25 February to 7 March 2014
E-tickets checked, visa checked, luggage packed, husband and daughter here, and we’re off for our second trip to Melbourne with you, Clarice. You’re a seasoned traveller by now and took to the SQ inflight entertainment system like a fish to water. 3 cartoon movies, 2 meals and a nap later in the 7-hour flight, we landed in Melbourne, met by dear Uncle Frank, where Auntie Viv has graciously allowed us to stay in their house.
Seriously, Melbourne hasn’t changed a lot since your last visit at 8 months old but the children are all grown up and talking like young adults. Uncle Frank’s parents, John and Julie are still going strong. His sister’s Eva’s three sons (Ronan, Liam, and Hamish) were running mad and charming. They welcomed us with an authentic Australian backyard BBQ.
Honestly, barbecuing in Melbourne is much more pleasurable than in Singapore. The weather is cool, the sunset is out but not scorching, the smoke does not choke your eyes, the marinaded food taste great and the company iswarm- friendly. What’s there not to like?
And you, little Missy, made friends and imitate Kalan and Keisha wonderfully. Keisha and you jumped the trampoline every morning and evening, played in the sandpit, ate ice-cream together and played doll house together. It was an amusement to watch both of you interact so well.
When in Melbourne, there are some touristy things which we must do, and that includes shopping in Queen Victoria market, chugging the Puffing Billy train up the Dandenong forests and a walk on St Kilda’s beach. I must admit I’ve done all these before years ago with Auntie Viv but still, I was surprised that I managed to discover new things about these places. Must have been because you have brought new perspectives on these sights and sounds.
For eg. Queen Vic did not used to have night market previously and it was sooo happening with many food and crafts stalls, and buskers. It was cool to bask in the cool evening breeze and soak in the ambience. You ate at La Porchetta with us and bought a koala soft toy which you aptly named Pinky after its pink pillow.
I had done Puffing Billy eons ago but it was in the freezing winter, not in summer. And we did not go all the way up the Dandenongs or sat on the window sill of the train. So it was a novelty again to do all these with Daddy and you in tow. You were afraid to dangle your feet outside the train’s window initially but Daddy finally helped you overcame your fears and it was one of the bravest thing you did. And who would know we could do so much shopping up the hills, buying new colouring set, books and bags for you.
I have walked St Kilda’s many times but did not know the beach goes so far out, so it was a new path which Daddy took us on a freezing cold day. You fed the sea gulls with fries and showed your empathy for these beach “vultures” and we had unexpected fun on the swings at the beach.
Meeting up with mum’s friends who are still in Melbourne was one of the must-dos on this trip And you made the acquaintances of Auntie Keira, Auntie Hui Chuan and Uncle Bob. I think Auntie Keira held your keenest interest for you had met her in Singapore a year ago and she had pets – a bunny and a dog, Friday, whom you connected to. We even had the chance to pass by the apartment at Parkville where Auntie Keira and I used to stay. When in Melbourne, Auntie Keira showed us excitedly the new house which Dennis and her were building. I’m happy for her good fortune. This has been a wonderful trip which brought back lots of fond memories.