Byebye Australia – For Now

Leaving Australia after building a life in Melbourne was very sad, something I had ticking in the back of my head even a few weeks before leaving. I had booked a flight to Christchurch, New Zealand, just because I needed to go somewhere, not because I necessarily wanted to. In Melbourne I had friends, a lovely laid back job with great work mates, and still heaps of exercise places to try out, it was the best season of the year…and I needed to let go of it all, get rid of the clothes and things I managed to hoard in 12 months, move out of my apartment and figure out what’s next in life. Easy to admit, the last few weeks have been a tad hectic. I was lucky enough to have a lot of work until the end, and to still managed to have the time to check out all the cafes I’d wanted to go but hadn’t had the chance yet…it was living life to the absolute fullest, with minimum time for rest and oh-so important me-time. One chapter of my life is now over, and I am off to the adventures awaiting me. To the Hobbit land!

Brighton beach huts.
Brighton beach huts.

After going to eat breakfast out for 4 days in a row, having farewell drinks and games and bbq (finally, a real bbq experience!), I got myself to the airport with my expensive cold pressed organic juice and only 17kgs of luggage, just to drop the juice to the floor and find out that I won’t be let in New Zealand without a ticket out. After a quick panic attack, some phone support and Skyscanner scanning, I chose to fly to the Gold Coast after 20 days in New Zealand. I calculated that 20 days would be enough to get me from the south island to the north, and to see ALL THE THINGS on the way. And what an adventure it is going to be…

Last meal in Melbourne in Auction Rooms.
Last meal in Melbourne, Auction Rooms.

Melbourne will always have a special place in my heart, and I am pretty content I will return there some day. There is still so much to see, do, eat…! I have made lifelong friends, gained tremendous amount of great memories, learned heaps of life and myself, and developed myself both professionally and personally. What a great year, regardless of the rough patches throughout. I have definitely become stronger, and also learned that from now on I will not risk having to buy tickets at the airport. It is stressful and not fun. While starting and sorting out my New Zealand adventures, I will post some foodie things from Melbourne.

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A bit of Home

Some people feel more or less homesick when abroad, I only mostly miss my family and friends and Vitamix. Okay, forest berries too and way more affordable fish than here, but I’ll survive without. When I left Finland, my intention was to stay away from Finnish people (besides the friends who I met in Bali), and hang out with local and/or international people as much as possible. I don’t really understand going to the other side of the word to only speak your own language, like so many backpackers do. Until now I had only spoken Finnish to my cousin in May, and a few awkward words in a coffee event here in Melbourne where Finnish coffee and pastries were sold. But social media brought me and Anna together.

 

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Anna found me on Instagram, sent me a message and we hang out a good while yesterday: long enough to walk from the city to Prahran and back to have tea. After first awkward Finnish words I found out we have a lot in common: more than with anyone I think. This is a good thing, and very refreshing, to have someone who understandands exactly what you’re going through and how you feel. Anna was brave enough to do her farm work like a good girl, so she can stay for another year whereas I am still trying to get my shit together and avoid the 3 months in the bush. Plans B, C and D are brewing, we’ll see what happens. In the meanwhile…

 

Ridin' the waves.
Ridin’ the waves.

 

3. Things I love about Melbourne

This post could in theory be applied to whole of Australia, since my experiences so far are limited to good ol’ Melbs. Not for long, though! From Vappu onwards I shall be traveling up north, to escape the cold a bit and see what Byron Bay has to offer. I don’t know how long I will be away, which is good: I can come back when I feel like it; I do have to start from scratch but it is not the same as the first time around. Melbourne, I will be back.

1.1 The people, friends.
I have managed to make pretty good friends in the past 3 months. Australians sure are a friendly bunch of people, and I have managed to spend time with some amazing individuals.

Best trips are shared ones. Says the girl traveling solo. Oops.
Best trips are shared ones. Says the girl traveling solo. Oops.

1.2. The people, random.
From the vegetable delivery guy (the dry goods delivery guy is an exception to this rule) to the guy in the sneaker store, everyone is generally friendly and in a good mood. Train creeps aside, people will smile, say ‘hey how ya goin’ and even have a small conversation without a fuss. It feels damn good!

2.1 The coffee.
Yes. The daily brew is something to be taken seriously. And this is seen everywhere with coffee shops, restaurants and cafes all selling at least decent coffee. Even the worst brew here is better than the average elsewhere.

Long black and one of the aforementioned friends. Loving it.
Long black, Scandinavian minimalist design and one of the aforementioned friends. Loving it.

2.2 The food.
You can find almost any kind of cuisine, in several price ranges. Some neighborhoods have large ethnical minorities, and therefore they host a variety of special cuisines around the world. As an example: Richmond is also known as Little Vietnam, and few streets make Chinatown in the city. This food-loving includes the option of all-popular paleo restaurants, gluten free foods and the mighty Smashed Avo, that can be found in any self respecting food joint. High respects also to ethnic Prahran Convenience store that sells 12 pack of Questbars for $36!

I could have an overdosa of this.
I could have an overdosa of this.

2.2.1 The markets.
Victoria market being the best, largest and cheapest, there is also South Melbourne market where I buy my hummus, and Prahran which I frequent most often just for the atmosphere since it’s the closest to me. Also farmers’ markets make my favorite list, but they’re more scattered and I have only managed to visit one since I don’t own a car. Anyhow, good stuff! Fresh veggies and fruit and seafood, can’t say no to that!

St. Andrew's market, I guess technically in melbourne (almost 1hr drive from the city).
St. Andrew’s market, I guess technically in Melbourne (almost 1hr drive from the city).

3.1. The culture.
From comedy festival to Food and Wine festival, there’s always something going on. After studying Urbanlist and Broadsheet, the hardest part is to actually do and see everything you want to. My cultural highlight so far was probably seeing Adam Hill at the comedy festival, or CJ Hendricks’ 50 Foods in 50 Days.

modest Comedy Festival decorations.
Modest Comedy Festival decorations.

3.2. The exercise.
I think I am pretty good at optimizing the cost of expensive workouts: living in posh South Yarra has allowed me to test different yoga and pilates studios around the hoods for affordable prices: I’ve been to Core Candy (HIIT, Pilates and Barre 1 class per day for 2 weeks $50), Rise Yoga in Richmond (2 weeks of flow yoga, hot and yin yoga $25) and most recently One Hot Yoga&Pilates just around the corner from home (unlimited reformer pilates and slow hot flow and yin yoga $50). I have been more than happy with the trials, especially One Hot. Damn their playlist is like straight from my Spotify!

Damn hot yoga studio. I'll miss you.
Damn hot yoga studio. I’ll miss you.

Also as a bonus to this 3 part list is the architecture and neighborhood vibes. Places look cool.

True dat, Einstein.
True dat, Einstein.

Lately

Bakery went to make sand cakes
Bakery went to make sand cakes

Somehow recently I have had other things in mind than posting here.

Coffee and hand-made raw treats in Johan&Nyström
Coffee and hand-made raw treats in Johan&Nyström

I visited Helsinki and spent some quality time with some quality friends

Essence of summer and Finnish design
Essence of summer and Finnish design

Besides Helsinki, I went to Kuopio and to our summer cottage, visited relatives and celebrated my cousin’s confirmation. Other than that, I’ve been pretty happily occupied with sweets.

Raw protein bars with and without chocolate frosting, banana chocolate cake and other raw treats
Raw protein bars with and without chocolate frosting, banana chocolate cake and other raw treats

Succeeding in “baking” and making people smile when they taste my creations is incredibly rewarding! Recently I have also enjoyed exercising (kettlebell, wohoo!) and berry picking. I keep on finding new spots with raspberries, yay! Still no blueberries in the freezer for the winter, though…

In the near future I will be in Helsinki, working in Flow Festival. After that, my future is pretty blank. There is an itch to move, but I am not sure about the destination. Any suggestions?

Smart cider
Smart cider

Simply happy

Sometimes the special things in life make it, well, special. In most occasions, the small things and everyday luxury make me wake up every morning with a big smile on my face. Maybe it’s because I’ve been away for so long, and the city seems to offer old and new people and new flavors to savor day after day, but I am now more happy than I could have imagined! Sometimes I do have to push away the itch in the back of my head that makes me wonder and worry about my next destination, since I do have to admit that the image of Finland in October is not tempting at all, more the opposite.

But, living in the moment and enjoying right now, instead of worrying about the future:

2 am
2 am, I am home

It is never dark. The nature is at its’ best, and it is pretty gorgeous. Except when it’s raining like hell, like yesterday and most of today.

Armas cafe, near produced food in Tampere market hall
Armas cafe, near produced food in Tampere market hall

Seeing old friends and talking for hours in a nice environment. The market hall is definitely one of my favorite places in (any) city.

(Raw) chocolate, probably 2kg of it. OD, anyone?
(Raw) chocolate, probably 2kg of it. OD, anyone?

Damn Good (Nutrient Dense Super) Food. I have been pigging on a daily basis and eating my way towards bigger jeans ever since coming back. I guess there’s worse things to indulge in than antioxidant-rich Food of the Gods (aka cacao) and berries and nuts, just to name a few of my current staples, but I have to admit that together with increased snacking and general food consumption, my activity level has decreased significantly since leaving HK. Trying to find the balance with all the treats within my grasp and the lazyass lifestyle that my dog is teaching me is not that easy!

Life juice, some shrooms and new great friends
Life juice, some shrooms and new great friends

I have never tried sprouts in a juice, or used a juicer before now. I prefer to eat my vegetables, but I do have a thing for dehydrated crackers using the leftover pulp from juices. The shrooms here are slightly different than those I used in Asia, but there are some similarities, too. 😛 And the new friends are the best part of it all!

Other good things right now: The pink kettlebell I bought, the trimmed appearance of my dog, the job (in Finnish only, but ahh the food porn), the view from our balcony, July’s activities, upcoming strawberry picking season(!!), and the list continues.

 

Every morning, day and evening I get to look at this
Every morning, day and evening I get to look at this