Today marks day 6 in Melbourne so nearly a week, and it still feels like some sort of Twilight Zone where some things are familiar and I also dont know when I stopped relaxing by my pool in Ottawa. The trip over was not without its hiccups. My good friend Ken drove me Monday night to the airport and security was easy going. I eventually learned that our 8 pm flight to Melbourne would be delayed because of maintenance kn Toronto… by 2 hours. By the time we got to Vancouver, I had missed my flight to Brisbane by 20 minutes. Damn.
Air Canada was at least good enough to put us up in a hotel and I got a day to visit Vancouver. I will say, I dont REALLY know what all the hype is about, but the shoreline is gorgeous. I walked down to the waterfront and rented a bike from Spokes. I did the length of Stanley Park and the seawall and it did not disappoint. It was 23 degrees and perfect for being outside.
After biking Stanley Park I took the metro down to Granville Island and enjoyed busker music before picking up some goodies at the market there. It reminded me of Byward Market in the sense that its pretty, but doesnt do one much good unless you go with the intent of eating a meal there or actually purchasing vendor wares. As I left the park I noticed a waterside restaurant and decided to pop in for a tipple. I ended up chatting with two women from Vancouver who were so warm, and for two hours I felt less alone in the city. I later made my way down to my hotel restaurant and had a meal on Air Canada before grabbing my bags and heading to the airport.
Our flight to Brisbane was more or less on time. I thought myself so lucky to have a row to myself, but a Kiwi man was eventually forced to move and the woman behind me had a baby and an infant so… you imagine the rest. Fifteen hours later we landed in Brisbane. Immigration took so long that by the time I got down to bag drop, they told me to taxi to domestic and try there. I went for a taxi who was so rude, telling me shuttles were free and refusing to help me with bags… 15$ and one jerk later I made it to domestic where a Qantas employee finally sympathized… and put me on a flight two hours later. I arrived in Melbourne at 130pm and took a local bus out to where my friend Rimma lives. I consider it an absolute blessing I met to her in Ottawa as she is letting me stay with her for over a week. I will most likely go to a hostel until school break after this weekend as Melissa arrives in two weeks.
I spent my first full day visiting with Tyler, a friend I made at Teachers College. We did some shopping, wandered downtown, and I got to know some of the city again. Friday was equally busy- setting up my phone, banking, seeing some old suburbs and going to a Meetup Event where I met two Anzuk teachers, Sarah and Miranda, and an American au pair, Jamie. We had a fortuitous night wandering from Hotel Barkly to Cushion to Freddie Wimpole to Lucky Coq before I called it a night at 1:30.
The next day, there was a BBQ for an old acquaintance Yang who I met through meetup 3 years ago. I got to meet some of his friends and his kind father kept doling out the food…. so good! Rimma kindly drove me to Wheelers Hill and I got a ride home so I was very fortunate. Melbourne transport is good but if you’re heading out to the middle of nowhere, not so much.
I might a guy who started a BitCoin startup, IT people, accountants, yogis from Bali and all manner of different people. I then met Chris in Carlton for a drink, he being a guy I met in the PS I love You kareoke bar in Dublin of all places, last summer! It feels good to know I already have a few people I can go to for hangouts this time around. I later on went out with Rimma and some of her friends on the town.
The next day was slower but still decent. We had brunch at Tall Timber and I can tell you, it wasn’t a crowrd favourite, but brunch-picking might as well be a sport here. Rimma’s friend Allan was naming off a million spots he preferred, but no, we should go somewhere new. Forget the 9$ Canadian breakfast with egg, hash browns, toast… no, brunch is an art here. See for yourself.
After brunch we still all felt a bit tired, but I trucked on and wandered Chapel st. I met up with a date (if you can call it that) and then went to see a Monty Python movie at the Astor Theatre. This cinema is awesome – all big red drapes and sweeping views, cheesy ads, great sound. I had never seen the Meaning of Life and to be honest, didn’t love it. You live, you learn.
Monday was heading back into my old teaching agency for the interview. I didn’t want to be confident, but when they told me my old school called in a lot, I was ecstatic. I spent the afternoon wandering with a friend but came home early as I’ve felt under the weather. At lunch I got a call from my agency — booked into my old school tomorrow! I AM a bit nervous if I’m being honest, as it’s been so long since I’ve done primary, but I’m also eager to see those teachers still at the school and relive my Melbourne teaching days.
So, after nearly a week, yes, I still have some getting used to the city and this life. I still have a daily kind of “what am I doing here?” just because my goals and dreams maybe haven’t caught up with my reality. I also haven’t met people yet so I’m hoping that happens soon. I don’t mind bars and partying but I feel like this time around I want more substance. I want friends who dont just care for the party and whom you can count on. But I am a traveler and the nature of it doesn’t always work..
Melissa andI haven’t booked our trip so I’m hoping that becomes fact in the next 48 hours. Otherwise, I am safe, warm, and mostly happy- glad to start work and thankful for the support of those of you who I talk to back home. Thank you, and please keep it up. It does mean so much from so far away. I do love this city, but I wouldn’t be complete without you.
Love from Melbourne,