Made in Melbourne 5

October 19, 2013

When I was 21 I moved to Melbourne, Australia. I had two bags, no job and nowhere to live. It was my big, bold thing. I needed to do something brave at the time, to prove to myself I wasn’t meek or incapable of being independent. I’d finished University, had a rough year, eventually dusted myself off and decided it was time to be gutsy. When I look back at my life and the aspects I am proudest of I can generally run my finger from whatever it is back to that time. The decision to move to Melbourne gave me something important, it’s inadequate to call it “courage” and it’s definitely not been unfailing, but it’s something like that. Sometimes, when I doubt myself, I remember leaving to live in Melbourne and think “Well, I did that.

 

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So it’s with little hesitation that I agree to go back to Melbourne (for pretty much any old reason). A little while ago my friend from Macau – who got me liking good champagne and never fails to make me laugh, what a combo – suggested her and I and our other darling mate now living in Tasmania – who is charmingly pessimistic and endlessly stylish, another great combo – meet up in The Great City. It took us about five minutes to work out a date and agree. It takes me four months to arrange a catch up with a friend across town but in a blink flights were being booked in three different countries. Meant to be; clearly.

 

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Aside from Melbourne being the site of my growing-up-(ish)-ness, which I will always be grateful for, it just happens to be one of the coolest cities in the known universe. Not that I am biased. It’s quirky and fascinating, full of hidden alleyways and street art. The food is outstanding, the people kind and creative, the weather moody. Bars are hidden in the tiniest of places, cafes stuffed into every corner. I love its imperfections, its graffiti, gritty and grimy bits as well as the silvery, sleek places by the river, magnificent fire torches by the casino and elegant terrace houses. People say that it feels European and I guess it gets close to being a European kind of city. Certainly by Australasian standards. Grand old buildings, jangling trams, good town planning. But it’s truly Australian too. How? There’s a kind of confidence to it, a boldness, a deep love of sport (especially this one), loud, squawking birds, the grass dessicated and golden in the summer and backyards smelling of charred meat+spilt beer+sunscreen.

 

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So, my highlights from this particular (whirlwind) trip. My good friends – top of the list. Best food: a soft shell crab souvlaki from Gazi. Holy. Best market: South Melbourne. Best clothes shop: Seed (I got a dark green scarf with cranes on it. Mentioned my scarf obsession lately?!) Best macaron: Green apple from Shocolate. Best place for a cup of tea: Sweet Source, Rathdowne Village (I had linzer torte with my orange pekoe in honour of my friend, Ria Voros) Best book buy: Kissed by the Moon by Alison Lester.

 

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This post was not sponsored by the Victorian Tourism Board. It’s just a reflection of my personal love affair with a wonderful place, which happens to house some of my favourite things. And, more significantly, favourite people.

Which city or place was the making of you?

HUGS, Hannah x

5 comments

1 Chantel { 10.20.13 at 5:15 am }

Couldn’t have said it better Hannah. I packed my bags for Melbourne when I was 24 and just can’t imagine where I would be now if I hadn’t had the the good fortune to ‘grow up’ in such a wonderful city x

2 tasleem { 10.20.13 at 4:53 pm }

Nice post and I see why Melbourne is such a popular place to visit.

My big thing was when I went on my first backpacking trip to Europe on my own in my early 20’s. In addition to experiencing Europe, I needed to assert my independence, prove to myself that I could make my way around different countries, travel on a budget and feel like I was living life a little.

I came back to Vancouver a little more confident and so happy to be home. I realized that no matter where I am in the world, Vancouver will likely always be the first place I fell in love with…even though the rain drives me batty.

3 Ria Voros { 10.20.13 at 7:37 pm }

Oh, you make me so nostalgic for, well, for being nostalgic about a place. I don’t think it’s hindsight to say I wanted, at eighteen, to feel like you feel about places I traveled to. So I tried to fall in love with lots of cities, and for the most part, succeeded. Except now I also feel the tug of getting back there and not being able to…damn double-edged swords. 🙂

4 Anne Rodrigues { 10.21.13 at 12:28 am }

Your posts about parts of Australia make me want to go there. For now, my place that made me was Madeira, Portugal. My husband is from there and we went there on our honeymoon. It was a place that left me awestruck, so much so that we made our way back in 2012 after 22 years with two of our kids. My husband and I can’t wait to go back and hope to stay longer this time. Gorgeous scenery, fantastic food, wonderful people.

5 Hannah { 10.21.13 at 2:54 am }

So good to read about your growing-up places. It’s a magical equation when you arrive in a place, ready to be transformed, and the place is exactly the right place for it to happen. Who else wants to comment? These stories are great! H x

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