Sunday, April 06, 2008

The Nostalgic Journey (cheesy title, i know)

After I left Sydney for a year, I went back to the city where I spent my life for the last four years. It felt great although a bit emotional when I visited some places that used to be my sphere of existence. Physically there are not much changes overall. Newtown is still the same: busy and vibrant. My old flat in Dulwich Hill is changed, however. There is serious garden happening there. Plants have been growing nicely since I left. One big tree at the backyard was chopped down. Thanks to my Scottish neighbour who spent heaps of time to do the garden. My Scottish neighbour told me that two of my old neighbours have moved out and other tenants are moving in. The rent price is predictably going up. Yet, the leap from 230 per week to 380 is such a great surprise.

Sydney Uni has been experiencing a lot of changes. Construction fences are everywhere. The new law faculty building has not finished. Last time I was there, they were demolishing the old building. Now I can see the progress happening through three floors car park. As part of this reconstruction, the new pedestrian path on Eastern Avenue looks great, particularly its size that takes over the road connected to the City Road entrance.

In general it feels weird to go back to the places where you build your existence upon it. I like to have an expectation of changes taking place there as I believe that changes signify life. But at the same time there is a slight fear of dealing with the changes. It is the fear of being unable to see myself in the past. Place and memory are connected. When some places were disappeared or rebuilt with something new, all the past moments that were associated with them have also gone. These past moments only live in our mind. This is what makes memory so precious as it can connect us to the irreversible time. Not only does it connect us to the past, but through memory we can see and understand our beings in the present.

Apart from the nostalgic journey, I managed to explore another landscape of Sydney. I went to Blue Mountain and Wottamolla National Park in the southern part of Sydney and had rejuvenating experience to see the beautiful nature up there. My favourite part is the big cliff at Wottamolla. Wottamolla is my favourite as it is located near the coast and the walk was a bit easier for it doesn’t have big steep track.

I think I remembered how it was to be in Sydney. But when I was in the city to meet up with a friend with whom I had a crush on, my recollection of being in the Sydney during peak hours seems to be wrong. It was around lunch time when the bus that took me to the city from Sydney Uni arrived at Martin Place. The city was hugely crowded: people are parading along the footpath, the cars are creeping on the road, and eating places were packed with a combination of snazzy-dressed workers, tourists, and shoppers. After I successfully crossed the traffic lights without having collided with other crossers, there was a moment for me to think of the fast pace of life in the city. I do believe that our body movement is shaped by spatial arrangement and influenced by codes that fill into that space. Soon I recognised the fast pace, my body seemed to adjust to it.

The pace of Sydney was a topic of conversation with this girl with whom I met up. We sat down on the grass at Hyde Park and talked about our life. Usually with this girl, the conversation is cerebral, involving a range of theories from Foucault to Habermas. This time, I preferred to put these verbose ideas aside and have a chat about ordinary life.

All and all, I had a great time in Sydney and would love to go back there.

View from Wottamolla National Park

Jamison Look Out-Blue Mountain

Botanical Garden

Wottamolla National Park


Bonnie said...

I live in Sydney and have never heard of Wottamolla National Park. It looks absolutely beautiful though. I might have to do a roadtrip!

Steph said...

I can't believe we could have been almost neighbours!
I'm a Hurlo girl. Hurlstone Park, which is like the next suburb over from yours.
We called Dulwich Hill, Dully.

Bonnie said...

tagged you on my blog for a meme. fun times!

syaldi said...

Gila, cakep bener tuh tempat. Kalau gue sempat ke sana, tolong ajak gue ke sana ye...