Yes, it is true. Most of my blog entries start with…blah blah blah…delay in writing…blah blah blah…will try to keep it short…blah blah blah. Look, it’s surprisingly difficult to find the time to write! I cannot believe that I am at the start of month 7 of my visa. Time is literally speeding by in the blink of an eye.
So, where did I leave off last time? I think I was expressing concerns regarding the arrival of my postcards. Now 1.5 months later, I can inform you (I know that you are dying of anticipation) that some, but unfortunately not all, of my postcards arrived at their destinations. It’s actually pretty disappointing. More so, given that all my postcards were put in the same mailbox at the same time. Like what the heck happened? I guess at some point some of my postcards were led astray into the land of wherever disappearing socks go?? But as I said before – it’s the thought that counts. Right?
Anywho, December has always been a big month for me. Not for the holidays, which always figure second in my mind, but because it’s my birthday! I have always espoused the philosophy that the Christmas holidays do not start until after my birthday and I often feel an irrational (or totally rational anger) when Christmas music is playing, presents are wrapped in Christmas themed paper, or there is holiday cheer before my birthday has started. What?? It’s really tough to compete for attention during the holiday season.
This year, in particular was a very big year for me– I turned *gasp* 30!! Before coming to Australia and when I first arrived in August, I told my friends at home that I was very nervous about 30 in a foreign county without my friends and family nearby. I thought it might be lonely. They told me everything would work out just fine. Spoliler. It did!
Slightly silly, but on topic question – if you are currently living 16 hours ahead of the time zone in which you were originally born, when does your birthday actually start? *ehm loving parents who failed to phone me on my Australian birthday.* Just saying…
So, back to the birthday debrief. Concerns aside, time stops for no person. The day before the big 3-0, I was set up on a lovely friend date via a friend of a friend of a friend (tip: friend dates really work! 2 months later we are still hanging out. In fact, I saw him shortly before writing this blog!). He calmed my nerves, telling me something along the lines that 30 is the new 20 and we chatted about Canada, being abroad, and I tried to share my sage life experience about Melbourne (having become a pro after living here for all of 2.5 months).
The next day – on my Australian birthday – one of my lovely co-workers’s surprised me with a famous Melbourne Doughnuts sweet treat. It was a very thoughtful and kind act (the small acts of kindness from people who barely know you – is something you really appreciate when you are far away from home). On my Australian birthday I also received lovely messages from friends back in Canada and Australian peeps. Thank you for thinking of me!!
For a celebratory dinner that night, I went out with some new friends for Mexican food!! These girls are beyond lovely and kind! We then had delicious dessert and a very special treat by one of the girls to me – which was cab fare to catch a taxi home. As someone who is always willing to public transit or walk (especially when on a travelling budget) my friend demanded that I ride home in style after a milestone birthday and I’ve got to say – it felt pretty damn great! Then, when I arrived home, there was a lovely homemade Happy Birthday card on against my door – so sweet.
On that weekend I decided to go all out and throw myself a garden party! Might as well right?! I’ve never celebrated a summer birthday before given that I am a December baby and December in Canada involves snow and ice and cold. And did I mention snow and ice and cold? I decided to take full advantage of the glorious weather!
I may have also decided to be a bit extravagant and treat myself to an over the top cake – again – why the heck not, right?! I’ve also always wanted the big numbered balloons. No one can stop me now!! You only turn 30 once and as I have been very recently reminded by a good friend of mine who experienced a unexpected loss of a friend our age, every day we get older is an day we are alive and part of the world. Life can end in an instant – so while it sounds corny – it is important to it to the fullest. Chase your dreams and don’t let fear of failure stand in the way.
On a less solemn note, a big shout out to everyone who came to my party and those who helped me celebrate in other ways or let me know I was in their thoughts! All my anxieties about being lonely on my birthday were totally erased by the special thoughts and actions of my lovely friends at home and my new friends in Australia. Conclusion re: my silly question – having your birthday in a different time zone is awesome because your birthday can legitimately go on for like 36 hours!
My birthday was shortly followed by a great Christmas season. The Christmas cheer started with an Orphan Christmas with AD crew. What a lovely and welcoming group of Canadians, Aussies, Brits, and Irish lasses (I hope I’m not forgetting anyone). A potluck style Christmas, followed with heaps of delicious desserts and topped of by karaoke by the Christmas tree. What more could a girl ask for? It was nice to dress up and have a bit of a fancy dinner as a reminder of home.
The Australian Christmas style is a bit different and often involves a big lunch on Christmas Day. The table is full of salad and deliciousness and everything is very casual and chill. I was lucky enough to experience this too (thanks to my housemates for inviting me to their family Christmas after living with me for like a week)!! Both styles are great in their own ways.
Similar to my birthday – this was my first summer Christmas. I’ve got to say it is a strange thing. Because it’s the middle of summer and I grew up in the northern hemisphere it didn’t really feel like Christmas because it was so hot. I just can’t wrap my brain around the idea of a warm Christmas. The decorations and Christmas themed music seemed way out of place and a bit jarring.
After Christmas celebrations, a friend from Queensland was in town for the holiday season and we went to the Vegie Bar in Fitzroy. The Better than a Big Mac (vego) burger was out of this world good! I highly recommend checking it out!!
Like most of my experiences in Australia – I also had my first ever summer NYE!! Similar to concerns I had in regards to my birthday, I was definitely worried about NYE away. Which doesn’t make sense because I’ve had both my birthday, Christmas and NYE outside of Canada before. Maybe it was the southern hemisphere summer thing that threw me? Anywho! New Year’s Eve was a sophisticated, quiet evening (until approx. 1am). I was invited as a tag along guest. It was all very grown up and mature until the spectacular Melbourne fireworks went off across the roof tops in the CBD. We then moved the tables out of the way of the small living room and danced like there was no tomorrow (and like it was 1999).
It was not my “typical” or “big” night out (I use big and typical loosely as I usually don’t rage until the wee hours of the morning) but it was also the perfect way to enter the New Year. I find that travelling is freeing experience in that it often eliminates the need or desire to impress people – you are in the process of an exciting adventure. There are people behind and ahead of you on your metaphorical journey. Nobody knows what the future holds. In my experience, because you only have a limited amount of time travelling, you learn not to waste it.
Here’s to a kick ass 2018!!