So it's been three months since we moved to Melbourne. That went fast!
I have to admit to having been very reluctant to move down here from Canberra. It wasn't that Melbourne didn't sound like a great city, with interesting laneways, good food, community gardens, lots of bikes, crafty people & markets, etc.
It was just that Canberra was working for me. We have a great group of friends - many with kids. My mothers group is awesome. Lil loved her school and has some truly excellent friends. We have heaps of family in Canberra and they gave us a lot of help and support - as well as being good company... I really didn't want to leave all that to move to a place where we knew no one (especially for Paul to start a job that involved a ton of international travel).
And yet... It has actually gone pretty well.
We've landed in a great spot. I really like our neighbourhood and I think we may live in one of the friendly streets around.
Our immediate neighbours are lovely. The people next door have a 3yo boy, which thrills Lily, and they are super friendly (we just got home from a Xmas party at their house actually).
Next door to them are a couple who just moved to Melbourne, to spend more time with their granddaughters. They look after their two grandchildren (2yo and 4yo) twice a week and we now have a regular Monday playdate, which Lil looks forward to all week. Last Monday her and the 4yo played for five hours straight with no arguments. They were in and out of our houses and backyards. At one point we had them out on the footpath with bikes, scooters and toys. We were shortly joined by the woman who lives a few doors down and her two young kids and then by the next door neighbour and her 3yo. A spontaneous street playgroup! It was lovely.
The rest of the street is also friendly. Lots of people sit on their front porch and say 'hi' when you pass. Like K who lives a few doors down who invited Paul & Lil in for cookies and her life story, and told us to help ourselves to her lemon tree. She's lived here for 50 years, having moved into the house on arrival from Italy. Or V down the road who has lived here for 40 years (also from Italy). She often stops Charlie and I for a chat when we go out for our evening stroll.
The street has a Christmas party every year. They close off part of the street and people drag out tables, chairs, bbqs, music equipment, food, etc. they even hung a 'chandelier' this year. We went along with a gingerbread house to share (& dinner, dips & sparkling wine). Everyone was friendly. One person took Lil & I into their backyard to pick raspberries and told us to help ourselves anytime. Another proudly showed me his clumping bamboo. Lily made friends with some 'big girls' who played with her very caringly. It was a great night.
Beyond our street I've joined a new mothers group and it's truly fabulous. Everyone is so supportive and friendly, and, as a bonus, they all practice AP, which is pretty cool for me.
Plus Lil starts a new school next year and after four weeks of orientation I'm happy to report that I think it's a winner. One of the women from my new mothers group has kids at the school, including a daughter who will be starting with Lil. Last week we sat up the back of the info session and talked like naughty school kids. Old habits die hard.
Finally, well, Melbourne is actually a cool city. We have a cute cafe around the corner from our house that does great coffee and food. And this is normal! The food is good. The little shops are fun. The laneways downtown are cute... Plus there is cool stuff for the kids like the Collingwood Childrens Farm, the Zoo, kid space at the NGV, ArtPlay, etc...
So yeah. It's going better than I expected. Not that I don't miss everyone in Canberra...