October 3rd, 2020
My dearest Sydney,
How are you?! Are you faring well Down Under where the spring air must be warming up? How are your waterways and your ash-strewn outback this time of year? I remember fondly that this month typically marks the start of silly season!
It's been harder than I could have imagined to leave you. I'm only an ocean away but the 6,000 miles and [I still can't convert how many] kilometers feel like lightyears thanks to the change of season, time-zone and routine. I arrived smack dab at the end of a wet hot American summer in California, where it's been the opposite of wet and fires are rampant (at risk of continuing through Oct). I can't help but be reminded of your tragic bushfires earlier this year: countless homes, acres and families either devastated or terrified at the brink of evacuation. P.S. What is the world coming to that we can't contain nor avoid these devastations, even on opposite sides of the world?
In past years -- if I were in Sydney -- I'd be wandering the noodle markets and planning for my first boat party or yacht social club by now. Last year this time, I had just moved into my new apartment on Pitt Street and was still discovering new Chinese food haunts, my commute or yoga options beyond Surry Hills. I was also continuing rituals like book club (three years after attending with Ash, Charlee, Kristen and Becca!) or Cultivate-Club over dinner of snacks. These are things that I will miss so much and I wonder: Can I continue them? Recreate them? Realize that there is a reason or season for everything and that maybe I shouldn't try to relive the expat experience here at home?
California has been divine in some ways and an adjustment in others. It's nice to be in familiar cities, driving comfortable streets that I know like the back of my hand. As I write this, I am flanked right now by two puppies that love me... with one more at home where I move tomorrow, thanks to Mom and Dad. When I arrived in Cali on September 4th, I had a temporary living space that felt like something out of a childhood memory at the beach: a small one-bedroom apartment, one block back from the sand and sea. I landed on a Friday afternoon after what felt like hours of traveling that also absolutely flew by. I opened the unlocked door to Apartment 29 and saw not only brightly-lit tiles, a large kitchen and dining table that i knew would convert to a work space... but I also noticed a familiar face perched on my living room side table. Not just one face, but another -- then a group of them! There were ten women to be exact, they were everywhere. My Mom had printed and framed no less than ten moments in time captured merely days before in your very own streets of Sydney, Down Under. She didn't want me to feel alone when I arrived "home."
Where to begin with what I miss about you most? The photos featured Maybe and Silly Tart and Jacoby's in Newtown. There were the work gals, the book club gals, the epic jumping photo next to your STAR - The Opera House. I woke today thinking of more things that I miss: including but not limited to Canopy on the Park, spontaneous run-ins in Paddington, mixed berry muffins with Jenna and long walks through Surry with Simran. I miss Paramount Coffee Project and PRC upstairs, not just for our final moments together but for what it WAS when I went to daily six AM yoga, had coffee there, and generally ordered almond flat whites wherever I could get my hands on one -- all before COVID times. I miss Humming Puppy; I miss the pad see ew from Chin Chin. More than any single place I miss your resident bachelor and Peter-Pan for life: Rupert. I miss his couch and his presence.
Finally, I miss my days: waking to the glowing line where the sky and north of Sydney met the sea. Reading in bed after meditating to the city street sounds. Wandering down for a flat white in my freshly showered wet hair, donning my purple Disneyland shirt or Kindness is Cool jumper (it was winter when I left, wasn't it?!). Next, I'd work a bit; then, I'd walk again or escape through Hyde Park to the Botanic Gardens for that daily view of TOH. I'd cook Marley Spoon or sneak Macchiato wraps with haloumi for lunch; I'd stop at Coles for bakery cookies or more almond milk and fruit for smoothies. Finally, I'd chat with Rupert and crawl onto our couch with the blue and gray blankets. Though I know time will fade them, I don't want to lose these memories.
What do you miss most about me? Can't wait to hear from you.
Abroad Back Home
Who am I?
I am a girl who loves my island and a girl who loves the sea; it calls me.