Melbourne, It has always been a little hipster. Its alleyway restaurants, hidden hair salons , rooftop bars, the coffee and brunch culture. soooooo hipster. long before hipster was even a thing…i think it was just ‘COOL’ to be doing these sort of things back in those days. Coolster.
I don’t know if it was the exhaustion from not taking any leave from Jan – Nov last year but I remember waking up one morning, utterly dissapointed that i didn’t get to have a bite of the Max Brenner waffle which popped up in my dreams. I was so close to putting it in my mouth when i was woken up by my alarm. true story yo. As my heart broke into little pieces i proceeded to book myself a 10 day trip to Melbourne which happened in December.
It was good to be back. My best friends were still around. I also made it a point to have coffee with Ms. Khoo. Some of my old readers would be familiar with this name. She was the Boarding house caretaker whom i met when i was just shy of 16. It was in good timing too cause it was her last week at MLC. Although i would’ve liked to take a tour of my old school (it was closed for summer hols), seeing Ms Khoo was enough. It was like time had stood still. I had never left. She shared anecdotes and little pieces of her life over coffee and hotcakes at one of the many new “hipster” establishments that had opened a few blocks down from my old school. She told me how she used to be a teacher and why she migrated to Australia. She also reminded me how i blew thousands of dollars at Nandos. It was wonderful catching up.
Of course, another reason to go to Melbourne if not for the waffles was to catch up with the Hassan sisters. There’s Nawa the middle child, who i was best friends with first. and then Nadia the eldest girl who was my best friend second..and then Nadirah the baby of the bunch who i got closer to towards the end of my time in University. It was also a good opportunity to reintroduce myself to the now 2 year old baby Z-girl and my first time meeting 2 month old Z-boy. In short, it was a family reunion. from a different father, different mother kind of family reunion.
We spent our time doing what we did best: laugh, eat, laugh, eat, laugh and laugh and laugh. I These people were just the ‘holiday’ i needed..best part is that I got my waffle and i ate it too!
Surrounded by familiar people, it might seem like Melbourne has not changed. But walking around the city, a part of me understood that it had. Hipster has somewhat grew mainstream..and our “secret” hangout spots were now tourist attractions,quiet tram rides were unheard of and Gong Cha has replaced Starbucks and made its mark on each and every corner of the city.
The understated European vibe it once had has now progressed into something more confident. I would associate it to the likes of Singapore or Hong Kong. Not necessarily bad – i guess one just has to accept that things change.
I went home with a happy tummy, chubbier cheeks, very tanned skinned and higher spirits. That was one of the best vacations of my life. What was also good is that I managed to reflect on my past and present. Being back in Melbourne after a long time did trigger alot of emotions most of which were little regrets here and there ..like how i wished i had indulged in the Botanical gardens.. how i wished i had properly taken up sports in school..how i wish, how i wish, how i wish… u know all the little opportunities that i missed.
Now, coming back to my life in Belgium. This could be my last year and i do not want to come back 10 years later and wished i had done more of the things that i should’ve done when I was here. So this year, i’m going to have to change my mindset a little. Stop whining and just bask in this moment and take on the opportunities like Carpe freaking diem!
I’ve been back in Brussels 3 weeks. And although im missing the sun and struggling to self medicate my homesickness i refuse to let it permeate. Andangnya namanya life ani kan? sometimes you upstairs sometimes you downstairs but don’t give up 🙂 no one should give up living just because things are not going their way. Everyone is fighting their own battle.
My prayers go out to those who were affected by the Car attacks last week in Melbourne.
I had a feeling that my trip to Melbourne was calculated, and i knew i had met you for a good reason. You are in god’s hands now. Rest in peace baby boy. Alfatihah.