When I first arrived in Sydney this week I felt like I was slammed back into reality. It’s a major city, with lots of traffic, lots of bustle, and could not be further from our life right now in Gisborne. Ughh, I thought. I’m not sure I like this anymore. I miss the quiet life we have built; and where are all these people going to in such a hurry anyway?
Luckily that quickly wore off, and by day two I was back in my groove. Sorting out how to get around the city, running into the mall to get Chloe some shoes, and loving the incredible China Town that they have here.
We’re here to meet my parents who arrive tomorrow and to hand off Lucas and Chloe to them as they fly off to Melbourne to watch the Australian Open. I can’t get over the month my kids have had; and luckily they are very aware and very grateful. But still, I keep having to remind myself that this version of a classroom is so different from anything they would ever get at home; and I’m hoping that it makes an impact on both of them over the long run.
One of my favorite things about Sydney so far is that it is a huge city, completely built on the water. To get anywhere, you might as well use their incredible ferry system. And while they have a good aboveground tram system, those ferries will take you everywhere from the zoo to larger suburbs like Manly. As we continue to see ocean levels rise, I can’t help but wonder whether Sydney will lead the way in terms of cities of the future built around and on water.
I also love that one of my dear friends from high school also lives just 20 minutes away from Sydney, in Manly. She runs several tennis centers, so you can imagine Lucas’s excitement at getting to play tennis with a bunch of Australian teenagers – he was so excited. Seeing Erika here meant so much more than just running into an old friend back home. On this side of the world, you really feel the distance from home. And the chance to see someone who really knows you, and who you are, and your stories … it’s incredibly comforting.
One of Erika’s recommendations was for us to drive an hour outside the city. So we drove out to a place called Palm Beach (Palm Beach, FL has nothing on this place BTW) and stopped first in a small town called Newport. If you have any plans of coming this way, going to both these towns, especially in the summer is a must do. They are gorgeous beach towns with lots of great shops and restaurants.
Anyway, once in Palm Beach, we took another ferry out to Basin (a small stretch of land on the water where you can camp or picnic for the day.) There are no stores or shops in Basin, so everyone loads up their picnic baskets and supplies on the small ferry over. Once there, we were in heaven – the kids were running after Wallabies and some huge lizard and alligator looking thing called a Goannas (pronounced like banana) while Jesse and I just lounged around and hung out. These are memories we will cherish: a beautiful day in the Australian sun watching our kids running around after the Wallabiesin the wild.
We’re off to a new part of town called The Rocks where we’ll be staying with my parents for a couple of days, and then – it’s back to Gizzy and almost time to get these globe trotting kids back to school!