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The Harbour at night is one of those awe-inspiring sights that give you pause.
Coming out of the Studio Theatre, in the bowels of the famous Opera House, after an intriguing dance performance, I suppose I was prone to being struck by beauty. But it tugged at my heart.
I was gripped by a sudden, overpowering need to capture what I was seeing on camera. No matter what photo manages to come out, nothing will compare, I fear.
The merry lights of Circular Quay were reflecting off the water, of course, and the giant Harbour Bridge loomed above it all, enveloped in a blue glow.
People walking by, charmed by (or otherwise discussing) tonight's performance, the hum of traffic and the sounds of night creatures, even in the middle of the city at night, are all part of Sydney's murmur; its song.
I wanted to have a boy by my side on a nice date, holding my hand on our nice walk along the Quay.
Femke tried to hurry me along, but I couldn't tear my eyes off the scene.
There's the bridge. And, oh ya, there's the Opera House I JUST came out of, all lit up at the edge of the cove.
I had to repeat it out loud. It seemed so normal to be walking along but I felt I had to pinch myself to believe where I was. I should be doing something monumental to commemorate this amazing moment in time.
I LIVE here.
We took the train from Circular Quay. Femke went to Bondi and me? To "my stop" at Central. I got off as I always do, taking the Devonshire exit. Walking 10 minutes up the slightly inclining street. Past the familiar pubs The 24-hour Madison across from Central with a $35-tapas plate for two. Past "O"Bar. Someday I want to go IN "Spirit Level", the store with the rock garden and stone bowl fountain in the window and ask them what they sell. I want to eat in Mohr's, the run-down-but-clean and ALWAYS busy fish and chips store on the corner. I want to enjoy a leisurely Thai dinner at that cute place I pass every day.
Is THIS the kind of thing you can do when you LIVE somewhere? Wonder about all the little wonders along the way?
I've been to a few museums and walked through a few gardens and gone to see a few attractions. More than most people in this city, probably. More than my housemates, anyway.
So when do I start feeling it?
You know, "IT".
The feeling that you've done IT.
Is it after I've seen all of the so-called "important" things? When I've done all the tourist traps? Or is it after I've realized that I belong here, afterall? When I make up my own list of "important" things?
Like having my Gloria Jeans coffee in Hyde Park at night? Like bundling up against the chilly April night and writing in my journal as I take in the Harbour lights?
I wandered to Coles, the grocery store, pretty sure it would still be open until 10pm. I had another sweets craving. And, of course, Coles obliged.
Have I achieved something because I know what a TimTam is? Feeling a little sick after eating a whole packet of them, I'm not so sure it's true.
But I do feel I have learned something important.
I've learned that digestive cookies with Philly and strawberry jam tastes like a mini cheesecake. I've learned that I should never buy a whole packet of TimTams without someone to share with. I've learned that I enjoy being by myself, unless I'm in the middle of something so magical I can't describe it and then I want to hold a nice warm hand and have my excitement pass to them like electricity. I've learned that the "important things" aren't necessarily important. It's the little moments you find for yourself. Like when I know "wow, these are expensive bananas; I'll just get them from Paddy's market tomorrow."
Going to the Opera House tonight was so stressful. Femke was late home from work, I ate granola for dinner, we waited half an hour for the bus and finally broke down and took a $15 cab ride. Got there with five minutes to spare. And I knew that Femke was going out with her friends afterwards.
It was all completely wrong.
Theatre, to me, is an almost sacred event.
You revere it by preceeding it with a lovely, leisurely dinner somewhere just a little extravagant. You dress up, maybe wear heels and lipstick, or a nice crisp shirt. You arrive early enough to have a glass of wine or a walk around the theatre. You watch and enjoy the show and then walk to a nearby cafe to discuss the merits and meaning of it over cappucino and cheesecake.
Now, if you can manage a walk along a harbour, with the city lights bouncing along the ripples of the water, you've got it all. That's my magic.
It would be NICE if it could be done on a nice date with a nice boy with lovely warm hands and a soft kiss on the cheek; but since it's unlikely to happen for me here, I'll stick to the possibilities.
I suppose I'm a romantic at heart.
I live here now, amazingly, magically. I've done what I set out to do. I'm working in another country. I've been in Sydney for three weeks, away from home for a month. And I must say, a LOT can happen in a month.
My lack of boyfriend-type-person
Bill Bryson's In a Sunburned Country