Settling in to the Aussie Lifestyle
Trip Start Aug 15, 2006
159Trip End May 27, 2008
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So, Christmas was a bit different - not quite my picture of a BBQ on the beach in my bikini though since we had the coldest xmas day on record and it rained a lot (the first time since August apparently so it waited for me to arrive I think!). Marissa and Jonny had friends round (all Kiwis that they know from home or when they lived in London) and we had grilled snapper, lamb and beef on the BBQ and salads and potatoes. Jonny and I put a mean strawberry pavlova together which I think we ate most of. Lots of champagne and strawberries was consumed and we played Cranium which is always a good laugh. My team lost though :(
Cricket season then hit Melbourne boxing day and I went to watch day 3 of the ashes series test match
That night I met up with Jon, the guy I'd met in the hostel in Hobart. We went out for some food and a few drinks and ended up on a table next to an english cricket player (not that I recognised him of course!).
That week Marissa and Jonny took me to St Kilda, a local beach where apparantly all the backpackers hang out and tend to live. We had a bit of a walk, got some food and went to watch Babel at the cinema (quite good, but not the best film I've seen).
My Danish friend Ricce who I met in New Zealand was back in Melbourne where she has been studying so I met up with her and we went for lunch in this great place called the Veggie Bar on Brunswick St (cheap as chips and huge scrumptious meals!)
New Year was different too - by this point it was starting to warm up so I joined Marissa and Jonny and friends for a BBQ on the river. It was amazing how packed it was and how many families were there with their kids. We watched the 9pm fireworks and walked into town to a club called the Lexington in GPO which was the only place we could find that was affordable. I must admit I wouldn't ever go again - really nice venue but not great music and hugely pretentious. I noticed that there wasn't a big deal made of new year either - just a countdown and cheer - no party poppers or Auld LangSyne! We did stay till 5am and got a tram home - the city organises really good free transport for NYE which I thought was great.
New year's day I walked along St Kilda beach which was packed with sunbathers. There was a huge party going on in the pub on the beach which looked good but I heard tickets were very pricey. The sea felt pretty warm so I may be swimming in the sea soon!
That week my Spanish friend Lou I met in New Zealand was in town so we met up with Ricce and went out to an Italian on Lygon St - if you walk past any restaurant they all tell you they are the cheapest, the only traditional Italian restaurant, will give you a free drink etc...We stuffed ourselves then went to a bar called The Workshop (on Elizabeth St) which was pretty cool
That week Dave from the bar got hold of me and arranged to go out for dinner. We went to a place on Southbank called Blue Train which was quite good then headed for some drinks in a bar on the river (just behind Federation Square). It was so nice being sat outside and it was still 30 degrees even at 11pm!
That weekend I met up with my friend Emma who I'd met in Chile on the Navimag boat. She's a local and took me to a BBQ at her friend's folks house which was good. It was a kid's third birthday party, plus his mum's birthday so we had lots of cake and the kid got to whack a pinata until all the chocolates came out - great fun. Interesting to meet some real locals and see how they live their life. They are much laid back and say what they like which is great! We then went into town and met some of her friends. Ended up in CQ on Queen's St which is kind of a beach style club - quite nice and OK music for dancing but got hassled by some drunk guy who'd been at a wedding all day - he looked on the verge of puking by the end of the night.
The next day I was at a baby shower - Marissa's friend was due (has since had a boy) so her friends all came to our place and we had lots of great food and she got lots of great pressies. I'd made my Cadbury's chocolate mushrooms which went down well (sorry Leanne, you'll have to make them yourself)
I was wandering around Myers departmnent store one day when there was a guy standing with two girls in bikinis having photos - I thought at first they were doing catalogue shoots then thought he looked familiar so asked someone and found he was from the Aussie cricket team - got a photo - see pic. That night I went to the Botannical Gardens and they currently have an open air cinema going on with a big blow-up screen. I went with M and J and friends to watch Glastonbury which was so good (although it made me realise I come from a cool country and wonder why I've never managed to get myself to the festival!). We took a big rug and some food and laid out on the grass which was pretty nice. For $7 you can hire these long bean bags like beds which looked like a good idea.
At the end of that week I met up with a distant cousin - she is from the states, lives in Sydney but is working in Melbourne at the moment so we went for lunch and she seems really nice.
Last weekend I went to Emma's friend's folks house which was out in the country. We had a nice dinner then watched Happy Feet which is quite funny (especially the Mexican penguins) and cute
Monday I decided to go to a hip hop dance class in Prahran - my god it was hard and I felt like such a muppet but the music was good and I was so sore after. I hated it whilst I was there and said I'd never embarras myself again but trying to pluck up the courage for a second attempt in a couple of weeks just to prove to myself that I can do it.
Wed I went for a swimming lesson which was really good for my swimming, but not so good for my injury - all the kicking wearing fins was too much strain on the bone I think.
During the week I have been yet again registering with temping agencies, doing lots of computer testing and trying to find work. I was offered a 6 month contract in Perth at a uni for a lab technician but turned it down as it wasn't what I wanted to do. Keeping my eye out for other things and have a few contacts here for voluntary work once I get myself some paid work
Thurs was a bit strange - I planned to meet my cousin (Sara) again for dinner and we agreed to meet at the Docklands. The city had a huge powercut (which made headline news) due to bushfires and it caused chaos. I didn't have too many problems but where we were going to eat was closed as the place was dead, however we ended up having Cambodian which was so nice. Food over here in restaurants is great quality compared to back home!
Fri night I met Dave again and he showed me some cool pubs nearby with beer gardens [The London and The Corner hotel (where Mick Jagger once played and where U2 filmed their latest video and grabbed locals off the street for extras - shame I got here just after that!)]. Sat I went out with Emma but this time we also had Denise, the other girl I met on the boat who I hadn't seen since as she stayed in Chile with family so it was a bit of a welcome home
Today I had my first day of work for a while. One of the agencies has got me 4 days work this week seeing as I don't start the bank job until Feb. I've been entering in contact details from competition entry forms - there's thousands of them! Pretty boring stuff but getting some money at least and gives me something to do in Melbourne to live here for a while.
Tonight I went out with Sara and we had great Greek food, plus she introduced me to an American girl (Jennifer) who's my age she knows here so hopefully we'll hook up soon.
Sport over here is pretty big and I can understand why as they make it look more interesting on the TV and it gets everyone excited. I saw our 20/20 match on TV which was embarrassing but I did see that we managed to beat the Aussies at beach cricket (I'd never heard of that either but looked pretty hard). It wasn't enough for us to get to the finals so the Aussies still beat us really! Now we have the Australian Open Tennis going on in Melbourne - it's getting towards the end so ticket prices are getting high but I might see if I can get a cheap ground pass or something as it's a short walk from here
The weather is crazy too - first fires and extreme heat then this weekend it rained solidly and parts of the country were flooded. I saw on the news here all the crazy storms back home - looked a mess!
Customer service goes a long way here comapred to home - people go out of their way to help you and if they can't they will send you somewhere else to another company sometimes! I have found a great little old German lady called Helga who owns an alterations shop and is so cheap compared to everywhere else - she is always friendly and remembered me after I'd been in the first time, noticed I'd ditched my crutches, asking me if I'd found work - even told me she'd seen me about on my crutches and felt sorry for me - just like having my own granny looking out for me!
Well, most of that was probably pretty boring but like I said before this is my only diary so I need it for when I forget what I did over here!