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  • Martha Iserman

New in AU

You may have seen in the news that Australia is on fire and I'm writing to confirm that this is true. I'm not an expert on the continent since I only arrived here last May, and I had assumed that it was a country of constant heat and the threat of 'death by animal' around every corner, but I am assured that this is a stereotype. The current heatwave is extreme by even Australian standards and at least they don't have bears or mountain lions, so I guess I am safe...? Regardless, it's a beautiful country (from what I've seen so far). Here's a recap of my journey Down Under and what it means for me moving forward!

(Self Portrait From The Edge of the World)

My partner Chase was offered the opportunity to relocate to his company's Melbourne division last September, and after some discussion, we decided that it would be a great opportunity for an adventure. One technicality was our three cats. It turned out to be more of an ordeal than I want to discuss here, but let's just say that moving with pets (especially to a country with quarantine restrictions like Australia) is an ordeal. Totally worth it, but not fun.

(Bijou, Mako, and Logan in our new AU home)

Melbourne is a beautiful city. It reminds me of a mix of Chicago and San Francisco. It's known for its European style laneways with cute little cafes and shops. It's also a great city for street art, and we've spent multiple weekends wandering downtown looking at new graffiti.

(Various scenes from our trips into Melbourne)

Our little house is off of the last stop on the train line from Melbourne, in the mountains near Belgrave. It's a temperate rainforest environment with giant eucalyptus and fern tree forests. Cockatoos and parrots are everywhere, and we frequently see kangaroos and ring-tailed possums.

The great thing about moving from Silicon Valley to a suburb of Melbourne is that we went from a one-bedroom apartment to a three-bedroom house in the Dandenong Ranges. That means I get a studio! It's where I spend the majority of my time.

(Setting up our new living room)

(My office/studio)

I've been fortunate enough to be able to continue working remotely for a few clients back in California since moving. I've also had time to work on some personal projects, and the local flora and fauna have been extremely fascinating for me. One of the first paintings I did since moving was of the Kookaburras that frequent my yard.

(Kookaburras-watercolor on paper)

I plan on taking advantage of my new setting as much as possible, and that means not only using the environment as inspiration but getting involved with the art and design scene in Melbourne and the mountain area where I live. I've already attended some meetup groups and I'm looking into starting some arts-related social events myself.

So that's a brief summary of what it's been like for the past 7 months since moving to Australia! There have been a lot of adjustments and compromises, but there have been tons of amazing new experiences that have made it worth it.

I'm looking forward to sharing it all with you here!

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