The Wizardess of Oz

An American's Adventures in Australia and Beyond

Settling in at the Beach

This weekend was relatively uneventful by most people’s standards (including mine, who am I kidding), but I suppose it’s all part of the moving process. I’m remembering those first couple of months in Seattle after moving from SoCal, and I remember how low-key they were. Then I look back at the past six weeks and figure I’m way ahead of the curve if I’m to do a direct comparison to Sea Town.

Friday started at lunch, when I joined a group of gals from the office for lunch at Drink Better Wine, a cafe right by work. And yes, the name is epic and it doubles as a wine shop, all good things to have near work. One thing that’s pretty awesome about Oz: drinking at lunch is 100% acceptable. So we all had a glass of wine with some incredible roasted veggie salads, Parmesan truffle fries and this interesting appetizer that consisted of arancini (like a cross between rice and quinoa) with sage and goats cheese, rolled into a ball and deep-fried. Heaven.

After work, one of my co-workers was departing for a new job in Melbourne, so going-away cocktails were in order. We headed to a place called Treehouse, a popular post-work Happy Hour spot for most people in North Sydney, but especially people in my particular industry. Most of the people in the office turned up for it, and I shared a pitcher of a bubbling pink cocktail that looked like a super classy pink lemonade. With vodka. The ambience at Treehouse is awesome, a huge outdoor patio (glassed in currently against the winter wind), decorated like a funky bungalow with old wood tables and mismatched chairs, and tons or square footage. Which is good because the place gets packed every Thursday and Friday evening, and I’m sure only gets crazier in summer when the patio opens up. I also had frequented this particular spot the week prior for a work lunch, so I know them menu is pretty legit as well.

I left that to meet with a crew for dinner – friends of friends, which is how much of my non-work socializing has been. We went to a little Italian restaurant called La Rosa in central Sydney. As we ordered a bottle of wine I took stock of my dinner companions: A Brit, a Scot, an Irishwoman, an Italian, and two Americans. Talk about a mixed bag! Another great thing about Oz. We all ordered pizzas, as suggested by the member of our group who worked in restaurants here in Sydney, and we were not disappointed. I opted for a white pizza with fontina and thinly sliced pancetta – it looked like American bacon!! Oh, have I not mentioned that bacon in Australia = bacon in Canada? Yes, the gooey, uncooked, slice of ham. It’s a tragedy, but probably not as cruelly felt since I transitioned to turkey bacon before I moved. Anyway, I digress. I quickly Hoovered up half of my pizza, chatting and drinking wine, when my body turned on me. I got a really, really bad headache.

I don’t like to use the word migraine because it sounds truly awful, and I don’t think I’ve ever had one, but this headache was probably the closest I’ve ever gotten. It completely sidelined me. Thinking it maybe had something to do with dehydration, I started chugging water in mass quantities, which didn’t do anything but expand all of the pizza I had wolfed down and make my stomach start hurting in tune with the pounding in my head. It was even hard to keep my eyes open in the dim light of the restaurant. I toughed it out for another hour or so, but when we got up to leave, I knew I had to book it home and let my body shut down in private or I was in danger of shutting down in public. I walked into my house, dropped my purse and somehow made it into yoga pants and fuzzy socks and face planted so hard into my bed even the street noise in my new apartment couldn’t wake me. I don’t think I moved for at least 9 hours, but I licked that headache. And also had a relatively tame Friday night.

Saturday brought the arrival of the rest of the furniture I purchased – I finally have a couch! A TV! A coffee maker so I can drink American coffee (because Sydney only believes in espresso)! I unpacked and tested everything was working properly, then started the long process of cleaning out the massive pile of cardboard that had accumulated in my house since I started moving.

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My next-door neighbor, an older woman named Suzy, kindly opened her door and offered to help, but I felt bad asking someone who may have been old enough to be my grandmother to lift anything. We got to chatting after I had dumped the last of my trash in the community trash area. She asked me where I was from, what I did, etc. I explained to her how I worked for an international company that had transferred me to Sydney. She exclaimed about how lucky that was that I was able to do it, then said, “And you’re here all by yourself?! You brave thing!” And it’s funny, because I had never really thought of what I’m doing as brave, but I realized she was right. Just because this has been something I’ve wanted to do since I was 20 doesn’t make it any less scary, packing up and leaving. Just because I was able to “trial run” with Seattle doesn’t mean I know what I’m doing. I gave up a lot to come here and start all over again. And yes, sometimes it’s exhausting and sad, but it’s the expression of a dream coming true. A dream I wasn’t scared to do whatever it took to make it happen. So I guess that’s something else I can mark on my list of personal qualities, right next to fiercely independent and deeply determined. Brave.

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1 Comment

  1. Before I left for New Zealand, everyone asked me if I was scared. I wasn’t, but it had me a little worried for a moment, like should I be? I got over that pretty fast. It’s so weird what some people say, but then also, it makes you feel better.

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