It has officially been TWO WHOLE MONTHS since I made the massive move from small country town of Mackay in sunny central/north Queensland to the leafy lined streets, chilly, coffee haven of Melbourne. To say it has all gone swell would be an overstatement, and time and time again I’ve started typing this blog and stopped because I was upset, emotional or angry due to struggling to find my feet in this big, cold city.
There have been some amazing times I’ve had and there have also been moments where I’ve cried in bed to myself, not wanting to move or even take another breath because I had felt as though I had made the biggest mistake. I have had to ignore the voice of worry and stick with my gut instinct and remember that I thought in depth about my decision. I knew I had to give it a good shot before giving up, or live the rest of my life in regret asking “what if?”
It has been hard, harder than I anticipated. No matter what anyone tells you, moving in with your significant other changes the whole dynamic of your relationship – you go from having freedom, the WHOLE BLANKET to yourself and free will to fart yourself to sleep, to getting elbowed in the face, waking up to throat clearing that sounds like a dinosaur mating call and body parts that aren’t yours all inside your personal space.
You have to learn to tolerate another person always being there 24/7 when you get home – which for someone as independent as me, hasn’t come easily. Luckily, we were able to get a three bedroom house… so he has his mancave, I have my beauty room and we have our bedroom. We have enough space to not being in each other’s space all the time – which has been a life saver!
So moving in with your partner can be hard, but try moving in with your partner at the same time as moving interstate and leaving behind all your family and friends. I’m grateful to have a couple of good friends down here, and one of my cousins, but every now and then I miss little things about my friends and family in Mackay.
It is hard to watch their lives continue on, and realise you are no longer a part of it. For instance, one of my best friends is very pregnant at the moment, and not being able to fly up for her baby shower, see the little bump kick around or the glow on her face other than via Facebook has had me in tears several times because these are moments you can’t replace or ever get back.
I am extremely grateful that through this all, I have chosen the calmest person ever to be in a relationship with. He is my rock and has kept me grounded. He is there for me whenever I am too upset to put it in words, and also gives me space when I feel homicidal. I honestly feel as though I have won the lottery when it comes to my partner, as he is the most honourable man and has the biggest heart. And most importantly, he puts up with the chaotic, busy bee, never stopping cyclone that is me.
When he asked me to move to Melbourne with him, I didn’t give it a second thought really. In my mind I knew that if the choice was to keep our relationship in a town where he had no job prospects, no family or friends and watch him spiral into depression, or move to Melbourne with him – the choice was really simple. Whilst I had never actually visited Melbourne before, the career prospects for myself, the culture of the city and the excitement of change was all too tempting to not give it a chance.
Melbourne is unlike any other city in Australia. I have been fortunate enough to have travelled around most of Australia as child and even as an adult I have made it my mission to see as much of Australia’s hidden gems as possible (because heck, we have so many tourists that come over here, we must have SOMETHING to offer!).
However, in all my travels, I had never actually been to Melbourne! Rural Victoria, yes and of course I just assumed that Melbourne would be an extension of that … oh .. no… how wrong was I.
Melbourne is the epitome of everything I love. The old architecture, random live performances in the street, people take their dogs EVERYWHERE and it is accepted that your dog is your child and of course THE COFFEE! There are so many things to love about Melbourne, but I’ll try to keep it simple.
- The Fashion
People in Melbourne dress how they feel – not how society says they should dress. There is quirk, individuality and style that exudes personality. I found that in Queensland, even in Brisbane, most people wear what they purchase from two or three regular shops they visit – they don’t mix and match or try new things.
In Mackay I stopped wearing heels to work every day and stopped putting effort in, because I got sick of getting asked questions about where I was going, or why I was so dressed up or people assuming I was some stuck up bitch from Brisbane. I was actually told by one former employer that the amount of effort I put into my appearance showed how much I really hated myself…. Yes… I was legitimately told to not put effort in.
In Melbourne, people LOVE if you get dressed up. They love when you wear a different set of heels every day, try a new scarf with a vintage dress and even more – because it is so friggen cold, you can wear as MANY clothes as you want because the chill will still probably find a way in. You can wear deep red lipstick and not get called a goth, or wear bright lilac and no one assumes you are on drugs. IT IS GREAT!
However, the downside is, I have been used to living in 30 degree heat. Now that I’m living every day in the teens, I have hardly any winter clothes to wear… Oh well… I might just have to go shopping!
- A Dog Is A Woman’s Best Friend
And Melbourne knows this. No matter where you turn in Melbourne, you will see a plethora of people with their furry best friends, sitting in cafes, taking a leisurely stroll or keeping fit.
Melbourne just seems to understand that your dog is like your child. If a business doesn’t accommodate for dogs the business may not fail, but it will SOAR if it allows customers to bring their furry companions along. There are in fact winery tours which allow you to take your pooches along, boot camps that don’t just train you but also get your mutt to lose some puppy weight too and of course café’s that serve ‘puppycinos’.
Safe to say, now that I have my Josie down here, she comes with me almost EVERYWHERE – she is my little shadow and she LOVES IT!
- All The Leaves Are Brown and The Sky Is Grey
I am experiencing my first proper autumn in my whole life and it is beautiful beyond words. In Queensland, Autumn just means the rain usually stops, the cyclone warnings cease and some mornings are maybe 2 degrees cooler than usual.
In Melbourne, the leaves actually turn red and brown and gracefully float to the cobbled footpaths. Almost every street is lined with maple trees and watching autumn take over the city is actually quite beautiful. It really has a Manhattan-esque feel to it and I find myself strolling the streets humming to my hearts content. I feel like Melbourne was MADE for autumn as there is something magical when you combine the Victorian era architecture with red leaves and overcast skies.
- You Can Never Be Bored
Living in a small Queensland country town meant that the extent of ‘fun’ to be had was going to the cinemas, going shopping at one of two shopping centres filled only with big chain stores, or getting ridiculously drunk. In Melbourne, there is literally an event on every day and night of the week from quirky learn to paint whilst sipping wine classes in Moonee Ponds, young designers markets at Essendon, snuggling up in the car at Coburg Drive-In cinemas, window shopping along Chappell Street or heading to the Palais Theatre in St Kilda for an art exhibition, comedic act or gig.
I’m a big believer in getting out and exploring your back yard as much as possible, and the great thing about Melbourne is you can travel an hour and explore the hinterlands of Dandenong Ranges, the wine valley itself – Yarra Valley, or beachside Sorrento down in Mornington Peninsula.
Travel for perhaps two or three hours and you are greeted by The Twelve Apostles along Great Ocean Road, the ski fields of Mt Hotham, Falls Creek and Mt Bulla or head south and take a ferry across to Phillip Island and make friends with the cute little ferry penguins.
Melbourne really has so much to offer for adventure seekers, lovers of the world and true romantics. I honestly don’t know how anyone could hate this place, apart from perhaps the ever changing weather patterns.
So while I still laugh at the ‘Give Way To Peds’ signs, freak out over crazy trams not stopping for any car, get frustrated when I want to visit a corner store and am politely corrected that it’s called a ‘Milk Bar’, Melbourne has been overly kind to me.
I still get homesick from time to time and miss my family incredibly much. However, I’m starting to understand how Truman Capote’s heroine felt in Breakfast at Tiffany’s when she gave up Lula-May Barnes and transformed herself into Manhattan’s darling, Holly Golightly.
While warm, sunny Queensland will always be ‘home’ to my body, I feel as though Melbourne is home to my soul.