“Work-life balance exists here.” Such is the claim of my friend who has been living in Australia for years now.
After seeing Sydney-Brisbane-Gold Coast-Melbourne and talking with Mark (my Aussie plane seatmate), I am now convinced. The balance really does exist. It is feasible in Australia because employers and the goverment work hand-in-hand in securing that the quality of life of Australians are maintained, without hurting the country’s GDP.
Offices and malls close at 5pm except for Thursdays or Fridays, depending on where you are. Parents have time to spend with their children. Teens have more time to spend on hobbies and recreational sports.
I guess this kind of work culture explains why everything is also expensive in Australia. Due to short work hours, businesses need to increase their profit margin with every sale. Quite the opposite of the Chinese way of doing business– go for volume to compensate for low margins.
Australia is a young country. We don’t know if this system will benefit them in the long run especially now that the world is changing and changing fast. Cash outlay may be an issue in the future if prices will continue to soar. But for now, Australians are having it relatively good. And I guess, that’s what matters.
Seldom will you find a highly-urbanized city that doesn’t feel aloof. When I now think of Melbourne, I remember the streets of New York BUT with the laid-back atmosphere of Los Angeles. Sure, its buildings are aplenty and its harbour is quite busy but walk a few blocks more and you’d feel very much at ease. What with the sprawling parks, elegant Old English structures and quirky modern architecture to amuse and calm your senses! It’s a mash-up of the old and the new. It’s everything you would want in a city: efficient tram systems, nice neighborhood, and diverse choices. It has its own unique charm that makes you want to call it “home”.
Speaking of homes, my cousins just bought their own properties in Melbourne. Teacher Lori bought a 4-bedroom house in suburbia with her 2 kids and husband. She’s an interior designer too so she arranged both her space and her sister’s. Doctor Veronica, on the other hand, chose to own a condo unit in the middle of the city.
The girls treated me to “brekky” along Degraves St. where Australians have their coffee, al fresco-style. I had eggs benedict and affogato. squisito! delizioso! Oops, wrong country. Fanbloodytastic! 🙂
The streets of Melbourne are so photogenic. We went to a graffiti street called Hosier LA and posed away! Then we toured the city proper and shopped at Swanston Street, Flinders Lane, Chapel Street and Victoria Market.
In 2010, I met-up with Brit in Singapore. I told her, “I’m going to meet-up with you in Australia!” At that time, she was still studying Law in Melbourne and was just in Singapore to visit her family. You know what they say, shout it to the universe and it will conspire to make it happen for you? Meet-up in Australia we did!
Now working for a law firm in Australia, Brit met-up with me and Lori. They both showed me around the city. Good thing it was Shop Night Friday when shops close a little later than usual. We got to ride the tram, see the Clock Tower at Central, dine at Your Thai, walk along Flinders, eat churros, and see the pillars of the Crown Casino blow-up fire. We capped the night overdosing on Max Brenner‘s heavenly chocolate desserts! It was indeed a sweet get-together!
Brit, I’m claiming it again! We’re going to see each other in Europe SOON!
5 cities in 11 days.
1,000 more memories to cherish for a lifetime!
Thank you to everyone who made this trip worth remembering.
Thank you to my colleagues who attended to my work projects while I was away.
Thank you to my family for understanding and supporting my “need” to see the world.