my final weekend in sydney
30.07.2009 - 03.08.2009 22 °C
I had a fabulous last weekend - an aptly named "Farewell Extravaganza" - in the city to culminate my incredible yearlong experience.
On Thursday night, a few of us met up and headed to World Bar in Kings Cross, where I spent one of my first memorable nights out back in July '08. Usually the bar features three floors with different types of music on each, but tonight only the techno floor was open, so my small party of friends and I ordered our beers and teapots (actual porcelain teapots filled with cocktails, which are then poured into little plastic shot glasses) and enjoyed them on the patio.
On Friday, my flatmate Shellie and I traveled across the harbor to check out Luna Park, the old amusement park I'd been meaning to go to since...well, a year ago. (It's the one with the big clown's mouth as an entrance.) Turns out the rides are all SUPER expensive - even one ride on the Ferris wheel cost a whopping $10 - so we just took in the sights, then walked back across the Harbour Bridge to Circular Quay. I'd done this a couple times already with Megan and Paddy, but since Shellie had never walked across, it was cool to show her the awesome view!
That night, a huge group of uni-mates and I walked over to Purple Sneakers, my favorite indie club just down the street from UTS (and thus an easy walk from Geegal), where we drank and danced into the morning hours.
On Saturday, I met Shinny for brunch in Kings Cross. We went to a little cafe that was run by a friendly old Italian man, who entertained us for hours with his notebook/scrapbook collections: photos from his European travels, magazine cutouts of Prince Harry and Prince William (who he thinks are just lovely, haha), and his favorite actress, Cate Blanchett (whose picture was displayed on the cafe windows.) To walk off our food, we meandered through an organic farmers' market, then separated so I could collect some last minute souvenirs from The Rocks market.
That night, Paddy and I went to dinner at a little Italian place near Darling Harbour - the same place we had one of our first dates. It was cute: the place is called Mamma's and it's pretty chill, but we still dressed up to impress each other.
After dinner, we walked home to change, then caught a cab to the Sydney Swans vs. St. Kilda Saints AFL game (I've started to enjoy the sport at this point.) Greg (from the last Saints game) was there to cheer his still undefeated team on, while Paddy, Dylan and our friend Herrick clapped for the Swans. The game was a nail-biter, and the Saints ended up defending their undefeated status with an 85-84 win.
On Sunday, Paddy and Dylan - being the marine biologists - headed to the Sydney Fish Markets to gather ingredients for the stupendous Last Supper they prepared for me and several other Geegal friends: shrimp tempura (okay, so it wasn't on the barbie), grilled calamari, salad, and bread with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and dukkah (dipping spices). But first, a group of us headed to my favorite beach, Coogee, for one last swim in the ocean. The girls, Shellie and Anja, refused to go swimming in the cold water, but James, Dylan, Paddy and Pedini all joined me. I didn't have a choice anyway - I was thrown into the waves.
After dinner, we sat around chatting into the night, but I made sure to thank everyone for the incredible year over what I called "The American Send-off": a shot of champagne served in red plastic cups.
Monday was pretty much all packing and tearful goodbyes before my stuff was loaded into Rob's car, Paddy climbed in the back seat, and we drove away from Geegal. Although Rob had to take off just after I checked my bags, Paddy sat with me at the airport coffee shop for a good 45 minutes as we rehashed all the good times from the past 12 months and made lists of our most memorable times.
The walk through customs and into the waiting area felt like the longest trek of my life as tears streamed down my face. Clutching the heartfelt letters I'd received from various friends before I left, I boarded the plane, settled into my narrow economy seat (no upgrade for me this time - and this seat, being just in front of the cabin kitchen, didn't even recline), and let my farewell to Sydney and all the wonderful people who had shaped my year there flow as silent tears down my cheeks. It had been the best year of my life, but I was ready to return to the familiarity of the US, of California, of San Francisco, and of home.