It’s funny how quickly you become adjusted to new things, new places, new ways of being. We have been in Melbourne now for almost 3 months (that little anniversary will be in 3 days…) and it feels like it’s been forever, in a good way. Maps are a thing of the past, buying groceries is a cinch, I don’t need to look at the menu for a few of our favorite eateries and watering holes. Ah, the comfort of feeling like a local.
Obviously we were excited when my mom scheduled her trip down south to visit us. Can I just say – what a surreal experience to have your mom visit you overseas?! We had a loose itinerary of things to do, our favorite eateries that we had to show her, and long winded explanations of the everyday curiosities, quirkiness and ‘different-ness’ of Melbourne. In other words, we were here to show her our town. One that we feel comfortable in, know lots about, and have explored from tip to toe.
How that can change when someone new is thrown into your midst; seeing these same sights, buildings and streets with eyes that aren’t accustomed (figuratively and literally actually, as my mom had just completed her eye corrective surgery and for the first time in decades can see without glasses!). Excitement is contagious, I’m convinced of that. Within a mere 20 minutes of our visitor being in the city limits we were showing off our city, with a fervor not felt since our first month here.
Melbourne was like new. So much to see, so much to do, and a great excuse to take a million photos of a million things that we’ve already seen. But man, was it different. How amazing is this market? How busy is this street? They drive on the left!
Our list of activities included some old favorites – the Melbourne Zoo, Queen Victoria Market, St. Kilda, Ponyfish Island, Great Ocean Road. And it also included some new territory – the Botanical Gardens, The Shrine of Remembrance, Brunswick neighborhood. And – since this is my mom and I, after all – lots of thrift stores!
It was such a blast to experience everything we love about this city with someone new and with the constraints of time – no we can’t wait to see this particular market, it’s not open tomorrow! We have to go see the botanical gardens today, not tomorrow. Too poetically this visit encapsulated the fact that my time here, too, is constrained.
But more on that later.
We walked all around Melbourne, rested when we could, and tried to keep the throttle wide open to soak up as much as possible. Speaking of, the weather was a dream! My mom had no idea that Melbourne, really, isn’t like this in winter. Oh Australia, how you love to fool people into believing that sunny-all-the-time myth. Not that I mind, of course!
We ended a full week with ambitious plans of driving the Great Ocean Road to see lighthouses, pet kangaroos, see Koalas, the 12 Apostles and the beautiful coast. We saw the sunrise over the Apostles, climbed hundreds of steps down into gorges and the cliff surrounded beaches, climbed up lighthouses, saw the sunset over the Indian Ocean and just reveled in the wonders of nature.
It was amazing, all over again.
Of course, this being travel associated with the Rubins, some mis-adventures were had – this one included a cancelled flight and late night elevator music courtesy of the customer service line of an airline that shall not be named. A surprise extra day in Australia gave us time for some much needed rest and relaxation after the whirlwind of activity of the previous week before my mom had to fly home.
We are so thankful for this visit with my mom, to show her the sights, and the unexpected experience of seeing our city like new.