Jet lag is a bitch but I am kicking its arse. Or at least that’s what I told myself as I arrived at my uncle’s house in Melbourne and put my bags down. I was asleep an hour later and awoke to darkness outside. I’ll never get back those 6 hours but it’s OK, because I’m fairly sure I lost them somewhere between Singapore and Melbourne anyway. But I’m getting ahead of myself; I should start by telling you about my journey from London to Melbourne, like a true wannabe expat blogger.
Wednesday 22nd March 2017
I’ve moved out my flat finally, with a lot of help from friends, family, and strangers willing to accept my unwanted clothing, shoes, books and DVDs as “donations”. My good friend who’s in London for a week from Dubai, helps me carry a wooden desk down all our steps onto the street with a lot of difficulty. If she hadn’t insisted on coming over to hang out, I would have had to do it by myself; aka: I did not think it through. Friends are awesome, I am reminded of this. We sit in my flat for a while and she admires the view of scaffolding across the road. Ah, the fabulous North London life. Once she leaves, my bestie comes over, and we make the treacherous journey from my place in North London to hers in West London, with my three suitcases (two large, one “carry-on”), a big backpack, some of my old crockery she wants, and our foolish optimism. Again, London strangers are epic – we got help from four different men with the suitcases, one of which was taking the same journey and helped us up many a flight of steps. Also though, WOW is London inaccessible for the physically disabled! We have all our faculties and even we struggled. London should really do better about this. We practiced some serious reckless optimism with that journey and my muscles were mad at me the next day. Totally worth it.
Friday 24th March 2017
Today is D-day. After our arduous journey across London, my bestie and I are convinced my bags are too heavy, so we buy a hand scale (a recommendation from my mum, veteran traveller and purveyor of many a heavy bag from London to Ghana). As it turns out, they’re not that much overweight, they just shouldn’t be dragged across miles of London. It’s fine though, I trim the fat of my bags pretty easily and my bestie continues being awesome by joining me on mundane trips to the post office and charity shop. Having not learned our lesson and wanting to test the strength and cost effectiveness of London public transport (for the last time in a good while for me), we take my suitcases on two buses to the airport. This is a pretty bloody smooth ride actually, we’re both surprised and impressed with ourselves. Who needs an Uber? Plus we arrive super early, join a queue before it got too busy behind us, and I’m checked in with nary a problem three hours before my flight. In your face travel/ emigration/ life changing event; I’m ready for you. My bestie and I have coffee and talk about race because we’re deep as shit. We say goodbye at security; it’s bittersweet but also everything we had been building towards that week. I hate goodbyes, they suck butt, but we rocked it and she’s the bestie for a reason.
Friday 24th – Sunday 26th March 2017
I have no idea what time it is or where I am, except that I have travelled on a plane for 12 hours, and then again for 7 hours after a 6 hour break in between. But British Airways has definitely stepped up their game since I last flew with them – I watched Dr Strange and The Girl On The Train, which is important to note because, films. Oh and the food wasn’t bad. Awkwardly I had the window seat, which I love, but also the two people beside me had to get up every time I wanted the loo, which FYI, was a lot (well, three times, but they only went once, oddly) because when I’m nervous I pee (leaving my home country), when I haven’t slept enough, I pee (12 hour flight sat upright, how can anyone sleep that way?), and when I drink wine and am nervous and haven’t slept, I pee (the wine was free, what else should I have done?).
They were very nice about it but I had to talk myself into waking them up at one point because I was bursting. I’m sure they weren’t really deep in sleep (they definitely were, lucky sods). I landed in Singapore for the second leg of my flight, and found a Uniqlo in the airport, so everything was right with the world again. When I got on the flight to Melbourne, we were delayed by two hours which no one on that plane seemed that bothered by. My first foray into the Aussie “no worries” attitude apparently. I’ve definitely been on flights to Europe (I’m talking EasyJet cheap too, where you expect things to be terrible) where it was delayed and the whole plane groaned at the inconvenience. Literally no one on this Melbourne flight seemed to give a crap, and the pilot was like “Welp, we’re going back to the gate to fix this stuff, will let you know how it goes”. I kept my British sensibilities to myself in that moment. Obviously, I need to learn how to relax.
Sunday 26th March 2017
I have arrived! My uncle had been waiting for me for 3 hours because my flight was delayed but no one informed the people waiting on the other side! Sad times for him but he was fine with it and I was very tired because you know, travel. We drove for an hour to his house out in the suburbs, and I looked longingly at the city as we drove past it. I will soon make Melbourne city mine, I know it. For now I’m unemployed so I probably shouldn’t get ahead of myself. My uncle’s house is cute and spacious and I have my own room so I’m living my best life right now. I was most excited about a shower after two days of travel and quite frankly, I don’t know how I didn’t fall asleep in there. But as above, eventually I crashed and awoke 6 hours later to night time.
Monday 27th March 2017
To assuage my anxiety about being stuck in the burbs and not yet seeing the city, I went to explore the area. I assumed that it was a lot like the burbs of Chicago that I had been to before; kind of flat lands where all the houses look the same and it’s not really made for walking around or seeing anything scenic. But boy was I wrong. I can’t properly describe it, but it’s like these cute houses amongst trees and hills, overlooking a forest and national park in the distance. Add to that the heat and wind, and everything feels tropical. This country is not like any other I have been to, and it’s only been one day. Also I’ve beaten the jet lag, I think, so bully for me. I’m trying to be relaxed with my plans a little, take in things where I can, and try not to overthink, as I was wont to do in London, which often felt like a requirement of the place. But I’m not there anymore, I’m here.