Last Week in Sydney
When I knew I would be leaving for Melbourne, I wanted my last week in Sydney to be memorable. For me, the week needed to be a celebration of the people I cherished the most as well as sum up why I was leaving.
On Sunday, I met a friend for breakfast in Paddington and implored her to teach me about the art of clothes-shopping. I ordered a whimsical jacket from High Tea with Mrs Woo and agreed to pick it up from a design market in Melbourne once I was settled there. We stopped for tea in a vintage book store and I ordered this delicate French Earl Grey.
Monday was a dreary day when I ventured to campus on my last day of work. The University’s Quadrangle looked particularly ominous. I wish I had the opportunity to capture it on a sunnier day. I’ll always remember strolling through the jacaranda-lined lawns as I took the shortcut from my lecture to meet Benian for lunch.
This used to be a rickety cart outside Fisher Library that sold limp hot dogs and bad coffee. I don’t know if the food has improved, but it’ll always have a special place in my heart as the first place on campus I shared lunch with Benian when we started our first day at university.
I’m tucked away on the fourth floor where it’s usually hauntingly quiet.
I’ve always wondered where this mysterious, permanently-barricaded staircase led. I suppose the advantage of never having found out means I get to imagine it to lead to all sorts of weird and wonderful places.
I ended the wistful afternoon with tea and cake with my tutor. Her enthusiasm and dedication this semester reminded me why I love teaching.
A friend of ours who’s launching his career as a photographer in Tokyo, Hamish, travelled back to Sydney on a whim for the holidays on Wednesday. We met up for Italian at La Maguerita; a new restaurant that’s just opened up not far from our place. The food was satisfying and the staff were super friendly.
We followed dinner with the infamous gelato bar in Surry Hills, Messina, for dessert.
The queue outside was staggering for 8:30pm on a Wednesday night.
But it was worth it when we got inside and found amazing flavours like salted coconut and mango salsa, poached figs in marsala, and pear and rhubarb.
On Thursday, I caught up with two of my closest friends from high school. They both shared travel stories; one had just come back from Engla (via a one-week teaching programme in China) and the other from Korea.
There was no better way to mark the upcoming hiatus from teaching than with a long overdue morning tea with one of my most memorable students. On Friday, I trekked beneath the Harbour Bridge to make our rendez-vous at the Park Hyatt hotel, where The Living Room had stunning views of the Sydney Opera House.
In the evening, I had dinner with Benian’s parents. Benian’s mum cooked up an amazing feast.
My excitement was also running high because I had just picked up a long-awaited parcel from Razer.
Saturday, I celebrated my final night in Sydney with a house-warming party hosted by two of our friends.
Benian prepared pumpkin couscous.
And his famous strawberry and spinach salad.
Our friends had bought a beautiful old terrace not far from my university after they got married and have been gradually renovating it to perfection. We’ve been fortunate enough to see its evolution and they have really turned it into something full of character and unique.
Courtesy of our patisserie extraordinaire, Andrew.
Finally, I had the chance to capture an intimate moment between my two favourite guys to take with me to Melbourne.
My last week in Sydney has been all about savouring the most precious things in life and the most special people who have supported me through my PhD, and in many cases, even longer than that. I couldn’t have asked for a better finale to my life in Sydney.