Back to Sydney and Australia Day 2020

I’ve officially been traveling and away from home for four months (eek that means I’m a third of the way through my year long visa). It’s crazy how quickly time flies by. It’s obviously been a long time away from my family and friends, but it’s also been jam packed with new memories and experiences. I’ve been really reflecting on my decision to move to this side of the world and realize how lucky I am to have this opportunity to live abroad.

I’m not settled down in one place and I’m not sure I will any time soon. However, I’ve spent the most amount of time in Sydney and it has sort of become a home base. I have my favorite spots and have also met amazing friends here. After, every trip when I get back to Sydney it feels a bit like coming back home.

I flew back last Wednesday and even though I was only away for six weeks I think a lot of change has taken place in the city. The lock out laws are a thing of the past; the light rail is now operational; it’s significantly hotter/muggier outside; the T8 train now goes from the airport to Circular Quay – no transfers necessary; those are just a few things I noticed. It is great to come back to a city and see all the progress and changes that occurred over a few weeks. I think when you live somewhere you don’t really notice these types of things because it’s part of your daily life.

My time back in Sydney has been busy. My first full day back I had brunch at Speedo’s Cafe and had to say goodbye to one of my first Sydney friends as she is now off to New Zealand and Bali before heading home to Spain. Then I attempted to go to Bondi, but it was a bit too steamy to stay out very long. I did get to see some filming for Bondi Rescue.

The weekend held another brunch, this time at the “most instagramable spot,” at Social Hideout. Then my friend J and I explored the surrounding neighborhood of Green Square and Rosebery. I really loved this area and could potentially see this as a future apartment area if it comes to that point. Later that evening we went to the markets and got dumplings in celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year.

Now that brings us to Australia Day. Before coming to Oz, as an American I incorrectly associated Australia Day with a Fourth of July type of holiday. I thought that it was fully a national holiday of celebration. Then once you’re in Australia you realize that there is a much deeper and darker side to it in regards to the Indigenous people of this land. I am in no means an activist or claim to know nearly enough to educate others on this topic. That will be my self-assigned homework. What I did know is that Australia Day was going to be a long day full of city-wide activities, many of which are “fun” and celebratory. If I was going to partake in these activities, I wanted to at least start the day honoring/acknowledging the other side of the holiday and get a bit cultural. I woke up early to make it to the 7:45am WugulOra Morning Ceremony at Barangaroo Reserve. This morning’s event included the ancient custom of a smoking ceremony, dancing and singing performances, appearances from NSW’s governor, and more. Afterwards, I headed to the Rock’s Market and then to Manly. We went to a cute brunch spot, Girdlers Cafe, tried to go on the beach but were prevented from going into the water by bluebottle jellyfish, and went to the wharf instead. Then we bounced around more and went to a house party out in Pymble, where I finally got to experience and Aussie BBQ. It was a nice, but long day. I’m glad I didn’t go over the top and was able to “celebrate” in a mindful way. First Australia Day in Oz was a success, but now I’m going to do some historical research.

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