A Week in Melbourne

This week is not by any means like every other week, but it definitely has many similarities to others. It seems like the less I plan things, the more fun I end up having!

Friday
It is a public holiday, since it’s the Grand Final of Aussie rules football (AFL) the following day. Wait, what? So no work on Friday, and everything has weird opening hours. I am lucky enough to have a friend lend me his bike since he bought a new one, so I need to learn how to a) ride a road racer and b) learn how to obey the rules. Luckily enough there are heaps of bike lanes in the city.

I go to South Melbourne market, have a bike ride, and spend the evening with a friend in a huge artists’ market browsing through all the wonderful things that would be cool to have but I cannot afford. It’s about 30 degrees warm during the day, so I can easily walk home at night with just one shirt.

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Saturday
The Big Game Day, and I have no clue what to do. A nice bike ride in the morning sun, Southbank-Albert Park-Saint Kilda-Prahran-South Melbourne-Southbank. I do stop at Prahran market as well as stock up on Questbars in the awesome hidden gem, Prahran convenience. Afterwards I decide to join a friend to a pub in Richmond to “watch the game”, more like observe all the interesting Aussie spectacle sports behavior. During the game we come up with plans for the next steps, and decide to head to a random house party in Fitzroy. We take a pitstop in Little Saigon to fill ourselves for the ride and the night. The party turns out to be in a massive dream house that has a sweet sweet pool, and we leave only when we can’t keep our eyes open anymore at 2am. First bikeride in the dark, empty city feels good, probably because it’s again t-shirt weather.

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Sunday
Picnic day. I spend the morning baking stuff (not smart to keep the oven on in the heat), and head to the Carlton Gardens around 2. All other people are pretty much late, so I get pretty frustrated with all the lying down and not doing anything. All in all I end up spending 5 hours at the park, hanging out with friends and meeting new ones. Afterwards we go to St. Kilda to a funky party with singers walking in the crowd while singing. Decent end for the long weekend. And I didn’t even burn in the sun!

Monday
After work I have a dreaded dentists’ appointment, and they suggest they take my wisdom tooth out. Half an hour later I walk out to the heat with one less tooth that they refused to give back me due to Australian law (wtf), and stitches in my swollen mouth. I have banana ice cream for dinner, and wonder if the numbness wears out by the next day.

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Tuesday
After work I go to a bar to work for a few hours, after which I spend the evening with a friend who always makes me want to improve myself in many ways. I miss my wisdom tooth, physically. It hurts.

Wednesday
Free coffee in the park after work, yay! I feel sluggish after not working out for 3 days, so I decide to go to a TRX class. I love the sneaky burn with no jumping and running around.

Thursday
I work 10 hours and find out my F45 class I was looking forward to is cancelled. I get frustrated, go to pilates instead, and don’t feel like I’ve done anything. I take a “little” detour on my way home and decide to bike trough South Yarra and Prahran to Southbank.

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Friday
I have a PT appointment after work and have to ride on some scary roads and a bridge to get there. Worth it, though! I rush to the city to go the Asian food truck festival in Queen Victoria market. What a summery night – warm, good music, loads of people, food!

 

And this was just the beginning of the weekend! (Ok fair enough I worked on Saturday so weekend was just Sunday for me, but I did manage to have a swim, dinner date, and go to a Japanese festival where I wore a kimono and did tea ceremony. Success.)

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Songs of 2015 (or Travel)

We all remember the good ol’ days with c-cassettes and how you’d have to tape your favorite songs when you heard it from the radio, then just rewind back and forth to find what you wanted to listen to…or when we bought cds with cool leaflets and in some lucky cases the song lyrics. After discmans came the tiny mp3 players that only played songs on shuffle, then the iPod with it’s funky look and freedom to (not to) choose shuffle play. Nowadays the only people who listen to vinyl are hipsters, true music lovers or maybe old people too?

Short story long, after using different internet playlist/radio sites and apps, when I got a deal for free Spotify premium for 6 months a year ago, I took it and haven’t looked back since. I reckon paying 10€ a month for unlimited music and offline playlists (travel tip!) is totally worth it. Since leaving home almost a year ago, I’ve created a library of music that reminds me vividly of certain good times and places. Spotify allows me to find great new tunes and add them to my lists, so I don’t get too bored with what I already have. Sometimes I shazam a tune (like Cranes by monkey Safari that I heard in H&m), I have a friend recommend me something (such as Coastal Love by Honne), or then I hear a tune with someone and listen to it on repeat for a week (Kavinsky ft. The Weeknd – Odd Look is a premium example of this).

I have no Finnish music on my Spotify playlists except for a travel song my brother gave me, titled Afrikan Tähti (Star of Africa). Throughout this past year I have been very much into Ben Howard and Alt-J. I have happy memories listening to mumford&Sons, and a month ago I really really related to Glorious by Foxes. At the moment I am trying to not get bored of Losers by The Weeknd, which would be expected since I’ve probably listened to it close to hundred times this past 2 weeks.

You could of course follow me on Spotify to see what I am hearing (username: nyyhkypaperi), but in case you just want to have few new tunes, here is a list of songs I have found dancy/comforting/relaxing/touching/misc this past year. I would love to get more recommendations for new tunes! The following is in chronologic order, definitely not best to last. If you’re going to hunt down just a few, go for the bolded ones.

Quindon Tarver – Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)
Bliss n Eso – I Feel Free
Angus&Julia Stone – Grizzly Bear
Hermitude – Speak of the Devil
Alt-J – Bloodflow, Bloodflow pt II, Fitzpleasure, Taro, Hunger of the Pine, Left Hand Free
Hozier – Take me to Church
Ben Howard – Keep Your Head Up, Conrad, Black Flies, Oats In The Water
Vance Joy – Riptide, Georgia
Peking Duk – High
Robin Schultz – Sund Goes Down
Jamie XX – Loud Places
major Laser – Lean On
Kite String Tangle – Given the Chance
Jarryd James – Do You Remember
Jason Derulo – Want You to Want me (got to have guilty pleasures!)
mumford&sons – Believe
Of monsters and men – I of the Storm
Daughter – medicine
Susie Suh – Here With me
Fink – Looking too Closely
Chet Faker – 1989
Safia – Listen to Soul, Listen to Blues
Foxes – Glorious
The Weeknd – I Can’t Feel my Face, Losers, The Hills
Kavinsky ft. The Weeknd – Odd Look
The Antlers – Kettering

Kidnap Kid – Like You Used To
SBTRKT – New Dorp, New York

Can’t wait for the rest of the year’s tunes!

Dating Sober

Although alcohol has never been a problem to me, I quit drinking altogether about six weeks ago, mainly for 3 reasons: health, money and dating. In Australia (too) it seems like the word ‘first date’ is synonymous to ‘going out for drinks’. By eliminating the possibility of meeting someone over a frosty, or in my case a glass or two of wine, you can pretty easily cut out the people who are meeting you just in the hopes of getting in your pants as soon as possible. Also, I like doing stuff, and new experiences is a way better way to spend time with someone anyways.

Since quitting, I certainly haven’t stop meeting people and become a hermit. I compiled a list of non-alcoholic dates with a friend, and have done a solid job going through the different possibilities.

Ice skating. There is a proper ice skating hall in melbourne, just under the giant ferris wheel. Rent skates for 26 dollars, and either make a fool of yourself or show off your skills.

Studying American English. Audio classes for proper American pronunciation are a fun way of spending time or driving around.

Brunch. Yumm. Even better if you take two dishes to share. And of course coffee.

meditation. Grounding 20 minutes or however long you want to keep it up.

Night drive to the beach. Take in the stunning views of the city after a nice drive. Night time driving is the best! Unless the driver is too tired and forgets that it’s a left-sided traffic.

Drive-in movies and food truck festival. Your average movie experience upgraded!

Chilling out listening to music. Good if the music listened is not only Drake, interesting if it’s French rap. At best you’ll get some new tunes to your Spotify (like Kavinsky, The Weeknd – Odd Look <3)

I don't know how long I'll continue this experiment of mine, perhaps few more weeks. I do believe wine in moderation is good for you, and I don't think I can endure the upcoming picnic season without it.

(No pictures due to not taking any on any of the dates and because I still have the crappy computer that now manages only the basic. Apologies.)

Spring in September

Spring is officially (finally) here and today the weather was very much like Finland in September. This is very confusing, but also a bit amusing. In celebration of the last day of winter (or summer for you Northern hemisphere folks) I wrapped Christmas gifts to send home, and also received a package from Finland – my very first letter and goodies from mom since I left! About time, if you ask me. Not the smartest idea to stuff your face with salmiakki (candy) before intensity workout, but maybe I learned from this experience not to do it again.

Spring and summer things are pretty open, which is both a good thing as well as a cause for losing my hair and finger nails. I do have new work opportunities, but I don’t know which direction to take. I am constantly surrounded by uncertainty, whether it be for work or what to do on my days off, or next February. Deep breaths and small steps, I suppose…

New life.
New life.

I suppose no matter how rainy and gloomy, things are going pretty well and running smooth: I even managed to wiggle my way out from the tram inspector without having a valid ticket. That’s a sign of success like no other! I also should be glad I spent 70 dollars on a doctor who told me I do not have an ear infection. At least now I know! Now I only need to figure out what is wrong with my ear.

St Kilda on a Sunday.
St Kilda on a Sunday.

Summer come at me.

Past and future

One year ago I was moving to yet another temporary apartment, getting ready for my adventures in Asia. At that point, I had no idea where I’d be in the next 6 months, let alone in a year. Six months ago I was walking on Wategos beach in Byron Bay, trying to decide where my journey would take me next. And here I am today, not sure where I will be in half a year, or the next 12 months. Exciting, scary, promising, frustrating? All of those feelings, and several others, I have to admit. Clearly my path is not the usual kind, where answers come automatically or at least easy. I don’t own a couch and I’ve never had a hair dryer (fun fact I noticed the other day), which definitely makes my life easier to jump from one adventure to the next.


Now it is the time for me to start planning the future, or at least be aware of the possibilities I have. In February I could be in India or in New Zealand, or if I really wanted to I could leave melbourne and move to Tasmania to do my 88 days of rural work. I don’t know, I can’t decide. On the other hand I want to have a fulfilling career that allows me to have that couch and maybe buy a hair dryer as well (yes I know you can travel with one, but I don’t really need one), and a part of this scenario would be not having to return to the motherland. But there are all of these doubts. How will I get the job? Which country do I go and try? How will I survive when I’m all alone and start eating way too much chocolate to drown my sorrows? What if what if and then what? 

The answer to all doubts ever: You don’t know how it will be unless you try. I might have an idea what it could be like going to Germany and not speaking the language (with no real passion to learn it) and trying to find a job that is not in hospitality. But unless I try the scenario, I don’t know. Perhaps that would be it for me, the place where I find peace. I have found peace (and dozens of great cafes) in Melbourne, but the immigration policies of this lovely country sure don’t make it easy for people to enjoy their stay. I am still looking for that Aussie husband, by the way, and now we’d have to live together for 12 months in country x. No worries, I’m pretty flexible on that!