Moving to Melbourne from Sydney was a very hard time for me. We left behind our friends, our family and our home to support my husband in his new position at work. When we first moved here we didn't know anyone and in fact I had only been to Melbourne once before and that was only a day visit for a mystery flight (which was nice .. but what can you tell about a place in a day!?)
One of the most difficult things about moving is that you have to find new people. Not just friends and some kind of a support network but all the other little things you take for granted. Like a new hairdresser, doctor, chiropractor and dentist. Not to mention trying to work out the subtle but important differences between one state and another ( I honestly didn't think there would be any) like wording. For example, when we got here my husband went to buy some fish and chips and when he got home he was complaining about how expensive it was. It turned out that he had bought seafood scallops instead of potato scallops - which are actually called potato cakes in Victoria and not scallops at all. And don't even get me started on castle. In New South Wales it is pronounced Car-sal, much like it is in that iconic Australian movie 'The Castle', in Victoria it sounds much more like the British Cass-sell. Only small things I know but it highlights you as an outsider if you are unaware.
I do have to say though that having kids is a bit of a blessing when trying to meet new people. It forces you to get out and meet new people if only for the sake of your children not being "nigel no friends". A lot of my Melbourne friendships have been made through kid connections.
The difficulty though is that you have to start telling your story again. Your old friends know who you are, what you like and pretty much what you're about. With new people the small talk starts, where are you from, how do you like it here.. that kind of stuff, until you find people with which you can make real connections.
Well, five years and a bit later and I do have new people. A doctor and chiropractor and a network of wonderful people I am happy to call my friends. I don't know that we will live here forever but I don't have any plans to go anywhere else either. I think once you make such a big move, nothing ever feels as permanent to you anymore. I mean, I never thought I would leave Sydney to start with. After I have been back to Sydney (which just happened recently), when speaking to people in Melbourne I refer to Sydney as home. As in, "at home we used to do this". Which annoys my Melbourne friends no end, who say ... "well actually, this is your home now, this is where you live" . And it's true, Melbourne is home.
I am really enjoying living here. I love the cultural quality to living here. I love the artistic freedom. I love that Melbourne adds those little special touches to things. They keep old buildings because they are beautiful, they fill little alleyways with magical cake, coffee and book shops. They add sculptures to the side of the freeway because it adds interest to the horizon. For all those things I thank you Melbourne. Although I still miss "my old" friends, thank you for my wonderful people, the beautiful new friends I would never have met if I had stayed in one place. Thank you for your art galleries, museums, free tourist trams and funky little alleyways. But if you could turn the heat up a little bit right now, it would be perfect.