Looking from North Head across South Head abd Sydney Harbour toward the city centre.

Sydney Heads: between the city and the ocean

The views were spectacular! The rocky cliffs, with their windswept sandstone. The deep blue of open ocean. The view across the heads and Sydney Harbour toward the city centre itself. Standing there soaking up the views, sun on my face and wind in my hair – it was hard not to love this city I’m in!

I get so excited by "real" Chinese food that I don't think to take a photo until the food is gone! So you'll just have to trust me that those cleaned up dishes once held 椒盐豆腐 and 干扁豆角 and 松鼠鱼 and 豆苗 and more...

A year away from China

A year ago today I said goodbye to China. Sometimes it’s hard to believe it’s been so long! I still feel connected to China and leap at any opportunity to talk about China. Here are some things I miss about Beijing, but ALSO things I am loving about Sydney. It’s important to acknowledge what I’ve lost while also appreciating what I’ve gained.

Senses alive in Sydney

I think what has amazed me most about being in Australia is the way my senses seem to have come alive. Sydney is a rainbow of bright colours, plus sight, sound, scent, and texture. There is a blessing in having lived apart from this sense-awakening atmosphere for so long – I think I notice and appreciate it in a way others don’t, or perhaps can’t.

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.

The beautiful rain of Sydney

A rainy day in Sydney is very much alive with colour and sound and beautiful clouds. There is the sound of rain and of wind, trees twisting in the wind, lightning arcing across the sky, the loud colours of living plants highlighted in the glistening wet. Not to mention the scent of damp earth, and eucalytpus. How can anyone not love all that?

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!

The first week of my new life

I have now been at SMBC for a whole week – so here are some stories from my first week of my new life here in Sydney, Australia. I am amazed at how settled and content I feel just one week in. I do expect the weight of the transition to hit at some point, but I live on a lovely campus with lovely people and am enjoying the study so far.

Cross Stitch

2012 Trip – part 1: Family in the East

I am currently travelling, and I’m dividing up my stories into three parts. Also, I have a new camera! I have finally replaced the one that died in Buatong Waterfall (Chiangmai) last July :) On April 26th, 2012, my maternal grandparents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. Quite the achievement! I planned a trip home to…