It's finally happened. Me, a born and raised country girl has moved to the big smoke.
I've spent time in several regional centres like Shepparton and Wagga Wagga, but this is the first time I've lived in one of Australia's big capital cities.
Is this a big deal? Probably not, but all the differences that we're always talking about have finally hit home and as it turns out I have strong opinions about them.
So, here are my pros and cons after living in Melbourne for a month:
Pro: Public transport
Where I grew up, the only public transport was the school bus (seriously, sometimes members of the public caught one of the school buses to get around town), so there's something so satisfying to me to be able to catch a train to my destination.
Sure, it's generally slower than driving, but I spend a helluva lot less on transport (aka my pesky Holden Astra) and I can sit back and check out until my stop. Who doesn't love a bit of train time?
I'm sorry, but 35 mins to drive 15 kilometres is TORTURE. How can it take so long? It makes what I would normally consider a short, easy trip SO LONG. No wonder people don't leave their suburb.
Bored on a Wednesday night? No worries, there is probably a concert, comedy show, theatre production, art show, trivia night near you.
Con: Two-way roads with one lane
You may be picking up on a theme - most of my complaints are road related - but you can't tell me traversing residential roads that are supposedly "two lanes wide" but everyone parks their car to either side leaving what feels like a footpath-width to pass through aren't stressful.
Not to mention how fast some people drive down them.
This pro comes with the disclaimer that this is not necessarily city specific. When I lived in Shepparton, for example, I was spoiled for choice with good food that I still fantasise about. I know other regional centres also have their own plethora of eating options, but coming from a 6000 person town with several pubs and one good Thai restaurant to the metropolis of Melbourne is almost overwhelming.
Con: Light/noise pollution
There is something so special and under-appreciated about seeing millions of stars in the night sky, or sleeping to pure and complete silence. I guess it's what fuels country escapes, right? It's something we take for granted in regional Australia and one of the first things I missed post-move.
Specifically, coffee that doesn't cost the earth for milk alternatives (I'm going to get roasted for this but so what, I like soy milk that doesn't cost an extra dollar. Sue me). Another coffee related creature comfort for me is being able to WALK to a cafe which unless you live right in the CBD in a country town, is not possible.
It feels like a lot of things in the city come with an added cost. Want to drive to work? You've to fork out for parking. Drinks seem to cost more, and for most, rent is exorbitant. Also, I went to the movies a few weeks ago and a ticket cost me $24.50 which is OUTRAGEOUS.
It's all about priorities though right? For now my preference is to be able to walk to my local cafe, do fun things on weeknights, and eat Greek gyros on one night and dumplings the next.
So for now, I'm willing to tolerate the downsides of city living.