You know when you think of Australia, you think about beautiful sunsets, kangaroos, koalas, white sandy beaches, beautiful landscapes, the Great Barrier Reef etc. Well I haven't seen any of that yet.. except beautiful sunsets. I had all these unrealistic expectations of how different Australia would be, but arriving in Melbourne isn't anywhere near the Great Barrier Reef or in the outback etc. Melbourne is beautiful though.
We arrived last Wednesday and it was the most beautiful day to arrive on. It was 26 degrees and sunny and spring! Spring started on the 1st of September, instead of the usual 21st. We arrived at about 7 in the morning so had the whole day to get stuff done. We're staying with Kevin's step-sister, who has been incredibly nice to us and has helped us out with absolutely everything! On the first day we managed to activate our bank account so they could send us our cards (which ended up going to the UK.... ??) we got a simcard and an Australia number, we got a Myki card (for the metro) we wanted to register with medicare (they had a problem with me being dutch but having come from the UK...) we went to the South Melbourne Market (which was aaaamazing) and I think that might have been it for the first day. Luckily we didn't suffer from any jetlag since singapore is only a 2 hour time difference, but we were still pretty exhausted by the end of the day!
We're staying in the southern part of the city, although it doesn't actually feel like you're in the city. We're about a 10 min walk from everything, which is the perfect location! A 10 min walk to the left is Melbourne market and Coles (the grocery store). The South Melbourne Market is amazing, it's open on Wednesday and Friday-Sunday and it's literally got EVERYTHING - fruit, veg, shoes, clothes, make-up, meat, bread, pasta, chemists, etc etc. And everything is fresh as well! Melbourne is pretty pricey, although if you look for the deals it isn't so bad. £1 equals AUS$1.7 so everything LOOKS more expensive, but when you convert it back to pounds it's a lot more bearable. We bought a whole bag of pasta for only $1, so I think we'll survive. A 10 min walk up brings you to Flinders street, this area is where all the shops are. There are a lot of shops that I know, but a few are new to me. Cotton On is my new favourite shop. It isn't too expensive and the stuff is super comfy! There are also Subways around every corner, so I'm sure I'll be able to get a job somewhere!
On the second day we went on our first flat viewing. The system here is very different from the UK. Instead of setting a time with the estate agent to view the place, they have open 'inspections'. Everyone who is interested will go to the same inspection. It's a bit terrifying because all these people are your competition. For the first viewing it was us, and two other couples interested. At the end when you're interested in the place, you can't just say 'Ok I'll have it' and pay the bond (deposit), you actually have to hand in an application and then the land lord will decide who they like best! So basically, you can apply for 10 flats, and get rejected from all of them... It's pretty stressful. So far we've seen 6 places, both in the centre of the city and to the south, and applied for two. We actually managed to get accepted by the first application we handed in! We viewed the place on Wednesday, handed our forms back on Thursday morning and by that evening we heard we were accepted!! Panic over, now we just have to get jobs....
We've both been applying for a quite a few jobs focussing on our studies. I have applied for four studio assistant jobs and am just waiting to hear back. Now that we know where we're going to be living, I'll also be able to apply at subway and other food places, just to get me going until I get a photography related job. Once we've settled into our own place, we can start thinking about doing some more touristy things, but at the moment we just need to focus on getting a job!
As part of my photography course, I have to track my development on a blog. The posts from September 2011 until January 2012 are part of a module called Project Management, for which I was required to work in a group of eight students to create an exhibition. The blog followed every step we took in order to create a successful gallery. The blog posts starting from September 2012 follow my final year on the course. I'll be documenting my research and analysis of my final year projects, as well as include notes of my Professional Practice unit - which prepares us for a range of post graduate options. Finally it also looks at a project called New Creatives, where I'll be working alongside an artists to help college students get more involved with art.