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One of the reasons I’ve been MIA this month is because I moved house!

It was actually an already planned event for the year. My housemate and I had both finished our Ph. Ds, and we were going to move out and go our separate ways in late July/early August. My housemate had secured work overseas, so they were going to fly out in August to start their new position.

But everything changed when the pandemic hit… overseas travel was heavily restricted, and carefully formulated plans were thrown out the window!

Thankfully my housemate was able to get a travel exemption, so they will be able to fly out of the country to their new Post-Doc position in Europe (today, in fact!). A mere 2-3 month delay is pretty good, given the situation that we’re in.

But it also meant that I needed to sort myself out quickly, because I couldn’t afford our place on my own, and my housemate needed to get going pretty promptly.

Now- moving house during stage four lockdown was no easy feat.

The original plan (pre-COVID) was for me to move back to regional Victoria to live with my partner. There were talks of buying property outside of town, setting ourselves up for a country retreat… basically the ideal goal was just being able to approach a weekend and not have to suss out whether my partner was travelling into Melbourne to hang out with me, or vice versa.

Unfortunately with the pandemic, seeing each other became more and more difficult, and buying a house just became really complicated, so when the time came for me to move out, we had to opt for renting for the short term.

But trying to coordinate inspections and such while one person (i.e. me) is stuck in stage four lockdown… it was hard. I had to rely heavily on photos or videos (virtual tours), and then just trust that my partner would be able to get all the info needed in the five minute private inspections.

I checked the DHHS website on a daily basis, just to make sure I wasn’t doing anything illegal. I couldn’t get help with the move unless I hired removalists, but it would mean I’d need to pay a fortune to move all of my stuff. I opted to hire a van and move all of my stuff with my partner, seeing as that wouldn’t break any stage four lockdown rules.

I also got all my moving boxes from work, because research institutes always have clean cardboard boxes of all shapes and sizes in the recycling. I highly recommend glove boxes (so the boxes that have packs of 8-10 in them) for heavy items like books. 😂 This part was actually pretty familiar to me, as I did this the last couple times I moved. Thank you to all my friends and colleagues for providing me with numerous boxes 📦 It’s been fun trying to fit them all into the recycling bin now that I’m done with them. 🤣

Anyway, it took a few weekends to move ALL of my stuff, but now I’m getting a chance to breathe again.

It always feels weird to see your furniture in a new room…
The empty bedroom at my old unit

Regional Victoria is nothing like Metro Melbourne, in more ways than one, but particularly when it comes to COVID. The general vibe is far more relaxed, and it’s really throwing me, because I’m still in Melbourne mode.

New plant baby 🌱

I haven’t dined out (yet), and walking into a retail store for the first time since… May? Really freaked me out. I know Melbourne’s travel bubble has been extended to 25 km now, but not having to calculate whether a place is within 5 km was also super weird… Or being able to go out for more than a couple hours… Weird.

Another plant baby 🌱

I’m very glad to be out of Metro Melbourne, only because I’m glad to finally be out of a semi-long distance relationship. It was getting really, really stressful, especially with lockdown, but now we don’t have to carefully coordinate visits.

So, I managed to proceed with my main 2020 plan, albeit with slight changes in details and with a 2-3 month delay in schedule.

I’ll still work in Melbourne, so I’ll be joining the hoard of commuters from this side of the state. I actually used to do this back in Undergrad, so it’ll be just like the old times.

New sunset spot?

But for now, I’ll miss the old place in Melbourne- I didn’t think I’d actually enjoy living in ‘the big smoke’, but I came to love it, and I’ll miss the view from my driveway. Also our lovely elderly neighbour, who would always bring our bins in, and our wonderful real estate agent, who was an utter gem 💎.

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A Ph. D graduate in Microbiology, residing in Victoria, Australia. Currently working in multiple locations but still in the STEM field. 👀 🦠 🧫 🧬

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