4. The Wonderful Land of Oz (Aus)
Amy's first month in the Wonderful Land of Aus. A recap of my most memorable experiences so far. A whirlwind of unforgettable moments after unforgettable moments: Sydney does not disappoint.Today, I have been in the land of Aus for one whole month. When asked has it gone quickly? I have trouble formulating an answer, in some ways the time so far has sped by, as I have filled nearly every second with some weird and wonderful activity – trying to soak up as much Sydney as possible. However, in other ways after just one month I feel like I have lived here my whole life; getting the bus and train to uni in the morning I march along, keeping up with the commuters, tutting at the incompetent tourists and nodding and smiling to the familiar faces along the way (every morning I wave at the man who runs the local bottle shop – who now knows the ins and outs of my social life!) In a way I have the best of both worlds, I feel entirely settled into my new lifestyle but there is still so much that I haven't done or seen yet – so there is never a dull moment!
I think I will outline a few of my favourite moments so far. Very early on in my stay, I somehow managed to find two tickets to see Ben Howard at a very cool little venue in one of Sydney's 'trendy' suburbs. I couldn't believe my luck, I had tried on numerous occasions in the UK to get tickets but had failed every time, this was made so much worse by the fact that my parents had already seen him - twice! So, Caitlin and I turned up to the gig like giggling schoolgirls armed with a paper sign with 'We're from Devon!' written in red lipstick. It was an absolutely incredible gig, in such a small venue we managed to get really close to the front, and, I'm sure to the annoyance of everyone else, sang every word very loudly! I even managed a short burst of heckling banter with Mr Howard about the weather in the UK!
Another great Sydney experience was my introduction to the bizarre game of Aussie rules football. My housemate Mairead invited me to go along with a bunch of her friends to watch the Sydney Swans play St Kilda. Little did I know that not only would we be going to the game, but we were going to be sitting in the members’ pavilion! With a strict dress code, private bar and location right next to the changing rooms (very good view of sweaty, short shorted AFL players) it was definitely a premier introduction! By the end of the match I had managed to see at least a little sense in what seemed mostly to be a game of organised chaos – and the Swans were victorious!
Thirdly, the harbour cruise did not disappoint on the promised staggering views of Sydney by night. Caitlin, Erica, James and I spent most of the trip on top deck with a beer in hand, discussing which area of prime real estate we would choose to build our waterfront villa when we all become billionaires. For future reference, I chose Point Piper. Near the end of the night we decided to brave the bottom deck dance floor which was brimming with international students from all corners of the earth demonstrating a somewhat eclectic mix of dance styles; my understated, British, conservative 'bop' was dramatically overshadowed by some unashamedly flamboyant moves from our European counterparts...) In all it was an incredible way to see Sydney from all angles and an excuse to take EVEN MORE pictures of the harbour bridge/opera house!
The last 'big thing' that we were lucky enough to get tickets to was an Australia Wallabies vs. New Zealand All Blacks rugby match. I know that I'm going to spark a lot of jealousy from certain people at home by talking about this so I won't brag too much... But, in three points: 1. The atmosphere was electric 2. The Haka was unforgettable 3. Dan Carter was just as divine as three years ago when I saw him play in Christchurch - just goes to show long distance (fantasy) relationships can work... Swoon. I was a little bit worried about admitting my leaning loyalties towards the Kiwi's (due to a childhood brought up amongst a strange proportion of Kiwi family friends and copious amounts of Crowded House) however, I needn't have worried as both Caitlin and Lydia also sided with the All blacks – who ‘smashed em’!
Whilst there have been some notably incredible experiences in the last month, I have also enjoyed some very special moments on a smaller scale. Millie, a friend from home who has spent that last 5 years out here, has spent the last few weeks taking me to some of Sydney's coolest haunts. A couple of favourites of mine are the Darlie Laundromatic, a little bar in the arty district of Oxford Street that is disguised as an old fashioned laundrette. It makes use of the old laundry fittings as decorative pieces and has the feel of a friend’s front room. Once a week we go to play Rockabilly bingo a cross between bingo and old school music trivia, in which you compete, in a distinctly 'cruisey' way for free beers. Secondly, last week we went to a pop up bar in a huge harbour-side warehouse. The event was part bar, part art installation included in Sydney's annual Bienalle art festival. Needless to say we felt very sophisticated drinking champagne and admiring the art amongst Sydney's 'edgiest' residents! Finally I can’t help but mention the world’s best house party that we somehow infiltrated as a friend of a friend of a friend. There was no furniture. There was a DJ. The police closed it downin the early hours. I remember very little except it was amazing. I heard a few days later that one of the residents of the house was a little unhappy as one attendee had kicked holes through the ceiling whilst crowd surfing...
I am aware that this has been a very long self-indulgent entry about all of the amazing things that I have done! Next time I will actually talk about the University and the city and the people that I have met! So stay tuned!
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