In the days leading up to my weekend alone in the city I was so excited to just get to the end of my shift on Friday, so the weekend could start. On the tram ride to the city, I was nervous. I was going to be totally on my own for the whole weekend. I was going to have to entertain myself and actually make an effort to talk to people.
A couple of nights before I actually had a nightmare that someone had stuck a gun through the letterbox of the house I was in but I didn’t have my phone on me (cause it was the middle of the night) so I had no way of getting help. I was on my own and woke up shaking and my heart racing. Probably just the fear of ‘Hey I’ve had at least one person with me at all times since landing in this country but now I’m solo. How do I protect myself if, say, someone tries to kill me?’ Okay a bit of an irrational fear but I guess my brain’s default is worst case scenario.
Cut to actually arriving at the hotel and spending more money in one go that I have since getting here, I dumped my bags on the floor and flopped down onto the bed. I had a bed. An actual bed with a mattress and pillows and everything. See for the last 2 months I have been renting a room in this house with my two friends. As it’s just one room with one bed I got the floor as I had a bed in the last place we stayed. I don’t mind it really, but after two months I needed a break!
And let me tell you, it was absolute bliss.
I nipped out to the shops to get some snacks for my comfy night in and planned to order room service for dinner. That was until I lay down in the bed just to try it out. I woke up 5 hours later at 1am. Then again at 4am. And again at 6am. By that point breakfast was being served to I sleepily got myself up and tried to look slightly presentable before heading down. Turns out when you skip lunch so you can have a big dinner, but then fall asleep before said dinner, the morning headache is intense. Nothing that a fry up and multiple coffees couldn’t solve though.
Now that I felt more like a person again I started to think about what I was going to do with my day. My birthday. My first birthday abroad and on my own. I was very tempted to just stay in bed and watch the crappy cable TV channels the hotel had, but that would get boring fast. After I showered in the fancy rain shower, lazed about in the fluffy hotel robe for a while reading my book, I headed out to Melbourne Zoo.
At first I felt a bit weird walking about on my own.
I didn’t want to look like I was lost so I just kept walking aimlessly rather than just stopping and looking at the map. Eventually I got over myself and just took my time. Rather than rushing through the exhibits I slowed down and took the time to watch the animals. There was no rush to get through it. There was no one I had to keep up with. I got to watch the Orangutans try and fail to hide themselves under some brush, sit and watch penguins and seals glide through water, and see lions pace about their enclosure and scare all the kids when they got too close.
Before I knew 4 hours had passed and it was time to head back. I could feel shoulders frying the sun and I was starting to get a bit famished. Since arriving in Melbourne, I have wanted to see a musical. Though the choices are pretty slim. I noticed that “Beautiful: The Carole King Story” opened on Friday the 16th so booked a ticket for the Saturday night. I knew it from Broadway but I had no idea what it was going to be like. Luckily, it was amazing! The music was incredible and turns out Carole King wrote a bunch of incredibly famous songs in her younger years before she even became a singer in her own right. It was such a fun show and I couldn’t recommend it more!
The show let out at about 10:30pm and the streets were all blocked off for traffic. White Night was happening in Melbourne City Centre that night. There was art and music and food all over the city. Most of it was free so I decided to go for a wander before going back to the hotel. There was so much to see I ended up walking around for two hours. There was live street art, concerts, art projections and even a fashion show/dance show/performance thing that was actually really amazing. I’m still not too sure what White Night is but it was really cool just walking around and stumbling across the strangest things. Like Darth Vader playing the electric guitar with sign saying “Need Money for Beer”
I did get to a point, walking around in a crowd of thousands, where I realised that I hadn’t spoken in hours. Not used my voice at all. I was enjoying being on my own but it was weird. When I tried to say ‘excuse me’ while walking past someone and my voice came out in a croak. Lesson of the day, solo time is great, but I need to learn to pepper it with actual conversations with actual people.
To top off my birthday weekend
My lovely last sleep in a big comfy bed for a while was interrupted at 6am but the fire alarm going off in my hotel. With a voice bellowing “THIS IS AN EMERGENCY! PLEASE EVACUATE”. Okay, yes, there may have been an initial, less intense alarm for a couple of minutes before the bellowing voice that I may have just ignored, hoping it would stop. When I eventually made it outside I was confused at why everyone else was dressed in normal clothes and not pajamas at 6am. They obviously react appropriately and in a timely manner when they hear fire alarms. All was well, the hotel did not burn down. I’m actually pretty sure it’s just because they were cooking breakfast.
So there you have it. My fun filled, somewhat dramatic solo birthday in the city. I’m not going to lie it was a bit lonely at times. But all in all I really enjoyed a nice relaxing weekend. It’s a nice feeling setting off on your own and realising that it’s not as difficult as expected. Even if it is just for a weekend at a time. Baby steps.