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.
A lovely friend from school used to call me ‘Luscious Locks Liz’ because of my curly mane. To be honest, I didn’t mind the nickname. My curly hair was my pride and joy. I used to put considerable time and effort into maintaining it’s luscious-ness.
Since then, my hair care efforts have fallen off considerably. After graduating school and starting a 9-5, I said goodbye to my curls and hello to my straightening iron in an effort to decrease the time it took to get ready each morning. Despite popular opinion, most of us girls with curls don’t just wash our hair and go. It takes the right combination of tools and products, along with a great deal of time and patience to cultivate each curl. I’ve never been able to maintain my curls after sleeping on them either, so I would go through this routine every single morning. With straight hair, however, I could wash and dry it in the evening and then just quickly go over it with a brush in the morning. Best of all, it doesn’t even need to be washed every day!
Just a week after raving about bullet journaling and the structure it provides me I took a break from it. But for good reason — my mom and sister came to visit.
This does not mean I gave up my planning tendencies though. I usually spend a great deal of time researching a city’s sights, attractions and restaurants when I travel. I’ll devise detailed daily itineraries, plotting out the most logical walking routes to fit in everything I want to see that also takes me to pre-determined restaurants for meals or snacks along the way. I find the walking routes helpful as they optimize the experience of a city by ensuring I’m always traveling between attractions on vibrant, main roads rather than side streets. I also get lost easily. Not all cities cater to vegetarians as well as others, so researching restaurants is also crucial — for both me and my travel partner — to avoid hunger-induced grumpiness.
As I alluded to in a previous post, life in Australia hasn’t always been easy. There have been challenges that have tested me. Where my significant other found a job immediately, I still haven’t been able to land one. He also starting playing competitive soccer, and so, when he wasn’t at work he was at training. Consequently, I have been alone a lot.
In all honestly, at first this solo time was great. We had been in each others company 24/7 since we both quit our jobs last October — I was ready for some time apart. In the first week, I tackled chores in the house we had been putting off, reworked my resume, caught up on television, went on some long walks and baked more cookies than we could should eat.
After feeling a bit lost and unsure about how I was spending my days, I turned to my old friend Google to try and find some fun, free things to do in themost expensivemost livable city in the world. This search resulted in a trip to the Australian Centre of Contemporary Art (ACCA) and the Royal Botanic Gardens — both of which are free to enter.
The ACCA is located slightly off the beaten track and so I hadn’t heard of it before. When I arrived on a sunny February afternoon, I found the rusted steel exterior to be harsh and uninviting. I would not have thought to enter had I not first read about it online. There was one exhibition on display at the time called Sovereignty, a collection of contemporary art by First Nations peoples that explores Australia’s history of colonization and Aboriginal identity, self-determination and resistance.