EXPAT LIFE: It has been a throroughly exhausting ten days in Sydney. As a result, all my plans for posting to my blog have taken a back step and I am posting after the event. We have spent our time split between the hospital visiting my father who is now very sick, and seeing family and friends and spending time soaking up the essence of Australia. One thing that has crystallized for me while I have been in NJ these past two and a half years, is how beautiful my home country truly is. It is an exquisite joy to return and savour the many beauties that Australia has to offer. Yes, I am biassed and those rose-coloured glasses you have on for your short stay here as an expat, do not always see the negative things that exist here in Australia, as in all home countries. But try as I might, I cannot help but enjoy the soul-soothing images that have burnt into my heart that will be my memory of home. These will help keep me satisfied for a long period to come ahead.
The Everyday Beauty of Sydney
We have been staying at a place called Kurnell, better known for some as the home of oil refineries in Sydney (much better than it sounds, I guarantee). Much to my own surprise, I have found this place ideal for a home base where we can find a quiet moment, let our kids explore the beach safely and still be close to lots of natural beauty. This place is a quiet seaside suburb, away from the hustle-bustle of city life, that has truly more attractions than many realize. With a view of the beach to enjoy our breakfast with every day, we have also been lucky enough to play host to an array of bird life that add to the morning splendour with their shrill calls and whistles. Common Australian native birds that are found in many Sydney backyards that have native bush surroundings in the mornings and evenings include Rainbow Lorikeets, Magpies, Currawongs, Peewees, Rosellas and Kookaburras. Being by the seaside, we were able to share brief moments viewing other birdlife more commonly found by beach locations, that we would not normally have seen. Aside from being aggressively hustled away by an over-assertive Plover (I got in between the family group unwittingly), hawks and sea kites perused the morning skies, and a beautiful white-faced grey heron kept watch from a distance.
Kurnell: historically significant for Australia
Probably the most famous thing Kurnell is known for is that it is the place that Captain James Cook first landed in Australia on his pioneering voyage from Britain in the ‘Endeavour’ in 1770. As a young child, I helped celebrate the BiCentennial Anniversary of this event but it is only as an adult, that you can visualize how amazing this must have felt for these intrepid explorers. Of course for our indigenous people, this event marked the beginning of the invasion of white men. Reading the journal notes of the Endeavour’s crew who landed (see in gallery below), describing their first encounter with Australian Aborigines, helps you appreciate how this really was a hostile incursion for the original land owners of Australia. While our past history is blemished significantly as a nation when it comes to our indigenous people, the fact remains that Australia is our birthplace, and I am keen for my kids to soak up the historic significance of the place. You can read more about Kamay Botany Bay Park here.
The Kamay Botany Bay Park dedicated to this momentous historic event has typical Australian bush surrounds that also provided fleeting glimpses of birdlife. We were lucky enough to catch sightings of both Eastern Rosellas and Blue Wrens while walking through the park and enjoying the majestic views of seaside cliffs at Cape Solander.
As I do not want you to stop reading my posts, I have decided not to gush on about how wonderful Sydney Harbour is, even though I am sorely tempted to. While time prevented us from savouring the city’s many attractions, we were lucky enough to catch a sunset over the Harbour from Bradley’s Head (where Taronga Park Zoo is located), and check out the views of Balmain and adjacent locales from Birkenhead Point. As the weather was incredibly pleasant during most of our Sydney trip ( a balmy 21C or ~70F), it was hard to believe that it was actually still winter here!
More about our Sydney adventures in the next post!