Shortlisted for the Higher Education Category of the 2019 Melbourne Writers Festival's storytelling competition 'Love & Melbourne' .
Love letter to Melbs
By Belle de Jong
It seems like just a moment ago that we first met. How time flies…
As I write I’m sitting on a bench in Bourke Street, listening to a Colombian guy jamming away on his guitar, watching people go by. There is a light breeze, it’s not cold and not warm. The sky is blue and everyone is on their way. It is a beautiful autumn day.
My love, I’m sorry I have to go. I don’t want this to come to an end. Every second with you has been like a dream. You can’t even imagine how much I will miss you.
You knew from the beginning it had to end like this. Your girl has to stay on the move. I told you I don’t settle – there are more adventures to be lived. It will be hard, I reckon. But, though rare, there are more blue-haired girls in the ocean. You will find them soon enough.
You are amazing for all the obvious reasons. Your taste in music, your heavenly flat whites, your chill personality, your curious fashion. For always being awake when I needed you. For being my early morning coffee and my baklava midnight snack. For feeding me the best Asian dishes and introducing me to sushi rolls.
You were surf camps, road trips, and rooftop parties. You were insane festivals, awesome clubs, alternative bars, and revs. Morning runs in the botanical gardens, dinner at Vic night market, and studying on the beach. You were everything I want in life and more.
We’ve had our ups and downs. Hell, it’s been tense at times. I got a 240 dollar fine – excessive, but I used my Myki ever since. And when I got back from New Zealand my bicycle got stolen, together with my Dutch identity. I guess that’s what you get for being unfaithful.
Now and then you would leave me feeling insignificant in this huge place, strolling along the busy streets alone. And for some reason traffic lights take five times as long on this side of the world, especially when in a hurry.
But you taught me heaps. Besides invading my English with Aussie slang (which is sweet as), you taught me how to stay chill in a place where it’s only natural to be stressed. You showed me big city life, living in the CBD. You taught me to keep smiling, even when every single person in the city was getting on my nerves.
You showed me what studying at a top university is like. UniMelb, I hated you for taking up my scarce time. But I loved your libraries, your cafes, your profs, and your students. I enjoyed every single class I took.
I’m grateful for everything. In particular for the people I met on the way. For the strangers that smiled back at me and the people I got to know in the streets. Getting into something new can be tough and confusing, but my mates have been with me since day one. I met my best friends thanks to festivals, my flatmates thanks to days on the beach. I found Maltese Aussies and made Melburnian mates. If it wasn’t for them, this would not have been nearly as magical. And I know we will be in each other’s lives, even after I leave.
Melbs, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I love you.
I love you for your shitty parts. For your average beaches – the only thing Sydney is better at. For St Kilda, with as many junkies as hipsters, as many high-end bars as sketchy bottle-Os. I love you despite your overpriced booze, and despite living in a closet with a bunk bed to have a reasonable rent.
I love you despite your flaws and our arguments. And I forgive you for being harsh on me sometimes, if you forgive me for my trips out of the city.
Above all, I love you for being a home to me. Big city life really is something incredible, and I never realised until I met you. It has been more than amazing. And I promise I’ll be back, sooner or later. Thank you for everything. I hope we can stay friends.
You will be missed.