A big bite

I live with an amazing person. Yesterday morning, despite a niggling cold, he jumps out of bed and says, “Let’s have tea on the roof.” So, we made mugs of tea, grabbed our books, and headed to the roof of our building to enjoy the morning sun, and our incredible view.

Looking back to the city
Looking back to the city
The Port
The Port

Yes, it is a little gray today (it was sunny yesterday), but we are so close to the city and the water that I love the view no matter the weather. That said, the next time the sun shines – more and more as we head towards Summer – I will take more pics.

Back to the person I live with: yesterday afternoon, suffering a little from cabin fever and too many video games, he says, “Let’s head up to that park we haven’t been to yet.” It is about three blocks from home, and is less like a park and more like a series of paths and trails that traverse the giant Queen Anne hill. The canopy of trees is thick, and the air smells earthy and clean. Walking the trails I could just imagine fairies and princesses doing the same. We climbed the paths to see where they went, and headed back home. The Spring blossoms have spread a carpet of pink over the neighborhood. I stood under a huge tree and jumped up to touch the branches. A rain of petals showered down, “It’s snowing pink stuff!”

Just a little excursion shook off the cabin fever, and the post-flu blues.

This is such a beautiful city, with many wonders – big and small – that we get to encounter every day.

This is on the drive home from Ben’s aunt and uncle’s house.

Woodinville, Washington
Woodinville, Washington

Woodinville is about 30 minutes from the city, and is a semi-rural neighborhood, with white fences, rolling green hills and dozens of types of trees.

Woodinville Christmas Tree Farm
Woodinville Christmas Tree Farm

On the way back from Woodinville, we make this crossing of Lake Washington on the 520 bridge. This was a day when the wind was whipping along the lake, and because the bridge is floating, the water can be rough on one side and calm on the other.

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And sometimes we get to share this city with visitors. My mom was here recently, and we took her to Bainbridge Island. We crossed Puget Sound on the ferry on a beautiful Spring day.

Seattle from the ferry to Bainbridge
Seattle from the ferry to Bainbridge

The main streets of Bainbridge Island are filled with cafes, stores and this church:

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And the shores are lined with trees and houses.

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For $6 dollar ferry ride, which is spectacular in itself, Bainbridge is a little treasure close to home.

More and more we are enjoying the company of new friends. Last weekend, our lovely friends Matt and Crystal invited us out on their boat, along with Monica and Brian.

Lake Washington
Lake Washington

It was still and peaceful out on the lake, and for some reason we were the only people who thought to get out there. We had the whole lake to ourselves. This blew us away:

Sunset over Lake Washington
Sunset over Lake Washington

Ben and I had our king and queen of the world moment as we headed back to the marina.

On Lake Union
On Lake Union

These are some snippets from our life here in a beautiful city. We are not sure how long we will be here – another year, or maybe more. We just want to be able to say we took a big bite out of this city. Oh, and to our friends here: keep the invitations to those parties coming!

At Gerry's 30th Birthday Party
At Gerry's 30th Birthday Party

Spring has sprung

Today is the first day of spring. And in Sydney, spring is my favourite time of the year.
Wisps of white
Dark mornings of drizzle give way to pink and orange sunrises, and the midday sky turns a vibrant blue. The air smells fresh, like grandma’s house when she throws open the windows and gives it a good airing. And in spring, I forget about all those winter afternoons I arrived home after dark to a cold house.

I fell in love with Sydney in spring. I had come here for the Olympics. I was a volunteer, so spent several weeks dressed in daggy chinos and a hideous, over-sized polo shirt with bright yellow sleeves. Nevertheless, it was easy to forget how ridiculous I looked in my white straw hat and bright blue bum bag, because the city of Sydney put on a bloody good show.

Each day was perfect. 28 (82) degrees, a light breeze and the aforementioned blue skies. Every day! It was as though the organisers had placed their order for optimum weather, and nature had delivered.

I was utterly seduced by Sydney in the spring of 2000.

I flew back to Perth post-Olympics and announced to anyone who cared (and some who didn’t) that I was moving to Sydney. Three months later, I lived here. I arrived on the 30th of December, because I liked the symbolism of seeing in the new year in my new city.

But here in my new city, in the middle of summer, reality bit – hard! Gone were the blue skies, and the gentle breezes. Gone were days of 28 perfect degrees, and in their place were the brooding, heavy skies of the Sydney summer. I had been duped.

You see in my hometown, Perth, summers are my favourite time of the year. The days are hot, yes, but the skies are clear, and the heat is dry. I love summer in Perth, but when I tasted spring in Sydney, and expected more of the same only hotter, I was being naive.

No, the summers in Sydney are grey-skied and humid. Sticky, hot days are threatened by low-hanging thunder clouds. And just when the air gets so dense you can feel it pushing down on you, it pours: fat, hot drops of angry rain that make the streets steam and the air smell like grease.

And indulge me for a moment while I mention my hair. A Sydney summer is the natural enemy of naturally curly hair. Mine grows so big in a Sydney summer, it needs its own postcode. Honestly, if I had wanted to live in the tropics, I would have moved to Queensland.

So, how do I cope with this abomination of summer?

I leave.

Ever since that first summer, I have actively avoided being in Sydney from late December to the start of February, which is fortuitous, because that is when school breaks for summer holidays. I cannot really see my principal being sympathetic to tales of woe about my afro. “But I simply cannot stay. You see, it is summer, and I cannot deal with that many bad hair days in a row.”

Summer is no fun when you look like Donna Summer.

I have spent many of those summers back in Perth. Ahhh, Perth. Perth is where summer was born, raised, and will never die. The beaches are powdery white, and the surfers deeply tanned. The air is briny, and the sky is so brilliantly blue, it is almost iridescent.
Cosy Corner
Stunning!

So, why has a girl so in love with summer agreed to live in Seattle? Isn’t Seattle the home of, well, rain? And isn’t rain the opposite of summer? Ah, yes, these are all valid questions. But you see, Seattle hides a secret. I does not actually rain there nine months of the year as often reported. It is more like eight months, but those other four…sigh…are beautiful.
Seattle Waterfront
See?

So, when I move there in late December (that whole ‘new year – new city’ thing), I will take my umbrellas (plural, ’cause you never know when one will be sucked into traffic by a gust of wind), and I will look forward to the Seattle summer of ’09. I am promised blue skies, gentle breezes, and about 28 degrees. Sound familiar?