I’m a little bit in love with the suburb we’re living in. It feels like all neighbourhood-like. We’re at the point where I’m singing Sesame Street melodies in my head whenever I leave the house on foot.
It’s just nice here. People are friendly. I smile and nod hello to everyone I pass. Old men say “Good morning Bella!” to my daughter as she cruises past them on her way to daycare (which is called ‘kindergarten’ in Victoria, I’ve discovered. And what was kindergarten is now called ‘Prep’. Colour me confused).
This area is filled with young parents, and there’s that aura that is everywhere in Melbourne- we’re all in this together- and most strangers are defaulted with trust rather than suspicion. My son takes a spill on his bike, riding 10 metres ahead of me, and another mum picks him up and dusts him off. I find myself doing the same thing for a little boy who’s fallen from his scooter. And the cycle continues.
We’re within a healthy walking distance from main roads and trams. Tiny corner shops- bakeries, milk bars, the odd bizarrely placed speciality store- dot the streets surrounding us. My car hasn’t left the driveway in days and I’m saving a fortune on petrol alone.
I’m also healthier, and feeling it, after just two weeks of this new, suburb-specific lifestyle. So are my children. They’ve taken to riding their bikes to school and kindergarten every day while I keep up a brisk pace beside them. The majority of food in our house is healthy and simple, and the Most Amazing Man ensures I eat a proper meal every night. I’ve given up Coca-Cola (it’s day four. My head hurts.) and I’m drinking water instead.
I soak up the aesthetics of where we are living. Houses in this area of Melbourne all seem to have the same basic structure. High ceilings. Wooden floors. Ancient light switches and electricity meters. Ducted heating and oddly-shaped backyards. Despite their sameness, they’ve all been here long enough to be quirky and inherently different, with years of lives lived, and changes made, tacked onto them like their typical two room extensions.
I love walking around, soaking up the goings-on around me. There were a lot of shops along these roads once, it seems, small boxes with a house behind. And so many of their new owners here have incorporated both the shop and the house as a living space, designed around it rather than tearing it down. The concrete storefronts have become the back ends of houses, or airy front entrances hollowed out with a garden hidden between the front walls.
And the flowers. There are flowers everywhere here. People’s gardens are magnificent and diverse. Veggies grow in small front yards, daisies and roses are planted on nature strips. On the days the Bump and I walk to her kindergarten, we stop and admire everything in bloom, and I pass on to her what my Gran taught me. “These are hibiscus. These are geraniums.” And lilies and paper daisies and lavender and jonquils.
It’s difficult to miss the TinyTrainTown when I take full advantage of being where I am right now. I love it here. It’s all tiny lane-ways lined with blue stone, happy people and urban farmer’s markets. It’s diversity and it’s acceptance and it’s Melbourne.
This place, it speaks to something in my soul.