Yesterday I missed my baby brother turning 21. This is the second year in a row that I’ve missed his birthday but being his 21st, I really wish I could’ve been there. I had grand plans to make him a video with photos and write him a poem but I never got round to it. It was good talking to him over the weekend though, and a few other friends from New Zealand. It’s funny how much there is to talk about when you haven’t seen each other for a month…in some cases more.
It has been eight months since I’ve talked to friends of mine – their choice not mine. And I thought that time heals all wounds but it really doesn’t. Or maybe I just haven’t waited long enough. While some friendships have grown cold without the physical proximity to hold us together, others have grown stronger and I now know the people who will always be there, even when I’m a mess and the world is as scary and lonely as it is empowering and full of promise.
In the last 10 days I have signed my lease, moved into my new flat, gone slightly crazy at Big W buying everything from an Iron and a set of dishes (12 piece set for $7 wtf!!) to colourful serving spoons and clothes pegs. I am grateful to everyone who has helped me – whether its supporting me in making the decision, giving me plastic containers and lots of advice, helping me get my bond back, and helping to transport all my stuff to my new granny flat. After such a bad first experience flatting, its refreshing to be on my own with my own little room and kitchenette and being able to come home after a long day at work and know that I have it all to myself. I haven’t written off flatting just yet – it’s something that I might still do at some point, just not right now.
Now that I’m finally finding my feet, I can feel myself relaxing and enjoying all the opportunities that I was waiting for. In my first week in Melbourne I met up with a friend from Auckland who taught me to play that song from ‘Big’ on one of the many Pianos on the streets and bridges around the CBD. With no internet or data for the last week, I found myself trying to play it on my mothers Harmonica I brought with me to Melbourne. Facebook truly was a black hole that sucked up all my time. A week without facebook meant that I started reading again (Dear John tehehe), watched countless episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, played the Harmonica and walked as far as my feet would take me. There is no better way to explore a city than by foot, and in the last week I’ve let myself wander with a loose leash, comforted at the sight of my signed lease agreement.
I laugh more at work than I ever have in a single day before – my team is incredibly funny and I feel like I laugh more than I talk. Last night I planned to show off my domestic goddess skills and invited a friend from New Zealand over for dinner, but ended up getting a cooking lesson instead. Thank god for boys who can cook! I now have enough chicken curry to last me another 4 days. Everyday I’m discovering new things and remembering more than I did the day before. I now know all the train lines that go through South Yarra…and wandering around the neighbourhood on Saturday I managed to find the Supermarket and the Prahran market with no data, which is something that I became really dependant on when I first moved. A map is my new best friend and I’ve learnt that asking for directions wins you more friends. People have been incredibly kind, like the lovely person who walked me to my bus stop when I got off at the opposite end of Southern Cross Station. Another colleague at work surfed the Internet for hours until he found me the perfect electric hotplate when he realised I didn’t have a stove at my new flat.
Armed with an electric hotplate I bought online and pots and pans lent to me by a cousin, my life is slowly revolving around food. I’ve grown to love Home and living stores and can spend hours gazing at table cloths, pots and pans, beautiful cutlery and fancy gadgets for the kitchen. I sigh with satisfaction thinking about my little fridge stocked with mushrooms, capsicum, salad leaves, tomatoes and eggplant. Who knew. Note to self: Don’t go grocery shopping at 11am in 40 degree heat again unless you want to sweat it back home with four grocery bags. I’m a lot more predictable than I want to be but when you’re cooking for one, you have to like the food you cook. Today at Costco I caved for the first time and spent $10 on a jumbo pack of Maltesers. It’s the first thing I’ve bought so far that I don’t actually need and I feel incredibly guilty about it, but it will last me a long time (hopefully!) and I think I deserve a treat.
Sitting on my bed after work, there is something comforting about my basmati rice cooking on the hotplate and chicken curry in the fridge. It reminds me of home and as much as I miss it, I am so so glad I am here and exploring this tiny corner of the world. Melbourne is everything I hoped it would be and more. With 11 months left to go, I have more than enough time to call it my own, but so far I’m just taking each day at a time. My flat is small, but its all I need. There is a cockroach living under my bed that I’ve successfully ignored. I stay out of his way and he stays out of mine. And when I kneel down to pray at night I carefully leave a foot between me and my bed in case he decides to venture out. My fan and light switch didn’t work when I moved in and my lovely land lady gave me a table fan to use for the first few days. It’s all the little things, than make a house a home. There are kindred spirits here, as Anne of Green Gables would say, and this may not be Avonlea, but its beginning to feel like Home.