I am pleased to report that I am feeling much more settled in Melbourne. I am even beginning to call my house here ‘home’ instead of just constantly referring to it as ‘the Darling House’. When I first moved in, I would spend whole days on my own in the house, not going out because of the weather, lack of things to do, lack of money or lack of people to do things with. I spent a great deal of time wallowing, and not doing much of anything else.
After a month in Australia, desperate the start doing something with my time along with earning some much-needed money, I signed up to a hospitality agency. The agency provides staff for different venues around the city to help out at sporting events, conventions and private parties. I was fairly shocked to receive a call from them, after submitting my CV, as I have absolutely no experience in hospitality. However, I was given the job on the spot and began working at events in the city centre almost straight away.
Through work, I have managed to start meeting new people, which has been a godsend because for a little while I was feeling very lonely and really wanted to cut my losses and head back to England (around the time of my last post). Working for an agency is great because you end up working with lots of like-minded people e.g. travellers looking for enough work to save money and then continue their travels. The people I work with are from all over the world and all have so many different stories; work is never boring because of this.
Meeting new people means I always have something different to do and new suggestions for places to try. Grabbing a knock off drink or something to eat is a great way to realise that your job is actually not that bad, even when your feet have been torn to shreds by your new shoes. We went out as a group to the local bar outside work and got to know each other better, enjoying spending time together away from work.
Through the combination of iPhone apps and advice from people I’ve met, I’ve tried out some fantastic places to eat and drink; notably Huxtaburger in the CBD, which sells arguably the best burgers in Melbourne. It is set up with a sort of American diner-feel, with a selection of burgers named after characters from ‘The Cosby Show’, including Bill, Sondra and Rudy. The tag-line is ‘Hot Beef. Cold Beer’, which describes the simplicity of the joint perfectly.
The reason I rate it? It’s so unusual to find such a good veggie burger in any restaurant which boasts about the best burgers in town on the menu. Huxtaburger has accomplished this hands down. Not only is there the perfect veggie burger on the menu ‘Sondra’, you can also opt to have the tofu pattie in any one of the burger options. With generous toppings smeared between a brioche bun, it’s like heaven in your mouth with every bite. Worth noting are the crinkle fries, which go perfectly with mustard and complement the burgers ingeniously. With three restaurants around the Melbourne area, I thoroughly recommend trying it out as soon as possible.
Having tried Siglo, may I also offer up another fantastic rooftop bar in the CBD, Campari House, on Hardware Lane. Stefani and I went to Campari for lunch and drinks on a brilliantly sunny, but windy, Monday afternoon. Anyone who has been to Hardware Lane in Melbourne knows that it hold an incredible array of restaurants from a baguette shop to an atmospheric Italian restaurant. Campari House boasts seating downstairs as well as upstairs, with slightly different menus in each area. We chose to climb the jailtime stairs with interestingly decorated walls to the rooftop bar, where we were rewarded for our efforts with a vast selection of wines, cocktails and beers along with a delicious gourmet pizza menu. We were also sheltered from the wind.
I would recommend Campari House as a great place to go for lunch during your working day or for drinks on any balmy evening. There are plenty of tables and an interesting prospect (though no view over the city), of the tall buildings around you, and the faint city noise below. We both opted for pizza – mine was eggplant (aubergine) with smoked mozzarella. The combination was stunning and I enjoyed every last bite, washed down with a glass of white wine – recommended to me by the barman.
We then stopped for macarons at La Belle Miette, just because we could.
My parents came to Australia in August which gave me a huge pick-me-up. I spent the weekend with them in Hervey Bay along with my uncle and my grandparents and it really helped me gain some perspective and help me realise that what I was doing was the right thing. I decided to move here, so I need to make it work. It is a comfort to know I have family a short plane journey away too (though Queensland is surprisingly far from Melbourne). I was never any good at keeping in touch with my parents when I lived in Ascot, but I’m really enjoying the contact since I’ve been here. Little reassurances go a long way.
I have now spoken to my housemates – eventually we all came out of our rooms and now spend quite a bit of time together. We are a quirky bunch, and all of us from somewhere different; I’m English, Luke is Australian, Simon is a New Zealander, Marcel is from the Czech Republic and Ronnie is from India. I don’t see Marcel and Ronnie much because they work all of the time but Simon and Luke are around quite a lot and each of them are interesting in their own way. Everyone looks out for me too, to makes sure I’m eating correctly and getting my life on track a bit more or even bringing me McDonald’s in bed after a heavy night. I’m very lucky to have them.
I have had plenty of time to think about what I’d like to do going forward, but things are still very much up in the air. Due to the nature of my lease, and my mental state at the moment, I think it unlikely that I will complete my reigional work in order to stay in Australia another year. I am, however, incredibly keen to see more of the country, so I hope to accomplish that over the next few months, but also find a job which fills more of my time.
I will continue posting photos and updates about my adventures, and would love to know if you are reading them. Please leave a comment to let me know what you’d like more of and perhaps suggestions of what I should do in and around Melbourne.
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