For the past week I’ve been house-sitting about ten kilometres from my humble abode in the north and although that sounds like a pretty short distance, it’s an epic cultural shift in a little city like Melbourne.
It’s been an amazing week, every morning I am woken around 7ish by a 6-month old cat scratching my face after which I spend a decent hour slowly getting ready for work and mentally preparing myself for a day spent indoors. I usually leave around 8 am, which is when I’m meant to start work but because my daily commute has gone from thirty-five minutes to just four, I figure I can be those few minutes late through the door.
The house itself is ridiculously cute, the couple who live here have put a lot of effort into being self-sufficient and it shows. The front room contains a little mushroom farm, about thirty jars of home-grown olives and a whole box of honey which I’ve been eyeing off since I moved in. Outside is a little jungle full of goodness, every morning I go out into the garden and forage my lunch – which usually consists of rocket, herbs and whatever else I can find. The kitchen is full of surprises and I’ve been cooking ridiculous meals since I moved in. The other night I decided to create a saffron infused dish in a tagine and actually squealed in delight when I discovered real saffron in the pantry. I can’t really describe how exciting it is to be able to walk into a kitchen (that isn’t even my own) and find exactly what I’m looking for but I’m pretty sure the little belly I’m developing is a good indication of what’s going on.
Then there is the cat…. Mr. Red. As cute and/or fun this little guy can be I don’t think I will ever understand why anyone would want to own a cat. I almost die on a daily basis from tripping over him and have little scratch marks all over my legs from the times he has mistaken me for the abandoned scratch pole that lives out the front of the house. It is nice to have a little purring bundle of warmth cuddled up next to me in the evenings but that is after about four-five hours of manic running around, mewing and attempted theft of the food from my plate.
House sitting has also given me the opportunity to explore parts of the city I have never set a foot in. Over the weekend I rode my bike to Footscray market, got a ridiculously cheap haircut (hello $5.00) and found a place that does Avocado bubble tea with pearl. I have also wandered around Kensington a little, eaten some mighty fine pizza from a local place and have learnt to avoid Foodmart where a bag of chips will set you back $5.00…pretty sure I can get a dodgy haircut for that price.
And life in general? Last night marked the official end of the Jazz Festival for 2013. I can’t remember if I have already mentioned this on my blog, but for every year that I’ve volunteered at the Jazz Festival it has changed my life in some major way. Jazz Festival was the first event I volunteered at when I moved to Melbourne and it really made me come out of my shell. I became friends with a really random girl and went on to do some more volunteering with her in the country after some pretty bad bushfires. We didn’t keep in touch, I lost her number somewhere along the way but in many ways that experience shaped the way I continued to interact with people.
Last years event marked one of the best parties I have ever been to and was the first year I worked as an artist minder. It was all pretty surreal and I can’t really begin to describe what exactly it did for me. I remember walking into a little japanese cafe with the guy I was minding. The first thing he said when we sat down was that his friend had composed the song that was playing, it was a damn good song… he proceeded to buy me lunch and tell me stories about his life back home in the US and the things he had learnt from life. I don’t know why that moment is so memorable, it feels like it was a combination of great company, good food and meaningful conversation.
And this year. Wow. I’ve probably lost friends because I’ve talked about it so much. The group I worked with were amazing, I feel like they were looking after me half the time. I’d go to walk through a door and someone would be holding it open, I’d tell them to get a move on and they’d hug me and laugh, I’d be sitting by myself mindful that they would probably want space and they’d ask me what the hell I was doing hanging by myself. I’m pretty sure we spent the majority of time dancing on escalators, in lifts and in restaurants. But not only that, they inspired me to get off my butt and seek out the things in life that make me happy – starting with where I spend my 9 – 5. Thanks, guys.
I’ve written a lot and I just realised it’s 1.30 in the morning, eep.
Talk soon and hopefully there will be photos next time!