I was born in Sydney, I live in Sydney, and have done for all but about 15 years of my life. Sydney is my hometown, I cry when I see the Harbour Bridge from a plane, and yet I don’t consider it my home.
After ten years in country NSW my family moved back just in time for me to sit the HSC. When I say just in time, I mean just in time. I spent most of what should have been a fun and social final year at school in libraries teaching myself the half of the syllabus that I had missed in the move.
That was a hard and lonely year, so I guess it was no wonder that I sought to get away as soon as I could after Uni. To Canberra. Naturally I used a boy as an excuse, but I really just had to leave Sydney.
Five years later I was back, this time with the man who was to become my husband- no, not the boy I went chasing after…
Sydney was now associated with traffic, the 6.30am train to the city, the 7pm train home, high interest rates, house prices, hard work, job insecurity and creative frustration.
Apparently Sydney ranks highly on one of those lists that rank the world’s most liveable cities, yet I don’t see it. That gorgeous harbour is a place that we would get to just a few times a year-and then only after a reasonable amount of pre-planning on a weekend. Likewise the city and Darling Harbour/ King St tend to be purely for lunch. As for the Eastern Suburbs and the beaches? The carpark fairy seriously avoids these suburbs, so I avoid them too.
I’ve always been one for wanting what I can’t have and disdaining the obvious. A Melbourne tragic, I love the seasons, the cold, the grey, the trams, the fashion, the alleys, the street art. In contrast, Sydney, as boldly beautiful as a peacock is just a tad too “look at me”- call it reverse snobbery.
In a couple of months we will mark 20 years back here and it doesn’t appear that we are going anywhere else in a hurry. The extremes of those early years have gone, but the traffic and the hard to get anywhere remains. And that is always going to be the case. So I figure I have two choices:
- Continue to whinge and whine about how I want to live anywhere else but here
- Get out there and explore- after all, there has to be a reason why so many of us choose to live or visit here…and that includes me.
So, given that this year I’m actively trying to push my boundaries, I figure it’s time to let go of the old grudges, shake hands and make up. It’s time to make friends with this beautiful city.
The idea came to me the other week when Miss 14 and I had a staycation excursion to Darling Harbour to visit the Aquarium and Madame Tussauds. On Monday we did another- this time to Watsons Bay by ferry. Tomorrow we’re planning the Coogee to Bondi walk (weather permitting) and on the weekend a trip to Cockatoo Island is scheduled.
Even after school goes back, once a week I’ll get out there and explore somewhere new…or maybe somewhere old, but with fresh eyes. Lots of coast, some walks, maybe a church or two, a cool shop or cheap eating spot. I’ll venture out of my comfortable, self-contained suburb to photograph it and write about it, here, every Friday…at least.
So, if you have any suggestions as to where I should go, please drop me a line…