Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Day at the Races and Other First Impressions

I was greeted in Melbourne by sunshine, blue skies, and a man in a suit holding a sign with my name on it (sorry everyone, I did not get a picture of him).  I arrived on a Friday morning, but because I had spent the prior 4 days in Korea and had a pretty good sleep on the plane, I was ready to explore to the city!  And most importantly I was ready to see Kelly!!  Kelly was my BFW (Best Friend at Work) at EY in Minneapolis. Kelly moved to Melbourne at the end of June.  As soon as we were reunited it felt like we hadn’t been apart.  That’s how it’s supposed to be with great friends right?
On my first night in the city Kelly took me to dinner with “the French” on Friday night – some fellow EYers and spouses who are from France.  Saturday was spent at the races.  The week I arrived was the Melbourne Cup Carnival.  We attended Stakes Day which is the last day of the Carnival.  It was so fun to get dressed up and go to the races. Next year I am definitely getting a big hat! 

I don’t start work until Nov. 15, so this week has been spent mostly exploring the city.  I now feel pretty familiar with the CBD area (downtown) and to some extent St. Kilda also (where we plan to live).  I at least know how the trams that take me to St. Kilda from CBD!
  Tuesday night I had dinner with my friend Chhing who was part of the Contiki trip I took in 2004.  Chhing and I had dinner on Lygon Street which would be considered the “Little Italy” of Melbourne.  After dinner we walked around the Docklands.  The Docklands is a fairly new area with lots of restaurants and bars along the Yarra River.  
On Thursday I took the free bus that circles the city back to the Docklands to the Harbor Town Shopping Center.  There are lots of outlet shops there and the prices are much better than shops in the city.  Also on Thursday I met up with my friend Justin for coffee.  Justin and his wife Kiz were part of the tour group I was with this summer in Africa.  Kiz was sick so she could not join, but I am looking forward to seeing her soon!  It’s so great to already know people in the city!
Here are some of my random thoughts from my first week:
·         I find myself eavesdropping on people’s conversations a lot just because I like to listen to their accents.
·         The money here reminds me of Monopoly money so it is very easy to spend it.  I need to remember that I have been without a job since Oct. 13!  The smallest bill is a $5 so change also adds up fast with $2 and $1 coins.  Matt reminded me that dropping change on the ground is more dangerous than it used to be!
·         Diet Coke costs about $2.20/can or $3.50/bottle.  This should hopefully motivate me to cut my caffeine addiction.
·         Kelly and I saw two penguins in St. Kilda – this just solidifies why I want to live there!
·         I haven’t had any Tim Tams yet.
·         People here are way trendier than I am.  I need to find a bar that will let me in wearing a kickball t-shirt and flip flops (yes, I'll be wearing pants too).
·         Subway is one of the cheapest food options so I have been there several times.  So noticeable differences:  green peppers = capsicum (I knew this one from Annie!), they have sweet chili, hot chili, and tomato sauce.  Who wants ketchup on their sandwich?  You can add pineapple to your sandwich.  And they have smoothies which are pretty good!
My computer is not letting me upload pictures at the moment so I will add more later! 

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