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.)

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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.

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.

 

IMG_9379

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.

 

6 things I’ve learned in Melbourne in 6 months

As it is inevitably already August, I realized I am halfway through my (hopefully not last) year in Australia. I’ve lived mostly in Melbourne for the past months, trying to live somewhat ‘normal’ life, but with a refreshing one month holiday up north. I don’t think my Working Holiday experience has been like most backpackers’, but then again I don’t consider myself as one. Hopefully I’ll get to see more of my surroundings these upcoming months, but who knows. Here follows 6 things I have learned these past 6 months.

 

Got double suprised at work just because.
 People are extremely friendly. Of course this can vary from city to another and the outback is a whole other story, but in general Aussies and travelers alike are a friendly bunch with their “howyagoin” greetings and other funny stuff they say. One rather effective way of meeting people is the ever so popular Tinder-game. Just keep your expectations low and don’t expect to meet the love of your life, and you might end up with a few new friends (Or the awkward situation where you think you’re friends, and the other person has other ideas…)!

 

Keep your eyes open, you mever know what comes along
 Timing is everything. This applies to finding a job, a house, even friends! I met my best friends in H&m and on a tram, and I got my current job by walking past it before they had opened. When it comes to work, be persistent. If you are looking for hospitality jobs, even Instagram can help you (@cafejobs_melb)! I am still trying to figure out the sponsorship possibilities, oh dear, they do not make it easy. Some days I wish I was a radiologist or a brain surgeon, just to feel wanted here.

 

Sippin herbal tea in my yogapants before yin class
 Take advantage of cheap fitness trials. Or in my case, intro yoga/pilates passes. most yoga and pilates schools offer intro deals for about 50$ for (unlimited) 2 weeks. I have so far been to 6 different studios offering either only yoga or a combination of yoga and pilates. Besides the CBD, South Yarra is the mecca for stretching activities. At the moment I am doing a free 2 week trial at F45 Port melbourne, doing intensity interval group training, which is pretty much the complete opposite of yoga. I love it after the first class, but the location is rather inconvenient without a car.

 

All the things you learn by just walking around!
 Stay on top of your city game. There’s too many things to do and events to attend, new restaurants popping up, and don’t get me started on my endless “must go” cafe list. In terms of activities, I keep myself aware of my surroundings with newsletters from The Urban List, Broadsheet and TimeOut. If these three are not enough, Concrete Playground is a good addition.

 

My kind of supermarket
 Shop smart. Take advantage of the markets (Queen Victoria especially), and go there in the afternoon. Cheapest produce you can find, no doubt, and the experience is way nicer than going to Safeways or Aldi. I challenge myself not to drown myself in drink coffee every day, both to stay clear of the addiction as well as to save me some dough (to eat out more than ever before).

 

Brunch outside in the dead of winter, not freezing.
 The winter isn’t that bad (if you come from Northern Europe). I was dreading for Melbourne winter that everyone seemed to regard as being from hell, but seriously it’s not unbearably cold, and even during the chillest days you can always just layer up sipping your coffee.

More things I love about Melbourne

Previously I summed up my top 3. things about Melbourne, but the list gets longer and longer. Bare with me, folks. 

1. The ‘winter’. Sure, June and July are the coldest months of the year, instagram is full of cozy “baby it’s cold outside” posts and Urban List lists bars with a fireplace. Sure, its not t-shirt weather (all the time and every day), but baby this is not cold. Just put a jumper on and buy a proper jacket, man. I haven’t even used my beanie since May, and even then it was mostly indoors (because some houses are freezers). 

Wintery morning walk to work.

2. New things. For now it is the new job that keeps me occupied 60hrs a week, but also the new stuff that’s everywhere to be found, if you just keep walking.

The National Gallery, right next door. Wall of flowing water, cool eh?

3. Aussie ways. They have different sizes for clothes, so when H&M gets mislabeled underwear (EU size aka something I understand), they are sold for 3 dollars. Score! Winter night market in July, selling hot mulled wine. Aussie language. Random discussions with random people in random places. Random stuff in general.

 

Every day learn something new!
 
4. Yoga (trials). I wonder how long I can practice yoga without committing to a studio: most places offer two week intros for a reasonable price. I want to be sure to choose the best one, so for now I am yogashopping. And to be honest I think Pilates is a better workout anyway, though practicing forearm stands is pretty intense. Anyway, doing yoga is sweet as.

 

Move yoga in the CBD, interesting variety of classes.

  5. Smashed avo and poached eggs.

Every single self respecting breakfast offering establishment has smashed avo and poached eggs on their menu. Period.