to get over that.  I've started exploring German on my own, though I'll sign up for proper classes once I sort out where to go. I'm also sorting through what resources I've found at the library and looking for stuff online, though the amount of material searches turn up is a little frightening. Ah well, as I said, four years to go through it all.

I realized something else that's 'official', or at least will be by the time I finish: in 2012, I will have lived in Melbourne for just under six years - that's longer than I've ever lived anywhere before.  Who'd'a thunk?


Looks like I'm doing a PhD then. Details need ironing out but hey, I got that scholarship. I guess it's a good thing I graduated on Monday then, huh? And I remembered when to doff the hat and where to look and how to get off the stage. We took lots of pictures, some of which Ameel has put on his blog, and only realized afterwards that I had the hat on backwards for a lot of them.

Giant steps are what you take

...when you have tickets to see the Police in concert. Oh yes. Six months from now, but holy @#$%^&**&^%$# I'm going to actually see the actual Police in actual concert. Fourteen-year-old-me would have killed for this. Current me is pretty over the moon too. We forked out for the mid-range tickets - nosebleed seats when you want to see the drummer just won't work.

This is turning out pretty awesome, really. We get to Oz and Pearl Jam turn up, then the Cure decide to pop back in after 5 years away, and then the Police not only get back together but come down to Melbourne before the year is out. Add the Transformers movie to the mix and I'm reliving 1983-1997, only on fast-forward and at full volume. Which doesn't work on video (remember those?) I know, but does in real life. I think. Whatever. I'm happy.

Now to come up with a viable PhD proposal...