Thursday, October 20, 2011

Return-to-home reality, or a case of amnesia?

The return home after an extended period of travel is often marked as a difficult period – people feel that they have changed, yet everything else seems to have remained the same.

For me, my 14 months in Europe was not my first ‘big trip’ – that happened when I was a rather green 19 year old, and boy did I do a lot of growing up and soul searching during that adventure. I spent close to six months in the US working at a summer camp. After camp I bought a car with a couple of friends and ended up driving around the north-east of the country. When I came home from my trip, I was dismayed that while I had changed and grown, no-one seemed to recognise this, and I struggled a bit with the way I perceived myself versus the perception of others.

Thankfully this time around, none of that happened. These days I’m comfortable with myself, satisfied with my life and save a few minor things, happy to be home. It seems, however, that it is Melbourne that has changed and grown…

Melbourne: isn't she pretty? source
The return to Melbourne has signalled a return to work: paid employment, hallelujah!
Income really makes a difference to one’s life. After surviving 14 months without a pay-cheque, having money in the bank has made me frivolous. In the five weeks I’ve been back, the following establishments have thanked me for my patronage:
  •  Hutong
  • Dimitri’s Feast
  • City Wine Store
  • Porgie & Mr Jones
  • DOC
  • EARL Canteen
  • The Langham Hotel (for tiffin!)
  • Spice Temple
  • North Cafeteria
  • Café Esc.
  • Lilo Café
  • Get Down Dog Pizza
  • The French Quarter (in spirit, thanks to a VERY good friend who has brought me TWO almond croissants since being back!); and
  • Haigh’s (does this count?)
Spoilt! I have been absolutely spoilt. Prior to my departure, I had been budget girl: I brought my lunch to work every day and treated myself to a takeaway coffee once a week.

Even in Berlin, it was all about getting the most for the least: EU2.90 kebabs and currywurst, and occasionally a meal at our favourite Indian place, creatively called India, where we received entrees, mains, a batura bread and 500ml beer for EU15 each.

But back in the homeland, I’m glad I have a job and am no-longer on a budget, because Melbourne is expensive! Is this a recent development, or has my mind simply erased all my Melbourne dining experiences as a series of traumatic events?

After settling back in, I think I’m ready to start bringing out the camera at meal times and recording some of the great food this city of mine has to offer. Of course, Chin Chin is high on the list of places to visit, in addition to Pony Fish, Coin Laundry, Grace Darling, Union Dining, St Katherines…oh my, when’s my next pay-cheque?

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