The concept of an alternate universe is something I’ve only experienced in TV and dreams. Familiar objects taking shape as just ever so slightly askew as to make the mind question reality. Alternate possibilities of speech, road signs and edible options being present everywhere. Never in my dreams could I have imagined a place like Melbourne. So many things are familiar and so many things are foreign. How long until we slide? 2 weeks? But that’s too soon!

Ordering a coffee for instance. When one asks for a coffee, the server will ask which one. Which one?

” Just a coffee please.”
” Yes, and which coffee would you like? A latte?”
“No, just a coffee with a little almond milk.”

“So a latte then?”

In Melbourne it’s called a Flat White. And, yes, it’s a latte. In my first experience with this ordering process I explained to the server that I was looking to have more coffee than milk, ratio wise. So she brought me a shot of espresso in the tiniest little cup I’ve ever seen, along with a thimble of almond milk. I wrestled with the guilt initially, as I generally avoid the calories of a delicious latte. After spending 10 days in the city, however, I now confidently ask for an Almond Milk Flat White. I really don’t know what other kinds of coffee there are. But that’s not unusual. I think it’s a habit of people world wide to stick with a good thing once you find it. Of course there’s always room for adventure, but the greater percentage of opportunities to choose an alternate option I have, the firmer I become in my original choice. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. And put a little extra foam on top.

The city of Melbourne is GIGANTIC! I stayed busy all day every day and I feel like I only got to touch the surface. There are several parts of town that hold unique culture all their own, everyone of them as colorful as all get out. Everything from the architecture to the fashion style is brilliant with texture, shape and design. And the shopping! Oh the shopping. I had more fun shopping in Melbourne than I have in my whole life, hands down! And the best part is spending Australian money. Australian dollars are not only prettier than ours, they spread further! At roughly $.75 on the dollar, Australian cash offers an immediate 25% discount on all purchases, even those made with a credit card. So, how could I resist? My hostess Leanne had the brilliant idea of taking me to a store called Dangerfields, and boy was it! Each item was exactly the style I’ve been trolling the internet for for years. I was able to touch every garment, try them on, feel the fabric and see for myself the quality of material. The prices seemed extravagant, but the store was offering a 20% of storewide, EVEN on sale items AND I was spending Australian dollars. Leanne was there egging me on the whole time with encouraging words like, “Come on, if you see something you like just buy it. This is a once in a lifetime chance. You’ll regret it if you don’t. You’re only on holiday once in a while.” That is until she saw that the bill was $500 even. Her eyes widened then as I handed over my credit card. I didn’t mind, she was right. For the first time in my life I’ve worked my way into a size 8 dress and it’s time I reap the benefits. Besides, when I got my credit card statement the amount diminished to $370. SO worth it. As a matter of fact I’m sitting in a little cafe in Sydney now wearing my new Shark dress. Yes, sharks printed all over it. And I couldn’t be happier.

Riding along through traffic, on the “wrong” side of the road mind you, hasn’t been quite as unnerving as I thought it would be. That is until I traveled in the front seat. Talk about an alternate universe! It’s a real trip sitting in a seat where there should be a steering wheel and finding nothing but air. And no breaks! It really challenged all of my control issues and I wasn’t quite sure what to do with my hands. Also strange is reading the speed signs in Kilometers. School zone: 40 KM. Today I watched a crowd of uniformed school girls cross the street, each wearing a large white rimmed hat with a ribbon, a little flock of Madeleines. The tiny gentlemen who followed behind looked like little boyscouts on their way to camp. Just precious.

Melbourne, when will I see you again?

I know in my heart the answer,

“Not soon enough.”