The arrogance of Melbournians never ceases to amaze me. They consistently and forcefully state that Melbourne is the best city in the world, often with very little data to compare it to or experiences of living elsewhere. However, almost three years down the track, I almost have a soft spot for Melbourne.
When we first arrived, Melbourne was new and exciting. We enthusiastically bought thermals when we realised how cold it was. We good-naturedly timed every car trip and stared out the window at the traffic. We worked hard at meeting new people and trying to work out what made them tick (FYI it’s football or coffee; sometimes both.)
In our second year, reality started to set in. The long winter affected us both big time. The traffic seemed oppressive, especially to get over to church in Hawthorn three times a week. We had people we knew but struggled to find really good friends. We’d heard that the good chinese food was over at Box Hill but it seemed too overwhelming to try to find the suburb, let alone a favourite dumpling house.
In this our third year, I feel like things have evened out a bit. I’ve worked out the difference between Brunswick and Hawthorn, and which sub-culture I prefer. We know where to go for good dumplings (Dumpling Specialist, Box Hill), breakfast/brunch (Greens, Sydney Rd), steak night (Wednesday at Arcadia, South Yarra). We have an amazing heater with a thermostat. We know the back ways, the roads to avoid in peak hour and we have the right expectations about how long it will take to get places. We have good enough friends that we can drop in casually rather than organise dinner 2 weeks beforehand.
Melbourne no longer feels like a foreign city or an oppressive city. There’s a sense of familiarity to it, perhaps like a holiday home feels, like it’s yours even though you wouldn’t want to live there long term.
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.