5 weeks ago I was at the Melbourne Tullamarine Airport getting picked up by two complete strangers. I had no idea where I would be staying, what I would be doing, and who I would be hanging out with. All of these uncertainties would probably cause people to stress out, but not knowing my future actually was exciting to me! (I know… it’s a weird thing to get excited about.)
Living here for more than a month has taught me a lot of things about Melbourne and myself. Here are some quickies that I discovered so far:
- The Myki (transit) system is not that bad. I remember complaining about how expensive transit is in the beginning but after getting my concession card, the maximum amount I pay per day is only $3.50. For adults, it was $7.00. I also wasn’t used to the train doors not being automatic like the skytrains in Vancouver, but now I know not to stare and the door and confuse the people on the other side when I want to exit.
- Many people cycle here, so… I bought a bicycle. My impulsive decision to buy a $50 second-hand bike acted as an incentive to exercise and save money on transit. It was good at first, but then I gradually discovered how much I disliked cycling. Who knew Melbourne had such long roads and large hills?! Oh well… let’s hope I use it more than once a month, heh.
- Want to make friends? Attend social events. Best way to meet locals and exchange students is to attend events, parties, social shindigs hosted by them! Although make sure you are healthy before going to any of these functions! I remember trying to introduce myself on the dance floor but couldn’t have a conversation because it was constantly being disrupted by my gnarly coughs. The environment was already loud, but being sick makes meeting people a little more difficult.
- The price you see is the price you pay. Back in Vancouver, a $9.99 meal meant you had to add 12% tax to it, then add an additional 12-15% tip to it which ended up costing you over $12. In Melbourne, a $9.99 meal means you pay $9.99 since tax is already included and tipping is not customary. Many people think living in Melbourne is expensive but once you compare the prices after taxes and tips, I think Vancouver is actually much more costly!
- There are heaps of restaurants, cafes, and shopping centres! It is definitely hard walking past all of these eateries without feeling tempted to enter and try out their food. I was doing some work late at night and craved something sweet to eat, so ended up buying some frozen yogurt to satisfy my cravings. Though the froyo was a bit expensive ($5) in my opinion, I enjoyed every bite of it!
- There are palm trees everywhere! Even though it is winter in Melbourne, the whole city is covered with tropical plants!
- Visit the zoo or the outer suburbs to see the ‘roos! Sorry to burst your bubble, but kangaroos do not casually hop around the city and spiders are not hiding in your shoes. Just drive an hour ago from the city and you’ll be good to go!
The Melbourne experience is pretty awesome so far. One month down – four more to go!