Living for the City

Bailey Gilmore
March 20, 2013
Melbourne and its many suburbs are filled with beautiful and unique iron balustrades which contribute to the 'old' character of the city. Melbourne is famous for its street art: you can take a guided tour or simply wander around—it is not difficult to find. Chinatown is nestled into Melbourne's center and provides a wealth of restaurants (many gourmet) just four tram stops from my flat. The lush Royal Botanic Gardens are home to black swans, tourists, and everyday picnickers/nappers. White Night Melbourne was a citywide, free all-night party centered at Federation Square that featured light shows, music, performances and lots of people watching. The light shows consisted mainly of huge projections onto buildings designed by various artists—some were animated, others shifted slowly through the night. It seemed as if the entire city turned out for White Night, and while crowds were hard to avoid anywhere, the banks of the Yarra River remained a place for peaceful respite with your fellow city-folk. My month in Australia has allowed me to explore only a tiny portion of metro Melbourne, even though I've spent hours and hours wandering around. As with most large cities, public art installations are commonplace. This photo shows the Scots Church in downtown Melbourne set against the skyscrapers in the background: old and new are juxtaposed quite strikingly in the city. Musicians are ubiquitous in Melbourne, whether they are indie rock groups, buskers, students, or performers at street festivals such as this one. Street fairs are no small events here, and they are usually free! Moomba is yet another free citywide festival occurs annually on Victoria's Labour Day, featuring an enormous carnival, waterskiing competitions, fireworks, famous bands and the crowd favorite, Birdman. Moomba lasts four days (Monday is public holiday) and celebrates the adoption of the eight-hour day, which originated in Victoria.

Melbourne has already been home for me for a month. In that time I feel as though I have barely scratched the surface of possibilities here! I was pleased at how quickly I was able to feel comfortable navigating the city, though honestly I don’t think it’s possible to get lost here—there are too many people to ask for directions. The adjustment has been fun and exciting, and I expect my appreciation of large cities has grown in bounds over these weeks. Still, I think big city life is something I prefer to experience in the time-limited setting of studying abroad. While I am here, however, I aim to explore as much as possible and do what I can to steep myself in the flurry of goings-on in this urban world.

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Bailey Gilmore

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Bailey is a comparative politics major at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. Her academic interests stretch across the social sciences, from history to geography to criminology, and, of course, to politics. Originally from Eugene, Oregon, Bailey is an devoted ultimate frisbee player and can&#39;t wait for Australian Rules Ultimate. When she&#39;s not on the field or nerding out about population growth in various countries, you can find her singing along to the best of the &#39;60s and &#39;70s and/or working to capture life, place, and person on camera. She is ready and eager to dive into life at a big university in a big city, all in the wonder Down Under.</span></p>

2013 Spring
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University of Puget Sound
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