Leaving Melbourne

Yesterday, we’ve packed our bags to leave Burn City. Our stay was long overdue – what was supposed to be a seven-months stint stretched to become one year, two months, and twelve days. And because of that, I’m relieved that we are finally going.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Melbourne. I couldn’t agree more with articles stating that it’s the most liveable city, it really is: The standard of living is high with the environment being clean and green; Water, fresh produce, and other food are readily available; People are able to speak in English and most are friendly; And crime rates are reasonable. On top of that, Melbourne has two strong characteristics which I’ve fallen in love with.

First is, of course, the rich café culture. I especially adore cafés which have either Scandinavian or crazy quirky décor, and serve brunch and coffee made out of passion. I have a few favourites, and I’d probably write on them in a future post.

The second feature of Melbourne I find enchanting is its abundance of nature. While the CBD is a concrete jungle, the surrounding suburbs offer picturesque landscapes to drive or hike. I’m guessing that I deeply appreciate places like Grampians and Yarra Valley, to name a couple, is because I am originally from Singapore and there’s only so much nature that the small island can compromise on having with the ever rising population.

That said, I am happy that we are leaving Melbourne to start a new adventure at a different city. As stated earlier, our stay was set to be seven months, if not less. I did not make clever plans on what to do with my life – I thought having a break for seven months from work will be good. It was. But then, because of a complex situation, seven months became eight, nine, ten … fourteen. Essentially, double the time! When it passed the one-year mark, I was panicking inside because I was honestly afraid of being incompetent and unemployable since I was focused on volunteering and learning some basic cooking and sewing skills. I know Melbournians take long sabbatical leave, but it’s uncommon in my home country, so the Singaporean in me was going “Oh my gawd, oh my gawd, did I do the right thing?!”

Since we’ve received news on the move to Kolkata in January, I have been planning on what to do there. But my plans are not fully concretized because of this:

I emailed the High Commissioner of India in Singapore to know my Indian visa’s restrictions, and the reply was this. Like, seriously? I was annoyed when I read the super indifferent email. When I calmed down, I emailed the India’s Foreigner Registration Office but obviously, I didn’t get any reply from the Indian officer. Nevertheless, I researched on the different things I can possibly do in the new location, with various case scenarios in mind, including the worst, i.e. I can’t work, volunteer or study there. And starting a new serious and structured blog is one.

Our time in Melbourne was a meaningful one, but I plan to make the next two years in the new foreign land even more purposeful, especially in terms of being financially independent. Guess I’ll find out for sure on what the Indian government allows me to do when we set foot in City of Joy.

Wish me luck!