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Melbourne Beginnings: Zihan Liu

Presented in partnership with Study Melbourne, this annual storytelling competition is open to all international students living and studying in Victoria. This year, entrants were invited to write or create a visual work that shares their Melbourne story.

Winners will be announced at a virtual award presentation ceremony on Thu 21 Oct. Book your place here.


High School Shortlist

The Pink Lake by Zihan Liu

It was a warm, sunny summer morning when I was still lazing in my bed looking at pictures on my phone. I stopped at a photo of a pink lake. It looked so gorgeous and unique. The next second, I was out of bed. Charmed by the pink colour of the lake in the photo, I headed to the pink lake without any hesitation.

When I finally got there and started walking along the path, I walked past a pond and some willow trees. But I was quite in a hurry and didn’t stop for any of them. The only thing in my mind was getting to that wonderful lake.

I’d never been so excited for a long time, even though the sun was burning my skin. My heart was beating as I hurried up on my path, coming out of the shadow of the trees, I finally saw—

A lake, but obviously, not a pink one.

I looked at the lake in front of me and looked at the map again to check if I was at the wrong place. Unfortunately, nothing went wrong, except for the lake without any fantastic colour.

I stared at the lake glittering with light but without any wonderful colour, I felt like a child who had received an empty gift box.

Extremely disappointed, I turned around and slowly walked back until I heard something whistling in the tree. I looked up and saw a little bird with sleek feathers jumping between the branches. I didn’t know why I would notice such a tiny bird, but as it flew away from that tree, I followed it.

Then I was in front of a little pond with clear water. I saw the willows swinging in the breeze and little daisies in the grass. They were cute, I thought. The sun was still shining as I sat on a small wooden bridge, but I could feel the wind on my neck and my cheeks. The bird stopped at another tree, started pecking some of its little fruits. I looked at the pond, the willows, the daisies, the bird, and the sunshine, and surprisingly found them even more beautiful than the lake in the picture. Amazingly, I found myself at peace and no longer disappointed. At that moment, I even felt like the whole fantastic world was all in my eyes.

On the way home, I realized the beautiful sight was the first spot I hurried past before getting to the pink lake.

If we slow down and look around, we can find something amazing. I realized that we have begun to slow down our pace during lockdown which allows us to have a careful look at the beautiful tiny things around us, which we might not have noticed before. Don’t be upset about awful things in life, like the ‘pink’ lake that wasn’t pink and COVID. Make the best out of them – I think that’s what the bird was trying to tell us.