Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Some Sundays

Over the last 2 weekends I've gotten in touch with both my "sporto" (if you will) and my artistic sides.

Two weeks ago, I woke early to a day of wind and rain- typical Melbourne winter weather, they say, though we've not seen much of it so far (happily). Nevertheless, I forced myself to leave the house...mostly because I'd boated of my plans to friends the night before, and huddled in my rain jacket, hat and gloves, wandered down to the train station. I felt a little better when I saw others dressed like me out on a chilly Sunday morning, running shoes tied in double knots. I figured these folks were, like me, going to run the Melba-Melbourne...okay, it isn't called that but that's what I named it.

This race-- or actually, collection of races- was renamed this year and isn't quite a Melbourne institution. But my fears that I'd be the lone runner foolish enough to get up in the cold were unfounded and I arrived at the start with many companions.

The race offered a choice of a half-marathon (no thanks!) a 10K run, a 7K walk or a 5K run or walk. I'd been vacillating between the 5 and 10 K but the miserable weather and my lack of any specific training created a game-day decision to do the shorter distance. Especially since the 10 k was merely two laps of the 5K course, I wasn't motivated by the chance to see new sights.

The 5K course did offer a chance to run past some downtown Melbourne landmarks, through the big park- or technically group of parks- that are a highlight of the CBD. I ran alongside the Yarra river for a bit and finished with a run past the downtown Ferris wheel. While I didn't bring home the purse, I wasn't the slowest by far, a fear I often have when running in public.

Then, this weekend, I went back even further than my illustrious running history to remember my youth as a dancer. Helen (whose husband (and Adi's cousin) David is in Israel) and I had a girls' afternoon. We went to the National Theatre to see the national Ballet School's end of term recital. The school not only has a conservatory program much like NYCB but also offers decidedly less-competitive classes, a fact I was unaware of when we bought our tickets.

We were treated to four pieces. The first, Musee D'orsay in Paris recreated a collection of scenes of the great paintings housed in that museum. From the youngest kids basically standing onstage tugging at their leotards to the full-time diploma students re-enacting Renoir, it was a fun show and I really enjoyed seeing the paintings come to life. The next two pieces were for the advanced and diploma students only. Don Quixote lost a bit in a truncated form and the second piece, a modernist interpretive piece, said it all with its title "Pretense, Past, Present, Future." Pretentious it was and while some moments were enjoyable I'm basically a plebe because my favorite was the finale. This was again performed by the school in it's entirety, or at least the jazz and tap classes. The theme was songs of the 70's and it was staged as a 70's disco with great costumes and again, adorable children, this time tapping their little hearts out.

The long afternoon- almost 3 hours of dance- was fun and we left the theatre ready to disco. Instead, we decided to do our part by making up for the meals that the diploma students are CLEARLY skipping.

Since we hadn't eaten lunch, our dinner was well-deserved. We went to a St. Kilda institution (its even in my Lonely Planet!) which I've been wanting to check out since my arrival. Lentil as Anything not only offers organic, vegetarian food, it does so with a "pay what you feel" philosophy. Not sure if Radiohead brainstormed their latest record release plan whilst dining here, but the pumpkin curry and Japanese style onion tofu were so good we shared another curry! We put our $$- a fair price, we thought- into the yellow box on the counter and left, full of culture and good food.

I'm really feeling like I'm a Melbourner at this point and my permanent residency shows that Melbourne likes me too. In fact, my medicare card came in the mail today so health care is mine for the taking!

The photos show off my my post-run look, though you can't quite see the mud dripping off of me or feel how my hat is soaked through! You can also see my new documents...but don't try to forget them or I might get in trouble! Finally, you can see that Aussie cockroaches are just as disgusting here as in the northern hemisphere...ah the joys of city living!

As always, I look forward to your comments!!!

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