My first memory of Melbourne, post immigration and customs (which were, respectively, almost non-existent, and pleasantly short), was the wall of heat outside. With four of sleeping dogging my every step, 30 degree heat, and 27kg of luggage and climate-inappropriate clothing – I took a Taxi to my hostel rather than trying to navigate public transport in my sleep addled state.
The first day is not particularly memorable, except that I managed to secure access to a sim card and my bank account, before returning to the hostel to collapse in a sweaty heap and drift off at the incredibly late hour of 9pm.
Having been here for a little under forty hours, the enormity of what I had done started to finally sink in. I was in a large city that would cheerfully chew me up and spit me out if I didn’t get things together, with no support network, no real concept of how to navigate the city, on limited funds till I managed to find a job – and no-one to talk to.
We often don’t appreciate how much things mean to us until they’re taken away. I’m used to a constant stream of people I know in my life saying hello. From flatmates to work mates, dance partners, fellow team members of sports past and present. And that’s not even including the friends and family that I regularly talk to, hang out with, go drinking with and randomly run into on the street.
If, for some stupid reason, back in Wellington, I had lost my job, my flat, or all my life savings, I would have literally a hundred people I could fall back on while I sorted my life out. Here, in Melbourne – I have one facebook contact, a person I’ve never met, and have only exchanged precursory messages with.
In the exceedingly unlikely event that I fail to find work here in Melbourne, and the money runs out – I have standing offers for jobs in other cities, but that’s not an option until I’m well and truly financially desperate, which I’m not even close to. Finding fellow people to talk to though, that’s going to be the hard bit.