Like public holidays, my yearly calendar is marked with cherished annual traditions. Call me sentimental, but they mean a lot to me. Whether it’s carving pumpkins with the best work crew you could assemble each October, chowing down on a hot dog (veggie, of course) while watching a Jays game at the Skydome each summer, or catching the late show of whichever Hollywood blockbuster happens to be out with my sister after stuffing ourselves with Christmas dinner – I have extremely fond memories of these annual events and eagerly look forward to them each year.
Moving to Australia, however, has turned many of my traditions on their head. Part of this is due to geography. Living south of the equator means seasons are in reverse, and this alters the appropriateness of some traditions. Like ugly Christmas sweater parties. Doesn’t make much sense when Christmas falls in the dead of summer (though ‘Christmas in July’ celebrations are pretty common as a result). Read More »
My significant other was the first to make this observation, and now I see it all the time – there are a lot of people walking around Melbourne wearing Toronto gear. Raptors hats. Blue Jays jerseys. We spot those familiar hometown logos everywhere.
The first time I remember this happening was when we saw The Book of Mormon last year. As we left the Princess Theatre, some of the cast had already started to leave from a nondescript door next to the main entrance, so we decided to hang around. After a few minutes, the actor who played Elder Price walked out – in a Toronto Blue Jays hat! While I always shirk away from saying hi or introducing myself to people I recognise, my significant other is the exact opposite. Somehow, he got Elder Price’s attention and they started chatting. Turns out he’s a Toronto native and big Jays fan (it’s even in his Book of Mormon bio).
A friend recently shared his strategy for ensuring a good time when he’s on vacation in a new city – he finds a record store and asks staff for recommendations on places he should check out. It has apparently worked well for him in the past. While this strategy is premised on the assumption that anyone who would work at a record store has good taste, I suppose the idea is, pick something you’re into, find a store that sells it, and you’ll probably find like-minded people who enjoy the same things as you. Read More »
The older I get, the more patriotic I seem to get. Sure, Canada isn’t without its problems (as many have chosen to highlight for #Canada150), but I truly believe it’s one of the best countries in the world. Living abroad has only reaffirmed that. So it make sense that Canada Day is a big deal to me. Usually spent at the Skydome watching the Blue Jays play, followed by a patio somewhere to watch the evening fireworks, I was determined to find some sort of substitute celebration in Melbourne.
Friday nights are usually family dinner night with my significant other’s family. We all gather at his aunt’s house at 6 pm sharp and feast on a large spread of meats, fish and vegetables. (Well, they do. I stick to the veggies). This is followed by fruit, which is then followed by coffee and cake — homemade, of course. It’s essentially Christmas dinner every Friday. No wonder I can’t seem to shed that little bit of extra weight I’ve gained since moving here.
This week his aunt, along with his dad and one of his cousins, went to Sydney to visit relatives so we were left to our own devices. Keeping the family dinner tradition alive, we made plans to meet up with his other cousin and his wife (who I’m going to refer to as D and Y from now on) for dinner in the city. We decided we’d meet up at Flinders Station and figure out where to go from there.
It’s been seven months since I moved to Melbourne (seven months already!) and I’m fairly settled now. In some ways, it was easy as Melbourne and Toronto are pretty similar cities. But there were some things I had to learn and adjust to along the way. Here’s my run-down of some of the thing I discovered that no one told me and that never gets written about in travel books.
Australia’s most underrated city also happens to be my new favourite. A victim of its nickname, perhaps, the City of Churches is often dismissed by Aussies as boring. But after a weekend getaway with my significant other to celebrate our three year anniversary, I beg to differ.