April 13, 2010

Waking Up

For Easter, Nat and I spent time in Sydney with some friends of mine and had the most delightful time. I think the only way to really convey how I feel about Sydney would be to type out one of my journal entries from our stay.

“April 2, 2010

I feel as though for the past month or so, I’ve been asleep. Things on the Gold Coast have run their course, and I’m no longer enraptured with it’s beauty or with the guaranteed daily warmth of the sun. I’ve been sleeping, just trudging along through my days with nothing unexpected happening or change to look forward to. It’s just blasé now.

It’s engaging, it’s bewitching, and I can’t describe it - but something about Sydney has woken me up. Maybe it’s just the fact that it’s a new place so the prospect of adventure hangs in the air, but this city is amazing. Nat and I both can’t believe the way Sydney has breathed life back into us. We feel transformed and it’s like we’re home. We’ve been here for just barely 24 hours and this place feels like home FAR more than the Gold Coast ever did in 3 months of being there.

I’m not sure what to attribute it to either - the weather down here is beautiful - so much cooler with a breeze that feels like New England Fall. The sun is also so warm still, but it’s not muggy. And the leaves are actually turning, falling, and blowing all around! It’s glorious. Australia, I didn’t think you had it in ya :)

But it could also be the houses. On the Gold Coast, everything is so modern, trying so hard to look cool so they’re not tasteful at all. One might look at a house or a building and say, “My, that’s unique,” but you would never be moved deep in your soul to say, “I must live here.” Down in the Sydney area, we’ve seen it all. We’ve seen the more modern styles, but we’ve also seen ranches, mansions, apartments and my favorite, the terrace house. We’re staying in a terrace house which is so fabulously home-y. There are sunflowers on the table, stone and hardwood flooring, stone backdrops in the kitchen, and big couches where I sit listening to the world’s best selection on the stereo next to me.

I initially wandered in with my green tea (in a darling Grandma-like mug with poppies on it) because I was drawn to the quiet sounds of Frank Sinatra (or something that sounded jazzy/big band-ish). So I sit here journalling with my tea and that CD just ended. I was a bit nervous as to what the 6 CD changer would grace my ears with next, but no worries. If possible, it’s actually better than its predecessor. I’m now being serenaded by the sweet sounds of the Michael Buble CD that I don’t own. It’s literally a dream. Did I mention that we went sight-seeing this morning after Good Friday service and then I napped for an hour and a half? Yeah, I’m a happy girl.

And THEN, just now, I looked up and to my left on the wall, I was greeted by a very familiar shape that warms my heart. There’s a large, black and white, very old, framed map of where? New England! Massachusetts was staring me in the face, meeting my longing gaze! So beaming and overjoyed, I leapt from my sunken-in dent on the couch to greet Haverhill and Wenham. Then I raced to get Natalie from the back patio to show her my new treasure. She was pleased with my find.

I also think that a huge reason why we’re loving it here is the company. It’s such a pleasure to be staying with Patti and Wolfgang. They are so loving and so helpful, we’re just adoring being here with them. It’s so great to be with adults, with Christians, and with a family unit. Those are all things that we’ve greatly been missing on the Gold Coast. It’s an environment of drunken, crazy college students and this is the type of connection we’ve been craving. The Fischers have been like medicine to our souls. I’m sure visiting Tyson, Dayna and the Jorgensens will prove to be the same. We’re just so grateful to be here, and I don’t even want to think about going back up to Queensland.

But let’s not go there. For now, I’ll just enjoy my new second favorite city in the world. Only second to home sweet Boston, of course. Where we’re staying in Paddington (a 20 minute bus ride from the city) is definitely an area I could get used to. It’s so artsy and adorable. The terrace houses are narrow and tall, and they all look so European with their balconies, iron lacing and vines. They’re so beautiful. We’ve also been to Rose Bay, Double Bay, Vauclose, Edgecliff, the North and South Heads and Bondi. They say if it isn’t happening at Huntington Beach or Bondi Beach, then it isn’t happening. Well now I’ve been there and I’m not sure what all of the fuss is about. It’s no Singing, that’s for sure…

Tonight we’ll spend at home with Patti and Wolfgang, having dinner and watching Jerry Maguire. Tomorrow, we’ll explore the Botanical Gardens in Sydney, then head to Newport! I can’t wait. I love it here.”

As you can see, Sydney captured my heart and held it tightly. It’s like Boston in the sense that it has that older feel. To me, it’s far superior to other cities we’ve been to over here because it’s not trying to be modern and hip. Obviously it’s no where near as old as Boston, but that’s the aura it gives off. Although it’s the busiest city in this country, it seemed so slow to us. Maybe that’s because I can compare it to the oppressive nature of New York or the hustle and bustle of a summer in Boston. But to Nat and I, it just seemed so peaceful, clean and vibrant. We also went to Manly, surfing in Palm Beach, climbed to the Barrenjoey lighthouse, and a few other places that Tyson and Dayna took us.

It was a fantastic Easter and we’re so thankful to the Jorgensen/Fischer clan for welcoming the weary travellers in. We loved it so much, we’re going back :) Our finals are done on April 21st, so we’re flying out that night to join them again for a week. We were supposed to be flying to US from Brisbane, but switched it to Sydney, because that will be a much better way to end our time here.

Something I didn’t mention was the joy that oozed out of every pore as we walked through Circular Quay. With the Harbour Bridge on our left, we knew that at any moment, we’d round a bend to reveal the Sydney Opera House. I was on the phone with Mom at the time (partially to let her know that we arrived safely and partially to rub it in) and I squealed with delight as that sparkly white beacon of all that is Australia came into view. To call it gorgeous would be an understatement. We gave it hugs because we were so happy to see it.

See all of the merriment - Sydney, we love you. See you in again in a week.

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