As a freshly picked Melburnian, I can still remember the not too distant past when the far, Southern land of Victoria felt as distant as Hogwarts does to me (I’m still waiting for that letter). Melbournians (noun; ‘those who call Melbourne their homeland’) were to me beatniks of the twenty-first century, who survived from suckling the filters of coffee machines and licking spray paint from filthy alleyway graffiti with no shame. They need not justify their existence – they’re from Melbourne: the place of ironic art and tram inspectors. However, from an age when culture began to make sense to me, and I uncovered the well-hidden secret that my small country town lacked this newly formed concept of culture. The idea hit me like a wall, and I adopted it as my upcoming future: I would move to Melbourne to go to university.
Events transpired, as they do, and I ended up living among Gold Coasters (Gold Coast-ers, not coasters of gold) for one year. They are a race of a different caliber, this time suckling from bottles of self-tanning lotion and goon sacks. As we have found animals in the wild to do, I adapted to my habitat (by adapted, I mean swimming at the beach occasionally and refraining from wearing lipstick in the daytime). The longing still lived inside me. A yearning for a world of jazz and creatives, wine and art, endless job opportunities (I’ve learnt how wrong I was), and of course the trams. After six months of deliberation, I yanked my roots mercilessly from the soil I sprouted in and dug a hole for myself in a dim, smelly apartment in Carlton.
Yet another series of events transpired, this time involving a landlord refusing to give back my rightful $450 (from this lesson I learnt the value of threatening), an 18 year old who kicked me out of my apartment a day and a half after moving in (from this lesson I learnt that not all people are nice), a kind Hare Krishna family who took me in for a week (from this lesson I learnt that most people are actually nice, and regained my faith in humanity), and a bearded Russian who accepted me into his apartment (and has taught me the importance of takeaway food and antivirus software). My metaphorical dirt holes lay all around the city already, but I’ve been sprouting small white roots from my new place in Prahran, learning many priceless yet costly lessons along the journey.
So I can’t call myself a Melbournian yet, at least not until I feel firmly rooted. But as for my expectations of the city – there’s still time to meet them. I have already seen art, jazz, graffiti, trams, coffee, lipstick, and a whole menagerie of items. I’ll document my journey from a Murwillumbah resident to an inner-city chic in the hope that I can assist other younglings in the uprooting of their lives. I’ll show them the cool places to go graffiti-suckling.