I was in your city for less than 24 hours when I realized that I loved you and could one day make you my home. On my first day, I wandered around your graffiti-decorated alleyways. I wandered without a map and trusted that my feet would find their way home. I love the graffiti. I love that the art is alive. You are a city that is oozing with creativity and culture and spirit. I saw this in the art, in the architecture, and in the way people dress. I heard it in the buskers that lined every street corner, I smelt it in the million of smells that wafted through the streets, and I tasted it in the coffee that you take so much pride in.
I love the tattoos that decorate the arms or calves of your people. I love how it identifies them and shows the world who they are. And I love how you yourself are like that. You can choose who you want to be. Why, you can choose to change your colours every day if you want to! And change is good. Change is how we grow and evolve and ultimately become the person we want to be. I once saw a sign at the bus stop that said “Don’t be afraid of change, be afraid of not changing” and it was like everything suddenly made sense. I love you in the same way I love the beach and books and becoming friends with strangers – and that’s a lot.
I could spend hours wandering down your streets, discovering new places and learning new things. One of the happiest moment of my life was sitting at Brighton Beach on Good Friday waiting for the sunset. With my windswept hair, sunburnt arms and freckled face, I felt so happy leaning against the colorful huts and looking at the shells I had collected. It made me so happy to look at the sun and know that billions of others have looked at it too, dreaming dreams and imagining the impossible. I remember it made me feel amazed at how big the world is – knowing that I was here and my family was there and everyone else was everywhere else. It made me realize that there is so much life in the world – and where there is life, I intend to be.
You did a lot of things for me. You taught me how to bargain and ask for things that I want and you took my breath away with your spectacular 12 apostles. You made me hungry for the food of life – you made me crave variety and adventure and sweetness. Sitting in Federation Square and seeing the happy faces, made me happy too. And in losing myself in your alleyways, I think I found myself.
Until we meet again!