Saying goodbye to our beloved Chapel Street home
Time has flown guys,
In the blink of an eye, our 8 month adventure down under has come to an end. Leaving Melbourne is incredibly bittersweet. We had been planning to leave our beloved Chapel Street home and our amazing 3 roommates at the end of November and taking off to New Zealand before getting home in time for Christmas. We got back from our West Coast trip with those intentions still in mind, but fast forward a few weeks and those intentions quickly changed. When you travel things change FAST. And I mean like super fast. One day you might have a job here, and the next you are quitting and starting somewhere new. One day you live with these people and the next you’ve moved in with those ones. Things change really fast, and people who don’t travel might not understand that and we can’t blame them. I came home from Bali with my girlfriends in tow and after a few glasses of wine, discussing our plans with the girls, Thomas and I looked at each other and said “I think I’m ready.” Actually “I know I’m ready.” Just like that, we both knew we were ready. And with that we started researching flights, travel plans and sitting on and swallowing the idea. 7 days later, flights were booked for 5 days after that, and we were closing and wrapping our little Melbourne life up in just 5 days. Now, those two weeks were crazy! We were trying to be the best tour guides and hosts for our friends visiting from Canada, with a full agenda of things to do, all while trying to pack away everything we had created in Melbourne. Although I felt terrible for being a chaotic mess and an emotional wreck organizing everything with my girlfriends in town, having them there was a huge blessing. It also worked out beautifully because as we did the touristy site seeing things, we also got to take them to our favourite cafes, brunch spots, restaurants etc. What turned out to be a visit for them, was a wrap up for us, a c’est la vie. Taking them to all of our spots for their first time, turned out to be the last time for us. My girlfriends left Thursday morning, Thursday night we had a little going away party and Friday we were at the airport heading to New Zealand. ABSOLUTE MAYEM!
When you know, you know. We knew we were ready to come home. We fell in love with Melbourne. The people, the culture, the endless amounts of activities, festivals, events and the brunch scene, the coffee experience, the happy hour lifestyle and the accessibility of the city itself. Melbourne has been rated the #1 most livable city in the world and it is easy to see why. This place has a lot to offer. The work life balance that is Australia is incredible. People value both their home and work lives and the work atmosphere promotes it. People are definitely not as stressed as Torontians, that is for sure. Melbourne seriously is a place where you could create a life and stay forever. Both of us had the option to stay, get sponsored and begin the process of becoming permanent residences. I mean the fact that schools have two fridges…one just for alcohol & happy hour Fridays was pretty darn tempting. But, for us we knew this was not going to be our forever home. We were ready to come home. We really felt like we did Australia right. And when I say right, I mean right our way. We experienced so much in Australia. We worked to travel and get experience. We partied the first few months while balancing a few months of staying in, having people over for cheap “in” nights to save more money for our next adventure. We explored everything in this city, inner and outer, day trips and weekend ones. We brunched the heck out of this city. Every weekend we brunched. We participated in many happy hours, I obviously soaked up the Aussie Bachelor, and we saw so much of the country. From the East to the West, to time spent in South Australia, and the incredible Outback, we fell in love with Australia. We also had the opportunity to see all of the bigger cities….Sydney, Brisbane, Townsville, Cairns, Perth, Adelaide and every time we came back to Melbourne we both said “I am so happy we choose this spot.” The city is energy! We worked long hours, had two jobs, moved houses MANY TIMES, and that allowed us to see the entire country while making a home base out of Melbourne in only 8 months.
Our time in Melbourne and the life we created there will forever hold a very, very special place in our hearts. After all, we picked up our lives and everything we knew back home and moved across the world. We opened bank accounts, got cell phone plans, ditched our cozy cars for public transportation, had to apartment hunt, bought our own food, made new friends, created our own lifestyle routines, and explored the shit out of Melbourne and Australia. Melbourne, I will miss you. I will miss our daily train rides to Black Rock with the ocean by my side. I will miss our very expensive $4.50 flat white love affair. I will miss our obsession with smashed avo & feta. I will miss walking Chapel street at any time of the day and wondering “when the heck do people work….everyone’s always out on a patio brunching or drinking.” I will miss the fashion…oh boy the window shopping I did on Chapel was my favourite past time. I will miss your colourful, beautiful and invigorating Brighton Beach Bathing Boxes. I will miss tapping on and off my PTV card. I will miss my beautiful Aussie students who never understood me during a spelling test and who were so “keen” to learn about Canada. I will miss the Queen Victoria Market, in particular the mulled wine and the Soup Kitchen. I will miss your incredible Messina Gelato, and people watching at SOS over a long black (when I’m being a good girl). I will miss your $4 dollar bottles of wine (seriously though that became a problem when we were bottles in by 7 pm). I will miss your Tim Tams making me fat. I will miss your patio lifestyle no matter the weather. I will miss your plenty of BYO restaurants, and your funky, spunky, corky, yet sophisticated nightlife. I will miss your pop up anythings, your hidden bars, your graffiti filled streets, bustling Chapel street, and good ol’ Brunswick Street. I will miss people automatically thinking I’m rich for living in South Yarra or hip for living in Fitzroy. I will miss the fact that you have a rooftop bar named Naked for Satan. I will miss having holidays for big sporting events (AFL and Melbourne Cup), your epic espresso martinis, going anywhere and meeting people from all over the world, all here for their own reasons. I will miss the fact that no Australian can properly say Australia and instead say “Straya.” I will miss the kids freaking out at me when I tell them to put it in the bin… “MISS THE BIN? BUT THIS ISN’T RUBBISH”… “Oops, I mean put it in the tub”. I will also miss how seriously they take their chicken parmigiana and make it a legit thing. Like they think this is the be all and end all…it is priceless. They even call it Australian Cuisine. I will miss saying “I’m so keen” to express my excitement and “heaps” to tell you how much fun I had. I will miss your beautiful train station that is Flinders. I will miss St. Kilda and it’s energy. I will miss your Market Lane coffee and your beautiful State library. I will miss my teacher ladies and our Thursday night steak nights. I will miss our first air bnb in Richmond where we stayed for 2 weeks to settle in. I will miss our month long stint in Collingwood/ Fitzroy with the girls consuming copious amounts of wine and nachos and dip over plenty of teacher talk (poor Thomas). I will miss being “homeless” and spontaneously booking a flight to South Australia. I will miss our few weeks on Greville Street in Prahran. I will miss our van life. I will miss living in three different rooms within one house #subletlife. I will miss our South Yarra home on Clara Street. I will miss hosting my friends for the weekend or days at a time. I will miss our roommates who we spent many nights sitting on the floor around the coffee table (because we did not have a kitchen table or chairs) discussing travel plans, jobs, our cultures and traditions in our upbringings and our hopes and dreams. Seriously our Irish roommate Mark and Australian Tahnee who became a couple, I will miss the heck out of you guys. You’ve seriously inspired and taught us so much. We will forever look up to the two of you. I will miss wandering Degraves Street. I will miss our Saint Lucia Sunday desserts and our favourite Belles Chicken. I will miss so much about this beautiful city that I’ve called home for the past 8 months.
I won’t miss your expensive beer, your lazy lingo (seriously “Ta” for “thank you”), your overspending culture, your Arctic cold wind, your four seasons in one day and how some of you forget your manners. I won’t miss having to say toilet instead of washroom, capsicum instead of pepper, or tomato sauce instead of ketchup. I won’t miss having to ask how big the portions are because everything is so dayum small. I will not miss the fact that everything in Australia is trying to kill you….but thankfully we made it out alive! I will not miss the disgusting thing that is Vegemite. Like how is that even a thing. Seriously, google it. I will not miss the “easy as, sweet as, good as” lingo. I will not miss how expensive your movie theatres are. Or the fact that people think it’s okay to walk the streets, malls and grocery stores barefoot. Ummm no not okay. But all in all I will miss so much more than the things I will not.
Our last twelve days in Melbourne were spent re exploring the city with my best friends, doing day trips, getting all of our favourite “fixes” in, watching lots of movies late at night while consuming a lot of wine at home. Neither of us really worked those last 10-12 days while our friends were here and instead we did something we NEVER DO (not in Australia at least)….we slept in! Waking up around 9 or 10 am, going for brunch with the girls, exploring the city, doing day trips, souvenir shopping (because lets get real I am super last minute), and enjoying happy hours was the best way to end our time in Melbourne. Sure, our bank accounts didn’t like it, but we took it easy those last few weeks and it was really nice. We just let the budget go, told ourselves it’s okay to not work and really soaked up re exploring the city with my gals. In terms of my personality …. I was a chaotic mess running around stressing about money, moving home, sending boxes and classic Courtney, making home made postcards (I would I would…I know I know you are shaking your head). But, I can’t help it. Half of me is like WOOOO, YOLO, 23, SPLURGE WITH THE GIRLS, SLEEP IN, DON’T WORRY ABOUT WORK. The other half of me, the real type A personality I have is like WTF ARE YOU DOING, GET UP, GO TO WORK, MAKE MORE MONEY, AND FIGURE YOUR SHIT OUT. I’m working on it.
Melbourne, thank you for loving us, for giving us this amazing, energetic and vibin place to call home. To all the people we met….both locals and expats, THANK YOU! You made our time in Melbourne truly unforgettable and each and every one of you brought something to our lives and to our journey down under that will never be forgotten.
As I promised when I left….my journey down under was everything but boring. Thank you Melbourne.
Until next time,
This girl is coming home for the holidays,