May 23, 2006


I went to Blackburn today to visit my friend Colin, grab some meat pies, and generally wander around and catch up. I've never had a meat pie before, and naturally Colin, a lover of all things food, offered to be the one to introduce me.

To get to Blackburn required two trains, one car, and a whole lot of walking. A trip to the bookstore, a failed attempt to get ice cream, and lots of good conversation later, it was time for me to head back home.

It struck me on the way home that this city has a life of its own. It lives and breathes in a way not unlike we do. As I boarded a train bound for Coburg, I could almost feel the pulse of the city; watching the trains arrive and depart the station in rhythm with each other was almost music, a symphony of precision.

Naturally, it was as I was getting all reflective that I screwed up my easy trip home. I'd promised Liz that I'd pick up a little heater unit on the way, and to do this I was planning to stop at kmart in Brunswick. Thing is, Brunswick is a fairly large suburb, with three train stations along the Upfield train line (which travels to Coburg eventually).

I picked the middle of the three, Brunswick station, and of course, it was the wrong one - I should've gotten off at Jewell station, but I only figured this out when I'd walked out to the street Kmart was supposed to be on.

The cool thing about the Melbourne transportation network is that the trams and trains run parallel to each other, the major arteries of the city, running from the city core (the loop) outwards to the furthest extrematies of the suburbs. And so I boarded a tram headed down Sydney road, three stops, and my dilemma was fixed.

I think that I'm finally starting to get a feel for the rhythm of this city. I don't really feel as helpless as I felt when I arrived; I can get to the other side of the city on my own, without having to call Colin or Sally for backup. I'm getting better at timing my walk from home to the train station, waiting less time for transport.

It's exciting, in a weird, twisted, somewhat peculiar way, that I can find my way across the city. When I arrived, I figured it'd be a piece of cake to be a missionary; go in and just live. But living is not so easy when you don't know the city so well. The folks at mimos have been really helpful, laughing at (with) me as I've learned. They're family now, because they've taught me and loved me and watched me grow. I know I still have a lot to learn, but I'm feeling progress, and that is a good feeling.

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