Melbourne Cup Simplified


Three years ago, I wrote this post – “Mr Ed and Other Things I Learned From the Melbourne Cup” – in which I was a smidge dismissive of my ability (dare I say interest) to ever make sense of the national obsession with the Melbourne Cup horse race.

The Melbourne Cup, in brief, is “the race that stops a nation.” To my American readers, think the Kentucky Derby on steroids. In Victoria, Melbourne Cup day is a state holiday. In the rest of the country, it’s a day to dress up and get your middle of the afternoon party on.

Considering that my first Melbourne Cup was simultaneously a shocker and a non-starter for me, I feel it is an important milestone on my expat journey to document that I have, at last, been to my first ever Melbourne Cup party.

A mum (“mum” because she’s Australian) from my mother’s group offered to host a Melbourne Cup party at her place. There were mums all dressed up and babies in fascinators, ample bubbly, a feast for a king, a draw in which I won nothing, and about 2 minutes of a horse race on TV. And, I have to tell you, it was a lot of fun. Though it is sometimes hard for me, the key here is clearly to stop overthinking the significance, and just put on my pearls and hat, grab a glass of prosecco, and have a jolly time.

Melbourne Cup may not be my holiday, but I do believe it has won me over.

The Hushpuppy and me, ready for the races. As our resident Aussie, it is her holiday!

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