It's time again for Retro Friday, and I'm in Melbourne!!
|Tom browsing in the Brunswick St bookstore|
|Melbourne street art - I love it!|
|My first latte in Melbourne - bliss!|
|Shanghai Dumpling House. Need I say more? :)|
|Mango granita on a hot afternoon at Journal|
|Laughed very hard at this :)|
So, seeing that I'm in Melbourne at the moment, I thought it might be nice to revisit one of my earliest posts, when I first moved here seven years ago. As you all know, there has been a lot of change and upheaval in my life since then, all of it good (thought it didn't always feel that way at the time!), and the move to Melbourne in 2005 was just the beginning of all that change. It was the stone that started the ripple effect. But moving to Melbourne was a hard decision to make - branching out and breaking away from everything that I'd ever known up to that point was a huge thing to do. I remember having coffee with my friend Kris in Hobart about a month before the move, terrified that it would be a big mistake and how would I cope in a new state, in a big city, where I knew about two people!
Change is hard. Even when you know it's for the best, and that you will grow because of it, it's hard. But once you go through it, and you're on the other side, you wonder what you were ever afraid of.
Being back in Melbourne this time feels wonderful, not tinged with sadness or too fleeting and brief like the last few times I've been here. We've still been pretty busy but there's been some lovely snatches of downtime with people I haven't seen properly for years and reconnecting with this place that became so much a part of me and my identity when I lived in it. It is a magical city. I still love it with a passion, and it still surprises me. But I'm not the same person I was when I lived here, but nor is Melbourne the same city I lived in at the time; it has changed, albeit subtly. But it's been nice, and gratifying, to realise that and to make some new memories here when I return. I love making new memories. That's what life's all about!
And it's fitting that yesterday I met up with my old friend Ash, as today's retro post describes our first meeting! She was not only the first friend I made in Melbourne, but also the first person I ever met "off the internet" and I remember being so nervous when I finally met her in person after being a reader/lurker!! Remember this was 2005 and, to me at least, having online friends was still a really new thing! I mentioned this to Ash over our mango granita (me) and skim latte (her) yesterday and she agreed, remembering explaining to her somewhat sceptical husband who I was. "I don't know her, but I know her!" she recalled saying! We were both very careful about making sure we met in a public place (South Melbourne market) and both of us having our mobiles in case the other turned out to be a psycho - our natural wariness turned out to be completely unfounded of course!
As with all my old friends, whenever we meet up again after a few years it feels like no time has passed at all. It felt as if she lives nearby but we just hadn't caught up for a while. I love that about my friends here :) And while a lot has changed in both our lives since that first meeting nearly seven years ago, a lot hasn't - I love being around her, and find her such easy company, as I did that very first day :)
30th October 2005
I've had a wonderful day today. I met up with fellow blogger Ash in person at the South Melbourne Market, and we had the best time!
We had a delicious lunch at a cafe called Bunyip, then walked around the markets for a while. I have a thing about markets. I love everything about them - the atmosphere, the sights, the smells, the sounds. I go weak at the knees at the sight of glistening pyramids of polished apples, bunches of feathery coriander and parsley, just picked crispy lettuces beady with dew. I love the smell of coffee beans, fresh lillies and sandalwood soaps. I even love that musty, market smell of the clothes stalls - it reminds me of uni (for some weird reason). After being a bit disappointed at not being able to afford the luxury art supplies I saw in Fitzroy last week, I was delighted to see watercolour paint sets and canvases at this market at very reasonable prices. I also loved the scented candle and soap stalls. Some of the soaps smelled good enough to eat - the chocolate one, for example! I couldn't resist the scented candles - I got two little votives in Vanilla and French Pear.
Then, we had a steamed South Melbourne market dim sim. I had heard so much about these dim sims. My friend Mark had assured me that they would be the best I'd ever eaten. We took our place in the queue and watched as the stallholders doled out dim sims and spring rolls to the eager market-goers. Very brisk, very methodical. Ash made me laugh when she compared it to the Soup Nazi character in Seinfeld. "No dim sim for you! You come back, one year!"
We got our dim sims and found a little table to sit down at. "This is heaven in a paper bag," said Ash. She was right. It was, without a doubt, the best dim sim ever! It wasn't mushy, like some I've had, it was firm and fresh and delicious. I could have eaten a hundred of them. But at 3 points each, I savoured every mouthful of my sole indulgence. If there's one thing I've learned on this journey (and I've learned a great deal!), it's that I don't need to eat enough for an army to feel satisfied.
We bought fruit and vegetables as well - I was amazed at the quality and freshness of the produce, and also at the incredibly low prices. I bought some lovely spring vegetables - a huge bundle of asparagus, a bunch of bok choy and some yellow squash - and some fragrant, ripe strawberries. I also couldn't resist the beautiful lillies, and bought myself a $5 bunch of them. They are on my dining room table now. By tomorrow, my home will smell like a flower shop!
We ended up going to Richmond for the afternoon and then on to the London Tavern for dinner. Ashley's husband John came along too, and we all chatted like old friends - you'd never think we'd only met that day! While in Richmond, I bought a yoga DVD for $6.95 at booktalk, a new and preloved book store and cafe. It's called Yoga Tv - the dvd for switched on living. It's got over two and a half hours of yoga, with six different classes . I'm looking forward to trying it tomorrow. I figured for $6.95 I had nothing to lose, and after finding a link to it on the web I've noticed it retails for $26 elsewhere, so I'm stoked!!
NB from 2012 Phil: I found that DVD while in Hobart and am planning to give it a go once I get home, for old times sake! ;)
Today made me realise how much I love living in Melbourne. The sun was out, the streets were bustling and alive, there were people everywhere, smiling and having a good time (including me!). Every time I venture out in this city, I discover something new and magical. Yes, there is a small part of me that sometimes longs for the familiarity of Hobart, but those moments are few and far between. To be honest, life there had got very stale (I didn't realise that until we moved). I never really had to think in Hobart - I did things on auto pilot. I went to the same places, did the same things. Here in Melbourne, everything is new, everything is exciting. I am never bored. I'm feeling more and more at home every day.
I made sure I had my camera with me, so Ash and I could show all our Blogland friends some evidence of our fun day together. She is such a beautiful girl, so kind and friendly. We hit it off so well - it's astonishing that we only met today. Maybe I knew her in a past life, or something! So, here we are, after dinner, in the beer garden of the London Tavern:
NB from 2012 Phil: huge difference in the two pics! We look so different now!! In those seven years I've learned how to apply make up, for a start! ;)
I had a beautiful Sri Lankan chicken curry for dinner, which Ash and I thought was around 8 points. Including my dim sim at the market, I've finished the day on 20 points! Not too shabby.
Thanks again, Ash, for such a fantastic day!
Who was the first person you met "off the internet"? :)