So our stuff finally arrived in Kingston on Friday.. 8 weeks and one day since it was picked up in Sydney. I’ve made some good progress with the unpacking, and this is finally starting to feel like home. I’m especially thrilled to be sleeping in my own bed again, I have really missed that darn bed, which I think is an indication that I am getting old – I remember backpacking through Asia and sleeping in some terrible places without a second thought, these days all I can think about is that crick in my neck and how I want my bed.

I am enjoying being here but I am having some trouble feeling motivated on the 101/1001 front, so I thought I would do something a little different and instead of focussing on what needs to be done on my day zero list, I thought I would make another list, a list of 101 things that I have seen or done or which I am proud of or happy about.. things that were great adventures or I have wonderful memories of. I’m hoping that seeing that list will make me more motivated to work on the things that still need to be done on the other list.. make sense?

Here we go:

  1. Moved to Melbourne and made a whole new life for myself.
  2. Went skydiving – twice!
  3. Married Luke (even though it terrified me)
  4. Had very close friendships with my inner circle
  5. Hosted an ongoing weekly dinner party (Sunday Night Dinners!)
  6. Did a Melbourne – Perth road trip and lived in a tent.
  7. Scuba Dived in the Great Barrier Reef
  8. Visited Angkor Wat in Cambodia
  9. Did a motorcycle tour around rural Vietnam
  10. Moved to New Zealand
  11. Went Bungee Jumping – twice!
  12. Went to the Fire Ball Festival in Thailand
  13. Became a Feminist!
  14. Saw the Plain of Jars in Laos
  15. Went back to TAFE and did my VCE
  16. Did a UniPrep course at UNSW
  17. Got dreadlocks
  18. Pierced my nipples (lol)
  19. Went whale watching
  20. Went to an AFL football game
  21. Rode an elephant in Thailand
  22. Did a Great Ocean Road road trip
  23. Experienced the killing fields in Cambodia
  24. Went snorkelling in Mexico
  25. Got matching tattoos with my best friends
  26. Got matching tattoos with my husband
  27. Saw my godson be born
  28. Watched Rachel and Nick be married
  29. Participated in A&C’s secret wedding
  30. Lived in a crazy party house (twice!)
  31. Participated in a drinking competition (well many, but shhh)
  32. Went horseriding on the beach
  33. Went skinny dipping
  34. Had a surfing lesson
  35. Became a vegetarian
  36. Saw Pearl Jam live
  37. Went to The Big Day Out (a few times)
  38. Saw Ani Di Franco live
  39. Stood up to Elias and left PE when I was being bullied
  40. Saw Counting Crows live
  41. Went on an international business trip
  42. Camped in the rainforest
  43. Mended things with Theresa
  44. Supported Ashleigh when the rest of the family wouldn’t
  45. Gave money so that the SA group could buy a birthing pool
  46. Donated blankets and Mosquito nets to the kids at Umphang school
  47. Wrote to the Talsico sponsor child
  48. Sponsored 2 children at the Umphang school in Thailand
  49. Kept a travel blog when we were backpacking
  50. Sang Karaoke
  51. Took a chance on L
  52. Danced in public
  53. Saw VNV Nation Live
  54. Went to a Grand Silent System Concert
  55. Went to Cirque Du Soleil 3 times
  56. Saw the Phantom of the Opera
  57. Took Mum to see Mamma Mia the show in Melbourne
  58. Saw Priscilla Queen of the Desert in Sydney
  59. Went to the Ballet
  60. Went to an underground film premiere
  61. Saw the Dalai Lama
  62. Camped out for tickets
  63. Went to a Metallica concert
  64. Saw A Perfect Circle Live
  65. Won a sports trophy (first place!)
  66. Stayed up all night
  67. Saw the Franz Josef Glacier
  68. Went to the Baxter Detention Centre protest in 2003
  69. Went to an Anti war protest
  70. Bought organic fruit and veg every week from a farmers market
  71. Submitted an article to Susie Orbach
  72. Wrote letters to the health minister about the Maternity services review
  73. Helped get a pedestrian island built on a dangerous road in Sydney
  74. Made a submission to the marriage equality review in favor of marriage rights for same sex couples
  75. Took my grandmother skydiving for her 61st birthday
  76. Sent Chris care packages when his Dad got sick
  77. Gave up smoking
  78. Photo of the day with my Mum
  79. Went kayaking on the Mekong river in Laos
  80. Volunteering at the Oxfam store
  81. Went caving in Thailand
  82. Supported R during her secret B.A.
  83. Gave anonymously to the homeless person in S.C.C
  84. Took care of my Big Issue Man
  85. Took Mum to John Edward – Twice
  86. The whole Beautiful girl with the long blonde hair story
  87. Painted our car with peace signs and funky designs
  88. Road trips with Mum and Debi
  89. Visiting the Blue Mountains
  90. Paddle Pops in Port Douglas
  91. Started the friend book with Rachel
  92. Floated down a river in an inner tube in a National Park in Thailand
  93. Lived out of a backpack for 6 months
  94. Kayaked through the South China Sea for Outward Bound Singapore
  95. Pulled Nasifah out of the pool when she had been pushed in and couldn’t swim
  96. Made a wish on a shooting star in the desert
  97. Drove across the Nullabor
  98. Made a speech at uni even though I was terrified
  99. Giving out care packages to the homeless kids in Cambodia instead of money
  100. Volunteering at the Youth Refuge for a year
  101. Started 101/1001 and continue to challenge myself

Wow, that was much harder than expected! (I started this list days ago!) But definitely gives me motivation to get back on track with 101/1001 so that next time I try and do a list like this I have a lot more to work with!

I haven’t been posting much of late. With my replacement being trained up at work, I don’t really have a lot of free work time to be updating during the day and the last week my Mum was visiting from QLD and I have a friend in town from Amsterdam so most of my ‘home’ time is taken up catching up with the two of them. We also have 9 days left in the country so we are frantically trying to sell the last of our belongings and organise ourselves before next Monday.. eep is all I have to say about that though, because if I start going into it my head could just explode!

In 101/1001 news, I am a little bit closer to completion on a few of my tasks which is nice. I am almost half way through # 69 (Get rid of 101 things that I don’t use or need) It’s been surprisingly easy considering we are moving house. My favourite part of that challenge was giving my boss’ son one of our old guitars. He has been coming into the office after school once or twice a week for the last couple of years so we have spent many an afternoon chatting to each other about the world. He is 14 and absolutely in love with all things musical so when we were talking about getting rid of one our electric guitars he seemed like the perfect choice. The day after I had given the guitar to his Mum to give to him that night I came to work to find this:

flower

He had picked the flowers himself at a reserve where he likes to walk sometimes, and the note was so beautiful that I almost started my Friday morning crying at my desk. He talked about how he couldn’t believe I had even wanted to talk him all those times and how I was so nice and friendly and how lucky he thought was just to know me *sob* he said that he had really mixed feelings about me moving to NZ but that he was really excited for all the great things that were going to happy to me in the future. What a wonderful kid! I wish I could bundle him up and take him with me!

I have managed to cross off two things on my list completely this week:

#90. (Sell/Give away clothes that don’t fit anymore); I have sold a few of them on a forum I frequent (making about $400 which was nice!) and the rest are all packed up ready to be taken to the Salvos next time hubby has a day off work.

#62. (Say yes to more social situations); while technically this is an ongoing challenge which I will keep at for the duration of the challenge (and my life) I feel like I have done well enough at it so far that I can justify crossing it off. Last week was a big week for me, I had dinner planned with someone every single night of the week, so when Friday night came around I was really looking forward to settling in at home with a movie and some chocolate. When my old friend called in the morning asking me to come to a super indie movie opening with him I almost declined, but remembered my list item and said okay. I ended up in a strange suburb in Western Sydney watching a premiere indie thriller movie in a ramshackle theatre with 30 super cool bohemian film students (or ex film students), I ate free popcorn and got to watch the newest short film project from this years Tropfest winner – on her personal mac, in her office, with headphones, while everyone else downstairs played movie soundtrack trivia – I drove the streets of Sydney with my old friend for hours laughing and chatting and talking and ate a midnight dinner with him in the front seat of his car before getting home a little after 1am.

car

All in all it was a wonderful night, and although I could barely keep my eyes open when I got home, it was well worth it!

And, since it’s something I would normally say no to, and since I had been out for dinner with someone every night last week, I’m counting that as a successful cross off.. I will continue to work at it though, and will report on any other significant progress as it comes up.

Yesterday, while at lunch with my family, there was some contention about the ‘meals outside’ issue. We ate at a beach side restaurant, with walls so open that I thought it could almost count as a meal outside (#99) There were five of us at lunch so I took a vote, two considered the seat to be outside while the other two said it was inside (darn it) I was supposed to be the tie breaker, but I figured I wasn’t a reliable unbiased source so I took the tie to count as a no, which means my tally still sits at 5/101. It was still a great lunch though, and it was a spectacular day in Cronulla yeasterday, almost beautiful enough to make me not want to head to chilly Queenstown next week.. almost.. but not quite!

outside

After family lunch I spent the afternoon with my Mother. She flew back home this morning and it was the last time we’d get a chance to spend time together for quite a while (what with me moving to another country and all). We saw a movie and spent hours in Nulla Nulla cafe downing coffees and chatting away. It was so great, except that spending time with her just makes me miss her even more once she goes home again.

Anyway, that is the update from me. Back to packing and cleaning and organising our lives…

There is something really wonderful about coming to Melbourne. I find it so empowering to return here year after year. Though I only lived here for 5 years, it feels like home. Right now I’m holed up in my hotel room, a little seedy, with a view of another persons window less than a metre from mine, but just a few steps from degraves street – the hip coffee hub of town – and just a few minutes walk from ‘the clocks’ at Flinders Street Station, the ‘meeting place’ for friends and lovers alike.

Although I lived here for such a short time, those years were so filled with life. My Melbourne years were very much my ‘coming of age’ years and I will always treasure them. Most of my current day friends are friends I met through my first Melbourne job where I was receptionist in an international student accommodation building for 2.5 years. I still have friends all over the world from that job, not to mention that I met my 3 closest friends in those walls (room 519!). Of the 20 guests at my wedding, all but seven of them could be traced back to that job, and the people I met there.. in fact if I had never met them, I wouldn’t have met my husband. How different life would have been without that job.

When I first moved here I was running away from my small town upbringing, I craved the anonymity of a big city, the freedom to discover myself without a whole town watching. I moved here with my friend K and her 3 year old son D. I’ve no idea why they agreed to come with me but I’m so thrilled that they did. We shared a house in the suburbs our first year here, when I wasn’t working nights, or studying at TAFE, I would come home and read bedtime stories to D and he would fall asleep in my arms. But I was working in the city, and studying full time as well and making new friends in town and K was feeling abandoned. When our lease came up for renewal K decided to move in with her folks and so I moved out on my own in Richmond into a tiny flat in a crumbly old building. I loved that flat and it became the scene for many a party over the next few years. What started out as just my little place turned into the crash pad for a cast of thousands, soon there were three of us living there full time (the two gals from 519 and I) and various boyfriends and friends and interstate visitors pulling up a patch of floor whenever they needed to. There was always people, and music, and drinking and love in those four walls. The three of us – three girls, all out of towners and the very best of friends – were inseparable, we did almost everything together, and the times that we weren’t together we would be texting each other frantically about whatever it was we were doing. We were so close that when they went home to Perth for summer holidays, I would go with them, meeting their parents, partying with their school friends. It was heaven.

These days the three of us live in three different states. We see each other once or twice a year if we are lucky, though I still consider them my very best friends. One of us is married with two young daughters, it’s incredible to believe that we were once these three young girls, so lost and trusting and full of life, living at full speed every single day, drunk on freedom and passion and $5 bottles of pink ‘champagne’.

So coming into Melbourne – the skybus trip from the airport to Spencer St station specifically – brings back so much of that for me. Not to mention the years that came after, the early years before my husband was my husband and was just the cute boy I had a crush on, Melbourne was the scene for the first couple of dizzying years of our relationship when we were so desperately in love and lust and totally intoxicated with each other. Our first home together was a high rise apartment with city views which we shared with various people from the big hearted pommie boy stoner turned marathon runner to the crazy but lovable psycho girl and her equally crazy (but remarkably less lovable) boyfriend who would scream at each other in massive arguements long into the night. The parties we had there, with countless people smoking and drinking on our ginormous balcony – almost as big as and running for the entire length of the apartment, New Years parties, Australia Day parties, Orphan Christmasses for the people we knew whos families were a world away, or not worth visiting; Birthday parties and farewell parties and ‘oh look, I got a great deal on ecstacy’ parties.

My life here was always so varied and interesting, from drinking competitions with the USA frat boys to dancing up a storm in a dark and smoky goth club, my Melbourne years shaped me in a way that no other phase of my life has to date and I think that no matter where I go, no matter how many cities I live in or countries I move to, I will always think of Melbourne as my true home.

And what better place to do number 12 on my list “take a trip by myself”. I have left hubby at home for this little holiday, choosing to explore the Melbourne of my past without him. I’m here to eat at my favourite restaurants, meet with old friends, and wander the streets and I reminisce about my history here. It feels good to be here on my own, free to do as I please, and free too, to miss him a little as I go about my day, I think that’s so important in a marriage, to long for each other a little, it makes going home to him something to be treasure just a little bit more.