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What difference a year (in Melbourne) makes!

What difference a year (in Melbourne) makes!

We've recently been celebrating the first anniversary of our arrival and I'm pleased to announce that I'm no longer the stressed out mess who arrived at Melbourne airport a year ago!

We've recently been celebrating the first anniversary of our arrival and I'm pleased to announce that I'm no longer the stressed out mess who arrived at Melbourne airport a year ago!

I had dreaded saying my goodbyes to everyone back in the UK, but in the event I was glad to get to Heathrow, because the last few weeks in the UK were among the most hectic I can remember. In addition to the usual 'joys' of moving, (excessive last minute DIY, extreme hangovers from leaving dos), we had to contend with a death in the family and the aftermath of a freak storm that left a gaping hole in our roof, (who said something always breaks when you're leaving?)

On arrival, my first impressions of Melbourne were that it was a pleasant enough international city. I don't think it had the immediate visual impact of some other cities I've been to, but it's definitely a place that rewards you if you're willing to explore. I have lost count of the number of times we have found quirky little cafes and bars that are so poorly signed and so hidden away down the laneways that you almost feel like you should give a secret knock to get in. I should also mention the amazing selection of independent shops, (my bank balance is suffering), and cakes (so is my waistline).

What has impressed me about Melbourne is that it's possible to live in the city and not feel like you're part of a sprawling metropolis, we are a short distance from the CBD and within walking distance of several parks. For us, being near the city has been great while we've been getting to know the area, (admittedly we are a youngish couple with no kids and are renting, we would probably have to move if we decided to buy or multiply).

There's usually something interesting going on. Melbourne council happily take any excuse to hold a festival, (in fact I think I might be getting festival fatigue now), not to mention the sporting events, (still impressed that I got a top day out at the Australian Open for $25!).

So it's all gone swimmingly then? Er, no actually.
When I first arrived I was on a WHV. I found finding regular work was a nightmare, and yes, I was open minded and willing to try just about anything, I just wanted to avoid call centres. Although my first job was in a call centre, actually it was OK, but it involved a lot of weekend and evening work, which made it difficult to meet people. In my more neurotic moments I did start to wonder if I would find a job again (I had expected to miss my friends and family, but I hadn't expected to miss my career, I am obviously sadder than I realised!). But, thankfully my fortunes changed, I came home to find my yellow envelope confirming my defacto spouse status. A month later, I was turning down a decent job offer,and I'm now back in a job where I'm learning lots. I know money isn't everything but it's good to have a regular income and be busy again.

{mosbanner right}Don't know what the next year holds in store for us, but in the meantime I have some great memories of the last year; among them, my close encounters with wombats and kangaroos whilst camping at Wilson's Prom, swimming with seals, the Great Ocean Road and the moonlight cinema in the botanical gardens. I just hope I don't start to take all of this stuff for granted.