Life in Melbourne is different from life in Miami in many small ways. Here are a few things that I find myself doing more living here than I ever did before living in Miami.
In Miami, riding a bicycle means taking your life in your hands. There are few bicycle lanes, even fewer bike paths, and dangerous crossings. Plus Miami drivers are hostile. Bicycling in Miami is done largely for leisure, to cruise down Ocean Drive or ride with the kids in the park, but it’s not generally considered an appropriate or even safe mode of transportation. In Melbourne, bicycling is as common as walking and driving. The weather is good for it, there are many bicycle lanes and paths as well as shops and even a terrific bike share program. People of all ages ride and it’s not uncommon to see people riding with their kids in tow, carrying groceries, and even didgeridoos.
Aside from a sporadic evening walking exercise regime, the most walking I did in Miami was in the mall. Miami is hot and humid and often the places you want to get to are beyond comfortable walking distance. In Melbourne, everything is just “down the road”, as Theo says, and with parking being scarce and costly, walking makes sense.
In Miami, I was my mother’s daughter. I lived with her and was spoiled by her. In Melbourne, I’m somebody’s partner and we share a home. Now my daily routine includes cleaning and cooking and, though it has its pleasures at times, becoming a homemaker has been on the most difficult adjustments for me.
Learn About Dogs
In Miami, I had a cat. In Melbourne, we have a dog. Sam is clever, sweet, and very cute, but his antics were driving me mad and so I made the decision to pursue dog training. It’s been one of the best decisions I’ve made here. After only four sessions (with four more to go), his transformation has been remarkable. He’s calmer, he’s learned how to sit and drop, and I can walk him. He’s much more enjoyable to have as a pet now.
There are flies in Miami, but the flies in Melbourne are extra special. It feels like there are many more of them and they are bold. They buzz around your head and land on you. The worst is when they try to go into your ears. It’s so prevalent that the motion of waving away flies with your hand is dubbed the “Australian wave”.
Shop for Locally-Made Products
In Miami, just about everything is from somewhere else. Australia still produces many goods, which is a point of Aussie pride. Not only can you easily obtain locally grown food, Melbourne has a rich design culture for fashion, accessories, and home goods.
Not only do I walk and bicycle more, I also use public transportation, all of which are better for the environment that owning a car. We also recycle, grow some herbs and vegetables, and buy locally-made products. In Melbourne, there’s also a big interest in recycling , upcycling, and sustainable living. On any given Sunday, you can visit just about any market and find some great and unique handcrafted and upcycled merchandise. There are numerous local government-offered workshops as well as large events to teach, encourage, and celebrate greener habits such as Bikefest and the Sustainable Living Festival.
If you’re an expat down under, are there things you do in Oz you never did before or that you do more here?