Sorry, I just realized that this post is going to come a little late as the Grand Slam is now over! D’oh! Just goes to show you how much I care about tennis. But I do have a cute little story that just goes to show you how awesome the people of Melbourne are. I might be kind of blah on the city itself (especially compared to Sydney) but I found the people to be some of the best in the world. I travel alone most of the time and have a hard time striking up conversations with people on the street, but I never had an issue with the people of Melbs.
The first was on Inauguration Day and then during the Australian Open finals, I met some great people, just on the street. I worked the day of the mens finals and on my way back to my hostel, decided to “nerd it up” with the people of Melbourne and stop at Fed Square and join the crowd to watch the finals. I don’t care about tennis at all, but I am a total sucker for huge, large, public gatherings. It goes to my childhood when I always wanted to be a part of “something”. Being with a huge group like this makes me feel a part of it. And I think I like it more when I don’t care about what is happening, so I can concentrate on the people rather then the event at hand.
Anyway, I stopped and got some fries for dinner at Lord of the Fries (YUM!) before crossing the street and trying to find a patch of cement and watch the final along with the crowd. I pulled up a patch near the back (like I cared) and sat and just enjoyed being a part of something. I eavesdropped on the people around me at their convo and became interested in a group of kids around my age who were yakking about traveling in the US. One of the names they kept saying was “Rebecca” which is my name and of course, my ears perked up at that. Something happened and everyone laughed and of course, since I was listening too, I laughed. I appologized for laughing, but said my ears perked up because my name was Rebecca too. I knew they were talking travel to the US and of course my accent spoke volumns, so we started chatting about travel and the US and why I was here, etc, etc, that old chestnut. The group was 4 girls and a dude, boyfriend of one of the girls and I chatted with all of them easily, them including me immediatly in their conversation. They all of course loved tennis. I had to fake caring. The final in 2009 was Nadal and oh god, who is that guy from Switzerland? I don’t want to have to look it up! And funny enough, if you gave me a line up of faces right now, I could actually pick him out. AGH!!!! FEDERER!! I am not going to lie, I had to look that up. Anyway, the crowd wanted Nadal to win (which he did) and I sort of wanted Federer, if only because my sister worked for a Swiss company the year before, so I had a small connection to that. Other then that, I totally did not care at all.
We chatted in between plays and sets and whatever about everything. It was just really nice to have people my age in person to talk to. I had been going through a rough time lately with hardly a job and the weather being total shit (way to hot) and my accommodations sucking hard. The dude went and got the girls some hot chocolate (are you serious? It was like 100F at 9pm) and he got me a cup as well! I felt so touched. I didn’t ask for it and just that gesture and conversation meant so much to me.
Moral: So between this little bit and the previous few weeks, I have great memories of the people of Melbourne even if the city was kind of a bust for me. Even if it’s not the first place I’ll return to when I return to Australia I won’t cancel it out completely, thanks to the great experience I had with the people.