I’ve never been one for big farewells; I much prefer celebrating beginnings. Endings are just far too sad. However, right now, I’m in a season of goodbyes. I’ve been in Australia for two and half years and now that time is finished and I have to say goodbye to everything here. Though I don’t fly out of the country for another two weeks, my goodbyes began over the weekend, though not with the people I’ve grown to love, but with a city that has thoroughly captured my heart. So while I sit and try to come to terms with the fact that I may never find myself there again, I decided to write an ode to one of my favourite places.
S Y D N E Y, NSW
You opened your arms to me for the first time when I was 17 years old. I was lost and confused and I didn’t really indulge in the beauty you had to offer me. I didn’t realize that you would become a sort of safe haven for me in the years to come. I neglected your beautiful sites and ignored the life that you had bursting within you.
Months went by and I returned for a brief visit before departing the country of Australia for the first time. I was 18 and had learned more about who I was and what I wanted. I had learned to enjoy the joy you had to offer me. I finally gave in to the things you had to offer – I enjoyed the beaches and cafes and grew incredibly fond of how you made me feel welcome and at home, yet adventurous and independent.
Another few months went by and I found myself returning to Australia. For about a year and half you became my home away from home here. While I’ve lived in Newcastle, you were that weekend getaway that I desperately needed. From the train ride to Central Station to the lively downtown side streets, I fell in love with you and the way you helped me catch my breath and get some perspective. When I’d had a week of chaos and exhaustion, you gave me the rest I needed. When I was bored out of my mind you lifted my spirits and sent me on an adventure. You taught me to be comfortable around more people and to be unafraid of going to new places.
It’s the beginning of summer now and you’re starting to come to life with the colours that I dream of seeing all year round. I walked your streets only a few days ago and I can still feel the confidence that sticks to me from your sidewalks to the soles of my feet. When I’m with you I know where to go and what to do, but as my train drifts farther and farther away from the bustle and busyness that you contain, I realize that, though I am a small town girl deep down, a piece of me will always be with you.
So thank you , Sydney, for growing me. For teaching me. For making me one of your own. I know I didn’t even spend that much time with you over the years, but you will forever hold a secret and special place in my heart.