Of Sunsets, Smiles, Love and Summer: The Good Life Discovered

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Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans. I wasn’t sure how I would settle back into Melbourne life after our last trip, but for whatever reason, (and I’m not complaining) fortune has smiled on me and blessed me with a pretty wonderful life these days. It’s nothing crazy- I won’t dish about epic adventures, gossip inducing escapades or wild nights. Life has hit an even stride for me and it feels great.
As I said previously, about a month ago I spoke to an EA at work from England. He was kind enough to invite Melissa, Jen and I out to Iddy Biddy for drinks with his futsal team and the rest is history. I know some other amazing teachers here and a few other people, but this crew has quickly become my social saving grace. We probably see each other 4-5 times a week and they are such a genuine mix of fun people I can’t imagine the next few months without them. Amy is a designer from China who is so happy and effervescent, but the best part is never knowing what crazy thing she’ll say next. Heather is a fellow Canuck who has such a warm personality, you would trust her with your life story in a second. The girl is also a barrel of laughs. Kent is a Kiwi gentleman who makes me smile every time he says “fish and chips’. He’s the guy you know you your mom would love, who is kind and can be counted on. Marty, our Brisbane boy is hard to explain- he’s just funny. He always has a smile on his face and makes any situation better. I didn’t see him for a week and it felt too long! Liam and Conor are two British boys from London who are also great for a chat, a laugh, and who are basically responsible for getting this group together.
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Kent and his babes
Whether I’m working or not, the evenings seem to be always busy and I am frequently surprised when Friday shows up so soon again. Monday’s have been after work drinks and catch ups with friends, Tuesday is a boxing class and Iddy Biddy for cheap drinks and parmas. Wednesday’s we’ve been doing trivia, with the guys putting in solid efforts so they actually won twice. I also tried beach volleyball a few weeks ago and although the teams were a tad competitive, the views by sunset were worth it. We also attended the Melbourne Night market this week and I had halloumi chips- so good. Thursday the group plays futsal so I’ve been meeting them at fifth province for beers and Irish tunes. The weekend has been a smorgasbord of lazy beach days, amazing brunches and big nights out that lead to lots of stories the next day.
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Getting in the festive spirit
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Trying some beach volleyball
In a nutshell, this year is going much better than my first year here. I feel like I’m making friends I will talk to when all is said and done, and I no longer have the pressure of completing farm work. While I’m open to a contract, the only stress from work comes from the not-having-it. Again, I keep getting lucky. I didn’t expect to have work close to end of term but I have eight days at a primary school until I leave for Tasmania. A few weeks ago, Melissa and I went to the Yarra Valley with her friend Tessa. It was one of those rare days when the sun shone strong and bright, and we enjoyed three wineries in our fancy dress. Two weeks ago I explored the mornington area with Kent, Camilla and Samantha. We did a nice walk and enjoyed some much needed time out of the city. Last weekend was one of those times when the group didn’t seem to leave each other. Between dinner, drinks, brunch twice and the beach, the days seemed to fade as quickly as the sunset. As the weather starts to get warm and Christmas approaches, I wonder where the days have gone.
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Fort Nepean Walk
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Views over the Peninsula
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Checking the vines
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The beach houses of Brighton

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Yarra Valley days
I was having brunch with Heather this afternoon while we waited for our friend Amy. Fiddling with our prosecco/mimosa glasses, we talked about sponsorships, growing up and settling down and I recalled a conversation I’d had with my dad before coming here.
“When you think about it Kristy, you really have nothing.” No house. No car. No contract job. No insurance. It’s all true. When I think about it, I haven’t hit any of the milestones or indicators of success that define where we’re at in life. Still, I think to myself that when I strip away all the material things and consider all the things I don’t have, I realize what I need to make me happy and the things I DO have. In the past few months I have been infinitely happier here than I was three years ago. I have a confident knowledge of the city and consider it a second home. I have work that, although sporadic, allows me to meet new people all the time, engage with all sorts of kids, and put money in the wallet that allows me to survive and explore. I have an open heart, still willing to go on dates, meet people and interact with travellers from all over the world. I have a new group of friends who seemed to fall effortlessly into my life and are blessing me with laughter, a busy schedule, and comfort that makes being overseas that much easier. I have the ability to travel. Whether it’s sampling wine in the Yarra and local days in Mornington,or bigger journeys like my upcoming Tasmania road trip and my first solo trip in years to New Zealand, the world is my oyster and I intend to continue exploring it. I also have people back home who love me; Jessica who keeps me updated with her children’s antics, weekly phone calls with family. Facebook the lifesaver that allows me to keep connected with those I often miss. So, yeah, I don’t have much. But I still have a lot.
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I fly to Hobart next Friday with the girls and we’ll be checking out the East Coast of Tasmania, Cradle Mountain, a forest walk in the air and a few other uncertain surprises. Melissa is figuring out her plans for the new year so I decided to book a plane ticket for one to Auckland during the first week of January.  I’m still in the early stages of planning, but I have a friend who lives north of Auckland who I will stay with for two days. I will head to Paihia for a few days to do a boat cruise and explore Cape Reinga, return to Auckland    visit Waiheke Island and then begin the Kiwi Experience pass. I have no doubt that I will have a good time, I only hope I meet other kind souls and make new friendships as I travel.
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Christmas is in two weeks and I can’t say I’m feeling festive. I wrote Christmas cards last week and the music made me a little emotional- thoughts of home and snow and Christmas trees, none of which I’ll have. People have been discussing having a potluck and beach day. Though I know it might be a bit hard, I’m thankful to have people I can spend the day with. We will also stay in Melbourne for new year’s so I expect a fairly relaxing two weeks prior to the trip.
Other than that, things are swell. Here’s wishing a happy holiday season to friends near and far.
Love from melbourne
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