I moved to Melbourne in 2010 because I loved marketing, design and a man (possibly in that order).
A psychology graduate, I discovered marketing in my mid 20s. It was love.
I was living in balmy Queensland, working within a research team at a renowned hospital. Somehow, (the brazen, cluelessness of a 25 year old, perhaps?) I managed to talk my way into a project management position as a market researcher.
A year later when I used my market research experience to land a job as a marketing assistant, I was in heaven. I couldn’t believe that this was an actual job and that people were willing to pay me for work I would have done for free.
But I always knew that if I really wanted to immerse myself in marketing, I needed to get some qualifications and move to where the head offices (and thus, marketing roles) were. So when my husband was offered a job in Melbourne, we bought some coats, I enrolled in a Masters of Marketing and we moved.
Melbourne was a hard place to get to know. My husband was a high flyer and while people were polite, they weren’t friendly. The first year was lonely and the winter was one of the coldest on record.
People were happy to see us at the Australian Open, Government House and other events we were blessed to be invited to. But no one invited us home. We weren’t friends.
At times, I felt the same about Melbourne. I was looking in from the outside.
As 2011 began, I completed an executive course in Washington DC, finished my Masters and landed a job at Coca-Cola Amatil. Working with a brand like Coke was a dream come true for a girl who loved marketing.
And slowly, slowly Melbourne let me get to know her.
I’ve been here six years now. I remember the first time I hopped on a plane from Brisbane to Melbourne and thought to myself, “I can’t wait to get home.”
I know now that the old-guard Melbournians need to see you at different functions for a minimum of three years before they start to feel comfortable that you are one of them.
I know that they’ll still want to know where you live and where you went to school so that they can ‘place,’ you. I know that my husband and I will always fail that second test. But I've also learnt that, if you are witty and charming enough, they’ll make exceptions.
Importantly, I know the best time to visit an NGV exhibition to avoid the crowds and I know when Miss Louise usually goes on sale. I know that girls in Brunswick love their vintage Levis but not as much as girls in Albert Park love their Lululemon. I know that in September the Plane Trees on Collins Street are everything and that Vue Du Monde lost their third hat this year.
It took me a while to work out the charm of Melbourne. She doesn’t give herself away quickly.
Six years later I still happen upon a gorgeous rooftop bar while waiting for my husband to finish work (Madame Brussells, I am looking at you) or an incredible shoe shop in the unlikeliest of places.
They say it takes 10 years before an immigrant can call themselves a New Yorker. Well I am 4 years off being about to call myself a Melbournian. But it is definitely love.
#TheMelbourneProject is my ode to Melbourne and to my passion for marketing which introduced me to her in the first place.