When I first arrived in Melbourne, I would get nervous around 5 o'clock because it was when all the shops were about to close. Being very Singaporean, I could not imagine a world in which my shopping had to end before dinner-time. Also, I had been so used to life in Tokyo, having shops and restaurants close really late and being able to hop on the last train home on the Yamanote line at 1 a.m.
"Whatever do people do when the shops are closed?" I asked in all earnesty.
"Oh, heaps!" Lockie replied.
"I find Melbourne to be kinda, well, boring sometimes."
"What are you talking about! There's always something happening somewhere."
5 months on, I have since repented of my ignorant ways and have completely changed my mind about the city.
Just yesterday, after teaching my Saturday morning class, I caught the tram towards St. Kilda Road and headed to the National Gallery of Victoria. There are at least 10 rooms in the gallery and they are all massive. I spent more than 2 hours in there and only covered 2 rooms, and I couldn't even finish the 19th century European paintings and sculptures. I had to stop because I was just so overwhelmed. And I still have 3 other exhibits at the Ian Potter Museum (across the river) that I wanted to see, and they're all free!
Today, E drove me to Chadstone for shopping with Maddy, and en route we drove by a garage sale. We got off and had a quick look, and ended up buying me a brand new bike seat (going for $20 down from $50) and the Australian edition of Cranium (for $5). And when we got to Chaddy, it was just so big I only covered less than 10% of the megamall in 4 hours. As usual, I bought bags and bags of lollies for my students, and I also scored bicycle pedals from K-Mart for just $10.
I should mention that E got me a second-hand bike as part of my Christmas present and he's been spending time teaching me how to ride, and I'm getting the hang of it! My aim is to be confident enough to go on the road and ride to the supermarket and community library by myself. It's my goal for the summer, along with passing my learner's permit (for driving).
E has also bought us tickets to see Diana Krall and Buena Vista Social Club next March, and I'm so psyched. The perks of dating an ex-musician! ;)