When I opened my eyes this morning, the true first in which I had set no alarm and allowed myself to succumb to my black out curtains instead, I woke up to a new view and vast ocean... of covers, thanks to my wall-canvas turned bedspread. It was also marked the first morning I woke to the stark realisation that I was a vast ocean away: from “home,” my old life and the people I consider family.
While this may sound quite somber, it’s not a bad thing. This early-morning epiphany could have struck because I’m beginning to feel more settled in the fine city of Sydney. The mattress I rest my tired limbs upon is starting to meld to my shape; I’m doing adult things, like commuting home through a park daily while listening to podcasts and flossing every night. I have exercised every day for the past week if you include scenic treks along the coast of my new continent. Mind you, I’m also doing teenage things: collaging pictures of my friends and family, staying up late reading, and text-flirting with my SF-crush on the reg.
Despite having views like this one to spark inspiration in its glimmering reflections off the water, my own reflections haven’t been flowing with the abundance I’d like. While pondering the question of: How could I possibly have writers’ block when I am living the epitome of what I once envisioned to be “a life worth writing about”?! the bestie put it perfectly. She assured me that it wasn’t a block; I’m busy LIVING! "Living and experiencing and making memories, and once things calm down a bit the writing will flow like wine,” she said. I feel drunk, alright. Throughout my first four weeks, I’ve felt so saturated with love and awe that I’m fatigued on the daily. My brain gets sore, my heart is bursting, and my hands are often too tired to write from typing away at work, shaking furiously among new friends, snap(chat)ing glimpses of my new city and unpacking final items from my suitcases.
My latest and ideal ritual, for which I've decided not to apologise, is as follows: settle into a bubble bath after a long day of learning, trying, meeting people and exploring a new sight/path/eatery in Sydney. Whilst bubbling, I'll perhaps read a chapter of All Over the Place and hear a great new song or podcast that reminds me of home but opens my mind to something new. Climb into bed and read an email from a friend, write one to a family member, jot down thoughts for my blog and journal in my green leather-bound that reads "On to the Next Adventure." For writing's sake, I need to default to my purist exercise more often: writing not for an audience but simply for the sake of processing my thoughts. There are almost too many things, there are so many. On the fullest of days, I’m perfectly content getting in bed between 8 and 9p, using my downtime to catch up on my entire family and network via social while they sleep, and then drifting off to memories of my new town and savoury nostalgic flashbacks to my favourite people. Am I savouring enough?
Note: an insecurity of mine stems from a blogger and LinkedInner years ago who wrote that no one should ever watch a drop of Netflix in their first year in a new city let alone country. Maybe it’s lazy to find connection or stimulus in the ladies of Litchfield, the lovebirds of tragedies like 500 Days or the comforting ocean of Moana's and Maui’s. The question is: how should I balance the expenditure of my energy across work, well-being, social connection-building and the need to reflect and update? I’m still working toward mastery on that one, still adjusting to this new time zone.
Signs that I live here:
I have a bank account. And a nail salon.
I know my own phone number.
I have a yoga teacher and a Spotify playlist titled DOWN UNDER.
Went grocery shopping;
Paid my first month’s rent;
Zipped and finally stored my suitcases in the closet under the stairs.
Signs that I belong here:
The line where the sky meets the sea and the electric pulse it sends through me
The retro & quaint Hyde Park nearby which feels like Central Park, another planet AND home
The warmth and instant-friendship offered by most around me
Highlights to date:
Panorama views from the Westfield tower and its 360 restaurant bar
Mini-yacht cruise around Sydney Harbour and the O House
Bondi-to-Coogee Beach walk and sneak peeks of pools with names like "Icebergs"
Prosecco on the roof-deck of Coogee Pavilion with my first "visitors" (see: next post on My Touristy Trek around Oz )
Brunch items that are totally novel and delicious:
Breakfast bruschetta with haloumi and poached eggs what?
Soft baked eggs on pickly pork hash
Seaweed-y Avocado toast on Saturday #1
My current, rotating coffee orders:
Skim flat white - who calls it that?
Latte over ice
The "Cory," as my barista Phil calls my cappuccino with chocolaty cocoa powder
As the brekkie above clearly reveals, good omens seem to pop out at me everywhere I go. If I balked at the late winter chill here in Sydney, I was pleasantly surprised when met by the first day of Spring this weekend! The worst travesties to have struck include a long-overdue sore throat after weeks of over-doing it, and recently a night of walking steadfast [unbeknownst-to-me] circles home only to end up at the same train station exit at which I started.
Each morning, I walk a spritely eighteen minutes through a park to get to work. En route home, I take Oxford Street east (which makes me feel certain I'm bloody proper) and turn right on Brisbane Street to get home (whose name just makes me confused again). I jog through a line of bulbous lanterns that are reminiscent of Central Park, while sipping from public fountains that are oh-so-European lined with plants that could be found anywhere. As I gaze upon the ancient-seeming churches that can't be more than a few hundred years old, passing statues seemingly of another time and world, I can simply look up to recall that I'm beneath the same sky I've always been, shooting for the same stars.
Precisely 28 days after landing in Oz, I’ve seen and felt more than I recall of this incomparable harbour hub. I love the bustling pace down the streets and comfortable ease of conversation indoors; I love the colonial buildings and other-worldly train stations juxtaposed with modern buildings, towering skyscrapers and a revolving restaurant tower that looks intended for space. I adore the Santa Barbara trees alongside European cobblestone, lining a sparkly-smooth harbour with surprisingly jumpy waves crashing into its walls! I felt wary of the prehistoric-looking birds and untimely cold of August, but remain infatuated with the brisk summer sun over beaches only minutes from the icy urban mornings in my new city suburb. Finally, I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of the geometrically uninterpretable icon that is the cloudy white Opera House: sitting atop stairs but floating in the upside-down sea, it both houses entertainment and emits a silent tune that transcends language, culture or mileage. It feels like a fort made of white sheets; a home away from home.
I could get used to this.
A broad down under