Two Mondays ago, Dan and I got kicked out of our place because the water heater broke and the plumber and real estate agent came to repair it in the evening. Our housemate isn’t actually allowed to rent to couples, and our names aren’t on the lease, so we weren’t allowed to go home until 7PM-ish.
We planned on going mini golfing earlier but Dan got super tired so we saved it for another day. Plus, it was sooooo much cheaper to go on a Monday than a Saturday ($10 per person vs $22 per person).
It was such a cool little joint! First of all, I couldn’t believe this building housed mini golf, lol. I was also surprised to see two bouncers at the door but I guess it can get pretty rowdy with the crowds and drinking. The joint also has a small bar and dining area in the back.
I think I’ve only done mini golfing once or twice in my life and that was back at some shitty neighbourhood carnival, haha. Recently, I’ve been going to Top Golf down in the US for the past two years thanks to my work’s conference and it’s always a blast! I was super excited to see a Top Golf commercial for Australia but it’s on the Gold Coast and we don’t plan on exploring that area until closer towards the end of our trip.
We have ten rounds and each of them has a different theme. My favourite one is this ass Trump themed round, and the goal was to get the ball through the wall.
At the end of the night, Dan won by three points. I think he was pretty surprised to see how close our scores were since he has no idea that I absolutely love Top Golf.
How cute is this plants vs zombie theme?!
And yes, we also came home to a nice working hot water tank again 🙂
The Queen Victoria Summer Nightmarket was one of the events that every Melbourian has suggested we attend. Even previous Working Holiday travellers told us to not miss this event.
We’re no strangers to nightmarkets; back in Vancouver, there’s several summer nightmarkets happening around the city. I try to go every year but at the end of the day, it’s more or less the same shit. We also hate crowds too.
After work, we trained over to Melbourne Central and walked up the Queen Victoria market. We wanted to keep it cheap so we limited ourselves to $25. I hate nightmarkets for the reason that it’s usually cash only – although, this nightmarket seems fancy enough that vendors have Square now.
Anyways, first impression – it’s massive and very crowded. The vendors essentially create a rectangle around you (with a few vendors in the middle), and in the middle is just a big seating area. Back at home, the nightmarkets had a few tables scattered around but most people just stand in one area and eat, or walk and eat.
What surprised Dan the most was how this vendor managed to have a stone pizza oven in the middle of this marketplace, lol. I must admit, it’s pretty impressive….
We also saw a bunch of people with this huuuuge mango thing so I made it a mission to find it and omg, it was legit only $5. I was expecting to cough up like $10-$12 for the thing because of its size but it was literally only $5 and nothing more.
Like, seriously… how do you offer this much mango for only $5? Tell me your secrets.
We also decided to have dinner at the nightmarket as well, and we both agreed on this pulled pork place. No regrets because it’s the best pulled pork nachos I’ve ever had. I kept on moaning as I stuffed my face, lol.
Overall experience? It was great and I’m happy to have stopped by and check it out but I don’t know why so many people hype it up. The food selection was mediocre and only had a few good options, and the goods vendor were all selling cheap knockoff brands.
But, the food was overall cheaper than I expected. I guess it’s not like at home where they gauge you for as much cash as possible.
A week before Christmas, Dan and I headed out to Melbourne Zoo on the weekend. Much to my surprise, it was Dan’s idea 🙂
I can count the amount of times I’ve been to a zoo on one hand, and the last zoo I was in was the Calgary Zoo (or Edmonton? – I can’t even remember…) back in 2012 or something. I haven’t even been to the Vancouver Zoo yet!
Straight off the bat what I loved about Melbourne Zoo was how easy it was to get there. It was about a 15-20 minutes tram ride out of the city… like what?! I’m not driving 1 hour to go visit a zoo?! It amazes me that such a big zoo is just outside the downtown core.
First stop was the Gorilla section of the zoo. I didn’t take any pictures because my phone camera is shite in that area and the gorillas were super far… but, here’s a selfie at the “Ranger’s Den”, lol.
We later came across the Butterfly House which… you guessed it, a house full of butterflies! I was a bit scared at first but after spending time there, they’re just harmless butterflies.
After the Butterfly House, we ventured off the the elephants and giraffes.
When I asked Dan to take a picture of me with the elephants… his response was “I got a picture of you with an elephant’s butt… and the elephant.” So, it’s only natural that I do the same when he wants a picture with an elephant.
We also dropped by the koala home but this koala was too busy eating 😦
I think we spent about 2.5 hours at the zoo already at this point and we were just ready to get away from all the kids and grab some late lunch/dinner. So, we sort of just sped through the remainder of the zoo (not many sections left anyways).
Here’s our favourite part!
We stumbled across this “cat alley” with beautifully painted cat murals. I couldn’t resist getting some pictures with it, and best of all? No loud kids pushing and shoving, shouting, and being in the background (lol).
Of course, after passing through the cat alley, we made our way to the meerkat section. This is Dan’s favourite part of the zoo and I didn’t think I would like it too much but these little buggers stole my heart! Look at how cute they are!
I love souvenir shops so it’s only fitting that we make time to visit the souvenir shop on the way out. I don’t know what it is about them because it’s not like I buy a shit ton of things! But I just love grabbing at least one item from a cool place, and Melbourne Zoo was pretty cool.
We ended up getting a meerkat magnet that I can’t wait to stick to the fridge when we get back home to Canada!
All in all, I had a great date day and I’m very grateful for Dan to have planned the day and dinner out! It was relaxing and very fun to see all these different animals. Personally, I prefer zoos more than aquariums. I find aquariums to be very repetitive, and the zoo had a marine life exhibition but we breezed through it.
Being the newbie at work, I was the one who had to stay during the holidays and sure, I have no family or friends to spend the holidays with so I do make the perfect candidate for coming into work but it was sooooo dead. It sucks even more that I’m new because if I was there for a while, I would’ve had some backlog of work to get through and pass the time.
My colleagues agreed that I could call it early and get started on my Christmas since it was very quiet. Times like this, I wish I was back at home because my old job has flex days and the office would just be closed and we’ll work from home.
Santa also came a bit earlier and my ring finally came from Canada! I am sooooo in love with it…
Christmas Day 2018
Merry Christmas! We woke up to a whopping 30+ degrees and it didn’t feel like Christmas at all. For us, we associate Christmas with cold and snow, lol. At work, there’s another Canadian that moved to Melbourne 30+ years ago and she told me that even after all these years, she still can’t get used to an Aussie Christmas.
Dan and I went down to Brighton Beach. We opted out of St. Kilda’s because we figured it will be packed with tourists. Brighton Beach felt more local and it was much, much quieter.
After the beach, we headed home to relax and have our Christmas dinner. Since it was just us – our housemates both left for the holidays – we decided to do the most stereotypical thing … we had a bbq and threw shrimps on the barbie, haha.
Since it was also the most stereotypical thing to do, we decided to take some photos for our last minute Christmas card idea. We had a lot of fun doing it that I think we’ll like to make this the start of a tradition! Making cheesy and cringey family cards.
Boxing Day 2018
I didn’t partake in Boxing Day this year as I felt that I didn’t need much… plus, being a traveller sort of makes you a bit more conscious of your purchases because you’re going to have to think how to bring all your crap back home or if you want to invest in something so temporary.
Instead, we opted to catch Aquaman in theaters. And…
Aquaman was horrible. The group in front of us walked out. But oh my gosh, I was feeling relief when the movie finally ended. I would give it a 3/10 and Dan gives it about a 5 or 6/10.
The actors were good enough, but the writing was soooo bad and cheesy. Seriously. On top of that, we weren’t a fan of how futuristic the film was – it felt like we were watching an underwater Star Wars movie.
I would probably catch this movie only if you can get discounted tickets – otherwise, wait for it to come on a streaming platform.
Also, I also found out that my one hour of sunbathing on Christmas Day resulted in my first ever sunburn! Literally, my first ever sunburn. I’m not even mad, lol.
New Year’s Eve
For NYE, we decided to head out to King’s Domain to catch the city’s fireworks. We normally hate going out on NYE because everything is overpriced and transport (public or private) sucks ass. But, being new to the city and without friends or family, public events are pretty much our only choice to celebrate a holiday, lol.
I’m usually skeptical about public celebrations because Vancouver has always put on shite fireworks and entertainment so I didn’t have much expectations for Melbourne’s.
To end off 2018, we went to Sushi Hub. It’s technically a fast food sushi restaurant but we haven’t found an actual sit-in sushi restaurant yet (without it being super expensive).
We arrived a bit earlier than the entertainment because we weren’t sure when Sushi Hub would close. So we just hung around the park and chatted, enjoying each other’s company.
The entertainment included music videos and a live DJ – nothing too extravagant.
Literally waited about 3.5 hours for the fireworks and countdown!
So, hello to 2019 in Melbourne! 2018 has been a great year but I wasn’t fan of the last two months.
I’m not sure what to make 2019, to be honest. 2018 has been a great year and I just want to continue the flow of savings, new experiences and travelling. Sure, there are habits I’d like to kick but for the most part, I think I’ll continue to live and experience 2019 the same way as I did in 2018 with a little bit more pushing myself out of the comfort zone!
Yesterday, Dan and I went to the Old Melbourne Gaol for date day. For those like me, I didn’t know “gaol” was an alternative spelling to “jail” and pronounced it as “gah-ol” until Dan corrected me, lol.
Honestly, I’ve never seen jail spelled like that before!
Prior to visiting the jail, we stopped by the Queen Victoria Market because we wanted to see a Christmas market… unfortunately, it wasn’t much of a Christmas market and just a regular vendor market selling fresh produce, meats and seafood… and knock off clothing.
There was a big Christmas shop on the corner of the market, BUT, the moment we walked in, we had one of the sales associates follow us throughout the ENTIRE store. I’ve never been profiled at a store before so that was a new experience for me and made me feel very uncomfortable. I was about to tell the associate off when Dan said let’s go because he didn’t like the vibes they were giving us as well. I’m really happy we didn’t end up grabbing anything from that store.
Anyways, enough of that nonsense and let’s talk about the jail experience!
This is the second jail tour I’ve been in. The first one was back in Alcatraz when I visited San Francisco.
When we arrived to purchase our tickets, we were lucky to arrive just in time for the Watch Tower experience where we get arrested and booked. It was a fun little experience to sort of see what the detainees went through. Our tour guide was very fun and entertaining. Near the end of the Watch Tower tour, we overheard another tour where a female was giving the tour and she was more of the strict cop – she was literally yelling at the other tour group!
These were the cells that they locked us in. We thought it was just sitting around for a few seconds until the guard yelled “LIGHTS OUT!” and actually turned the lights off! We sat there in darkness for about 30 seconds before the guard came back and said “Good morning!” and let us out to the courtyard. We were also divided up by gender to make it a bit more realistic too.
The Watch Tower experience was about a 30ish minute tour. After the lock-up experience, the guard/staff told us a little bit of the history of the jail and also led us to the new exhibit on the Russell Street bombing.
After that, we ventured into the actual jail and toured the three levels. We learned a lot about the Kelly gang and Colin Campbell Ross. Not to mention, this jail hung 133 convicts so it’s a bit eerie to stand in the courtyard where the hanging would happen and see the gallows, and also the torture and punishment tools used on these inmates.
I think out of everyone that passed through the Melbourne Jail, two inmates stood out to me: Colin Ross and Alexander Ross (next picture). These two inmates were not related.
I don’t know why but I felt so sorry to see this adorable little boy be punished! I didn’t take any pictures but part of the museum displayed how inmates would be whipped so I think that’s another reason why he stuck with me because he survived being strapped down and whipped, and died in 1954 in a suburb next to where I’m currently living.
After the jail, we headed down to Federation Square to see the Christmas tree. We originally wanted to see it a night time but it was still bright AF at 5pm and we really didn’t want to kill 3-4 hours roaming around.
At the time, there was also an African Celebration going on so we saw a few cool performances.
And, to end date day, Dan took me out to a sushi dinner and Starbucks dessert.
PS: It’s actually pretty cheap to have a wedding in the jail, LOL. I did check the wedding hire brochure.
I can’t believe it’s been a month since I moved out to Melbourne! Honestly, this time of the year usually flies by for me but November felt like the longest month of the year. A few days ago, someone asked if it feels like I’m on vacation because time moved so slowly in November and I stumped at that because I don’t feel like I’m on vacation… but I also don’t feel like I’m settled yet, you know what I mean?
So, what is life like in Melbourne after a month?
The trains in Melbourne are different than the ones back at home. I hate the schedule – you miss a train? Wait 15 minutes! Whereas, back at home, if you missed a train, another one comes in 2-3 minutes (or less during rush hour).
Some produce and foods are called differently over here:
Ketchup = tomato sauce
(Bell) Pepper = capsicum
Cilantro = coriander (I had such an embarrassing experience at the grocery store because of this!)
Frosted Flakes = Frosties
Fries = Chips (obviously!)
Thrift stores = Opp shops
Hours of Operations / Open hours = trading hours
It’s super competitive out here in the job market. Definitely much more competitive than back home.
Houses are built differently over here – it seems like a lot of them are only one level and there are no basement suites.
Oh my gosh, I don’t think I can ever complain about the rain in Vancouver because here in Melbourne, when it pours… it freakin’ pours! We live next to a gym (literally, 30 seconds walk) and Dan was soaked from the time he left the gym because he was caught in torrential rainfall.
There are no monthly bus passes – you just have to load up your card with 4 weeks or 52 weeks or 120 days, etc.
Because rent can be paid weekly… a lot of people will rent out their rooms whenever they can. On Facebook, I saw someone try to rent their room for like 5 days.
Fruits are hella expensive but meat and produce are fairly cheap.
Sushi is completely different out here… I can’t explain it. I should probably take photos next time.
People comment on my accent… that’s weird.
Also, I miss hockey… so, so much.
Plus side… I get K-Mart AND Target. Oh my lord, I can’t stop going into them.
The phone planes are SO cheap and good! I pay $30/month and get 8gb of data and unlimited talk/text. On top of that, any unused data gets rolled over into the next month with a maximum of 200gb. Like, what do Australians do on their phone that requires this much data?!
Major groceries delivery groceries to your door and it’s not a premium service or anything out of the norm.
Tax is already included in the price! If I see a tag for $10, I’m paying $10 at the register.
No tips culture!
There’s probably a bit more differences that I’ve noticed during my month here but these are what comes to the top of my head.
Of the 4 weeks here, I’ve worked for 1 week which isn’t too bad! I got a sense of the Australian workforce. I’m hoping to ditch the contract realm soon and find something permanent or at least a longer contract term.
I think I’m most excited for Christmas because it’d literally be Christmas in summer. Like, I would be wearing shorts next to my Christmas tree and I’m excited for that, lol.
Also, given that it’s been a month already… I think it’s time for me to meet new people. So I downloaded Bumble and half-assed my swipes but I’d try to put more effort into my matches.
When I got my first corporate job, I felt like my wardrobe wasn’t adequate enough. I was inspired to “upgrade” my wardrobe a bit and dress a bit more fancier. I wanted items that I can pull off in the office, and outside of the office as well.
I love jeans and leggings but I feel like I want a bit more casual smart items.
I have really small feet (size 2 Youth or size 4 women) so I tend to purchase shoes online when I’m not in China. My pair of black ankle boots were finally worn down and I had to throw them out and ever since, I’ve been eyeing a new pair. I wanted something with a lower heel as to make it not super formal and hard to walk in so finding this was a steal!
Same as the one above, this is another blazer-like cardigan! I fell in love with the colour so grabbed it while it was on sale.
Lastly, I couldn’t help but get myself a Vegas Knights jacket! I’ve always wanted one but held off on it until there was a good sale. Unfortunately, being in Australia, my go-to site for VGK goods were very limited. They only had one style for a women’s jacket but it’s pretty much exactly what I wanted anyway so it all works out!
So, what was this year’s damage?
AliExpress = $83.74 – $5 coupon = $78.74 AUD
Vegas Knights = $61.50
Total = $140.24 AUD
In my opinion, not bad of a haul! For the AliExpress items alone, that’s a fair bit of items for only $80.
My hockey jacket will be the first to arrive, and everything else should be arriving mid to late December, assuming there’s not much of a delay with Australia Post.