For the last two and a half years, I've been torn between two lovers. One overwhelmingly handsome, familiar and associated with hundreds of happy memories; the other cultured, exciting and almost too trendy for its own good. Their names are Sydney and Melbourne.
When I first started thinking about moving from the harbour city south of the border, I flew down for a long weekend to check it out. While I was here, I started a Sydney vs Melbourne list. Of course, there were the obvious: Sydney scored points for weather, beaches and the fact Jason Dundas lives there, while Melbourne won out when it came to cool cafes and bars, the relaxed pace and the availability of $4 pizzas.
Some of my points were dished out for reasons a bit less obvious but no less important. I deducted a point from Melbourne because "city loop" isn't as catchy as "city circle", handed out five points because a 13-year-old hipster on pills agreed to perform the Melbourne Shuffle for me on the train, and took away the same amount of points after seeing a druggo try to steal someone's iPod before unceremoniously wetting her pants and having to be carried away in the same manner Marissa Cooper famously left the OC.
It took me awhile to settle into the Bourne. I made friends immediately, found a pimping beachside art deco flat in St Kilda and discovered Sunday sessions at the Espy, but it took awhile to feel at home. (Admittedly, this may be because all my perceptions of Melbourne were based on the first three series' of The Secret Life of Us and I had expected I'd immediately become enmeshed in a social circle that included Claudia Karvan and be seduced by a sexy, long haired, pot smoking landscape gardener.) However, with a new place north of the river, a new job which allows me to sleep til 10.30 and a newfound group of seriously awesome and exceptionally good looking friends, I'm officially in love with this city (and though I still ride a bike with gears and refuse to listen to Nick Cave, I think I fit in pretty well).
Then there's Sydney. It's where my family is, as well as the bulk of my best friends, and, despite what Melbournians say - it. is. RAD. It's sunny, it's beautiful and Brynne Edelston's not there.
So after a stellar weekend of ciders in Centennial Park, vodkas with fresh apple juice at Shady Pines, swims at Clovelly and pub-cha at the Annandale, I am in the midst of the mandatory week of inner turmoil I suffer after every visit. Inevitably, by 4pm Friday I'll be back in I Heart Melbourne mode.