The Melbourne Identity

So…long story short, I’m no longer an au pair. This means that I now have a much more flexible work schedule since I can switch shifts, get covered etc and can do other things–like travel! Coincidentally, my friends were planning a short weekend trip to Melbourne the weekend after my last week of work. This was great because it allowed me to stay longer and see my other friend, who lives just outside of the city. Everyone says Melbourne is a lot different from Sydney, and I’d say it is, though I’m not sure which one I like better. I feel like I like Sydney better, but only because I know where to go around here. I’m sure if I lived in Melbourne and visited Sydney, I’d like it there better for the same reasons.

My friends and I spent the weekend wandering around different parts of the city. It was pretty cool. The city is a lot more organised than Sydney and the public transport is also a billion times better. I love Sydney, but to be honest, it’s a bit of a hot mess.
Maybe that’s why I love it so much.
Kidding. But not. But really…

I think that’s my cue to lead in with some photos.

The first day, I got there later than my friends so I caught up with the friend I was staying with, then went out to dinner and the town with the girls. The next day we wandered the city for a bit then headed down to St. Kildas, which is where their “beach” is. I say “beach” because it’s more like a dirty little bay. I will say this about Sydney, the beaches are amazing no matter where you are and half of the suburbs are either on water or very close to water. Melbourne just has a dirty river and a dirty bay…Not cool.  The town itself is still nice though. 

 

The next day, we took a drive down the Great Ocean Road. This was a bit terrifying seeing as none of us had driven in months, and some of us hadn’t even driven on the other side of the road. It was fine though. I started out driving since I was the only one who’d driven here and I found it to be quite easy. I guess my problem with driving on this side of the road was that my old neighborhood basically had 1.5 lane roads where you had to pull over every five seconds to let a car pass. Whatever. Anyway. The drive is beautiful!!! Like I said before in a previous post, I really miss driving so I was really happy to be on the open road once more. If you’re ever in Australia, you need to do this drive! It’s incredible! We drove about four or five hours each way to “The Twelve Apostles” which is towards the end of the drive. If you ever go though, please bring warm clothes. As my old host mum once said, “No matter what temperature it is in Melbourne, it’s probably a good 10 degrees colder in Melbourne” and seeing as that’s 10 degrees Celsius, it gets a lot colder than you think.
Please note how the first picture is incredibly sunny and then note how windy it is in the next few.

 

On the way back, we found a “petting zoo” which I’m pretty sure was just someone’s farm. However, they advertised roos and koalas so we felt like we absolutely had to go. In NSW you can’t pet roos or koalas or something weird like that, so I haven’t had the authentic Aussie experience yet…Now I have though! Czech aut the fauxtoes!

 

The next day my friends left and the friends I was staying with had work so I went and explored the city some more. I went to a lot of the museums. Australia has such beautiful museums. I love it here!

Zombie statues. No big.

And finally, this is how Aussies spend Christmas--tanning 🙂

 

One of the nights, my friend took me to his parents’ place out in the country 30 minutes from where they live. It was amazing because just before dinner, I looked outside and there were literally about two dozen kangaroos just hanging out in the back yard. I feel like I’m living in a zoo. This place is incredible!

 

 

 

A New Year, a New Page

For some reason my still married parents choose to email me separately several times a week…and they have both begun every email with, “We haven’t heard from you…” and ended them with “Update your blog–everyone keeps emailing us wondering where an update is”

I think there’s a reason they get along so well.

I have a really good reason for not updating. I promise. I moved out and no longer have internet at my house. I could walk to McDonalds down the road but it’s always so packed since it’s summer that their internet is slower

If I were Miranda Priestly, this is what I would say to the internet at McDonalds. Let's be real though, any excuse to make a Meryl Streep reference.

than a geriatric walking down the street and my friend who I usually steal internet from has been on vacation for ages…I will get to a big update soon about the cool stuff I’ve been doing since…November. Okay. I have no excuse for not updating at all in November but I have an excuse for the last few weeks…

So…surprise! I’m not an au pair anymore!

It’s a really long story–if you want details talk to me later. Long story short, the mum was already a stay-at-home mum and the dad’s business, which he owns, changed and he moved it all home so with two parents at home, I was redundant. It was kind of good timing. I wanted a change of pace anyway and a more flexible schedule. Plus, with other jobs you can make a ton of money. Did I mention minimum wage is twice what it is in America? And I’m paying the same amount in rent here that I was back in California. I’ve mentioned this to a few people now and everyone says the same thing–that I’m only making twice as much because things are twice as expensive. Not true. Not everything is twice as expensive. Yes, there are certain things where the markup is way more than twice as much. A pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is like $12 here, a large bottle of my shampoo and conditioner is over $80 combined, my $4 facewash is also $12, etc. For the most part though, Things are only a small percentage more expensive. I guess when you’re used to bargain shopping at Trader Joe’s it’s a big difference, but compared to the big chain grocery stores it’s not that different. With two, sometimes three times the money, it’s more than enough to live off of. California I think has the highest minimum wage in the US and yet, with the amount of rent we have to pay, which is practically the same as it is here, working 40 hours a week barely cuts it. In one full day of working, I made enough money to not only pay off my weekly rent, but also buy a lot of good groceries. That doesn’t happen in America. I’m genuinely concerned about how I’m going to be able to afford anything when I get back…I guess I’m off to work the corner. Kidding. I hope nobody had a heart attack before the read “kidding.” The other thing is that in America, we have all of these hidden costs. Sure, that camera cost $599.00 but with tax, you could be tacking on an extra $60! What about food? That family dinner that cost you $50 will now cost you about $60 with tip. In my opinion, things start to even out here and there and it’s not so different here. Australians just aren’t sneaky like Americans are.

In other news, I just moved into a new place closer to the beach with a bunch of girls who are also traveling. There’s a few Irish girls, a Canadian, and a Chilean and up until the other day I was sharing with a girl from the UK. Pretty much everyone in the building is a traveler so it’s cool getting to know people from different countries. It’s actually like a giant dorm except everyone is of age and we have no RAs–so it’s obviously better. It’s so much fun here. I’ve made a thousand new friends and have spent my days laying on the beach enjoying the (finally) warm weather! Don’t worry–I’ve been using a lot of sunscreen!

This is NOT what I want to happen. Therefore, I apply a lot of sunscreen. I apologize for the crappy quality--I don't have my drawing pad with me...

I also got another job this week. I went in for a trial at a restaurant, which was supposed to last an hour, and got asked to stay until we closed so I got paid and I got scheduled for the rest of the week. I’m really excited. The place is crazy busy as it’s right on one of the busiest beaches in Sydney. My first day was pretty hectic seeing as I was not only learning everything but also trying to keep up with the crowds. There is so much to remember but I think I was able to pick it up pretty quickly because I just had to do it. I’m excited. I have a few shifts this week so we’ll see how it goes!

Anyway, like I said. Lots to update. I went to The Aria Awards (the Aussie Grammies), went to Melbourne, celebrated Christmas, and also saw the famous fireworks. Pictures and stories up sometime before I get back!
Thanks for keeping up with someone better than the Kardashians!

Until next time, you stay classy, earth.