#OzDiaries Part 1: The Woman Who Gave Me $50

By nurimroatun - April 30, 2022

"I feel quite lost inside myself, like I'm looking for my train tracks for my life." - Sabrina Ward Harrison

Hello, everyone. How are your days? Mine is mainly cold (homonym intended). As someone who was accustomed to Jakarta’s heat for years, Sydney’s low temperature is already challenging from the very beginning. I shouldn’t walk around dressed as if it is the early winter when people barely wear jackets but just let me. Hehe.

When I posted my previous writing, some people suggested I write down my experience navigating life as a student in Sydney. Here I am starting my #OzDiaries (Oz is another way of spelling "Aus", which is an abbreviation of "Australia") while planning to post them regularly *I wish. I hope I can share the snapshots of a mere student’s life in a big EXPENSIVE city *yeah wrote the highlight in capital letters! Hihi. Promise you they are nothing sort of bragging but more like the lessons I learn or the inner feeling unspoken. So shall we start now?

When I conveyed that I would pursue my master’s degree in Sydney, my mom asked me whether I am not tired of constantly studying and struggling. After all, women my age should start to have a comfortable life, right? It was not that she didn’t approve of the idea. From time to time, she checked on me to make sure that I am happy with the choices I make. Truth is, that happened because she acknowledged my habit of recklessly jumping out of my comfort zone and then quietly struggling by myself. Occasionally she mentioned that my health and happiness are so much more important than the so-called growth, since she was worried that I did everything out of the desire to outgrow myself. While the betterment I aimed for is due to my wish to contribute better to society, she never forgot to emphasize the importance of enjoying life.

(I bet she is actually struggling to be a mother of someone who likes to do difficult things when actually deep down is a coward.)

I told her that I was not just ready but also excited to embrace the adventure. So she smiled and said that I should take care of myself because there would be none to lean on, to accompany. She also mentioned that I should be responsible for the privilege I got: be a good student and come back as a better me. I nodded while holding back tears because I should contain the emotion as always. All by myself, in a new city, I know my train would be heading to a station of uncomfortableness. Yet there I was holding the ticket tightly.

What happened later were the things that warmed my heart. I accepted a lot of help both from the people I knew and I didn't. Someone offered me her phone when I said that there was no wifi outside the airport building, a Ph.D. student at my university DM-ed me and took care of me whenever I am on campus, an old man approached me who was standing in front of the city map asking whether he could provide me assistance, some people greeted me “assalamualaikum” when I walked on the road with a tired face after classes, the UNSW Muslim community members who embraced me warmly, and many more that I couldn't mention one by one--they didn’t know that they came right exactly the moment I needed morale-booster.

At one moment, a woman on the light rail offered me the seat beside her. I couldn’t help saying “I am new here and the people are so kind. Thank you.” which was replied with a big smile on her face. We talked about several things and when the announcement said that shortly we would arrive at The UNSW station, I prepared myself to stand up. She poked me and handed me a piece of paper money that was $50. Overwhelmed by the surprising act, I said I can’t receive that. Her kindness was already an uplifting chunk of my day. However, she insisted while saying “if you want to repay for that, please pray for my husband. He has been in hospital for months.”

I didn’t walk to the campus right after I arrived at the station this time. Instantly I sat down and stared blankly at the money in my hand. She might have harder times than mine but helped me anyway. What I called though days might never come close in difficulty compared to hers. Yet she patted my head and continuously said “good luck. I wish you all the best.” as if she knew that that particular morning, I really needed someone to pat my head and say that I’ll be okay. She was really the answer to my prayer that day and I can’t thank her enough for giving me additional strength. (writing this part got me in tears. Huhu)

After all the difficulties I had in life, I realized how Allah always send me what I need to bear all. For my very first days in Sydney, that woman is the symbol of how I should always be hopeful about my life here. I should always know that the smiling faces of friends and strangers would be there when I need them the most.  

The series of kindness from people in Sydney reminds me of something: the next time you see someone with a confused face or you are in a position to help, please do yourself a favor. If you can, please offer help. You never know how much that person needs your help. You have no idea how many times that person would want to say thanks to you. You never know that perhaps that person will pray for you due to your kindness and hoping that he/she could also be a kind person like you. You never know what someone is going through so be kind, always.  

Lastly, Eid Mubarak for my Muslim friends. Taqobalallahu winna wa minkum. I will see you again later insyaAllah! 😊



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  1. ga sengaja, ketemu blog or webnya mbak karena lagi nyari pengalaman orang lain dalam pengambilan sertifikasi CAPM, and I realize we shared beberapa hal in common. saya dulu pemegang visa 462, tinggal di Sydney selama 1 thn dan bekerja di Pitt Street. tenang aja you will meet people along the way, that help us appreciate Sydney...because Sydney ada ada aja deh ..kelakuanya. ahhaha.

    1. Halo. Terima kasih sudah mampir ke blog saya. Hihi iya ada beberapa hal ini common ya :)

      Anyway, iya orang-orang di Sydney baik-baik banget. Saya nggak butuh waktu lama untuk bisa merasa nyaman.

  2. Great story that prove got nice people everywhere, thanks for sharing that make me smile

    1. Hi, Feroz. Thank you for your comment. Indeed nice people are everywhere. I am happy knowing you are smiling reading the post :)