It all began with a purple tie. I had seen it in my wardrobe the day before and decided to put off wearing it until a later time. When morning came, I knew this was the day to don the perfect outfit to express my style – though it was a bit much for the occasion. All I had to wear it to was a breakfast with some friends and possibly a museum. I was not aware that brekky with friends (as they say here in Sydney) would be a wonderfully drawn out affair followed up by an additional hour of sipping coffee at a nearby shop owned by a gentlemen I met at the church last week.
So maybe it wasn’t the purple tie that made my day so great, but it was a reminder that I can choose to act, appear, and live in a way that I want to – just because I want to – even if the occasion doesn’t necessarily call for it. I definitely enjoyed wearing the tie, but even more so, I enjoyed spending time with new friends, trying a huge Australian breakfast plate (an Aussie twist on the classic English with eggs, toast, tomato, mushrooms, and sausage), and learning how to order different kinds of coffee. I learned my first kind of coffee yesterday when I woke up craving a cup and was waved into a cafe by two girls in the street who offered me a free cup of coffee.
The long black is a basic cup of joe with sugar. Traditionally it is served with soda water to cleanse the palate for more enriching experience. Another great choice for those who want a sweet coffee is the ___white (I forgot the first part). It may have more milk than coffee but it is delicious. If you are into a cappuccino style of drink you can order a skim cap, soy cap, or probably any other kind of cap that’s drinkable.
Following the morning events, I walked with some friends from the south side of the city to the center where crowds gathered around musicians on the pedestrian streets, a Hare Krishna parade of dancers followed me around, and people bustled into the busy shopping centers that featured stores like Dior, Prada, Armani, and other high-end brands. The city malls filled with clothing, jewelry and accessories remind me of shopping in China where it was easy to find any top of the line brand name item, but very difficult to find a store like Target or Walmart to buy a laundry basket or other types of necessities. For these, I headed out to the suburban malls. Maybe this inconvenience reflects the fact that I am living in the largest city in this part of the world and a major tourist destination – lucky me!
I stopped to reminisce at one of the less well-known spots overlooking Sydney Harbor on the way back to where I live. At one end of my street is the harbor bridge; at the other end is a steep hill called “Observatory Hill” which features a telescope to see the stars at night, but is also covered with trees and sports stunning views of the harbor to the west. While I was there today a wedding caravan of three classic black and white cars pulled into the park for wedding photos and I think a ceremony. I feel rather fortunate to be living near and walking through such beautiful places on a regular basis – or even running through them to catch the train as I did later tonight to meet some friends for a birthday celebration downtown.
Maybe wearing my favorite tie helped to make this my favorite day in Sydney so far – I’ll never know. But what I do know is that I spent the last few moments before midnight sitting beneath the harbor bridge, looking across the water at the Sydney Opera house reflecting on how thankful I am to be here right now, in this place, with the opportunities that are before me: the friends, the studies, the church, the history, the food, the drinks, the train rides, and all the other adventures that await…if I will only have the courage to say yes to wearing a purple tie whenever I want to.