24 May 2010

Living the dream

One of my life dreams has always been to live in a city. That post I just linked explains it all, but to sum up, I just love the hectic life style, the city seems vast, mysterious. It sits well with the saying 'if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere'... which yes I know is referring to New York, but whatever you get the point.

For some unknown reasons if I am going to make the big (and very expensive) move to a city there is only two cities that I'd consider living in. Melbourne or New York. I am not really sure why exactly I wouldn't consider others. Melbourne I'd definitely consider because I live only about 30 minutes from the heart of Melbourne city, so have obviously been there many times in my life so I know how beautiful of a city it is. And New York you ask? Well if I am going to make such a big life decision, I might as well go all out.

This now leads me to the meaning of this post.

Last week I was lucky enough to live the dream!.. although for only 3 days, but living it nonetheless! As part of my research for my thesis I applied for a scholarship with the Apple University Consortium which offers a comprehensive 3 day training workshop focusing on games design and development (my area of research). Although spots were very limited, I must say I was rather proud of myself that I got accepted. Awesome.

As part of this scholarship, they offer paid accommodation to anywhere you choose (as long as it is under $150 a night) if you live outside the Melbourne metropolitan area, which ever since I moved out of home a few months back, I now do! I got to stay in the city for 3 whole days!

I was unbelievably excited, the day before the workshop I spent about 3 hours looking up hotels in the city, trying to choose which one I wanted to stay at. I tried to go the fanciest I could go within my budget, eventually settling upon Metro Apartments in the very heart of the city. Before I even arrived I planned to make the most of my 3 short days, I knew the city life had always been a dream of mine, but so often a dream seems so much sweeter in your mind than in reality.

Consider it a 'test run' if you will.

My room was pretty snazzy, a small apartment feel with its own kitchen setup, small living area with an adjoining separate room for the bedroom. Probably something similar to what I would most likely live in if I do ever make the real move to the city some day. It was on the 8th floor providing a good but limited view of the street below and surrounding buildings. There was a pub just outside the door which was great, filled with people in suits obviously having a few drinks after a long day at their unknown companies. I sat in there myself for an hour to have a beer, soaking up the atmosphere of the bustling city life, one moment enjoying the buzz, the next feeling rather isolated and insecure of being surrounding by so many unknown faces.

The workshop took most of my time running from 9.30am to 5pm over the 3 days, so it was only at my 45 minute break for lunch and after the workshop that I got to experience the city life for real. I roamed the streets. I know these streets very well already from my countless nightclub and bar crawls from my younger years, although those tours of the cities were usually about 10 beers down and at 3am in the morning.

Everything looked quite a bit different in the middle of the day and sober =)

First thing you notice is how bad you stand out, any street I walk on I am in an ocean of black suits and grey skirts, worn by business people holding briefcases and blackberries, chatting to colleagues using phrases like "I have got a meeting with Paul at 3pm but I can schedule you in for 4pm" and "we need to push forward on the Johnson case to gain approval from the board" (which is legitimately something I actually heard).

I on the other hand have blue jeans and a white shirt, Ipod with some Circa Survive pumping away and the biggest question on my mind at the time is what I am going to have for lunch. It was a good experience to be had though.

I spent my first night in the city walking around the streets, half looking for somewhere to eat, half just enjoying the feeling. I thought I would be all happy and buzz the entire time, then the strangest thing happened... I got bored.

Being in the city with your bed to sleep in being only 5 minutes away at any given location was great, don't get me wrong. The atmosphere was awesome (especially when walking by a lively pub), the skyscrapers were impressive, there was plenty of things to do... the problem was, I was and felt completely alone. I hurried back to my hotel room and spent the night watching episodes of Scrubs and writing a report that was due, finished by reading my current book in bed (stuff that I could easily do at home I know haha).

I attempted the same thing again for the second night... I was in search of a place called 'Mrs Parmas' that a friend of mine recommended a long time back. After a lengthy tram ride and terrible directions being given via phone from Sabbi, I didn't find the place and the joy was taken out of the night. Alas I hibernated in my hotel room once more.

So, my verdict of the city? Is it still at the pinnacle of my dreams? You bet ya! but with some modifications. Being in a big city I found can be scary, boring and lonely when you're there on your own. I don't have any friends who live in the city, nor close enough that we could of met up for dinner or something either. If (and when perhaps?) I decide to make the big move, I will definitely have to have work within the city so at least I can hang out with work colleagues, or make friends within the city.

If I had friends and work in the city, then living within one I still think is one of my big life dreams... well to live in one for a little while at least.

Regardless, it was awesome to experience it even if it was only for a few days =D


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