Leaving Sydney.

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My amazing housemates at 30 GB.

It felt like any other night at the house, except this was my last night. I pushed the thought out of my head, as it was the first (and last) party I’d ever thrown at the house, and for a night, I truly felt what it would be like if I lived here. I mean, I was throwing a party. And I had friends, real friends in this city 10,000 miles away from home, to invite.

The Oscars were on that night, so my little get together turned into a bonafide Oscar party. We made popcorn, I bought Tostitos and salsa and a few bottles of wine and we were good to go. All the roomies shuffled into “my” room except for Natalie (at her parents) and Linda (on business). Luke, Briyah, Magnus, Armond and newbie Anne joined my friends Karen, her brother Owen, Fabrice, Anne and the Italian whose name I always forget in the lounge room for the show.

We watched, we laughed, we (fine, I) “shushed” a lot and sure, I had a great time. But I was flying out to Alice Springs the next day and I wouldn’t see some of these people for months…years…or ever for all I knew. I refused to think about it. I laughed with Jon Stewart and pulled for Juno.

I am not good at goodbyes. When Karen got up to leave I begged her with my eyes not to go, but she had to. She and Owen were leaving on an East Coast tour that week and they needed to get some sleep. I knew it — the East Coast tour will sap you silly. Hugs, a few tears…then they were gone. Oscar, bless him, distracted me from the rest. Bidding my newest close friend Anne goodbye and vowing to visit her in Germany, saying au revoir to Fabrice, my Frenchie. They went too. Eventually the show ended and I curled into the comfort of my floral couch…my home in Australia for 5 and a half weeks, total. In the morning I bid farewell to Magnus — my party buddy — so hard, and to Briyah, my best friend and housemate in Sydney — not so hard — I’d see her in a month in NYC.

It’s funny. I remember sitting in the movie theatre on George Street, in the heart of Sydney, watching movies starring New York. Enchanted and Definitely, Maybe — watching those scenes of my city, my heart yearned to walk those streets again…to go home. I was ready. And now…here…those same streets feel comfortable and yet not. They don’t necessarily feel like home just yet. Instead, now I long for the normalcy of hopping on the 333 bus to Bondi. To feel the breeze in my hair and Australian sun on my face and the euphoria that comes from leaving a major city and ending up at the most amazing beach in a mere 15 minutes. Now I want that long walk down Crown Street home. One more look at Sydney Harbour.

I honestly believed I wouldn’t be back for a long time when I left Sydney that morning. Maybe I’d take my kids someday in the future.

Now I know better.

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The view, my last view, of the harbour from North Bondi.

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