For much of last year, I pondered who I’d pissed off in a past life to warrant all the crazy, life changing things that happened.
But last Sunday, I wondered quite the opposite—what sultan I had served so well, what God I had gladdened—to be granted this scene: a sunny, 80-degree day winding down with a nice breeze coming in from the Australian Pacific at my left, a plate of kangaroo and a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc in front of me and a cute Swiss surfer who I’d met at the bus stop three days earlier across from me.
That, folks, was my, “Oh my God, I’m really here, and it rocks” moment.
To be honest, my first week and a half here was more of a whirlwind than I’d expected. When I landed after my combined 26-hour flight (which in the end, wasn’t so brutal), I went by taxi to my hotel in North Sydney, then explored a bit before crashing for 15 hours. I ventured out again the next morning, Australia Day, which included boat races and live music and tons of people traipsing through the streets. I hung out by the Opera House and walked around the expansive, gorgeous botanic gardens.
I fell in love with Sydney pretty immediately and began photographing it like it was my child. There’s water everywhere, and the skyline is mesmerizing. The clusters of red-roofed huts along the water on the city’s north side give it an almost European feel. There are flowers with lovely smells everywhere you stroll, and there are so many different types of birds tooting different tunes, I feel like I’m in a Disney movie. Being here has not only made me feel more relaxed, but has also stoked my curiosity and creativity.
Two days after arriving, I went to a hostel in Bondi Beach, which I can best describe as college meets camp at the shore. I definitely regressed a bit to the times of my early 20s for the week I stayed, partying, staying out late and meeting people. I was in a room with five other girls, and one, Steph from Canada, became my little buddy. I sat on the beach (which, with its green-blue hue and sharp cliffs, is simply stunning), took a surf lesson (which was pretty much me body boarding on a surf board), went on a 5-mile walk to Coogee Beach, took a few ferry rides, tried swinging on a trapeze and took a trip up the Blue Mountains, which looked like a green version of the Grand Canyon and where I walked through a rain forest and saw kangaroos. Oh, and I went out a few times with the Swiss surfer mentioned above :).
(Side note: the men here are as beautiful as the rumors claim, and they don’t hide the fact that they are checking you out, too.)
As fun as all that was, I knew I couldn’t live the hostel life forever or I would wind up an unproductive beach bum with a drinking problem or in jail for clocking one of my rude roommates (nothing like waking up in the middle of the night to doors slamming, the overhead light on and two girls yelling in German. Biotches). After all, I do have to earn a living while here. So, I wound up renting a room on the top floor of a house a little outside the city with a male lawyer from here and a female student from New York. I moved in Wednesday. So far, so good.
I guess what I’ve learned so far here is that a move around the world is not that scary because you can make friends wherever you go. I already have about 10 phone numbers in my Australian cell and have plans to meet people in the coming weeks (I also had the chance to hang with the awesome Heels and Wheels, also a writer from NJ). I absolutely miss my friends and family at home, but I will see them again before I know it—some sooner than others, as two pals plan to visit this summer.
I also heard loud and clear what a young British man finishing up his year-long work/holiday visa said at the pub the other night: “It goes so fast. Don’t worry about things so much. Enjoy it.”
I think I will.