Well we’ve been in Melbourne for nearly a month and half now. What have we done? Not too much really! We’re truly in saving mode so we’re able to pursue some more adventures in the new year. The two weeks we spent looking after the mentally unhinged and educationally challenged puppies did pay dividends when one of the lovely dog park regulars, Meaghan, asked if we’d like to house sit her place for a month while she gallivanted around Europe. She had already arranged for her totally adorable daschunds to live with a friend in the countryside so we got her cute little one bed apartment just down the road to ourselves. Perfect. My time has been taken up mostly with work Monday to Friday and grabbing the chance of any overtime available. I’m working for ManpowerGroup – a big recruitment company. The role is casual but for the past five weeks has been full time which is good. I have a two week break now though before going back for another four or five weeks. Despite the slight lull in work, it’s been a pretty good deal. I’m not sure how much time I’ll actually get to explore, but in December I’ll be heading off to Brisbane and Perth for a week each with work which will be a nice (paid for) change of scene! Greg’s had a bit of a slower start work wise, but it looks like he’ll be starting some market research work soon and there is the potential for him doing some part time work for a publisher as well, so we’ll just have to wait and see what comes up there!
Until last week I was doing well with sticking to my ‘couch to 5k’ running schedule. I’m up to week six, so all going well I may actually be able to ‘run’ (ie. jog slower than most people walk) 5km in three weeks. Having a lovely paved promenade running all the way along a gorgeous beach has been a good motivator, and with my office sitting opposite the botanical gardens, I’ve even joined the throng of Melbournians on their lunch time runs around the gardens. Oooh, another little perk with work here – Friday afternoon at 4pm, well it’s time to drink wine of course, in the office at your desk. I also very much enjoyed recently overhearing a woman on her phone as I had just left the office at 6.45pm in the most horrified and exasperated voice ‘Can you believe, I only just left the office?!’ The true horror of working so late. There certainly seems to be a fairly different sort of office/work culture here!
I had the delightful pleasure of seeing a friendly face here when the lovely Jenny came to see me having been over in Sydney for her best friend’s wedding. I’m still horrified that I missed her whatsapp message and left her standing outside our apartment building for half an hour. I’m such an awful person. She, on the other hand is amazing for not even being angry about it. It was great, but also surreal to see somebody from back home. It felt so normal and not like we were on the other side of the world at all. I guess that is also the thing about being in a city in Australia. Yes, it is generally pretty warm (though we did have an epic thunder storm a few days ago), and yes we have been living a block from the beach while only a 15 minute tram ride into the centre of town, and yes lots of people have an Australian accent (half of the people in my office also have British accents), but nothing really feels any different to back home. Well, that’s not actually true. As far as the city is concerned – it’s a bit pants really compared to London. There are no beautiful buildings here, there is no history here. It’s all a bit bland really. This may seem harsh, however I feel more confident admitting these feelings now that a local (well, a Canadian who has lived here for 50 years) said pretty much exactly this. It would seem that Australia is all about everything outside of the cities. I can testify to this from travelling the east coast with my cousin six years ago. We had fun in the cities and towns, but it was being outside of them that hold the best experiences and memories. But being in the city makes sense as far as earning money goes. And that’s what we’re focusing on for now so that we can then get out of the city and explore later.
We just moved out of our second house sit a couple of days ago and Greg did a great job of finding a really lovely couple on Gumtree who were looking for someone to help out with gardening and some odd jobs in return for free accommodation. We’re in a different area of the city now – West Brunswick. Think of the move from Port Melbourne to here in a similar vein as a move from Putney to Hackney. Our hosts are David (the Canadian mentioned earlier) and Glenda, both in the film making business. David is a producer and also carpenter on the side, while Glenda is both a writer and director. I’ve never met anyone who works in the film industry before so I’ve found it refreshing and interesting and really enjoyed an evening last night with other film making friends of theirs. It’s great to meet people doing things that feel so different to the norm. We’ll be staying here for three weeks before moving on to another house sit, this time looking after a greyhound named Polly. We’ll be staying there until the end of January. And that’s when my parents are coming to visit us – woohoo!
In the meantime, we plan to get out on our bikes – Greg has one on loan from a friend of my parents from 40 years ago when my Dad was studying in Cambridge (random!) and I bought one second hand off Gumtree. We also hope to frequent the zoo (of which we have become members) and that’s probably pretty much it for now! Saving pennies, and looking forward to getting out into the countryside with my parents when they get here in January!
Oh, and we also definitely still need to have a true Aussie barbie. We made friends with Sel in the dog park (looking after those puppies did pay off) and a BBQ with her is on the cards as soon as she fully recovers from pneumonia (really rubbish, poor thing). Sel is really interesting too actually. She is an Olympian! She used to play professional women’s football and competed for Australia in the 2008 Olympics. Very cool. Now she works in a bank.
Anyway, I think I have sufficiently rambled about nothing much. If you’re interested, we’ve updated the gallery with the pictures from the end of our travels in Malaysia.