Shortlisted for the High School Category of the 2019 Melbourne Writers Festival's storytelling competition 'Love & Melbourne' .

Good morning, Melbourne

By Chuting (Tina) Tang

‘Good morning!’|

This is the first phrase I learnt in English. It’s short, simple and easy to pronounce. When I first learnt this phrase, I didn’t know that it would become an integral part of my life in Melbourne.

Before I began studying in Melbourne, ‘good morning’ to me was a phrase that could be used between friends, family members or classmates, but definitely not strangers.


‘Well, coz they’re just strangers’ I would reply if asked about it two years ago.

So when the lady passing by looked at me with her beautiful turquoise eyes and said ‘good morning!’ on my first day in Melbourne, I literally ran away.

What’s her intention? Did she confuse me with someone else? Or was she trying to sell something to me? Or maybe she was trying to gain my trust and kidnap me?! Those ridiculous thoughts kept coming up in my mind when I was at the bus stop and every new idea told me that it was a super wise decision to run away without replying back.

I was so proud of my smart choice, until the bus came.

The bus stopped, the door opened, and when I got on the bus, the driver smiled at me and said ‘good morning!’.

And that’s the moment when I finally realised that, all the lady wanted from me was just a short, simple and easy to be pronounced phrase – ‘good morning’.

The story doesn’t end with my blushing face, I decided to say good morning to her if I met her the next morning. And luckily, I did meet her again on the same path.

When I saw her, my heart was racing, my palms were sweating, but I made it.

‘Good morning!’

‘Oh, good morning!’

She looked back at me with her turquoise eyes again and I knew that I successfully said good morning to a stranger for the first time in my life.

Now I have gotten used to saying good morning to everyone I meet in the morning, no matter who they are, no matter where they are. As long as the sun is still rising, I always say good morning.

And when I look back to my first month in Melbourne, I really want to say thank you – this short, simple and easy to be pronounced phrase, because when I say good morning to different people here I feel that I am also a member of this city, a person that’s included in this beautiful place.

Good morning, strangers.

Good morning, Melbourne.

Three people walking across Princes Bridge. Melbourne