First Week in Melbourne
Saying goodbye at the airport was more difficult than I thought it would be.
After all, the first week in Melbourne was going to be a mini experiment. I was only going to be there for three nights, and then I would return home on Wednesday evening in time for a conference on Strategy-As-Practice hosted by the Organisational Discourse, Strategy, and Change Group at my old university.
Staving off my loneliness on the first night was dinner with a new friend, an aspiring film maker who moved to Melbourne just a couple of years ago. She took me to an amazing establishment, Chin Chin, serving modern Thai dishes for dinner.
We began the evening with cocktails and tea in the downstairs bar as we waited for a table to clear.
After an hour or so, we were called up by the maître d’ and emerged from the dimly-lit underground to be seated at a tiny table in the centre of the restaurant. The conversation around us was electrically deafening.
In a trendy manner I’ve come to expect of Melbourne, we found the menu printed along with artsy illustrations on our place mats. We ordered a light and zesty tofu salad and fish cakes to start…
… followed by an amazing yellow curry…
… and ending with a glass of candied fruit, jelly, and ice cream for dessert.
It was still a little light out when we left Chin Chin. My friend took me down Hosier Lane to admire the graffiti, and somewhere around City Square, we found this curious sculpture of a house made of twigs.
I woke up the next morning for work after a restful sleep. I had rented a private room in a townhouse in Hawthorn East for the first week of my arrival.
The three-storey townhouse was stunning. Existing residents comprised of a warm and welcoming hostess, Daniela, and her friendly cat, Minkie. I felt so spoilt over my three-day stay as Daniela offered me full access to her fully-automated espresso machine and treated me to a generous spread of pastries, fruit, cereal, and muesli bars for breakfast.
I snapped a quick self-portrait for fun and then left for Swinburne bright and early, allowing myself plenty of time to get lost along the way.
Turned out I hardly needed the head start. My building was just a comfortable 15 minute trek from where I was staying.
During my lunch break on Monday, I escaped into the city and inspected two rental properties. One was a one-bedder in south Carlton with stunning photos of the apartment. The foyer looked like the recent site of a murder and the apartments looked (and smelt) like they had been occupied by a barrel of monkeys. The other inspection was for a studio apartment in the Melbourne CBD, 3 minutes walk from Queen Victoria Markets with stunning views of the city skyline from the 15th floor. I put in an application for the latter right away and had it approved by the time I returned to Sydney on Thursday. The uncertainty of accommodation and potential homelessness was lifted from my mind immediately, and I was able to one last happy weekend with Benian before I left for Melbourne again ‘for good’.