I told you I was nomadic, didn’t I? Well, it’s time I ‘fessed up. There’s been a decision pending these last few months and now it is finally made and wheels are truly in motion. Matt, the girls and I are off on another adventure. We’re moving to Auckland, New Zealand by the end of this month. Yup, that’d be my hometown so I’m excited. Very excited.
I am going to be completely honest and admit that I wasn’t sure about Sydney. I had always thought of Sydney as too big, too overwhelming, too spread out and too fast. I lived in Melbourne in my twenties and was (still am!) in love with Melbourne, not so much with big, brash Sydney town.
You see, Sydney is flashy, that’s without a doubt. All that harbour and water, the beaches, the blue sky that goes on and on. The graceful arch of the harbour bridge and the opera house, the bustle and the confidence. How could you not be charmed? I mean, even Oprah was. Perhaps I thought Sydney was too flashy for little old me. But then…
I moved here. I lived here. I resisted it at first and grumbled about the crowds, the traffic and the heat. I moaned about a lack of community until I realised it is, in fact, a treasure trove of lots of little communities. I discovered the community I lived in – Five Dock – full of delis, cafes and Italian families. I found friends. I watched B1 enjoy the local gymnastics centre, falling completely in love with tumbling and foam pits and swinging like a monkey on the rings. I spent more and more time with my husband’s big, noisy, loving family. I got to go to family weddings and dance until I couldn’t feel my feet. I ate Australian prawns. I saw my first red back spider. I survived my first 43 degrees (110 fahrenheit, people!) heatwave. I spent a night in the city, on my own.
It has been a pleasure to fall in love with this place. But now I have one more place to miss. Perhaps that’s why I was so resistant to its charms in the first place? I am dreadful at goodbyes. The more goodbyes I have had to make the worse I have become. On good days it feels like pieces of myself, my heart, are all over the world, in the places I have lived. On bad days it feels like pieces of my heart are all over the world. You know what I mean?
So, as excited as I am to be heading back home, to the place I came from and the city my Mum and Dad, sister and brother-in-law all live in, I will miss Sydney. I will miss these blue skies so bright they make your eyeballs ache.
I will miss the sound of the currawongs in the early evening, their dark forms and song swooping up and down. I’ll miss morning walks along the Parramatta river, the smell of mud and mangroves and picking flowers for B1’s lap. I’ll miss my local library and my favourite cafe. I’ll miss that crazy, bustling CBD, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the view of the harbour bridge. I’ll admit it, I’ll miss Ikea. Worse still, I’ll miss the seafood markets and the dim sum and the Queen Victoria Building. I’ll miss catching the ferry. I’ll miss the buzz and the confidence, that I-live-in-a-world-class-city pride.
Mostly I’ll miss the people. Isn’t that always the way? I’ll miss the big family get-togethers with kids running in all directions, the barbecue smoking and the chilled beer bottles sweating. I’ll miss deep and meaningful chats with my sisters-in-laws, constantly interrupted by little people needing feeding and changing and snuggling into laps. I’ll miss watching my husband with his siblings. I’ll miss seeing my baby girls with their cousins. B1 giggling and grinning, running after someone, B2, koala-like, propped on the hip of an older cousin. I’ll miss my own cousins I have here, the “Sydney Tunnicliffes” we call them, my Aunty and Uncle, the dinners at their house that are always a feast, doubtlessly delicious and exotic. I’ll miss new friends and old ones, people who moved here from Macau or New Zealand, that we’ve able to spend more time with. Not enough time, of course, but some.
The only answer for it is to come back. That I can promise. Especially now I have fallen under Sydney’s spell.
Thank you, Sydney, you’ve been charming.
Hugs, Hannah x