Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Brady Bunch

A few weeks ago I moved into a damp and dilapidated but cozy little flat. Rent in Melbourne is far from cheap so to save on housing costs, there are six of us living together in our little three bedroom flat. My housemates come from all over the world, making us quite an eclectic little bunch. Let me introduce you!

Meet J'rae. Most people, myself included, couldn't pull off having an apostrophe in their first name but this girl definitely makes it work. At 19 she's the baby of the house but she's so well spoken and confident in her own skin that I often forget she's still a teenager. This American has an affinity for words and keeps a beautiful hand-written journal she writes in on a regular basis, but she doesn't care much for most movies. She finally saw one she liked the other night though, which was a big step.

Meet Mana. She's from Japan, making her the only person in the house who doesn't speak English as her first language. Taking that into account, I am constantly impressed by her ability to go about her day to day life completely in her second language, and at such a young age to boot. She recently got a job at a Japanese restaurant, which we are all very proud of her for. She can often be found curled up into a tiny ball on the couch (she is so small and flexible that sometimes we're not sure if it's just the blanket there or if she's underneath it) or singing in the shower.

Meet Andrew. His accent and affinity for tea leave no doubt that he's English, however he's so enthusiastic about traveling that it's been a couple of years since he's been back on his home soil. He's not only my housemate but also my co-worker; he helped get me the job at the cafe I work at. In addition to being a talented barista Andrew is also a ski instructor. He's actually going to be leaving us soon to go work a ski season at a nearby mountain. His replacement is still TBD.

Meet Rich. This Welsh fellow's real name is Richard but due to an unfortunate typo in a group text message a while back he is now commonly referred to in our house as Rick. He isn't thrilled about it but the nickname has stuck... I think it's finally starting to grow on him. Rick bikes to and from work each day and hits the gym most evenings too, making him arguably the most active out of all of us. He never fails to offer a sweaty hug after coming home from the gym.

Meet Ben. Unlike my other housemates, I knew Ben before I got to Australia. I actually met him way back in Cambodia, saw him again in Japan and then met up with him here in Australia. This English boy loves everything to do with being outdoors, especially skiing and mountain biking. He has an infectious laugh, so there's a good chance you'll hear him around the house before you see him. He also happens to be my boyfriend.

Like I said, we're a pretty eclectic group (I can only imagine how strange we must look together when we're all out the bar) but it keeps things interesting, and at the end of the day we all get along great. I've never shared a place with this many people before and wasn't sure if it would work for me but now I honestly can't imagine living on my own!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Day Off

Traveling for seven months straight meant that pretty much every day was a 'day off' for me. Now that I'm working full time (something I haven't done in almost a year!) I am really beginning to look forward to and make the most of the days when I'm not working. 

Ben and I had the day off together yesterday and decided to make the most of it by going on a bike adventure. We made it to the cute little seaside community of Williamstown. It wasn't too far outside of downtown Melbourne but its quiet streets and historic buildings made it feel worlds apart.

Fish and chips for the English boy!

Central Business District, aka CBD/downtown

Lots of starfish on the dock!

Playing with fire water

Greedy seagulls

Our mode of transport du jour


To top off our already awesome day, on our way back home we stopped off at the St. Kilda pier where penguins (yes, penguins) swim up every night to nest. I didn't get any amazing pictures because you can't use your flash around them but they were ridiculously cute, and who knew you could see penguins in Australia - just minutes from your house no less?!

One of the many adorable little guys!

It was most definitely an enjoyable day off. Melbourne is awesome.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Van Gogh

As anyone reading this probably knows by now, I'm currently living and working in Melbourne, Australia. I've shown you all pictures of the house I'm sharing with five other people from around the world (photos and bios of my housemates to come) but I've finally gotten around to taking some of the cafe I'm working at: Vincent's Place!

Vincent's Place

My boss and co-worker being goofs


Charming, no?

Best part of my job: stoking the fire

Aaaaand the beach is just down the road. Awesome.

I do a bit of everything there: take orders, serve food, tidy up... but I still need to be trained on how to make a proper "strong skinny flat white with 1" (yes, that  is a type of drink - ordering coffee here in Melbourne is serious business let me tell you!) It's a pretty awesome job and it's been interesting to learn more about the city's 'cafe culture' (blog on that to come as well!)

Oh, in case you were wondering the owner of the cafe isn't named Vincent - it's named after Van Gogh!