the day I arrived home after the meditation course, Sandra and Glaudio were waiting for me. it was Sunday.
the moment I came in my cellphone started making all kinds of noises… I had heaps of emails, messages, and notifications now that I had wifi again… I was overwhelmed! my heart was, for some reason, pounding heavily and I just couldn’t manage to respond to every message easily… I had a lot of trouble and I just wanted to throw the damn thing away…
after having lunch my friends took me to the market and supermarket to do the groceries for the week. my reintegration to society after being in Meditation Bootcamp was becoming a difficult task. I could not stand being surrounded by people. first I was following my friend like a child behind mamma’s skirt, then I just gave up and stood in the corner waiting for her… I was not talking much and, again, I felt overwhelmed and my heart was pounding.
that day I called Elmina. we were chatting a lot, laughing and talking about why she left and what had happened the days she missed.
she was back in Adelaide, where she lives, and since I still had a month in Australia before going back to NZ, I considered going for a weekend to visit her. unfortunately, the plane tickets were somewhat expensive, and I couldn’t find a ride share or anything similar to get there. so I didn’t see her again.
so the month I had, I spent it in Melbourne.
first week: catching-up with friends.
on monday I rested – from not moving a finger in meditation.
on tuesday I saw Jo… we met in Fed Square to go grab a cup of coffee and walk around the CBD. I updated her on all that had happened in the course since she left, and she told me what had happened when she left. it was very nice to see her again, she was a joyful person in the course and helped me keep going in the beginning of it… and of course she was the same joyful person outside of it.
then I saw Gianluca because he was leaving soon, so we met for coffee and then did a little walk along the river.
at night Glaudio, Sandra and I went to a birthday dinner at a nice Spanish restaurant and then back home.
next day I met with Luis, he was with a Mexican girl that had just moved to Melbourne to study one semester, Jimena. the three of us met with Jesús, another friend from architecture that is also studying there. we had lunch at a great sandwich restaurant and then walked along the river… we stopped at a bar that is under a pedestrian bridge called Ponyfish Island, and then we went to Jesús’ end of semester party with his classmates.
next evening I met with Sandra to go see a movie from the Spanish Film Festival, and then we had dinner with her boss (who happened to be in the movies) at a GREAT genuine Italian place called Pellegrinis Bar… highly recommended!
on Friday Sandra and I went for a walk around the neighbourhood. we got to Acland Street, in St Kilda, where we came across a tattoo shop… and I just had to do it (sorry mom). I wanted a reminder of what I had learnt in my ten-intensive-day meditation course: anicca
so while my new tattoo artist named Jack got ready, we went to have some vegetarian at an awesome place with an awesome philosophy called Lentil As Anything.
then back to the studio to have this done… to be honest I was nervous, though it’s not my first tattoo the fact that it was going to be done, like we say in Mexico, en caliente (or straight away) made me feel very anxious… but I just had to do it!
at night we went to Don Fernando’s Pizza & Tacos to celebrate their first anniversary, so it was nice to be with all the Mexican family again.
on Saturday I met up with Luis and Jimena to have lunch at a vegetarian restaurant in Fitzroy, but, since it was closed, we decided to go to Brother Burger… why not… from leaf to beef… and then we ended the evening with a chocolate beverage from San Churro.
Jimena went back home, and Luis and I walked back to his place, touring around the area.
at night I had some drinks at Mesa Verde (a “Mexican” bar) with the group of Australian architects I met back in Mexico about a year ago thanks to Sandra. we were meeting near Luis’ apartment, so I basically killed time with him, and then went off at 7:50pm (Luis had stuff to do as well) with the big risk of being the only one on time for the appointment, which was at 8pm.
and just as predicted, I got a call from Drew saying he would be like an hour late because his plane had been delayed… and no sign from the rest of the Aussies. I was waiting for an hour, but was very well taken care of by the gorgeous bartender, who spoiled me with some of his favourite tequila and I introduced him to mezcal.
Kris and Katie arrived… we started talking, remembering those days in Mexico. we talked about what has been happening in our lives, you know… the usual catch-up.
then Drew came and I was so happy to see him! no offence if someone else is reading this, but it was with Drew and Josh with whom I had deeper conversations and bonding experience in Mexico. unfortunately Josh had to work that evening, so seeing him would have to wait until Wednesday, when Drew was having dinner with some friends, and Josh and I were invited.
then Max came with some friends, and he was the last of the group of architects to come… I honestly would’ve liked to see more faces, but, oh well…
after mezcales and cervezas we were quite drunk (ish), and at 2am they turned on the lights and basically kicked us out of the place… I had enough courage (or alcohol) to write my name and number on a piece of paper (along with a “xx”, courtesy of Drew) to hand it to the bartender… after he opened it, I had to read his lips saying “I have a girlfriend”… embarrassed I turned around and asked the rest of the group if we could leave NOW… and we did, without turning back…
on Sunday I had a very relaxed day with Sandra and Glaudio, walking around some parks and eating fantastic Thai food at the iSpicy, then watching movies back home…
second week: a little bit of everything
I did some of the touristic stuff, like visiting the Shrine of Remembrance, the National Gallery of Victoria, walking the bridge over the Yarra River…
I visited Luis a couple of times in his apartment, we went to the movies to see Despicable Me with Nils (his flatmate) and Jimena… sometimes he would visit me in my neighbourhood! we also went to have dinner with Jesus and his cousin at a great Vietnamese restaurant in the CBD to say goodbye to them because they were travelling in Asia soon and I wouldn’t see them again.
I went to Drew’s dinner in his beautiful house in Kensington. he and his partner Cameron did this delicious dinner for some of their friends, Josh and I among them. they have this cute dog that for some reason reminded me of Jacinto, a dog I had in Mexico than now lives with a friend because I’m traveling (what one has to give up to follow her/his dreams). we had a great time, it was good to see Josh and catch-up with him, as well as to meet all this wonderful people.
on Saturday Sandra, Glaudio and I went to pick up Sandra’s new friend from Chile to take her (and me… the tourists) to Mount Dandenong.
we went to the lookout, walked around the park, visited William Ricketts Sanctuary, had lunch in one of the towns around, then visited a small place where you can feed birds, and then headed back home.
at night we had like three parties, so we started with the Colombian one… but it turned out to be so good that we stayed there the whole time. there I met Mikel from Spain, a super fun guy with whom I was joking and talking nonsense all night long.
third week: fun week (it’s simple, I did all I was about to miss if I didn’t started now)
I did a bike ride with Jimena and Luis along the beach from St Kilda to Brighton Beach, and THAT was fun! there is a track people take for running or biking, so we rode all the way to Foreshore Bay to see the little houses from a distance.
I met with Mikel a couple of times to have lunch and walk around different areas of the city.
one afternoon Sandra was meeting with some of her uni friends at an Irish pub called The Cork Man, where every Thursday locals gather to play some Celtic music… it’s AMAZING to see that! there were easily like 25 people playing at the same time, all kinds of instruments playing one song. for me, that I’m a huge Celtic music fan, was just beautiful!
went to a Footy match, “Collingwood vs. Adelaide” with Sandra, Glaudio, Oli and her brother, Marcel, and Luis.
on Saturday Sandra and Glaudio took me to a Quidditch match… oh yes! you read right… QUIDDITCH!!! Harry Potter’s favourite sport became muggleized… they are basically the same rules as in the book: you need a broom and have to hold it all the time, need to score the quaffle through the hoops, there are beaters, chasers, seekers and keepers… but the funniest part of it all is that the snitch is in fact a human being running around trying not to get his ball caught!
it is simply BRILLIANT!
in the afternoon we went to the movies to see Lonely Ranger, and then to have dinner with Oli, Marcel and some of their friends. after that we went to a great pub called Open Studio where a wonderful jazz band was playing: Shirazz.
next day I met with Mikel again to have lunch and walk around St. Kilda. then to a farewell party of one of the Mexicans from my friends’ family. there I started feeling that I should’ve stayed longer in Melbourne. all their friends were asking me why was I leaving, and if I could stay longer or return soon… I felt part of that family, I was joking with all of them and feeling the Mexican love… even one of them, Fernando, offered his place to throw me a small farewell party!… I was going to miss each and every one of them.
fourth week: farewells
on Monday I had my special day with my friend Sandra.
we went to Geelong to walk around, have lunch and coffee, and just hang!
on Tuesday I went with Luis and Nils to have dinner at 1000 £ Bend to have some delicious kangaroo burgers (I know it sounds horrible, but they are in fact nice, and there are too many kangaroos in Australia).
on Wednesday I met with Lisa (my dear friend from vipassana… with whom I talked all the time after Jo had left). we had coffee and a GREAT long chat! it was lovely to see her again before leaving the country!
later that night I met with Sandra to have a only-girls-old-friends-night-out, meaning: just the two of us!
we started with a beautiful ice cream from Spring St Grocer, continued with an alcoholic warm beverage at Madamme Brussels, and ended with Chinese noodles!
Thursday came, and that meant my last day… we had the small party announced on Facebook with the best name and slogan ever:
LET US DRINK LIKE DWARVES, SMOKE LIKE WIZARDS, AND PARTY LIKE HOBBITS!
it was a great night (not cold or rainy) at Don Fernando’s Pizza & Tacos. we drank and talked and ate delicious pizzas!
like always, some came and some couldn’t make it, but still I was happy to see them and sad to leave them all.
I will miss you, my new Melbourne family!
on Friday I was basically freaking out because I hadn’t packed my stuff… but still I had time to meet with Mark and Ali… oh yes! my Kiwi parents were in town! I was so happy to see them, and hopefully I’ll see them again when I’m back in NZ!
and then Sandra took me to the airport… with a big hug and almost tears in my eyes I said goodbye to my friend!
I am forever grateful that they had me in their house for so long!