Wednesday 20 June 2018

Venturing Into The City

Another sleepless night last night, definitely not helped by my sleeping until 5pm yesterday! I’d set my alarm for 10am this morning in order to go into the city, but at the point that horrendous noise reverberated around the room I’d just got back to sleep and felt like hurling my phone through the window. I dozed for another hour or two, and then realised that I was yet to see any daylight since arriving, and if I got up and about then hopefully I’d sleep better. I’m feeling insanely homesick, and therefore it feels easier to luxuriate in bed and sleep or read than to get up and face the world. I have to keep telling myself thought that it WILL get easier, and that right now I am pretty much alone, and so it IS going to be hard until I actually meet people.

The walk through Macleod to the train station was what I can only describe as walking through the set of Neighbours! So stereotypically Australian and quiet. The train into Melbourne Central is about 40 mins from Macleod (which I have now learned, since embarrassing myself at the ticket booth, is pronounced ma-cloud and not ma-cle-od. Fortunately it pulled up just as I paid for my ticket, which saved me quiet a wait.

I’m feeling rather overwhelmed by all the changes I am having to face at the moment; after having a routine at home for many years, I had taken for granted so many of the little things, such as knowing which brands to buy at the supermarket, roughly how much things are going to cost, and approximately where most places are in relation to work or home. I hadn’t expected to get myself into a tizzy just trying to work out what a bottle of semi-skimmed milk looks like or is called, or how much a box of cereal equates to in pounds. Given that I am trying not to work myself into an absolute frenzy of stress, I have decided it would be best to give myself something small and achievable to do each day in order to get myself out and about and exploring Melbourne, without the stress of trying to squeezing too much in. I have plenty of time to do things whilst I’m waiting to start work, so there’s no hurry.

Today’s challenge was to set up my Commonwealth bank account, which was easy enough as I had already applied online two months ago and had my bank card sent to the Flinders Street branch to pick up. I was also relieved to see that the transfer of funds that I’d sent from the UK a couple of days ago had made it into my Australian bank account with no issues; surprising given that I did not really know what I was doing! Everyone is so friendly and helpful here, and the ‘How you doing?’ seems to be a question of genuine interest rather than a generic greeting. Everywhere I’ve been today people just wanted to talk, ask lots of questions, and give lots of advice about Melbourne. All much appreciated at this point of course. 

I had planned to get a new mobile service plan in a few weeks time when I’m more settled, but I realised today how much I am going to be relying on Google Maps, and data would help greatly with that. There’s only so much you can do with the free WiFi! There was a Telstra shop just down the road from the bank, so I decided to go in and find out about the service plans. The guy in the shop was explaining to me that the internet in Australia is generally pretty slow, and that costs for mobile plans are rather expensive. The cheapest I could get for what I needed came to the equivalent of about £25, when I pay £12 at home. It’s dawning on me that life here in Aus is going to be more expensive than at home, which I was honestly not expecting!

I spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around the shopping malls (both of which I managed to get in to but somehow couldn’t find the exits for, like some kind of labyrinth...) and just bumbled around, trying to find my bearings. I last came to Melbourne ten years ago and although I spent five days in the city, I feel that there is so much more for me to explore and now with a completely different perspective. I intend to make the most of being a tourist before I have to start work, given that I have no idea how long that will be. I went past Fairfield on the train, where my new workplace is based, and I was pleased to see that it seems like a really modern and clean area. The trains seem pretty reliable and so hopefully I’ll be able to get by quite easily without having a car, although it will be quite an adjustment!

As for tomorrow, I plan to stay in Macleod, go for a run around the local area, and perhaps visit the library to sort out some bits of ‘life admin’. Here’s hoping tonight will be bring me a better night’s sleep. 

(I am extremely frustrated at the lack of apps available to use my Blogger account on an iPad. If anyone has any recommendations of websites or apps to use which will avoid all the glitches I have been getting, I’d be most grateful!)


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