Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Revisiting Melbourne

We've been wanting to go back to Melbourne for a very long time. We moved back to Singapore close to 15 years ago and haven't been back for 10 years. Since JED were now old enough to appreciate Melbourne as where "Mommy and Daddy met and went to school", we thought it was a good time to do it.

We didn't expect to feel as nostalgic as we did when we got there. So this post is basically Melbourne, through our eyes, as opposed to the subsequent post, which will be Melbourne, through the eyes of JED.

What we generally did was to re-trace our lives in Melbourne, right from touch down.

There was
1. Breakfast at Thresherman's. 
We didn't eat here on a daily basis because we were poor students but on the occasion or when there was family in town, we'd come here for brunch. It was a 5 minute walk from our house. I remember giant fruit salad take away bowls, hot soup in the winter and farmer's breakfasts. Incidentally, when we bought the farmer's breakfast for JED, they complained it tasted weird. When we tried it, we realised that their definition of weird was our definition of 'fresh'.

2. Uni of course.
Because we were at Thresherman's, we were close to uni and since we couldn't check in to our apartment, we went to uni for a walk around. That's when all the feels came flooding back.

To humour JED, we recreated a photo we took when we got engaged and we took a photo at the stop light where we first met.

But for us, it was walking around, remembering what it was like to walk through the various buildings and hallways on the way to lectures, marvelling about the things that hadn't changed and the buildings that were new, bright and shiny.

There is something about old buildings, blue skies and trees that makes the heart rate slow and the blood pressure drop a bit.

3. The old apartment

No trip down memory lane would be complete without visiting the old house. We pointed out to the twins where we would BBQ, where we kept our dog for a while, where Packrat and their Uncle's bedroom was. We told them about Barry the neighbourhood cat who would surely be dead by now though it didn't stop us from looking in the same places that he would hang out.

3. Food

I warned Packrat that when it came to food, we might be a bit disappointed because we were students on a budget then and now that we are a bit older and more discerning, it could possibly be a case of "What did I just put in my mouth?".

There was Italian at Sofia's where it was about mass rather than quantity as well as taking up the challenge of the giant gelato. Even with 9 people, we didn't manage to finish the gelato nor the food but everyone was happy and left in a blissfully stupourous state.

There was also Vietnamese many times over, steaks for our carnivorous tribe and some Chinese thrown in for familiarity sake. For Packrat and myself, souvalkis were necessary because souvalkis remind us of our first real date. Unfortunately, it was a truly a situation where the eyes were larger than the tummy because we couldn't finish the souvalkis. We forgot to take into account the difference between 20 year old's and a 40 year old's appetite.

4. Friends

No pictures here but meeting up with ex students who have lived in Melbourne for longer than I did as well as ex-classmates was on the agenda. We visited their homes, ate where they ate and did what they did. Not touristy at all. In fact, it was these meet ups where we learnt of the reality that Melbourne is actually more costly to live than Singapore, that housing, transportation and even food ($3 for a box of plain rice is daylight robbery) is as costly if not more than in Singapore. A nice reality check for the grass is always greener sentiments.

And then, for me, there was
5. Ballet.

Not specifically for me but for Jordan, to meet my old ballet teacher and to take class in my old ballet school. Time stood still in the ballet school, right down to the carpeting and the ballet studios. Even the teachers. Jordan got to meet my old teacher and take some classes with her. What she taught Jordan, watching her teach class and instilling the same discipline and etiquette I remember from all those years ago, I felt I was an undergrad and the years had melted away. But I wasn't.

10 days of re-tracing our steps and then we had to pack up and come back to reality. But while it lasted, it was good.

Some would say that the past should stay in the past. But I think that occasionally, it's a good thing to touch base with the past. It reminds us of simpler times, what it's like to slow down a little bit, not to get too caught up in the things that actually don't matter and laugh some.


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