Monday, June 11, 2012

One Year On

June 7th was the one year anniversary of my being in Sydney.  There are a few things that I like about living here.  I like having excellent toast every day.  Good bread is always a treat for me, even when it is plentiful.  I like that both of my girls have a swarm of very nice friends, and both big and little sister are thriving in their academic and social spheres.  I like that there is so much inspiration and opportunity for both David and me.  Potential for success abounds.  I really, really like all the fun, entertaining activities there are (there are so many, in fact, that it can almost cause panic to set in when trying to choose).  I even like the rain.  Now that we are in winter, the colder temperatures have arrived, but the climate, overall, is almost tropical, and ridiculously mild.  I am struggling over whether or not to buy a coat because I know I will only get minimal use out of it.

There are also, to be honest, a few things that I do not like about life in Oz.  The main thing is that I miss my friends.  I feel this in a way that is more than just missing someone.  It feels like a loss, like I am cut off from the connections that took me years, if not most of my life, to establish.  Maybe I am feeling this way partly out of guilt for having burned my bridges.  Maybe it is that at this point in life people become less social.  Maybe it is that Australia is just too damn far for people to really fathom or believe in.  I don't know, but I feel the distance of the world between us and it is hard to tolerate.  I still think about everyone and am very thankful for social media, but the occasional facebook messages are really not a substitute for real live friends.

Anyway, the year has gone by quite quickly and I see the next several months rolling towards us like the tide (I know, corny cliche but fitting for a oceanside city).  It is important to make plans in order to not miss out on tickets, etc., and to coordinate with other people's schedules, so I am getting slightly used to looking ahead weeks, months and even years.  This breaks things down into big chunks that go by fast.  Even posting on my blog once a week makes time seem to go from Monday to Monday.  I missed last week and am late on this week!  Missing one day actually means missing a whole week.

So, a lot has been happening, big and small.  I will try to run through what stands out in my mind (and what I have pictures of).

The weather - wind and rain has caused the leaves to fall so the trees are almost bare and the sidewalks crunch and rustle under piles of large brown elm leaves.

fog and rain crossing the Harbor Bridge - thank God David was driving

Needlework - I finally got a facebook page organized for my embroidery group.  It is pitiful and took an unnecessary amount of time due to the fact that I am technologically handicapped.  I know there must be a better, easier way, but no one could help me and I was stabbing in the dark.  It is an accomplishment that I even got as far as I did, and at least the members of our class can now communicate and share in between our monthly meetings.  The class itself has been proving to be more exciting, inspiring, and informative than I expected, so YAY! for that. (I will post more on that when I have something to show).

Valerie's school play - We went to see the joint production of the North Sydney Girls and NS Boys High School.  They combined forces to perform The Pirates of Penzance. I had always heard references to this show but I had never seen it.  Valerie was the Production Manager (ie assistant to the director - a professional that they hired) and we went to show our support.  We were, happily, blown away by the energy and talent of this group of kids.  The production was very organized with attention to all details from lighting, to costumes, to choreography, to sets.  The performances were 100% with energy, engagement, and nuanced humor.  The 13 year old, 5 foot tall Modern Major General with his oversized costume and big thick glasses reminded me of a cross between Woody Allen and a Maurice Sendak character.  I still can't believe that anyone can memorize all those lyrics.  Well Done NSGs&Bs, and well done Valerie.  They all put in months of evenings and week ends on top of their busy, difficult classes.
Valerie pretending to be a pirate.

The Vivid Festival - This could be a whole post on its own (maybe next year) but for now I will just say that David and I had a date night in which we wandered around Circular Quay and The Rocks at night and saw amazing, colorful, artistic, projections on lots of downtown buildings - The Museum of Contemporary Art, The Customs House, and The Opera House, in particular.  Luckily it wasn't raining that night, and there were throngs of people, young and old, out celebrating the beauty and creativity of this city.  We worked our way over to the Opera House, where we had tickets to an amazing show that was a collaboration of the Sydney Symphonie Orchestra and a Danish, modern folk band called Efterklang.

Finders Keepers with Nicole - I wrote about this market when I went to the last one back in November.  This time I went with Nicole D after my morning of stitching at the EG.  I hurried over from one train station to the next to get there for the last hour of the show.  Luckily, Nicole was on the same train as I was and we managed to get there quickly and only a little damp from the rain.  It was also lucky that the event was smaller than the November one (still packed with fun and fab artisans) so we were able to see everything with only a little rushing.  It is just so fun to meet all the friendly and funky (in a good way) artsy people, and see their creative outcomes.  We wanted to sit and catch up so we walked farther than we thought, through Redfern, in the rain, but finally found a cozy cafe where we had tea and cake, and chatted happily.  I really like Nicole, and am glad I am getting to know her better (even if it took both of us moving to the southern hemisphere for it to happen).

Centennial Park Walk with Neva -  I had been trying to get together with Neva since, I think, February, but our schedules and life circumstances were working against us.  We finally met at Bondi Junction on Monday last, and walked to and through Centennial Park.  The other end of the park is quite close to my house, and I am still getting used to the geography of the city, so I was surprised that I could walk from Bondi Junction to the park.  There is a whole other end and section of the park that I had never been to, so now that I know about it, I will be able to enjoy and make use of it.  There are lovely treed areas with loads of birds, and there is a nice cafe and gift shop.  We wandered around chatting and checking things out, then sat and had coffee enjoying the nice weather.  We were both able to walk home, splitting off in different directions, and I kept a brisk pace watching the sun dipping below the horizon, not sure of my safety or my navigation skills if I ended up still in the park after dark.  I made it home with about 10 minutes of light to spare.  That was a lot of walking and fresh air for one day.
I need to find out what kind of trees these are.

A huge, beautiful Bird of Paradise 

Sydney Film Festival - Last year we went to see the new Jane Eyre at the film festival just after we had moved here.  I remember being nervous and excited.  One year later, almost to the day, we went to the SFF Australia premiere of Wes Anderson's new film Moonrise Kingdom.  I was not nervous about going to this big beautiful theater event, but I was excited.  The scene was fun, and the film was wonderful.  It is so great to see it on a big screen.  I tried to organize other films but they either sold out or were at times that I could not make.  The schedule was so packed with interesting films that it was a little overwhelming, but I enjoyed spacing out for about 2 hours just reading through the paper version of the program and getting ideas of things to look for in the future since I was missing them now.
the screen before the movie
waiting at the bus stop to go to the movie

I wanted to get a shot of my boots

the girls inside The State Theater

Birthday Shopping with Valerie -  My baby girl, Valerie, is turning 15 today.  She had to go to school on the actual day so she devised a plan to spread the celebration out over the course of the week.  Part of this plan was for me to take her shopping in Paddington on Saturday.  Again, the weather was in our favor.  It was a glorious, sunny, crisp but not cold, day.  We took a cab to the top of Oxford Street where the Paddington Markets are.  Then we gradually walked, and shopped our way back down all the way to the City.  We started at about 11:30 and got to the City around 4:00.  I had forgotten how much I like that part of town.  It is groovy and interesting, but a little more upscale.  In the end though, we found lots of things to buy and some of the prices were less than we might have paid at the major department stores.  Shopping in this town can be a pain.  Things are hard to get to and the costs are staggering, so we don't do it very often.  Eventually, especially if you are a teen-age girl, there are things that you need.  I also feel that if I am going to spend more for something, then I want it to benefit local, small businesses.  I actually enjoyed buying Valerie a chic little dress from a designer pop-up shop called Mister Zimi.  The young woman/designer was there with all her work and I was so impressed that I wanted to support her, besides, Valerie and I both liked it which doesn't happen everyday.
colorful doorway in Paddington

pug puppy cuteness in a shoe store

Valerie with our haul

Happy Anniversary to me and my family for making it one year in the Land Down Under, and Happy Birthday Valerie Violet!

(cake photo from: Zoe Bakes)