Thursday 21 April, 2011
I wrote this post whilst in Melbourne. I had been trying the whole vacation long to write a decent post, to no avail. I don’t know if it was because I’m used to typing everything out, and my brain moves too quickly for my hand when I’m handwriting, or if it was because I simply got out of the habit of writing. Either way, I was ecstatic when I sat down and wrote two posts in one day. Here’s hoping it a) makes sense, and b) is an OK post.
Sydney, let’s face it. We were made for each other. I got you; you understood me. It was definitely love at first sight. And I’m getting all teary just thinking about it.
For a long time, I had wanted desperately to live in Sydney. It was a childhood dream, and as I grew older that dream fell by the wayside, being replaced with study, work, and occasionally falling apart at the seams. My plans for escaping the town I was born and grew up in got lost too. I moved to the city to go to university, and for the whole of my first year away, I returned home every weekend. As much as I don’t want it to be so, I’m tied to this town.
I watched as one by one, all of my friends – and all of my ‘non-friends’ – moved away. Something that I was always incredibly vocal about since I had been in primary school. I was going to get the hell outta Dodge as fast as I could. Didn’t really work out though – I’m still here. But in all fairness to me, currently there are specific and unavoidable reasons why I’m stuck here, and were they not present, you can bet your life I’d be living in Perth, at the very least.
When I booked my vaycay and told some of my friends that I was staying in the CBD of every city I was visiting, they looked at me with horrified expressions. ‘You’re going to hate it.’; ‘Oh, that’s . . . nice.’; ‘What the hell would you do that for?’; ‘It’s going to be crazy busy and chaotic.’ I heard them all. However, although they’re friends, it appears that none of those people really know me. If they did, they’d know that CBD and inner-city living are me all over. I may be from a small country, coal-mining town, but I’m no country bumpkin.
They forget that I survived in the city ‘burbs for four years whilst I studied. And I’ve been told, from a very young age, that I’m more . . . cosmopolitan than most of the people born and raised in this town. I always took that as a nice way of saying that I never really did fit in.
In the city, in the most non-derogatory, non-self-deprecating way, I’m a nobody. I blend in pretty well – so much so that in Melbourne, when I stopped at a café for breakfast, the owner mistook me for an employee of the hair salon down the street, and began discussing the benefits of a regular hair cut with me. After trying to explain that I didn’t actually work in the salon, I ended up playing along with it. It seemed the easiest thing to do. Oh come on! My hair colour and style aren’t that weird that I could easily be mistaken for a city hair stylist! Well, not anymore. Anyway, my point being that I like the city a lot and I always have.
Back to Sydney . . . part of the allure was obviously the food culture of the city. In a small, country town there are only so many places one can go for a meal. And obviously also, there were the tourist attractions. Sydney Harbour Bridge – loved it and climbed it. Sydney Opera House – didn’t see the big deal . . . until almost my last day, when the sun hit one of the sails at just the right angle, and then I saw that there was some beauty in its architecture. Royal Botanical Gardens – can’t believe I’m about to commit this to print . . . loved it (I’m a sucker for a Moreton Bay Fig, and there were a few there).
But what people don’t seem to understand is that this trip was never about seeing the sights. They were the things to do to fill in time. For me, this vaycay has only ever been about the people I was going to me. And Sydney had some class acts and headline players.
The first tweet-up was really a reunion. I met up with the guy who used to live next door to me when we were at school. It was an absolutely fantastic way to kick off the vaycay. Keith and I have been friends for basically all of our lives, so there was no pressure to ‘be’ @22DanielleM. It was a relaxed and fun day out with Keith, his fabulous partner, Jo, and their gorgeous lil girl, Emma. Although we’ve both changed a lot, I think at heart we’re both still the same boy and girl next door, and it was superb to have familiar faces in a new city.
Monday night arrived, and the first ‘official’ tweet-up was going to occur. It was the whole reason I hit Sydney first – the great and wise Clarky was heading home to the Great White North, and I’d booked my vaycay to coincide with part of her time in Sydney. We’d agreed to meet at my hotel, and see how things worked from there.
The utterly fabulous Rami (@CosmicRami) was the first to arrive. You know when you meet someone for the first time, you wonder how it’s going to play out? If you’ll click and hit it off? Do they have any annoying habits that could potentially drive you nuts? What if they’re not who they say they are? All those anticipatory niggles that go through your mind. I think with a tweet-up, there’s a level of anticipation and adrenaline working as well – would my tweethearts live up to the image I’d formed in my mind from their tweets? Would I be disappointed? Worse still, would I be disappointing?
I can’t answer that last question, but I can confidently, and with gusto, say that meeting Rami in real life (IRL), he absolutely lived up to the image I had of him from his tweets, Facebook updates, and blog, and I was in no way disappointed. He really is a fabulous guy. What’s better is that we clicked straight away. It was like catching up with a friend I hadn’t seen for a couple of years. There was a familiarity there, a bit of ‘tell me everything you’ve done since the last time I saw you’. It was genuinely awesome to be able to finally put a real person and a real voice behind @CosmicRami’s tweets. And while I want to tell you everything that Rami and I talked about as we waited for Clarky, I’m going to be a tad selfish here and keep that to myself – some things you just need to hold on to for your own memories, and these conversations are those things; experiences that money can’t buy. The content of the conversations may not be much to anyone else, but those words go towards building and cementing real time friendships, from Social Media relationships and connections. And that, to borrow from the MasterCard ads, is priceless. So, forgive me for choosing not to expose, analyse, and pimp out everything that went on. All you really need to know is that if you ever get the chance to meet Rami, you should take the opportunity. He’s worth it. 😉
Right about now, Clarky and her mister arrived. I’m not going to cover that in depth here, as I intend to dedicate a Clarky & The Meat post to my thoughts on meeting her. What I will say though, is that from those few hours that Monday night, I was instantly happy that I’d made the decision to spend three weeks on the east side of Oz, and OMG how cool is Clarky’s mister?! I’ve never met such a relaxed, easygoing person in my life. Oh, and awesome, he’s also awesome.
Rami and I met again for lunch and I have to day again, he’s just gorgeous. Intelligent, witty, interesting, easy to be around . . . I could keep going but you’d all tell me I was starting to sound like a broken record. Now, anyone who dares to tell me that you can’t forge ‘real’ friendships and relationships through Social Media, look the hell out! I’m telling you without any hesitation, the people I’ve met on Twitter, and now finally in real time, are as much, if not firmer friends, than some people I’ve known for years.
The Social Media world can, and in some instances does, operate on the same terms as the ‘real world’ – my Social Media world certainly does. You choose your friends wisely; you communicate with them; you’re supportive of each other. The only real difference is that you may not always have the opportunity to be in the same physical space as them. If, however, you have that chance to tweet-up, I highly recommend that you do so. Some of the tweethearts you’ll meet – in my case, all of the tweethearts I’ve met – are absolute gems.
So, while exploring Sydney, eating out, climbing the Harbour Bridge, stunt jet boating, visiting the Aquarium, strolling around Darling Harbour, seeing the Opera House, wandering through the Botanical Gardens, hanging out on a cliff overlooking Bondi, chilling in ‘nana’s kitchen’, and entertaining a potential new way of #TwitFacePimping via Channel 7’s ‘Sunrise’ show were all a hell of a lot of fun, it really was the people who made Sydney such a special place to be. In fact, on my Sunday to fly to the Gold Coast, I was a bit hesitant to leave my now beloved Sydney, knowing that I’d be leaving my friends behind.
However, now that I’ve finally been there, I can honestly say that I would happily move to Sydney. So, if anyone knows of an inner-city Sydney apartment that allows dogs and is going for either really cheap rent or really cheap sale, and you happen to know of a nearby school that needs an awesome Drama teacher, let me know!
Oh, and Sydney . . . I will be back. Probably not until next year, but you’re on my radar now, and I’m not losing sight of you again.