Spring Time in Melbourne! | 04-100917

Week of Excitement. S left for Melbourne on Sunday night, messaging me daily to say that it is cold, rainy and windy there, stirring up all the season-loving butterflies in my stomach. He works all day and late into the night every day, and it’s going really well, he’s loving it, having great conversations, learning interesting new things, connecting dots. I pack my bags and follow on Thursday night, excitement having built up gradually all week and culminating with the red eye flight. Going back to a place I loved when I first experienced it, and experiencing Southern hemisphere spring for the first time. Thankful I can work wherever I am. Ahead of me is a whole week of meeting cheerful, energetic and kind people, who will be asking, How’y going?, with seemingly genuine interest in my reply, as well as beautiful nature and good coffee. Overcast and windy all week, Melbourne puts on her blue skies and bright sunshine for the weekend, while the air is crisp and invigorating, creating a perfectly fresh and exciting atmosphere. Yay! 

Spring! Land at 5:30am. Put on my black wool hat, breathe in the fresh, dry air, take a taxi to South Melbourne, the bright sunlight flicking between the skyscrapers and cute wooden terraced houses. The thrill of it. The taxi stops in front on a stately red brick building, an old converted school, with cherry trees in bloom in the front yard. S comes out to let me in, both of us excitedly hugging and kissing as if we hadn’t seen each other for weeks. We go to the back of the building and enter a small neat garden in front of our studio flat, which is super nice – airy, clean, divided into two floors, with trendy and cosy decor on both. He has two gifts for me – a small notebook with a koala hugging a pink takeaway cup on the cover, and a natural toothpaste with a koala and eucalyptus leaves on the packaging (I literally just ran out!). After I’ve quickly unwrapped those and taken in every millimetre of our home for the weekend, we walk down the little alley next to our home, crossing over the street to South Melbourne Market, which I immediately love – the perfect balance of rustic wholesomeness and industrial coolness. All of the shiny fruits, veggies, baked goods, locally designed clothes and shoes and knickknack! ‘Come on, I know where I wanna take you!’, S says as I’m standing there marvelling at the street art on the exposed brick walls of the market. My favourite phrase – I’m like a puppy wagging its tail and hopping along every time I hear it. Brekkie at Chez Dre…. which is as romantic and stunning, but not too stylised, as can be. My first real Australian long black on the trip. I look like this:

Back home, quick shower, ready, walk hand in hand (well, for two seconds, before I start taking pictures of every charming feature we pass) in the clear sunlight down the broad avenues to the National Gallery, entering it via an flyover footpath leading from the ballet company building (another, ‘follow me, I know where I wanna take you’ route). Lying outside the museum on the edge of a fountain, sunshine on our faces, waiting for it to open at 10am. Work from the cafe. S leaves for an event at noon. I walk along the river, smiling at the palm trees and the skyline. Head over to cute pink Vacation Coffee on Exhibition Road for a third long black. Was gonna continue onto the library to work, then go for a barre class and a date with myself at Chin Chin in Flinders Lane, but suddenly I start feeling dizzy and exhausted. Guess I’ve reached my limit. No sleep on the flight. A sudden 20 degrees temperature difference. Childlike excitement. I need to listen to my body. Taxi home, sleep for a few hours, work for 4-5 hours, sleep, no food, a bit of tea, shaking all over, chattering teeth, spine and muscles hurting badly. S comes home at 11pm, after the opening party of VidCon, and as soon as he sees me, he pops out again to get me some medicine from 7-Eleven. I throw up and take the Panadol, and I don’t know if it’s that or the fact that he is so radiant, telling me stories from his wonderful day, or the pills, but before I fall asleep again, I feel much better…

Spring! Feel fine as I wake up at 7, still a bit weak, slow start with a hot shower, tea, grapefruit and flicking through a local magazine in a ray of morning light shining into our combined living room and kitchen. Airbnb means we really live here. S leaves for the video conference at 8:30am. I walk out into the wonderful South Melbourne world, love the broad avenues, design-led shops, cafes, happy people, sunshine, trees in bloom. Dressed in a million layers of woollen t-shirts and sweaters, with my leather jacket and a big scarf on top. Barre class at Barre Body, in their small studio in a lane behind the market, industrial vibe, sweet teacher who also had a knee injury and gives me great modifications when needed. Yoga, ballet and pilates merged wonderfully. Just what I needed. After class, I still feel a bit weak though, so instead of going for the long walk in the Botanical Gardens and over to Fitzroy and Collingwood as I had planned, I take a chilled morning in So:Me, browsing in bookstore and other alluring shops, meandering around the gorgeous market, reading magazines and papers in the sun, peeling off my layers as it gets warmer towards lunchtime, coffee and juice at St Ali, circling back to the market, want to buy flowers and books and oysters, but buy a pair of beautiful blue leather shoes instead, and have lunch at the kitchen counter at Bambu. The gorgeous weather continues … I download the OBike app and go cycling – through our neighbourhood, over to the bridge leading to the centre of town, up Swanston Street, gaze left towards the broad avenues filled with trams and skaters and happy people walking leisurely, want to go there, cycle to Docklands, glassy skyscrapers, small manicured parks, the water, turn back to the centre, up Lygon Street to Fitzroy, stop for a glass of wine and some people watching at cosy Heartattack and Vine, continue down Smith Street, now in the dark, up Gertrude Street, where we walked together in April, down along Swanston, so cosy with street musicians and trams, to South Bank, soaking in the atmosphere by the water, enter Saké Restaurant and Bar, where I’m soon joined by S and the couple of our friends we stayed with in Mornington Peninsula in April – beautiful sushi, conversation and setting.

Spring! Wake up early, sunshine, out, out out! Market, Clement Coffee Roasters, outside, between bushes, dogs, friends… sourdough bread, flavourful mango, walk over to the barre studio for the best class ever… feel like every little muscle in my body is being attended to… it’s challenged and controlled, but I feel that it speaks right to me, I’m good at it and feel strong, maybe also especially because I feel stronger than yesterday… Shower… get ready for today’s exploring on my own (last day of VidCon; S is moderating a panel discussion, being interviewed by a pair of teenagers and making a video with his boss). OBike – passing cute white villas framed by palm trees and blooming cherry trees, around Albert Park lake, which is full of rowing boats, dinghies and… BLACK swans! Apparently, Australian swan just are black – learning something new, haha! Out to Chapel Street, pretty lively and happening street, love how they’ve carved out space for pedestrians, parked cars, moving cars and trams AND green-painted bike lanes, awesome… out to Yarra, over to Top Paddock for a delicious lunch of cauliflower, lemon-drenched kale and almond hummus salad, coffee and green juice, looking at the baristas who are real team players, on to Denis the Menace, just to check it out, love the industrial vibe, the creative paint, the quaint Victorian neighbours, the small terraced houses with lace-like banisters, lavender bushes in front, the whole world is sun-drenched today… back down Chapel Street, down Fitzroy St to St Kilda… along coast, through the green park sloping down to the beach, people playing volley in the white sand, spot S coming towards me – we walk out the pier to the quaint pavilion at the centre of it, drinks on the terrace as we watch the most spectacular image in front of us – seagulls soaring above softly rocking blue boats, the recreational skyline of the yacht masts set against the industrial skyline of the skyscrapers set against the blue sky slowly turning orange, ah. Joining the crowds who are gathering in silent anticipation on the pier above us, watching as penguins come swimming in after sunset, having spent the whole day fishing for anchovies in the bay, and now returning to sleep under the rocks of the pier… the St Kilda penguin colony counts 1200, a volunteer tells us…. so cute, as they’re hopping up the rocks… first time I’ve ever seen them outside a zoo… it’s getting cold… walk back in, have dinner at casual Republica, very happing, and very delicious too… S is exhausted but happy after his full-on week of events… I’m sleepy and happy too… Uber back, fall asleep to an On Being podcast about mindfulness at 9:30pm…

Early on Monday morning (after coffee and brekkie at Good Egg), we go to Sydney, Brisbane and Byron Bay. I talked to my parents last night, when they were meeting up with my brother in Aarhus for some lunch and shopping, and I so longed to be with them, spend unlimited time with them, go on one of those old, cosy, exciting family trips to the big town in autumn, but not for a split second do I wonder what I’m doing here, so far away from them. They are in my heart – and I am here. In Australia! For the second time! With memories here already, making it feel like home, and so many new things to discover and notice, such as a new season. Spring in Autumn! How cool is that. I love S and our lives.

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