Melbourne: Learning the Ropes of Life Abroad

Life Abroad

I am super lucky. Do you know why I am super lucky? No, you don’t but I’ll tell you why. I have a friend who lives in Melbourne and has done for nearly two years. Do you know what that means? Of course you do. It means I’ve got local knowledge on tap!

Sarah & I

After the first few days of wandering about, getting to know the layout of the city I met up with my old pal Sarah and her boyfriend Matt. Sarah and I grew up together and we reckon it had been about six years or more since we’d last seen each other. Returning to old friendships is easy, we both pointed out how we’d just slipped back into things. Added bonus: Matt’s a cool guy.

Australian Football

Once they found out I was here, they invited me over to watch the football and have a few beers. Aussie Rules Football is something else. Nothing like getting into the national sport as a sure way to start embracing a new culture! I think I’ve got the basic understanding of the rules: kick the ball to the guy/kick the ball between the posts. There are, apparently, other rules but according to Matt they’re more or less made up as the season goes along and there is an incredible amount of inconsistency.

We were watching Carlton vs Richmond. Matt’s a Carlton fan and after the first two quarters it looked like the game was very much Richmond’s to lose. However, the final quarter was Carlton’s game. They took it to Richmond and having trailed for most of the game, stole a victory.

Australian Football League Facts:

  • Australian rules football dates back to 1859.
  • It originally comprised of teams based in the state of Victoria.
  • The AFL is the best-attended sporting league in Australia.

The game is essentially a combination of all other sports. It’s played on a cricket oval. It’s okay to rough up your opponents like in ice hockey. You have to kick a ball between posts to score, like football, rugby and all the other “kick the ball between the posts” games. The guys who play are incredibly athletic, most of them constantly running and jumping for the best part of two hours. At first I expected to be bored but it’s a very captivating game and I think I’m an immediate fan. The teams are currently in the finals at the moment and the season is about to come to an end, which means I’ve got plenty of time to pick a team ready for next season.

Home of the AFL: The MCG

Following the game we took a walk up to Lygon Street for dinner, the Italian quarter. Sarah had advised that standard procedure for the restaurants is that they would talk you in with the promise of free drinks. This happened, a chap stopped us, got us looking at the menu and after our hesitancy threw in some free bruschetta as well. What a place! Dinner was great. We then headed down to one of the local bars, The John Curtin Hotel, for a drink (I’m slowly being introduced to the Australian lagers, yet to see a Fosters…) before calling an end to the night as Sarah and Matt had to get up for work the next morning.

The Basics

Sarah has been kind enough to show me the basics of life in Melbourne and Australia. We have sorted me out with an Australian mobile number and a bank account so I’m ready to officially start the job search. There’s a mixed opinion on how easy it is to find work in Melbourne. Some people claiming it near impossible, others claiming you can get work within two weeks. I’m intrigued to see where the truth lies and in a way I’m looking forward to a new experience in the work place.

Coffee with Sarah

Beyond the basic life admin I’m getting an insider’s perspective of Melbourne. The coffee is good, the food chains are, as they were in America, better than in the UK. I’m a new convert to Spudbar and I’m looking forward to finding out what other delights this city and country have to offer. Sarah’s given me a couple of tours, taking me out to the suburbs so I’m definitely starting to settle. The longer I’m here for, the more I like it.

City Skyline

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