I had a week before classes started, so I decided to cram all the adventures I could during this time. Thankfully, I was in a hostel in Paddington, which happens to be right by Oxford Street, which leads right into Sydney CBD area.
As I was walking, I passed by Hyde Park, a place that encompasses a lot of what the Sydney environment and culture is like. No matter the weather, people are always outside, enjoying the beautiful landscapes, listening to the birds, and the water fountains in the park that represent figures that are significant to Australia’s history.
Within Hyde Park, there was a pool-like structure. I found out this structure was considered a “Pool of Reflection”. This being one of the first things I stumbled upon really helped set my mood for the rest of this experience. Prior to exploring, I had just felt lost and unsettled. However, when I stared into this reflective pool, it made me reconsider how I was initially viewing my feelings and experiences. I took a few moments to just stare at my reflection and remember why I had always wanted to do this and why I should appreciate every moment of this experience, the good and the bad.
During this week, I further explored the ANZAC Memorial, which commemorates servicemen and their sacrifices made during a war. I also got the chance to wander through the Botanical Gardens, where I discovered that there are a lot more colorful birds in Australia compared to America. In this area there were numerous museums where I got to learn a lot about Australian history and the numerous different cultures within the country.
Finally, I decided to go down to Circular Quay, where the Sydney Harbour and the Opera House are some of the main attractions when going to Australia. The structure of the Opera House is unlike anything I have ever seen. I had stayed to watch the sunset one night and was able to experience “Badu Gili” (means water light); a show that displayed watercolors on a sail of the Opera House. These watercolors formed digital structures that explore ancient First Nations stories.
Not only did exploring and exposing myself to these different places in Australia help me learn a little about the culture and their way of life, but it helped me feel comfortable in this foreign place that I was about to call “home” for the next few months. I had to step out of my comfort zone and really immerse myself in this new experience.