Three weekends ago I was in Sydney, very briefly and over-excited about being caught up in a whirlwind of wine drinking with old friends I hadn't seen for years. It only took a few hours of being back home again to feel as if I had never been away at all. Sigh.
I always think of Sydney as brown. The reddish brown of thousands of apartment buildings, brick houses and tiled roofs. The golden brown of sandstone, which much of the city is built from, and even on. I lived there once, for a year. I didn't love it the way I loved Melbourne - it was too hot and busy and smelly, and I was lonely, straight out of design school and missing my family back home. All the brown and dust got me down. I remember calling Mum from a phone box, crying after I had just walked straight into a giant hairy spider hanging from an innocent-looking suburban tree.
Going back to visit after all that time was different. We ate gelato on Bondi, watching kids do handstands on the beach. It felt as if summer was already well underway, earlier than in NZ where it's still chilly at night and weirdly windy. I appreciate travel overseas so much more because it doesn't happen very often these days. I don't take it for granted the way I once did, that's for sure.