Port Jackson from the air: looking east from Darling Harbour to Sydney Harbour Bridge and across Sydney Harbour, as it curves north (left) up to Sydney Heads - then out over the Tasman Sea.

Australia Day feelings

Today is Australia Day, and I have so many mixed feelings about it – about being an expatriate, and about the date itself.

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Beautiful birds of Australia

I have really noticed the presence, and variety, of birds living in Sydney. About half the birds in Australia are found nowhere else on Earth. Lyrebirds are fascinating creatures; the males put on a song and dance, mimicking different bird calls and even some non-natural sounds.

Me sitting on the verandah outside the parlour of Vaucluse House

A visit to Vaucluse House

Vaucluse House is an early colonial property on the south head of Sydney Harbour. It was the first historical museum in Australia, open to the public for 100 years. The house is filled with original and authentic furnishing; the gardens are beautiful – with huge trees, rolling lawns, and a 150 year old fountain.

Australian festivals!

I’ve written before about a number of Chinese festivals – learning about and participating in Chinese festivals was a great way to learn about the culture in which I was living. Now that I’m living in Sydney, it’s time for me to learn a little about the local culture here, so in the past week or so I’ve been to two local festivals!

Reflections of China

One of the things I appreciate most about my new life here in Sydney is that there are lots of moments that remind me of China – meals at Chinese restaurants, snippets of Chinese conversation with classmates, hearing Mandarin spoken about me almost every time I’m out in public… It really helps me on the days homesickness lifts its head.

Enjoying the cool in Canberra

I was particularly looking forward to two things: 1) my mum’s cooking, and 2) the colder weather. I also caught up with a few friends and worked on my book. Over 400 people have now completed my survey – people from over 60 passport countries, who have lived in over 130 different countries/territories.

Adjusting to a different international community

People keep asking me about re-entry, and whether I’m struggling to re-adjust. The problem is, I’m starting again, more than returning to something. One big difference community living rather than abundant solitude. One similarity is the international flavour of the community I am living in. It’s also lovely to start reconnecting to the culture of my passport country – its beaches and parks, at least!