Three years ago on October 11th, 2006, I stared down at beautiful Melbourne as my plane flew in to land at Tullamarine airport. Looking at the beautiful morning sun shining over the landscape, I knew I could be happy here. I knew this could be my home.
Even though I had started my trek in the US so many hours ago and had barely slept on the flight over, nervous anticipation kept me wide awake. I hastily applied some lip gloss and tried to do what I could with my hair. The plane from Sydney to Melbourne was nearly empty anyway, so I didn’t care if I looked a bit silly.
After all, I would be meeting the man I loved in person for the first time. With all the technology of phones, instant messaging and even video chats, meeting in person can never be replicated.
Of course, three years on, I look back on the day and chuckle a bit. I remember taking off my shoes because I didn’t want my husband (then boyfriend) to think I was taller than I actually was. I also remember sitting in awed silence for most of the way home, as I had never been through a city as big as Melbourne. Not to mention that I’d just come from a particularly dreary autumn in the US to the beautiful spring weather of Australia.
And, of course, within hours of arriving, my then boyfriend and now husband treated me to my first legal drink on Australian soil: a strawberry daiquiri.
All while I giggled over the fact that the café we went too actually had a menu item with the word 'ass' in it. (Big Ass Brekkie)
Three years on feels like nothing in regards to the time that has passed – merely a drop in the bucket. But I do feel I have used the time well. I have travelled to nearly every sector of Victoria as well as in many areas of Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales.
I have learned about Australian history and culture, and I have also learned a lot more about the United States than I ever could have learned within its borders. I have been exposed to countless different beliefs, ways of life, philosophies and – of course I have to mention it – food!
Alas, three years on and I still have a lot to learn. While I can have a Captain Cook at all the books I like, there are still things in Australia that only experience can teach you. Even if I wanted to spit out VB when I tried it, and even though I happily admit to liking Asti Riccadonna, putting me squarely in the ‘strange lot’ for some people, I am enjoying every moment of it.
I am even moving more of my attention into Melbourne’s café culture. I have started a website that combines my love of books and reading along with my love of cafés. You can find the site at http://www.downunderviews.com I have a notebook filled with places I’ve been from the Tea Rooms in Hall’s Gap to Center Stage Café in Chelsea, so if you have any recommendations for places you love anywhere in Australia, please do not hesitate to contact me either on the website.
Though I had twenty years in the US, I didn't truly begin living until I came to Australia. Not only because The Bloke and I met and then got married. Not only because I had moved to a new county. I truly began to live because I found the place I was meant to live in and the person I was meant to be with all along.
Australia is a beautiful place, as I am sure I have told you many times and many ways in these posts. I only wish that everyone had the opportunity to travel here and experience life here (and then go home, as too many people not leaving tends to upset the locals a bit).
I’m raising a glass to three beautiful years in a country I absolutely adore and to the man - The Bloke - who made it all possible to happen.
I’m hoping that there will be many more years and good memories to come.
Until next time…